One Size Does Not Fit All

A recent article released by the Associated Press has led to some interesting discussions among Sigma colleagues and clients. The article, which can be referenced here, was a Q&A done with David Stockman, a former Michigan congressman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, and successful private equity investor discussing his … Continued

Do You Really Need an Investment Advisor?

That is a decision that each individual needs to consider and it is not the purpose of this blog to make that decision for you. Perhaps an analogy might be helpful. Modern commercial aviation has been described as seemingly endless periods of utter boredom, punctuated by moments of total panic. It is easy to believe … Continued

Inflation and Peanut Butter

We at Sigma believe that understanding inflation is an important element in effectively managing our client portfolios. In the that regard, we note that according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report, consumer prices in January increased 2.9% over the past 12 months. At approximately the same time, J. M. Smucker Co. announced that … Continued

Why the Focus on Government Policy in My Blogs?

Many (most) of my blogs during the past few years have centered on government policy. For each, my colleague Marisa Lenhard, CFA, CFP® (who is incredibly bright and well informed) will ask me, “How does that relate to our clients’ investments?” While it seems intuitively obvious to me, just the fact that she asks the … Continued

A Reasonable Price to Pay?

2008 Democratic primary debate in Philadelphia, April 16, 2008: on Tax Reform Barack Obama: Raise capital gains tax for fairness, not for revenue Q: You favor an increase in the capital gains tax, saying, “I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28%.” It’s now 15%. That’s almost a doubling … Continued

Thinking Out Loud

Below is a recent internal email conversation that took place amongst a few of our investment professionals. This thread may prove interesting to those who are also pondering possible ‘fixes’ for the Eurozone’s current money woes. If you have any further thoughts or comments, please feel free to share! From: Robert Bilkie, Jr. Thinking out … Continued

How Safe Is Your Cash?

At the onset of the Great Depression, a loss of confidence among bank depositors would often lead to bank runs. Because banks only held a fraction of their overall deposits in reserves (with the majority having been lent out), even the slightest rumor of a bank’s potential insolvency became a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a result, … Continued

”You’ve Got To Find What You Love”

By now, you have most likely heard the news that Apple chairman and co-founder Steve Jobs died Wednesday at the age of 56. In August of this year, Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple giving the title to longtime collaborator Tim Cook. Jobs’ battle over the past seven years with pancreatic cancer has been … Continued

Outrage Over Senator Durbin’s Comments

Earlier this week, Senator Dick Durbin called out Bank of America, infuriated by the bank’s decision to impose a $5 monthly charge to use their debit card. Specifically, while standing on the Senate floor, Senator Durbin was quoted as saying “Bank of America customers, vote with your feet, get the heck out of that bank. … Continued

Long-Term Investors: Hold On

Markets continue to roil, further depressing equity and portfolio values. Once again, the determination of long term investors is being tested. In our view, the disconnect between the current economic environment and market perceptions continues to widen. The distress in Greece is creating issues that appear to be self-fulfilling prophecies for many financial institutions in … Continued

How It Really Is

President Obama has suggested it is time to raise income taxes for “millionaires and billionaires” but beyond the rhetoric, this applies to anyone earning over $200,000. The two “Warrens” (Buffet and Elizabeth) have also recently weighed in on the merit of an income tax increase and with this avalanche of support, it reminded me of … Continued

What Am I Missing?

Following the conclusion of the GM/UAW contract negotiations, it was revealed that one component of the contract was that each worker would get a “signing bonus” of $5,000 each if the contract was approved by the rank and file. Does it strike anyone else as a bit disturbing that the company would be passing out … Continued