In the face of record inflation, the Virtus Real Assets Income ETF (VRAI) has done extraordinarily well, up 19% year-to-date, and significantly beating the S&P 500, which is up 14%. On top of this, the ETF generates compelling income of 3%, well above the 10 Year US Treasuries at 1.5%.
Investing in real assets is a winning strategy in an inflationary environment because tangible assets such as real estate, natural resources and infrastructure have intrinsic value. VRAI is the first ETF focused on real assets. Additionally, because of VRAI’s focus on income-generating real assets, VRAI also generates attractive income.
In terms of ETF construction, VRAI is designed to be one-stop solution for real asset exposure. VRAI consists of 90 US-traded companies, equally divided between real assets, natural resources, and infrastructure. Companies are filtered based upon market capitalization and selected based upon dividend yield. All stocks are equally weighted to ensure portfolio diversification.
Finally, in terms of costs, VRAI is very competitively priced at 55 bps (0.55%). This stands stark contrast to most energy and real estate ETFs and mutual funds, which typically cost over 100 bps (or 1%).
For more information on the investment case, check out this research piece produced by Virtus
n.b. This is sponsored content and not FINSUM editorial
Drop in the, um, bucket list? The performance of a number of model portfolios that leverage the bucket strategy recently was put under a microscope by Christine Benz, Morningstar’s director of personal finance, according to smartasset.com. While the year’s been unkind to the portfolios given their bottom line’s have taken a hit, nevertheless, they’ve outperformed the traditional 60/40 portfolio. That, of course, is an asset allocation retirees commonly use. Further, they’ve outpaced the S&P 500. Through the first six months of 2022, it was down – and by a considerable margin.
The strategy’s a way to spread your assets across different groups of investments that will be tapped at various points.
“[T]he Bucket system has delivered by keeping the faucets open,” Benz wrote. “Retirees using a Bucket system can draw upon their cash reserves without having to disrupt their long-term investments, which have likely experienced price declines so far this year.”
So, is the bucket list holding up in light of the difficulties of the year’s market performance? That would be a resound yes, as it does what it was designed to, according to Morningstar.com.
"True, all of my Model Bucket Portfolios have lost money this year -- and my guess is that most retiree bucketers are seeing red ink for the whole of their portfolios, too,” said Benz. (As of late June, a 60% U.S. equity/40% bond portfolio would be down about 16% for the year to date.)
But the Bucket system has delivered by keeping the faucets open: Retirees using a Bucket system can draw upon their cash reserves without having to disrupt their long-term investments, which have likely experienced price declines so far this year.”
Sure tech investors have had their share of ups and downs, but they have been largely insulated from the market’s bigger losses but things could change. The underlying trends in the technology sector are looking as bad as they have in a long time. There is severe weakness in consumer-oriented hardware products. Moreover, as supply chains relax these prices could fall further. Additionally, sub-sectors such as enterprise tech spending are starting to deteriorate. The weakening demand is beginning to show at the company level as earnings season shows signs of weakness in technology. While there have been outliers such as Cisco, the market might not be ready for widespread tech deterioration.
Finsum: The other huge problem is rising interest rates and rampant inflation which lower the value of future earnings and make growth stocks less attractive.
Congress continues to look for ways to fund the $1.85 trillion bill that aims to spend on social and climate policy. While they have already considered objectives that would align the U.S. with the G20’s global minimum tax rate, the current bill will also affect wealthier individuals’ retirement vehicles. Congress will put limits on large accounts for individuals or couples with $10 million dollar retirement balances. The newest Build Back Better bill also eliminates the ‘backdoor’ Roth IRA by minimizing rollovers and conversions. The date for the former rule change isn’t until Dec. 31, 2028 but the backdoor loophole is set to close Dec. 31st of this year in the current bill.
FINSUM: Substantial changes to savings and retirement could be coming in the upcoming legislation, and investors should be aware of how these changes could affect their retirement vehicles.
The European Stockxx 600 was up .5% on Friday driven by earning releases in the banking sector. That trend followed around the globe as Asia-Pacific’s Taiex index boosted 2% and Wallstreet’s S&P was up 2%. It was strong financial earnings in U.S., and semiconductors in the East pushing the Taiex. All of this happens as inflations concerns continue in the U.S. as consumer prices rose 5.4% on the year, but the Euro areas are seeing the opposite results as monthly inflation was negative in France. The common price thread is definitely in energy prices as Brent crude hit $84.40 a barrel.
FINSUM: The trickling earning reports have generally exceeded expectations. That trend looks to continue, and global portfolios are not only diverse but are outperforming.
The U.S. had two consecutive quarters of negative growth meeting the technical requirements of a recession, and for the first time in over 40 years that coincided with very high inflation. Tasked with generating high returns in a stagflation environment investors are turning to an odd place, emerging markets. While some EM has suffered as a result of a stronger dollar and Fed tightening, pockets are promising to bring big returns in higher growth environments abroad. Countries relying on exports will have a difficult time, but countries like India, Malaysia, and Indonesia all have fairly robust domestic consumer demand and are quick-growing economies. The last country is an oddball but China has continued to deliver stimulus throughout the pandemic and may put itself in a good position to capture investor attention.
Finsum: Equities abroad are ultra-low, finding the right countries with domestic consumer support could be very profitable.
PIMCO saw the second quarter sell-off in bond funds as investors pulled nearly $30 billion in the last three months. The biggest cause for the sell-off is the rising rate hikes and inflation which may be causing yields to rise and bond prices to fall. Still, analysts say that if interest hikes begin to stabilize then the bond outflows will seize and even reverse into inflows.
This is the largest sell-off since the start of the pandemic, and investors are concerned a recession is around the corner. PIMCOs shining light are the few funds that it has that are doing okay despite macro headwinds and could prove to be a driving force for inflows when markets stabilize.
Finsum: Bond prices are just too low right now and yields will fall with inflation easing and the fed tightening, but its a matter of it happening soon enough.
Not a fan of leaping off a tall building in a single, crisp bound? Without a parachute? Odd but, well, okay.
Nevertheless, if that’s your mentality, you might tip your glass to active fixed income management. Afterall, one of the primary things it delivers is mitigating risk, according to npifund.ngontinh24.com.
For example, it yields investments beyond the fixed income benchmark index and facilitates the ability of managers to either push or tamp down risk. A passive strategy? Um, nada.
And active fixed income managers who have their antenna up can abandon possible issues before the wreak havoc on client portfolios, the site continued.
And that’s not all, no siree. They also rachet down interest rate sensitivity and keep their hands firmly on the wheel when it comes keeping the length of risk under their thumb, according to catalyst-insights.com. What’s more, they’re adept at uncovering yield against a low yield backdrop and get the most out of the trade off between duration exposure and yield capture.
And you might say they’re rather nimble, with an ability to seize on opportunities stemming from dynamic economic and policy shifts. A prime example, if you’re really keen on being reminded: the recent steepening of the bears. Gee, thanks, ladies and gentlemen, right?
Intrigued by fresh companies with ideas that jump off the page? Small cap ETFs might be in your wheelhouse
According to a recent Charles Schwab RIA Benchmarking Study, talent is the top strategic priority for RIAs. This matches a Talent Management Study from San Francisco-based RIA consultancy DeVoe & Co., which showed recruiting is the biggest concern RIAs face today concerning talent. A recent Barron’s article highlighted the challenges RIA face when recruiting advisors. Firms are facing headwinds such as a rapidly aging workforce, a lack of young advisors to take over, loss of talent from the Great Resignation, and competition from mega financial firms. Barron’s highlighted the fact that over one-third of advisors are likely to retire within the next 10 years according to a study by Cerulli Associates. In addition, according to a survey by Ameriprise Financial, advisory firms currently have an average of three open positions at their firms. Some RIAs are turning to college students to fill the talent gap as the competition for experienced advisors is immense, while others are recruiting from banks and offering perks such as firm equity, high cash compensation, and generous payouts.
Finsum:Due to an aging workforce and strong competition, recruiting is a top priority for many RIA firms.
Gold had one of its biggest runs last August, but gold stocks and ETFs have been the real…see the full story on our partner Magnifi’s site
The U.S. has an extended history of periods of financial regulation, specifically trust-busting. That period has been in hibernation though for the last 50 years, that is, until now. Many judges in the United States may be getting a slue of cases related to similar topics with mergers and competition as Private Equity has extended its ownership to unprecedented levels. There is more alignment than ever within the administration on the future of competition and private equity when it comes to policy. They are pursuing new readings and interpretations of longer-standing precedents that will be more stringent on PE. This new strain of regulation has long-standing Democratic Economists like Larry Summers voicing concern, calling the new policies ‘populist antitrust’.
Finsum: There have been a large number of papers on the effect of co-ownership and competition that private equity companies are imposing, and that could be reaching its peak.