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Thursday, 18 April 2024 14:33

Direct Indexing to Cure Tax Day Woes

For investors, Tax Day often brings financial woes as they grapple with income from their portfolios. Over two decades, U.S. equity mutual funds have consistently yielded 7% of Net Asset Value in capital gains, irrespective of market performance. 


Direct Indexing emerges as a viable option, empowering investors to offset losses against gains within their portfolios or other income streams. Traditional portfolio management typically disregards tax implications, leading to hefty tax bills for investors, notably during market downturns like 2008.


Direct indexing offers a remedy, enabling investors to tailor their portfolios and strategically sell underperforming assets to counterbalance gains elsewhere. This method reduces turnover since the aim is to mirror an index with minimal trading. Even in bullish markets, avenues for loss mitigation exist, rendering direct indexing an attractive tax management strategy. By mirroring selected indexes, investors can curtail capital gains and potentially offset other income with net tax losses. 

Finsum: Alpha and tax efficiency should be thought of in a similar lens and shouldn’t be discounted by advisors. 

Amidst higher interest rates, achieving alpha and managing risk in corporate credit necessitates a nuanced approach. Josh Lohmeier of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income unveils a dynamic portfolio construction method adaptable to diverse investor profiles and market conditions. 


In the current interest rate landscape, sophisticated techniques are essential for capturing alpha with improved downside protection. Alongside meticulous bottom-up security selection, a systematic quantitative portfolio construction process can potentially yield consistent excess returns uncorrelated with peer benchmarks. 


By segmenting the opportunity set based on volatility and strategically positioning along the yield curve, investors can optimize risk allocation and enhance portfolio returns. This adaptable portfolio construction framework offers a repeatable process with consistently positive outcomes, emphasizing the importance of diversification across managers and fixed income portfolios.

Finsum: Quantitative approaches can deliver a more resilient portfolio in times of increased volatility.

Thursday, 18 April 2024 14:32

Three Reasons to Switch Broker Dealers

Opting to switch broker dealers is typically a last-resort decision, stirring discomfort among advisors. The mere contemplation of change signifies a threshold of considerable discomfort. There are various catalysts for this discomfort, with the top three reasons for advisors to consider such a move descending as follows:


  1. Advisors increasingly require practice management and marketing aid from broker/dealers as they expand their practices and seek to optimize efficiency.
  2. Advisors prioritize broker/dealers offering innovative technology solutions such as electronic signatures and paperless office systems.
  3. Advisors explore broker/dealers offering higher payouts, lower expenses, and more favorable administrative fees to maximize profitability.

Despite the challenges, the landscape of over 500 Independent Broker/Dealers presents ample opportunities for advisors seeking change, with the potential for greener pastures elsewhere.

Finsum: Tech advancements are offering new advisors a plethora of reasons to consider a transition because they can improve both efficiency and client relationships. 

Thursday, 18 April 2024 14:29

Bond SMA Explosion

There has been widespread adoption of separately managed accounts starting in the mid  2000s. The rationale for managing fixed income assets in this manner remains pertinent today: transparency, flexibility, transaction cost management, and active management are paramount in fixed-income investing. 

SMAs offer tailored portfolio management to meet clients’ fixed-income objectives, including tax management, income production, and specific investment restrictions, setting them apart from pooled vehicles like mutual funds and ETFs. The growth in SMAs for fixed income has been remarkable, with assets in SMA municipal fixed-income investments expanding from $100 billion in 2008 to $718 billion by Q2 2023, according to Citi Research. 

The advantages of SMAs, such as enhanced customization and efficiency, have fueled their increasing adoption by investors seeking precise control and personalized solutions in managing their fixed-income portfolios.

Finsum: Tailored financial products deliver a more personalized client experience and SMAs provide an avenue to improved relationships.


Thursday, 18 April 2024 14:28

Buffered ETFs Upside and Downsides

Buffered ETFs are seeing explosive growth. The category had less than $200 million in assets and now has $36.7 billion. The major appeal is that they allow investors to remain fully invested while offering downside protection. 

However, they do tend to have higher costs and may not be appropriate for many investors. Buffered ETFs follow a benchmark while also using stock options to limit downside risk and capping gains on the upside. 

These products are modeled after structured notes, which have proven to be popular among high net worth and institutional investors. Like structured notes, buffered ETFs follow some sort of lifecycle, which means that advisors and investors have to consider market conditions when making a decision. This means they are not appropriate for rebalancing or dollar cost averaging strategies. An important consideration is the start date of the buffer ETF and the performance of the underlying index since the start date, as this could affect the value and desirability of the buffer.

According to Jeff Schwartz, president at the investment analytics firm Markov Processes International, “There is a lot to understand with buffer ETFs, and the history of structured products shows that both advisors and investors often do not fully understand the nuance of these vehicles." 

Finsum: Buffered ETFs are experiencing a surge in growth. The upside is that they allow investors to remain fully invested while capping the downside. However, there are also some downsides to consider.   

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