24 September 2017

Managed Funds - just another layer of fees?

Investors are being overcharged by almost £1.1bn a year for funds that claim to be “actively managed” but in reality do little more than track a stock market index.



The Times (Paid Content)

10 September 2017

Gold and Silver - how to store safely?

Despite the obvious pitfalls even the 'most powerful bank' in the world keeps repeating the mantra that physical gold is the asset of last resort. But who can guarantee that the bank or safe storage vauld will give you access to your hord in the hour of crisis?
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-06/physical-gold-vault-true-hedge-last-resort-goldman-sachs

If you think that Precious Metals or Stones will protect your Wealth you have to be careful. And first of all make sure you don't get sold fake gold or silver!
How To Store Silver Bars & Coins At Home – Mike Maloney

1 September 2017

'Private' Equity's 'Dry Powder' costs you dear

Sitting on $963 billion means huge fees for the Promoters. They get paid in many cases even if they are slow in finding suitable investments. And they have every incentive to put this money to work, whatever the terms, as they are paid on the basis of 'we take (part of) the profits and you investor can keep the losses'. A veritable money-printing machine, built on the basis of leverage and an ever-rising stock market boosted by QE. And no one in the corporate governance and political crowd seems to take notice despite the rising discontent about executive excess in the public markets.
https://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2017-09-01/why-private-equity-has-963-billion-in-dry-powder-quicktake-q-a

22 August 2017

Bitcoin Hype - Regulators asleep or afraid?

Given the thousands of pages of detailed regulation that has been produced in all major industrial countries one has to wonder why the Regulators are keeping stumm about the Bitcoin craze. Claims that Digital 'Currencies' are clearly misleading. Neither are they a safe haven, they are digital assets and given the way they are offered and promoted they are investments and as such should be brought under regulatory umbrellas.
The price of Bitcoin and Ethereum is slipping but Bitcoin Cash is rising

15 August 2017

Bitcoin hype - stop calling it a 'Currency'

Temple Associates: Bitcoin hype - stop calling it a 'Currency'

9 August 2017

Russia Launches $100 Million Bitcoin-Mining Operation

I may be too old, or just plain stupid, but can ANYONE really make a rational case for Bitcoin, or is it just the chain letter re-invented for the Internet Age and the 'Social' media crowd hosted by quasi-monopolistic neo-feudal lords?
Russia Launches $100 Million Bitcoin-Mining Operation

7 August 2017

Meaningless League Tables and Awards

When selecting a provider of asset management or private bank you should disregard League Tables or Awards. They are meaningless as they disregard the most important factor - past performance and the risk data that is a critical part of it. Naturally security of assets should be another factor that is essential when making your choice. Choose a neutral adviser who has no financial interest in your decision to assist you.
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/07/deutsche-bank-slips-down-rankings-of-worlds-top-private-banks.html

6 August 2017

'Private' Equity Performance data - how reliable?

Apart from the fact that the promoters control when and what is happening with the portfolio there is the overriding question of comparing apples (listed equity indices, based on actual real-time transactions) and oranges (prices determined in an opaque fashion, high leverage key to investment rationale).
So triumphant messages such as this one can only be considered public relations unless the data is made public (not just sold to subscribers) and the methods properly disclosed. After all, the real end investor has a right to be fully informed about what his fiduciaries are up to with his hard-earned savings!
http://www.cityam.com/269664/private-equity-investors-nab-their-highest-quarterly

28 July 2017

Robo-Advisers lose their innocence

Human nature does not change - despite all the talk about Robo-Advisers. The computers may be programmed so that they do not select the best possible investments for you!

23 July 2017

Blue Apron's VC backers have made gobs of money — while regular investors have taken a bath (APRN)

Ordinary Investors - lambs led to the slaughter by insiders, market professionals and intermediaries. All the world's regulation is useless! Leave IPO's to the Pros
Blue Apron's VC backers have made gobs of money — while regular investors have taken a bath (APRN)

14 July 2017

The REAL problem with ETFs

As it is so easy to buy/sell the ETF, and in effect the market, and so much money is controlled/advised by 'professional' advisers (even more subject to herd instinct) the moment the markets turn, or a light downtrend accelerates, will be when ETF investors rush to the exits - and the door will be awfully narrow.
No bubble in ETFs?

29 June 2017

30 reasons to love Index Funds

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/30-reasons-to-fall-in-love-with-index-funds-2014-06-04

18 June 2017

Road to Serfdom - USA well on the way

Good advice is now needed more than ever! Big Government is after your Money!

Bitcoin And Cash Targeted In Silly "Anti Terror" Civil Asset Forfeiture Law

Morgan Stanley Adviser's fees - Your loss?

Given that nearly all asset classes are in a steady upwards trend for quite a few years it may not hurt your pocket if your 'Adviser' pockets $ 1 million a year from his clients. But that will change - even if markets hold up, the expected returns will at best be in the low to middle single digits and any fee around the average charged by the Financial Industry (1% of assets) will take a hefty chunk (20-35%!) out of those returns.
Strict control of fees you pay will be a major contributor of your investment performance from now on!
Morgan Stanley is going after a $500 billion opportunity (MS)

11 June 2017

Temple Associates: Credit Ratings - still no reform

Temple Associates: Credit Ratings - still no reform

5 June 2017

People's Trust - more than a catchy Label?

Not convinced that the structure is all that different from a conventional Investment Trust offering. Seven managers, terms not disclosed, the overall fees for the Trust give the game away however. Any target for the investment return is not more than wishful thinking, at least 7 percent is not too ambitious but still doubtful in a world of low returns. The only thing that is certain are the fees that the subadvisors will earn for a very long 7 years. Will that be an incentive to make better investment decisions? Your guess is as good as mine!
People's Trust reveals Manager Line-up

22 May 2017

Don't think Safe Deposit Boxes are safe

Thieves and Tax authorities are a threat to Safe Deoposit Boxes, whether they are in your home or in a bank - not sure which one is worse!
Greek Authorities To Launch Mass Confiscation Of Safe Deposit Boxes, Securities, Homes In Tax-Evasion Crackdown

21 May 2017

Cliff Asness: ESG May Help the World But It Won’t Help Your Portfolio

Could not agree more. Legislation is the way to solve the World's problems, not posturing by companies and asset managers.
Cliff Asness: ESG May Help the World But It Won’t Help Your Portfolio

12 May 2017

Robo-Advice vs. Human Adviser

Automated financial advisers, also known as Robo-Advisers, are taking a growing share of the market for financial advice and planning. Lower cost and easy access are the main factors behind this trend.

Traditional Advisers argue that they are the only ones that can give personalized advice on complex problems.

But even the most complex portfolios can be handled without resort to high fees.

Let's see what complex issues may face the average - and even high-net - investor: in most cases they are related to Estate or Retirement Planning - but they can easily - and more expertly handled by tax experts (or accountants or lawyers with relevant qualifications). These professionals will not charge an ongoing fee based on the value of your asset but a fee based on an hourly rate schedule. On an estate of $US 5 million and up this should be substantially cheaper. A 1pct annual management fee would total $50,000 PER YEAR!

This leaves the question of HOW your wealth should be invested, first of all the basic asset allocation (property, shares, bonds etc). To a certain extent automated models based on questionnaires should go a long way to provide the answer. It may not be precise, it may even not be the best choice in hindsight but remember: all recommendations by human advisers may also not work out exactly as hoped for (to put it mildly).

My solution to this dilemma is as follows: put a large part of your wealth into the asset structure that is recommended by the Robo-Adviser and put the rest of your wealth into the hands of carefully picked human portfolio managers. Make sure that they charge reasonable fees (expensive does not guarantee better performance!) - preferably with a well-structured performance component.

Traditional Advisers vs. Robo-Advisers


5 May 2017

Your Adviser gets incentive not to offer cheaper Funds

That could happen if Morgan Stanley decides not to pay its brokers for clients' ETF holdings.
morgan-stanley-weighs-changing-broker-compensation-on-vanguard-funds-1493987204 (Paywall)

4 May 2017

Is The World's Largest Bitcoin Exchange Headed For Collapse?

Exotic but risky! Remember that  Bitcoin consists of nothing but bits on some distant computer! While the same can be said of most other assets (Bank deposits, Bonds, most Shares) this is less regulated - and if it is we would like to learn about this from the promoters or fans!
Is The World's Largest Bitcoin Exchange Headed For A Mt. Gox-Style Collapse

3 May 2017

100-year bonds - only for traders and madmen!

If anyone seriously considers 'investing' in 100-year bonds he should immediately see a doctor, or even better, a psychotherapist. There is no value in this piece of financial garbage, certainly not when global interest rates are at all time lows, and artificially (criminally?) depressed by Central Banks in the pay of useless and inept governments. There may be times when these ultra-long maturity bonds offer trading opportunities, but apart from opportunities to sell them short the time to go long is in the distant future. Be careful that your financial adviser does not stuff your portfolio with this paper! Institutional investors may be tempted to buy into this hype, but it is not their own money and when the s**t hits the fan the fund managers responsible will long be gone.
Trump's 100-Year Bonds Contain Lots of Risks for Traders

28 April 2017

Checklist: Is your Private Banker/Fund Manager in the same boat?

Interesting question to ask when you do due diligence on your Private Banker or Fund Manager!
Is your Private Banker/Fund Manager in the same boat?

26 April 2017

Performance Comparisons: Danger of first Impression

Fund Supermarkets (or Platforms as they are sometimes called) are a massive step in the right direction, i.e. giving private investors more control over their investments. But apart from the problem that each one of these sites can only cover so many funds the performance comparisons can be difficult to interpret. In the example below one would have to know what exactly is meant when a Sterling bond fund is having the 'Extra Yield' words in its name. Does it really make sense to compare it to the Investment Association's 'Strategic' Sterling bond fund? Is one comparing apples and oranges? However small the difference between the two, the verdict on the fund could be heavily influenced by it.
Royal Sterling Extra Yield Bond Fund - Analysis by Hargreaves Lansdown

25 April 2017

Robo-Advisers - useful but not ultimate Solution

Robo-Advice - like the (related) growth in 'passive' investment strategies and vehicles - can be a worthwhile addition to any investor's toolbox. But the devil is in the detail - apart from the 64000 dollar question (The selection of the right investment strategy, sector etc) most Robo-Advisers (or Websites) can only cover a limited amount of available investment products. In the case of the recently-launched eVestor I notice with interest that they claim they 'invest with the largest investment companies in the world'. All very honest, but bigger is not always better!
https://www.evestor.co.uk/our-story

19 April 2017

You cannot eat Relative Performance

In the world of institutional investment management beating the performance benchmark is the holy grail. When a fund loses money it is sufficient to lose less money than peer funds. But as a private investor you cannot be that complacent. You cannot eat relative performance. So the fact that the average 'Quantitative' or 'Systematic' fund is down during the past year is no consolation/. If you were sold on the idea that they offer performance that is not correlated with the big market indices you may well wake up to the fact that there is no surefire way to escape market volatility.
What’s wrong with AQR? - ValueWalk

14 April 2017

Long/Short Hedge Funds - did they provide what it says on tin?

The overall performance may have been disappointing with the main explanation (or excuse) the fact that QE distrorted the markets. The flood of money created a one-way street in the markets and hedge funds claim they are not geared up to be compared to long-only funds that profited from the bull market.
But one thing is forgotten in all this: while one may accept that hedge funds are not designed to compete with traditional funds the L/S funds should be able to navigate RELATIVE price moves in the markets and slowly accumulate profits while holding the market exposure broadly neutral. Careful performance analysis should shed light on the skill of the fund manager and how well they kept the portfolio in a market neutral (and therefore low risk) state.
THE LOST DECADE FOR LONG/SHORT HEDGE FUNDS

Fees on Alternatives expensive - Report

While Alternative Investments may offer good diversification they are unfortunately priced too expensively to offer a good risk/reward ratio. Performance - esp in Private Equity - may look attractive but remember that we experienced a long bull market that lifted all (asset) boats.
Complex Investments in Alternatives expensive

13 April 2017

Turkey To Confiscate Gold "To Help Citizens Earn Money"

Apart from the fact that Turkey cannot be compared to your typical 'Western' or 'Liberal' Democracy the lesson is again quite clear: if you think your wealth is protected in Gold you better think carefully how to go about it! (Hint: Bitcoin it is not!)
Turkey To Confiscate Gold "To Help Citizens Earn Money"

Passive Investing Will End In Pain

Index Investing, ETF's, commonly called 'Passive Investing' are no panacea as they mean that you will participate in any market decline to the fullest extent.
Passive Investing Will End In Pain

Checklist: How is your Financial Adviser compensated?

Poor compensation structures for your Financial Adviser may create incentives that are contrary to your interests!
Excessive focus on individual performance is inherently dangerous, says Barry Olliff | City A.M.

Active managers - not that bad

While quite a few 'active' fund managers hug the indices and charge fees as if they are trying to beat them not all is that bad as it is portrayed by some critics. Any fund manager needs to charge a fee as nothing can be provided for free. So performance really cannot be measured after fees, expenses. It is by definition a must that the universe of fund managers will under perform any index by the amount of costs loaded onto the funds they manage. Maybe these fees are rightly deemed to be too high but investors should not be brainwashed by the community of passive fund promoters. You get what you pay for, in this case the chance (hope?) that your manager will outperform the benchmark.
Bad times for active managers: Almost none have beaten the market over the past 15 years

12 April 2017

Ordinary Investor has no Chance against Market Insiders

Just ask your Financial Adviser: Where are the Customer's Yachts?

Federal Reserve's Fischer held private talk at Brookings - Business Insider

10 April 2017

Diamonds, Rolex Watches are ludicrous "Investments"

Don't fall for the relentless attack from slick advertising! Artifical Diamonds are soon taking over, and Rolex watches are produced by the hundreds of thousands!
An "Investment" Even More Ludicrous Than Government Bonds | Zero Hedge

8 April 2017

EU watchdog wants tougher conditions for credit ratings compiled outside EU

Just shows the EU up for what it is - a protectionist racket run by unelected control-freaks! More oversight of Rating Agencies might be a good idea, esp. the pay-to-play formula forced upon issuers but no, that would actually make sense!

EU watchdog wants tougher conditions for credit ratings compiled outside EU

David Rosenberg: "This Is A Bubble Of Historic Proportions"

No need for an overpaid 'Analyst' to tell us that!

David Rosenberg: "This Is A Bubble Of Historic Proportions"

7 April 2017

Unelected bureaucrats steal from Savers, Investors

Crazy, worse than Organised Crime, this is State-sponsored Crime!

The Next Step In Europe's Negative-Interest-Rate Experiment | Zero Hedge

Vontobel quält alte Berater mit Mathe-Test

With some Banks Swiss Private Banking is in steep decline, these exams will do nothing to improve the service (if you can call it that) customers (just don't call them clients anymore) can expect.
Vontobel quält alte Berater mit Mathe-Test - Inside Paradeplatz

6 April 2017

Don't Mourn the Death of Stock-Picking Just Yet

There will always be stock-picking, if the average does not outperform there will be losers and winners in the stock market game, and who does not think he could win? Given human nature there will always be lotteries, horse-betting etc. So investors have a choice and decide which attitude suits them. If they think they can win they should pick fund managers that can win.
Don't Mourn the Death of Stock-Picking Just Yet

4 April 2017

Saudi Aramco might be worth just $1 trillion

And has anyone given some thought to the (enormous) political risk?

REPORT: Saudi Aramco might be worth just half of the $2 trillion suggested by Saudi officials

3 April 2017

Saturated Managers close their Hedge Fund

One of the factors not often mentioned - when a manager has made (tens? hundred?) of millions there should be no surprise when a few of them throw in the towel and think it is not worth their while to work on behalf of investors.
How to raise money to launch a hedge fund - Business Insider

Talk is cheap - only Performance counts

Easy to come up with catchy headlines to get publicity! Inevitably his advice becomes a sales pitch, for himself and for investing in shares. All very well, but remember:: the essential question you should direct at any Financial Adviser right at the beginning should be: "What has been your performance?" No matter how big or small the firm, or how prestigious, if the answer is evasive ("this depends on....") just walk away!
Ric Edelman: Working hard won't make you rich - Business Insider

HSBC wants more information from you

Big Banks are turning quickly into Big Brother! Arbitrary punishments are meted out from politicized regulators and greedy jurisdictions (led by the USA where judicial positions are used by ambitious individuals to promote their personal - often political - career, then to switch into highly-paid jobs with the firms they regulated). The cause of misdeeds are in the meantime not addressed - fraud, illegal activities (often again activities that are MADE illegal by legislative fiat, e.g. prostitution, poor or oppressive tax laws, anti-tobacco campaigns, poorly-thought out subsidies or tariffs, anti-drug fanaticism).
The end-effect will be that more and more people will bypass traditional banks, payment systems, possibly reduced their economic activity, esp in the better-earning strata of the population, thus making economies less efficient and more stagnant. All this by administrative fiat without any democratic legitimacy!
Big Banks are turning into Big Brother!

31 March 2017

Credit Suisse Offices Raided In Multiple Tax Probes: Gold Bars, Paintings, Jewelry Seized

Be careful where you do your Banking business! Nothing is safe these days!
Credit Suisse Offices Raided In Multiple Tax Probes: Gold Bars, Paintings, Jewelry Seized

Wealthy prefer Mix of Robo-Advice and Human Contact

All very well, but what kind of mix, and how to offer it?
Wealthy investors prefer mix of human and robo-advice, says survey

29 March 2017

Hedge Funds - not perfect, but objective criticism please!

Claiming that Hedge Funds are expensive and offer poor performance is cheap criticism. Long-only Fund Managers are also in the firing line over poor (relative) performance and high fees. Hedge Funds 'suffer' from the fact that a long bull market makes it easy to outperform any 'hedged' fund. The real test has to be over a whole cycle - from peak to peak over one full bear and bull market. And by the way: levered 'Private' Equity Funds escape scrutiny as their performance numbers are not bandied about in the media - not to mention the often excessive compensation that the management of the companies they are invested in enjoys. So-called 'Absolute Return' Funds are now often sold on the premise that they solve the problem - neither too much hedged, but not fully exposed to market cycles - but their performance and fees are also not all that attractive.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hedge-fund-buyers-are-getting-soaked-2017-03-29

24 March 2017

Digital Gold - worse than Paper Gold

The whole reason why you would like to own Gold is to have something to fall back on if Paper Money (or the digits produced by the Central Banks) looses more and more of its value. Paper Gold (Gold ETF for example) and - even worse - Digital Gold can be useful instruments to play the asset class on a short-term basis but will be useless (inaccessible?) when they are really needed in times of crisis.
A New Trend Emerges – Digital Gold "Gifting" Gains Popularity In China

Thiam kassierte seit 2010 total 100 Millionen

At least you know what you pay your fees for! Whether you get good performance or not - at least top management will be grateful if you do not shop around for asset management services! Don't wonder how a former Insurance manager is allowed to run a major bank with an ancient history and pedigree!
Thiam kassierte seit 2010 total 100 Millionen

23 March 2017

What Type of Investor Are You? Active, Passive or DIY Investing?

What Type of Investor Are You? Active, Passive or DIY Investing?

Leveraged ETFs - only if you can handle high Risk

SEC May Regret the Day It Allowed Leveraged ETFs

21 March 2017

Warning: The US Stock Market Is An Anomaly

Warning: The US Stock Market Is An Anomaly

17 March 2017

S&P 500: World's most popular Momentum Strategy

"Indices are man-made and prone to all the same issues that anything man-made would be. The committee makes decisions about composition all the time. They add stocks at major tops and remove them at major bottoms. Framed this way, the S&P 500 can be described as “the world’s most popular momentum strategy.

Saving the Mutual Fund Industry

16 March 2017

IPO: Canada Goose exploded on its first day of trading

With a broken IPO system the sky is the limit! Would anyone really 'invest' at such valuations if they had to keep the shares for three years?
Canada Goose exploded on its first day of trading (GOOS)

Factor Investing: Just another Fad?

No one should be surprised about that statement! While 'Factor Investing' gets a lot of attention recently it is basically old wine in new bottles. And timing is the biggest challenge in all investing decisions!
Cliff Asness: Factor Timing is Hard

15 March 2017

No one has voted for this: Intl Exchange of Tax Information

Quite apart from the fact that there are simpler ways to increase tax revenues the international agreement violates basic rules of a proper democracy. The agreement is negotiated several steps removed from what ordinary citizens care about, or what they want. Anonymous bureaucrats deal over the head of citizens in backroom fashion. A withholding tax would have been simple to introduce and administer and the privacy of savers would have been preserved.
The hypocrisy surrounding this form of legislation is evident when just recently the Italian government announced that the Super rich would be offered tax-haven status in Italy. A billionaire would be able to pay just €100.000 (!!) per year in full settlement of his tax obligations! And an (in)famous Italian, Signore Draghi does his best to confiscate the incomes of hundreds of millions of hard-working and honest citizens in order to bail out his profligate fellow-citizens.

Tax Striptease - Your Freedom is eroded once more

Notwithstanding the fact that Swiss Bank Secrecy saved many a life among those persecuted during the Third Reich the Kleptocrats ruling in our Pseudo Democracies are hell-bent on achieving total control of the lives of their citizens. One day a government will blackmail citizens to hand over all assets held outside its jurisdiction - the 'Land of the Free' is already close to a totalitarian tax dictatorship and others will follow as long as the march to ever-increasing government spending and waste continues unabated.
Ausländer müssen UBS intime Steuerdaten geben

Bitcoin Hype: is it Digital Gold? Caveat Emptor!

Bitcoins compared to Gold? While Gold may not be the ultimate store of value (problems with fake gold, confiscation, safekeeping) it is still better than some digits in unknown/unsecure computers that can wiped by savy hackers or the friendly government. Remember Tulipmania in the 1600s!
Digital Gold - For Now Caveat Emptor

12 March 2017

Traders are paying 'extortionate fees' to short Snapchat (SNAP)

Even more amazing that irresponsible Index providers want to herd unsuspecting investors into unproven bubble stocks. It shows that 'passive' investing slavishly hugging indices is no panacea!
Traders are paying 'extortionate fees' to short Snapchat (SNAP)

More Air than Value? Airbnb Raises $1B At $31B Valuation

Remember, the rulebooks that the Regulators publish get longer and longer but none of the rules cover the real important challenges investors face, like buying and selling at the right price
Airbnb Raises $1B At $31B Valuation, Likely Delaying IPO Plans Further

Paper trading: Seven Benefits to practicing buying stocks - ValueWalk

Paper trading: Seven Benefits to practicing buying stocks - ValueWalk

Hedge Funds not as bad as Warren Buffett claims

Comparing an Index (S&P 500) with Funds of Hedge Funds also compares apples and organges, though it is near impossible to invest in a Hedge Fund Index, though that would be the appropriate benchmark
Does Warren Buffett Not Understand Risk-Adjusted Returns? - Bloomberg View

More important than ever that YOU monitor Advisers

Relying on good faith or protection by regulators is not going to do the job in the future!

Trump firing of Bharara leaves void in fight against corruption and Wall Street crime

8 March 2017

Watch out! That is what your hard-earned fees pay for!

BlackRock To Pay Ex-Chancellor Osborne $800,000 For Four Days Of Work Per Month

31 January 2017

Alternatives - Expensive Buzzword?

Don't Get Sabotaged By 'Sophisticated' Investing

Passive Investing done the right way

Since the most recent Market Crash 2007-09 Passive Investing - mostly by using ETF's - has gained in popularity, and rightly so. But Investors should be careful not do add an additional layer of costs when they pay a commission or fee to a Financial Adviser or Fund Platform or Provider. The majority of liquid investments (i.e. listed shares in contrast to property or private equity investments) can and should be allocated to low-cost instruments. A good spread among different asset classes (bonds - high grade, high yield and emerging market bonds, government bonds, equities - large and small caps, emerging markets, international issues, currencies) is still a tricky decision to make but here the guideline should be the market cap as well as occasional rebalancing in a contra-cyclical fashion.

30 January 2017

Common Sense Rules - cheaper than Financial Planner

Financial Planning is marketed as giving investors a 'holistic' approach to financial well-being. But make no mistake, a lot of the advice is not more than applied common sense. A lot of weak-willed or financially uneducated people may well find it worthwhile to pay for advice on Financial Planning but they should be aware that this sort of advice should not be confused with actually achieving satisfactory investment returns on the money you have managed to save.  Tax accountants and lawyers are also able to cover significant areas included in financial planning such as tax and estate planning. Insurance for health and life would be another facet that needs coverage. While having all these aspects covered by one planner may sound attractive it is unlikely that the combined approach is really more effective than consulting individual experts. After all, how often do you really write a will or decide how much insurance cover you require? And putting all your eggs into one basket also can lead to conflicts of interest, especially as the 'planner' is connected with a 'full-service' firm that also tries to sell you investment funds or products or just offers to manage your portfolio.,

29 January 2017

A Fund that keeps 72% of your gains?

It may sound absurd, you have heard about the high burden that fund and management fees put on the performance your investments can achieve but it CAN happen. It needs an experienced analyst to monitor the level of fees you get charged by the various service providers (Banks, Private Banks, Fund Platforms etc) that you use. Investing is difficult enough but the one thing that is guaranteed to boost your eventual investment success is keeping a sharp eye on all the costs - including custody, account fees etc

27 January 2017

Top-rated Financial Adviser? Investigate before you invest!

Numerous publications try to give awards to Private Banking firms or individual Financial Advisers. But while all these awards may have some merit more often than not they are just a public relations exercise or at the very least can blind the gullible into taking the marketing patter for gospel truth. The key aspect, past performance, is usually not included in the presentation. However problematic past performance data may well be the key purpose of investing is to achieve a satisfactory return within the constraints of the risk preference the investor has. Giving data in private sales conversations is not good enough as the investor has no way to verify the claims. The problem of deficient disclosure is even more virulent if the investor is considering to invest with one of the huge Private Banking complexes such as UBS, Credit Suisse or JP Morgan. There simply is no way to easily obtain and verify performance data as the army of Financial Advisers may provide quite different performance and there is no simple option to go for the 'House view'. While an Adviser such as Andy Chase in this article may provide excellent service he is basically running the portfolios of his clients according to his own market outlook, possibly with some wide constraints imposed (or only suggested?) by Morgan Stanley. In effect he is running his own business in a sort of franchise and has to be treated as an independent business.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/26/top-rated-financial-advisor-andrew-chase-on-the-best-investment-for-2017.html

25 January 2017

Behavioural Finance Questionnaire

Here there is a head-scratcher for you, from one of the largest UK Fund Managers (Schroders): but when they asked me about soup or salad (yes, it is true) in their income questionnaire I gave up. Maybe some Private Banking firm will ask you to sit with a Psychotherapist to find your innermost feelings about money and risk. Good Luck with that!

9 January 2017

High Fees? Hedge Funds not the only suspects!

Many comments are made about high fees charged by Hedge Funds. But before you jump ship you should keep in mind that Private Equity or Traditional Funds are not necessarily cheaper. The Hedge Fund concept per se does not mean that the 2+20 fee structure is set in stone. It is a choice that the providers give the investor and you are free to shop around.
But Private Equity Funds are also charging a not inconsiderable management fee and take a cut from the fund's performance. And when you invest via a Private Bank or Financial Adviser you quite often are paying a fee to them as well as a fee for the underlying investment vehicles they allocate your investment monies to.
You need to take special care and advice when awarding a management mandate to any Wealth Manager and get a clear analysis of the impact of fees on future performance!

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2017-01-04/why-asia-s-richest-families-are-dumping-hedge-funds (Bloomberg)

Should you let Friends manage your Portfolio?

It may be tempting to let a friend manage your portfolio. He or She may be more familiar with the world of money, - or at least give that impression. You may save on fees and prefer to interact with someone you think you know well.
But watch out! Is your friend really running his own - let alone somone else's - money well? How is the track record, especially in turbulent markets, and when a stomach-churning downturn occurs, such as we have seen in 2008-09?
You have little protection if something goes wrong either due to mismanagement or even worse - fraud. It has happened before many times and given human nature it will happen again.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/investing/funds/could-fund-manager-next-door/ (Daily Telegraph)

Is Stock Picking the right Strategy for You?

Everyone loves to be able to pick the next IBM, Apple or Facebook but it is difficult even for the Professionals to pick the right stock!

2016 was a terrible year for stock picking, and 2017 may not get much better (CNBC) 

7 January 2017

Index ETF: Time to say Good Bye?

More and more commentators suggest that investors should move out of passive investment vehicles, i.e. index funds, mostly packaged as ETF's. But you should resist the lure of active mnagement and instead review your asset Aalocation.

6 January 2017

Know your Fund Manager

An important - and often overlooked - aspect of selecting a fund manager or financial advisers: what is his PERSONAL track record? Who is actually managing the fund (is it a team or is one person responsible for the performance)? Is the fund manager focused on only one fund or does he have a number of funds to look after? Achieving good performance is difficult enough but the additional task of deciding which fund should benefit from the best ideas is nearly insurmountable. Naturally, fund managers and their employees are more interested in boosting the number of assets under management, and their profits/compensation, rather then just achieving best possible performance.