Displaying items by tag: allocation
Model portfolios are getting ever more popular for advisors. Not only do they help outsource some portfolio management, but there is such a wide variety of them that they can be tailored to many different plans. In some cases, there are almost too many! One area where they make a lot of sense is in tax minimization strategies. Biden and the Democrats look like to hike taxes considerably, and that fact coupled with ultra-low yields and highly variant financial situations in muni bonds, means there is a lot to gain from models in this area.
FINSUM: COVID affected municipalities in very different ways, and spreads to Treasuries are historically low, so there is a of risk. Nuveen is seen as a leader in the munis space, so a good place to start the search.
Model portfolios provided by third parties have become increasingly popular for advisors, but separating the best from the rest is no easy feat. To help out advisors, Morningstar now has rankings and guides (see them here). Here are five of the top picks from Morningstar: BlackRock Target Allocation ETF, Vanguard CORE, American Funds Growth & Income, American Funds Tax Aware Growth & Income, BlackRock Multi-Asset Income. Other interesting options include the State Street Strategic Asset Allocation and T.Rowe Price Active.
FINSUM: The world of model portfolios has been proliferating enough that scoring and guidance is very useful (just think how hard ETF selection would be without screeners!).
This is one of the most uncertain times in recent history, and not just because of political divisiveness and the pandemic, but because many of the new administration’s policies are likely to be very different than the Trump administration’s. That extends to taxes, where there is a high degree of anxiety about forthcoming changes, most of which high earners expect to be punitive. Because there is a wide range of possible outcomes, advisors need to work hard to plan for what different scenarios might look like. Accordingly, now is the right time to beef up on tax planning staff, or at the least review your tax planning playbook and keep a close eye on the news.
FINSUM: In a year, when new tax policies are known, you want to be able to tell clients “don’t worry” we have been planning for this and you will be fine. The work to get there needs to start now.
Asset allocation as it has traditionally been conceived has taken a beating over the last few years, and especially since the start of the pandemic. The old 60/40 allocation model has been cast aside for years, and investors are using many new techniques to allocate, such as factoring. However, one easy-to-implement and effective way to think about allocation is the balance of active and passive investments one holds. Active investments, when well done, can offer long-term outperformance. However, they also have more significant risks. Accordingly, this can be the risk/upside portion of a portfolio, while passive strategies, which are almost by definition more diversified, can be more of a hedge.
FINSUM: This not only makes sense in equities, but this consideration about active vs passive holds across different asset classes as well.
The Wall Street Journal has published an interesting article giving advice to investors on how to assess, and when to dump, losing mutual funds. The article makes the point that investors should not automatically clear out their losing funds, just like they shouldn’t always buy winning ones. Funds have their own reasons for poor performance and those reasons can have a big impact on whether they should stay in a portfolio. Here are four questions to ask in assessing funds, “Does the fund have a good process in place?”, “Is the manager sticking to his or her own guns?”, “Is there a new manager, and do I trust him or her?”, “Is this negative performance coming in a segment of the market in which it is tough to beat index funds?”.
FINSUM: Good funds can have significant down periods, so it is important to have a methodology for deciding if and when to dump them.