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Friday, 21 October 2022 05:17

The whirlwinds of volatility

More interest rate hikes looming? Put it this way: look out below.


Or at least it’s exceedingly likely, according to That’s because, even though year over year inflation receded slightly in August to 8.3%, from July’s 8.5%, it continues to hover well above the Fed target: 2%. Hence the likelihood of additional upticks.


Now, naturally, to pile on, with unemployment still low at August’s 3.7% mark, up from 3.5% in July, some clients of financial advisors are fretting over their jobs taking a hike.

Home affordability? No exception – especially in light of escalating mortgage rates and prices that are a little rich for the wallet, tamping down the potential pool of buyers.

Despite the whirlwind whipped up my volatility, with penny stocks, there’s still money to be made, according to


A catch, however: in the eye of a mercurial stock market, knowing how to invest isn’t easy. A few tips:


Do your research – especially in the land of penny stocks. Dig down and, prior to investing, learn all you can about the company. 


Have a plan. In the clutches of volatility, have a plan and don’t deviate from it  


Diversify your portfolio. Putting all your eggs and one basket. Nada. Don’t


Wednesday, 19 October 2022 17:10

FINRA Says No One Size Fits All for Reg BI

The resounding takeaway from a recent FINRA conference call is that the regulatory body is taking a “no one-size-fits-all” approach to Reg BI compliance. FINRA explained that it is moving away from good faith efforts reviews and into “deeper dives” on how firms comply with Form CRS and the Reg. BI Care, Compliance, Disclosure, and Conflicts of Interest obligations. The conference call focused on FINRA’s expectations during exams and the types of violations that its exam teams will refer to their enforcement colleagues. FINRA mentioned several common violations that it will refer to its Department of Enforcement, including the failure to recognize the applicability of Reg BI and Form CRS deficiencies related to incorrectly answering the disciplinary history question. It also indicated that firms that were previously cited for Reg BI CRS deficiencies, and made no efforts to correct findings, are more likely to be referred to Enforcement. The overall message for firms is that they should document the steps they have taken to further Reg. BI and Form CRS compliance. This could be the difference between an exam deficiency or an enforcement action.

Finsum: In a recent conference call, FINRA’s explained that there is no one size fits all approach to Reg BI compliance and firms shoulddocument the steps they have taken to make sure they’re compliant.

Wednesday, 19 October 2022 17:08

eToro Launches ESG Portfolio

eToro, an Israeli social investor network, recently announced the launch of ESG-Leaders, a portfolio that offers retail investors long-term exposure to companies leading the way in ESG best practices. The portfolio is created by identifying companies with some of the highest ESG scores in their sectors. The portfolio will also take into consideration factors such as market capitalization, liquidity, and sell-side analyst ratings. The 11 sectors covered include consumer discretionary, consumer staples, energy, financials, healthcare, industrials, information technology, materials, real estate, telecommunication services, and utilities. Some names currently in the portfolio are Colgate-Palmolive, NVIDIA, Costco, and Union Pacific. The initial investment for the portfolio starts at $500. The portfolio launch follows the introduction of ESG scores for over 2,700 stocks on eToro's platform. ESG scores, which are powered by ESG Book, combine up-to-date market news, NGO signals, and company-reported information that enable users to consider ESG factors when creating portfolios. Investors can keep track of stock developments on eToro’s social feed.

Finsum: Following the launch of ESG scores on the eToro platform, investors can now access an ESG -Leader’s portfolio of stocks with the highest scores.

State Street Global Advisors is teaming up with Barclays’ research business to build and manage active products in systematic fixed income. While systematic equity strategies have been around for a while, the strategy is somewhat new to fixed income due to a lack of data. While most stock trades are easy to track, fixed-income trades are typically over-the-counter, with electronic platforms only handling a part of the business. This makes accessing and harvesting data in fixed-income markets more complex. However, that’s changing. Efficiency in the bond markets is increasing the viability of implementing systematic debt strategies. With fixed income, managers attempt to generate alpha through data analysis that uncovers asset mispricing, according to SSGA. This comes as the demand for systematic fixed income is increasing. According to a State Street survey of 700 investors, 91 percent of institutions are interested in using systematic fixed-income strategies over the next 12 months. The survey also showed that investors managing more than $10 billion were most interested in implementing these strategies using investment-grade and high-yield corporate securities.

Finsum: As demand for systematic fixed-income strategies heats up, State Street Global Advisors and Barclays are teaming up to build and manage active systematic fixed income strategies. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2022 04:23

Young Investors Flocking to Alternatives

According to a Bank of America Private Bank study, younger, wealthy investors are turning to alternative investments. Bank of America polled 1,052 high-net-worth investors with at least $3 million in investable assets from May to June 2022. The study revealed that 75% of high-net-worth investors between the ages of 21 and 42 don’t expect above-average returns from traditional stocks and bonds, with 80% of these young investors flocking to alternative investments. In fact, younger investors are allocating three times more to alternative assets and half as much to stocks than other generations. Alternative investments can include hedge funds, private equity, real estate, commodities, and structured products. The move to alternatives has most likely been triggered by concerns over losses in the stock and bond markets. There has also been an increase in advisors turning to alternative investments, according to a survey from Cerulli Associates. Based on that study, the top reasons for increased alternative allocations include reducing exposure to public markets, volatility dampening, and downside risk protection.

Finsum: Both young, wealthy investors and advisors are turning to alternative investments due to stock and bond losses and the need for downside protection. 

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