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Sunday, 18 February 2024 04:27

Bond Gains Since Fed Pivot Wiped Out

The rally in bonds since Fed Chair Powell’s pivot at the December FOMC meeting has been fully wiped out following recent economic data and a more hawkish than expected FOMC at the February meeting. 

Over the last month, forecasts for the timing and number of rate cuts in 2024 have been severely curtailed. Entering the year, many were looking for 6 rate cuts with the first one in spring. Now, the consensus forecast is for 3 cuts, starting in July. This is consistent with FOMC members’ dot plot at its last meeting.

The narrative is clearly changing with some chatter that the Fed may not cut at all. Prashant Newnaha, senior rates strategist at TD Securities Inc., noted that “January CPI is a game changer — the narrative that Fed disinflation provided scope for insurance cuts is clearly now on the chopping board. There is now a real risk that price pressures will begin to shift higher. The Fed can’t cut into this. This should provide momentum for further bond declines.”

Given these developments, Amy Xie Patrick, the head of income strategies at Pendal Group, favors corporate credit over Treasuries. She views the strong US economy as providing a tailwind to risky assets, while making Treasuries less attractive. 

Finsum: Bonds have erased their rally following the December FOMC meeting when Chair Powell signaled that rate cuts win 2024. Here are some of the drivers and thoughts from strategists. 

Bonds and stocks weakened following a stronger than expected January CPI report which led traders to reduce bets on the number of rate cuts in 2024. The 10Y Treasury yield climbed 15 basis points, while the 2Y yield was up 19 basis points. 


On a monthly basis, prices were up 0.3% vs expectations of 0.2%. Annually, there was an uptick at 3.1% vs expectations of 2.9%. Food and shelter prices were major contributors with gains of 0.4% and 0.6%, respectively. Along with the recent jobs report, the data undermined the notion that the Fed would be turning dovish later this year. The anticipation of a Fed pivot has been a major catalyst, fueling strength in equities and fixed income over the last couple of months. 


Instead, the status quo of ‘higher for longer’ remains. Some investors are now anticipating that the 10Y yield will rise further. According to Skyler Weinand, chief investment officer at Regan Capital, “Bond yields have not peaked, and we believe that a 10-year Treasury yield with a 5-handle is more likely than a 3-handle in 2024. Persistent inflation, full employment and strong growth may delay the Fed’s rate cuts.”

Finsum: Stocks and bonds declined as the January CPI came in hotter than expected. Fed futures showed traders reduced estimates for the number of rate cuts in 2024.


Thursday, 15 February 2024 14:31

Marketing to High Net-Worth Clients

Any advisor who is serious about acquiring high net-worth clients’ needs a solid marketing strategy. This is because there is intense competition to land these clients, and it’s necessary to differentiate your services in the marketplace.


The first step is to clarify what exactly you are trying to accomplish with your marketing plan. This can include increasing awareness of your practice, building trust with prospects, branding, creating credibility, and highlighting your expertise and knowledge. 


Next, it’s essential to understand the needs, goals, and challenges of your target audience. Some themes that are likely to resonate with wealthy clients are areas like legacy planning, minimizing tax liabilities, or superior levels of service. 


Building authority and credibility is an important prerequisite when it comes to landing wealthy clients. Some ways to do this are through interviews with journalists, being a guest on a podcast or program, collaborating with other professionals, and building a following on social media by regularly sharing valuable information. 


During the process of converting a prospect into a client, advisors should ensure that all interactions with prospects and full of value with the intention to create trust. This starts from the first interaction with a client and should always remain a primary ingredient in every point of engagement.

Finsum: It’s quite competitive and difficult for advisors to land wealthy clients. Here are some tips on how to be successful. 


Thursday, 15 February 2024 14:28

SMA Growth Outpacing Model Portfolios

A recent survey of financial advisors showed that separately managed accounts (SMAs) are seeing more traction in comparison to model portfolios. Only 22% of advisors plan to increase reliance on model portfolios, a 5% drop from the previous year. In contrast, allocations to SMAs are forecast to reach 26% in 2025 from 18% currently. The trend is more pronounced among advisors serving high net-worth clients who see allocations reaching 31% in 2025 from 23% now.


Some of the reasons cited by advisors in the survey for less interest in model portfolios were higher fees, underperformance, a need for customization, and more investment options. The survey is an indication that model portfolio uptake and growth have stalled as only 29% of advisors using model portfolios report increasing use over the past year. 


The survey was conducted by Cogent Syndicated in October and November of last year. The firm surveyed 403 registered financial advisors with an active book of at least $5 million. The report suggests that model portfolio providers are losing ground as many advisors and clients are gravitating towards direct indexing and SMAs due to their customization and tax optimization, while model portfolios fall short in these regards despite offering other advantages for advisors and clients. 



Finsum: A survey of financial advisors showed that model portfolio adoption has stalled. Here are why advisors are gravitating towards SMAs instead.


Thursday, 15 February 2024 14:27

How Annuities Can Enhance Retirement

Having a steady source of income during retirement is a universal goal. According to a new research paper from Wharton, investors should consider a deferred income annuity product in their retirement accounts as this has shown to improve welfare for all groups when accounting for sex and education level.


Optimally, Americans would wait until they turn 70 before starting to receive Social Security payments, as it would lead to the biggest monthly check. Yet, most don’t for various reasons including a need for additional income, not wanting to work till this advanced age, and failure to plan properly. 


One potential solution is a deferred income annuity which would allow prospective retirees to bridge the gap and create extra income in their 60s. This would increase the chances that they would be able to not claim benefits till age 70 and maximize income from Social Security. 


These findings are especially relevant following the passage of the SECURE 2.0 Act in December 2022 which was created so employers would offer some sort of lifetime income payment option in 401(k) plans. The paper adds that options should also include a variable deferred income annuity with equity exposure in addition to fixed annuities. 

Finsum: Ideally, retirees would be able to put off receiving Social Security payments until they are 70. One way to increase the odds of this are to include annuities in retirement plans to create income during interim years. 


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