ESG and ERISA

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We recently posted a blog titled “What is ESG” that attempts to explain the ideas behind socially responsible investing.  ERISA (Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974) protects American’s retirement assets by implementing rules that qualified plans must follow to ensure that plan fiduciaries do not misuse plan assets. Many investors, understandably, want to do good … Continued

Smart Investing

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There is smart investing and not so smart investing. Smart investors work with a trusted advisor(s) to develop a long term strategy that reflects their resources, risk profile, and other factors that are relevant to their specific circumstances.  Smart investors avoid impulse transactions, understand their portfolios and remember that investing, as contrasted with speculating, is … Continued

Take the Current Rally with a Grain of Salt

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As I pen this article, major US stock indices are hitting all-time highs.  As a result, many investors are peering at their statements or live-streaming devices and are giddy that their net worth continues to climb. When times are good, it is human nature to remember these high water marks and use these elevated market … Continued

Transparent Investment Management

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Transparency is a term that dominates in the business world. A good business leader, at the helm of their organization, promotes transparency with the hope that their organization will thrive as a result.  Transparency also is a term in vogue in the investment management industry. Investment advisory clients can easily become accepting of investment decisions … Continued

Backseat Driving Your Portfolio

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With many of the world’s stock indices hitting all-time record highs, it comes with no surprise that many investors are wondering if now may be the time to lock in profits, sit on cash and attempt buying into the next market downturn. This is defined as market timing. Sigma’s belief is that it is very … Continued

Reversion to the Mean

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Mean reversion is the theory suggesting that prices and returns eventually move back to the mean or average.  This mean or average can be the historical average, or another relevant average, such as growth in the economy. Applying this theory to the major stock market indices, such as the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial … Continued

Hindsight

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Periodically, someone points out that an investment of a small amount, say $10,000, in a major successful company such as Amazon, Microsoft, Berkshire Hathaway, etc., twenty or thirty years ago, would have provided an exceptional investment return.  Isn’t hindsight wonderful? The real question is how should you invest $10,000 now? Realistically, correctly identifying the next … Continued

Portfolio Liquidity and ETFs

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In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Martin Zweig posited that ETFs, often dirt-cheap to own, can still be costly to buy and sell.  Mr. Zweig cites a study by Antti Petajisto, a portfolio manager at LMR Partners, a London based hedge fund, who looked at about 1,800 ETFs from 2007 to 2014 and concluded … Continued

The Hedge Fund Exodus Continues

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Over the past few years, clients have asked on occasion about the merit of including hedge fund investments in portfolios.  At its extreme, I sat in the living room of a very wealthy client in North Carolina in 2007 and was politely dressed-down by a money center bank product salesman for not being bright enough … Continued

Treat Those How You Want To Be Treated

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Last May my colleague Marisa Bradbury wrote a great piece titled, “Putting Investors First,” in which she articulated the title as the principle of the fiduciary standard.  Please read it if you have not had a chance and you are interested in this hot topic, https://sigmainvestments.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/May-SigSumm-2015.pdf. In the investment advisory business, there are two standards … Continued

What Have You NOT Done For Me Lately?

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My colleagues and I frequently discuss the investment choices that we did NOT make for clients and, in hindsight, express relief in our decision. As is obvious to many experienced investors, Wall Street is a “product factory” and most are for the benefit of the provider versus the investor.  But, they typically come with very … Continued