How Do Advisors Invest During Irrational Exuberance?

Posted by Brandon Langley on 7/8/21 11:58 AM

I love the beach, but I am not a huge fan of the ocean.

Maybe I’m alone here, but after watching “Jaws,” National Geographic programming, Shark Week on Discovery, and “Sharknado” 1-6, I just cannot shake that uneasy feeling when I’m venturing into the surf. Even when I’ve had the privilege of swimming or snorkeling in those crystal-clear Caribbean waters, there’s still a bit of anxiety of what’s potentially lurking in the distance just out of sight.

As we talk to advisors, it’s clear my feelings about getting into the ocean are similar to how they feel as they put client money to work during this seemingly endless bull market.

We routinely encounter advisors who are struggling with how to invest in equities right now. This is particularly tricky for those that have taken a more cautious approach during the last couple of years and now have to face tough performance-related questions and risk losing clients.

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Topics: Systematic Investing

What ‘Tommy Boy’ Teaches Us About Guarantees

Posted by Brandon Langley on 6/23/21 4:34 PM

What are your re-watchable movies? For me, it’s several cult classics from the mid-90s. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen them, if I happen to catch them when flipping through the channels, I’m going to stop. Unfortunately, I usually end up only watching briefly until my wife rolls her eyes and asks, “Again…really?”

Recently, during my 845th viewing of “Tommy Boy,” I noticed an interesting parallel between Tommy’s description of the guarantee when selling brake pads and the act of wholesaling downside protection to advisors. Indeed, the guarantee does make you feel all warm and toasty inside, but is it really a “guarantee fairy” who’s a crazy glue sniffer?

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Topics: Systematic Investing

The Line Between Chasing Winners & Catching a Falling Knife

Posted by Jon Robinson on 6/7/21 5:05 PM

A few weeks ago my family spent a week at the beach. There’s this arcade on the boardwalk. I’m sure you know the kind: Drop a $20 in the change machine, hope your 8 year old can keep the Skee-Ball in her own lane, and then trade your tickets for some plastic toy that inevitably will provoke several sibling squabbles until it snaps in half a few days later.

Good ol’ American family fun!

As we dropped quarters in the machines, I noticed something interesting about my daughter’s approach to choosing which game to play that I thought had parallels to investing. She raced from game to game, chasing the ones she thought would give her the most tickets per play. When we made it to the prize counter, surprisingly, she ended with fewer total tickets than my son, who mainly just knocked over clowns with an air gun.

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Topics: Systematic Investing

Anyone Want to Acknowledge the Bear Market in Bonds?

Posted by Brandon Langley on 5/25/21 11:50 AM

In a time when seemingly all assets are “melting up,” allow me to invoke one of my favorite Saturday Night Live characters, Debbie Downer, and provide a less-than-rosy dose of reality: U.S. government bonds, which have a “market cap” that’s equivalent to 2x the U.S. stock market, have all entered a bear market.

If you know the Debbie Downer persona, you probably read that statement with her voice in your head – and you’ll definitely be able to “hear” the sound of these words: WAH! WAHHH!

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Topics: Systematic Investing

How Behaviorally Friendly is Your Approach to Downside Protection?

Posted by Mike Carlone on 5/12/21 4:45 PM

For the modern-day financial advisor, it’s all about keeping clients on a straighter path toward the long-term goals they have agreed upon with you. Right?

And there’s piles of research showing that advisors who demonstrate a high degree of behavioral friendliness tend to have clients who are more solidly anchored to their financial plans. The benefits of commitment to the plan for the client is obvious, but there is also a knock-on benefit for advisors in that they usually see less client attrition.

How do you measure up in this regard? A new quiz will give you a score in just a few minutes.

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Topics: Behavioral Finance

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