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For investors with unhurried time horizons, patience holds untapped potential. Unburdened by short-term needs, they can explore long-term investments and cultivate portfolio diversification beyond conventional assets. Traditionally, accessing alternative strategies like private equity or direct ownership meant navigating high minimums and limited accessibility.


Enter interval funds, a unique bridge between open-ended and closed-end structures. Unlike exchange-traded closed-end funds, interval funds offer periodic redemption windows, providing measured liquidity while pursuing less-liquid assets. This opens doors to previously exclusive (and sometimes higher risk) strategies, such as real estate investments, infrastructure assets, and private credit.


By incorporating these diverse allocations, their advisors can enhance portfolio resilience and reduce correlation to traditional assets, bolstering overall risk management. Additionally, interval funds often carry lower minimums compared to direct alternatives, democratizing access for a broader investor base.


Naturally, interval funds come with unique considerations. Redemptions occur only during predefined windows, necessitating careful planning. Shares may trade above or below net asset value, impacting entry and exit points. Also, advisors and investors should carefully consider any fund’s management fee, complexity, and performance-tracking aspects during their vetting process.


Ultimately, interval funds offer a valuable tool for advisors to unlock diversification for clients with long-term investing horizons.

Finsum: Find out how financial advisors can take advantage of their clients’ longer time horizons by using interval funds to provide greater diversification. 


Expertly managing investments is crucial, but what truly sets exceptional financial advisors apart is fostering peace of mind. While algorithms excel at navigating markets, understanding the human dimension – your clients' hopes, fears, and aspirations – requires a different kind of expertise.


Peace of mind doesn't solely stem from stellar returns; it comes from knowing you have a confidante who understands your unique circumstances and offers sound, impartial advice.


How do you find the time to cultivate this connection when portfolio management is a full-time job? One option is to consider model portfolios: professionally managed options offering efficient diversification, transparency, and robust reporting. By outsourcing this task, you free up valuable time to focus on what truly matters – your clients.


Instead of being bogged down by portfolio construction, dedicate yourself to empathy, understanding, and building personalized solutions. Ask probing questions, acknowledge their emotions, and tailor your recommendations to their unique needs and values.


Remember, clients seek a partner who navigates the emotional terrain of financial planning with compassion, expert guidance, and a genuine interest in their well-being. By strategically prioritizing connection and leveraging technology, you can become an indispensable source of peace of mind, the most valuable asset any advisor can offer.

Finsum: Learn how model portfolios can enable advisors to reach the ultimate goal of helping their clients achieve peace of mind.


Wednesday, 14 February 2024 02:58

Beyond Oil: Expanding the Energy Investment Lens

Traditional benchmarks like the S&P 500 might not be capturing the full picture when it comes to energy as an investment sector. A recent article pointed out that, while its representation in the S&P500 has shrunk from 15% in the 1970s to barely 4% today, energy's contribution to index earnings remains significant, estimated at 10%. This raises a crucial question for financial advisors: are passive index funds providing sufficient exposure to this dynamic and evolving sector?


While global energy needs are undoubtedly set to rise, the energy landscape has vastly transformed since the oil-centric days of the past. Today's opportunities extend beyond traditional producers, encompassing a diverse spectrum of service providers, storage solutions, refiners, and transportation players.


Furthermore, the energy mix itself is undergoing a paradigm shift. The integration of sustainable alternatives alongside established methods creates a landscape rife with investment potential.


For advisors seeking to capitalize on this opportunity, a deep understanding of available energy fund options is paramount. By moving beyond traditional benchmarks and embracing the sector's multifaceted nature, advisors can unlock a wider range of potential returns for their clients while navigating the exciting transformation of the energy world.

Finsum: Do passive indexes fully capture the investment opportunity today’s energy sector presents?


Monday, 12 February 2024 05:26

Silver Linings for Homebuyers in 2024

The last few years have been brutal for first-time homebuyers. Prices have been trending higher for the last decade and accelerated in the post-pandemic period. The last couple of years have also seen affordability take a huge hit due to interest rates making mortgages more expensive, a consequence of the Fed’s battle against inflation.


Further despite many headwinds, home prices have remained flat rather than go down and provide relief to buyers. This was, in part, due to low supply as many homeowners elected to hold onto their homes and low monthly payments rather than move. However, there are some signs of positive developments.


The major one is the Fed pivoting and starting to cut rates which is expected sometime in May or June. One caveat is that declines in the mortgage rate in the summer and winter of last year led to sizable jumps in mortgage applications, indicating a healthy amount of pent-up demand if conditions ease. This means that any relief could be short-lived as prices could resume rising if activity picks up. In the interim, one group of winners could be cash buyers given that there could be some forced sellers who are unable or unwilling to refinance at higher rates. 

Finsum: The sharp rise in home prices in the post-pandemic period and spike in interest rates has been brutal for prospective home buyers who have seen affordability crumble. Here’s why 2024 could present more favorable conditions. 


Entering the year, there was considerable optimism that the Fed could begin cutting rates as soon as March. However, the February FOMC meeting, recent inflation data, and the January jobs report have made it clear that the status quo of a data-dependent Fed, prevails. It’s clear that the Fed’s next move is to cut, but timing is the mystery.


This state of affairs means that the window for bond investors, seeking value, remains open. While recent developments have been bearish for bonds, investors have a chance to take advantage of higher yields if they are willing to live through near-term volatility. This is especially if they believe the Fed will cut rates later this year which will lift the whole asset class higher. 


According to Bloomberg, “The US economy is testing bond traders’ faith that the Federal Reserve will deliver a series of interest-rate cuts this year.” Investors can buy the dip with a broad bond fund like the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund ETF, or they can search for more yield by taking on more credit risk with the Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond Index Fund ETF. Both have low expense ratios at 0.04% and 0.03%, respectively, and have dividend yields of 3.2%.  

Finsum: Bonds are experiencing a bout of weakness due to uncertainty about the timing and extent of the Fed’s rate cuts. Here’s why investors should consider buying the dip. 


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