Don’t Dither

It seems that dithering is going around. In my experience, investors can be particularly prone to dithering, especially during periods of dramatic headlines and above average market volatility. My suggestion: Stay the course! You or you and your advisor(s) should have previously developed well-thought-out, long-term portfolio objectives, specifically tailored to your long-term goals. Decisions in … Continued


Investors tend to think of risk in terms of their investment portfolios. However, for many Americans their largest investment is their home. Americans seem to have a penchant for building, and rebuilding, in obviously high risk locations: abutting wilderness areas, in established paths of hurricanes, tornados and other forms of severe weather, and recognized flood … Continued

Would Participation in a Hedge Fund Be Right For You?

With recently announced changes in how the SEC regulates certain aspects of the hedge fund industry, it might be appropriate to consider just how suitable this type investment might be for individual investors. The basic concept of hedged investing is relatively straight forward: buy long what you like and sell short what you don’t. This … Continued

Remain Cool-Headed

In the last 10 days, the major equity averages have lost, and then largely regained, 4% of their market value. Hence, a $1 million stock portfolio would have dropped to $960,000 and then recovered between June 21 and July 1. The frantic movements resulted largely from recent pronouncements by US Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben … Continued

Do You Know How Much You’re Paying for Investment Advice?

The U.K., the Netherlands and Australia have recently established new rules that will ban commissions on popular investments like mutual funds with a view to eliminating hidden charges. Competent, professional investment advice has value. After all, a difference of just 1% in annual returns amounts to approximately $180,000 over a ten-year period on an original … Continued

“Sell in May and Go Away”

This is only one of the hundreds of clever, and sometimes accurate, snippets of wisdom that populate the investment spectrum. Also, currently timely would be “June Swoon” and “Summer Rally”. In fairness, there is generally some historical basis for most of this type of “wisdom”. For example, on average, since 1950, substantially all of the … Continued

Has the Stock Market Gone Too Far, Too Fast?

I have received several calls and emails from friends and clients of late asking if, at a level of 15,000 on the Dow Jones Industrials, the stock market has gotten ahead of itself. Certainly, measured from the trough in March of 2009, equities generally, and the Dow specifically, have more than doubled in price. That’s … Continued

Chairman/CEO Debate

At JP Morgan Chase’s annual meeting tomorrow, shareholders will be given the opportunity to vote on whether the roles of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer should be held by the same individual. Quoting from an article published by American Banker on May 15, 2013, William Isaac states the following: “…much of the … Continued


The press is rife with references to the Dow Jones Industrials having recently reached a new high level of 15,000. What does it mean? Is the stock market ready to back off having more than doubled off of the March 2009 lows? Is this the early stages of a new bull market, as legendary investor … Continued

Annuity Refresher

Last week at a luncheon I attended everyone in the room was asked to introduce themselves and give a brief overview of what they do. One woman’s introduction stood out. She introduced herself and then said “I sell people lifetime income streams. I don’t deal in stocks, bonds, or mutual fund investing. I give people … Continued

Weighing In at the SEC

Sigma Investment Counselors President and CEO, Bob Bilkie, CFA, recently submitted the following in response to the US Securities and Exchange Commissions’ Request for Comment regarding Duties of Brokers, Dealers, and Investment Advisers for those providing investment advice (Release No. 34-69013; IA-3558; File No. 4-606). Thank you for providing a comment period pursuant to your … Continued