Active can’t keep up with the index

After reading this mornings Wall St. Journal and seeing how passive investing/indexing bests more than 90% of the Active managers out there OVER 15 years, it’s no surprise my email box if full of emails from the Active’s suggesting “tailwinds approach” their strategies.


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New Market Highs and Positive Expected Returns


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Presidential Elections and the Stock Market

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What is Fiduciary Advice

What Is Fiduciary Advice?

May 2016

Anyone searching for investment advice is undoubtedly confronted with many choices of service providers operating under titles such as certified financial planner, financial consultant, registered investment advisor, stockbroker, and insurance agent.

These titles can be confusing because on the surface it is not clear whether these professionals are legally required to have a client’s best interest in mind when making investment recommendations.

Many investors may have read that the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a substantial overhaul in the regulation of financial advice given on retirement savings. Central to this discussion are two terms: fiduciary and suitability. What does it mean for an advisor to operate on a fiduciary standard, and how does this differ from a suitability standard?


The DOL has described a “fiduciary” as someone who is required to put their clients’ best interest before their own profits. Fiduciaries include registered investment advisors, advisors to mutual funds (like Dimensional), and others who hold themselves out to be fiduciaries (like trustees and certain retirement plan consultants).

Fiduciaries are required to act impartially and provide advice that is in their clients’ best interest, and in doing so, must act with the care, skill, prudence, and diligence that a prudent person would exercise based on the current circumstances. A fiduciary must avoid misleading statements about fees and must avoid conflicts of interest.

Fiduciaries are typically compensated by payment of a fee rather than a commission. Fiduciaries to retirement plans, plan participants, and IRAs are also prohibited from receiving payments that create conflicts of interest unless they comply with the terms of certain exemptions issued by the DOL.

Probably most importantly, clients can expect that a fiduciary will act with transparency and avoid prohibited conflicts of interest. For example, given two comparable investment choices for a client, a fiduciary should typically recommend an option with lower management fees.

Fiduciaries are personally liable for breaches of their fiduciary duties. For example, if there is a loss caused by a breach of fiduciary duty, the fiduciary must make the plan or IRA whole by restoring any losses caused by the breach and restoring to the plan or IRA any profits made through the use of plan or IRA assets. Civil actions to obtain appropriate relief for a breach of fiduciary duty may be brought by a participant, beneficiary, fiduciary, or the US Secretary of Labor, and the fiduciary may be subject to excise tax penalties.


Historically, representatives of a broker-dealer are required under the securities laws to judge the suitability of a product for a prospective investor, based primarily on that person’s financial goals, income, and age. Unless agreed otherwise, under this standard the rules do not legally require a recommendation of the most cost-effective product, a disclosure regarding conflicts associated with the investment, or disclosure of the compensation received when making that recommendation. Under the new DOL rule, it may mean that common forms of broker compensation, such as commissions and revenue sharing, will be restricted.


As many financial advisors are dual registered as both brokers and investment advisors, it can be difficult to determine under which standard investment advice is given. A primary goal of the recent regulatory changes was to create a single standard for retirement financial advice based on a fiduciary model. Many clients already receive fiduciary advice, and for those clients the change in rules will not have much impact. Following the new DOL rule, it may be the case that professional financial advice for retirement assets (whatever the source) is subject to a level fiduciary standard.1 However, as with any investment advice, clients should conduct their own research, ask questions, and learn more about the reputation and philosophy of an advisor.2


  1. Note that in certain circumstances, information provided by advisors or brokers may not be treated as fiduciary advice. Some examples of these exceptions from the new DOL rule are providing general investment education, simple “order-taking” (executing an order to buy or sell without providing a recommendation), or certain “robo-advice.”
  2. For informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing tax or legal advice. You should contact your tax advisor or attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.



Source: Dimensional Fund Advisors LP.

All expressions of opinion are subject to change. This information is intended for educational purposes, and it is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, recommendation, or endorsement of any particular security, products, or services.

This information should not be misconstrued or otherwise interpreted as legal advice. Please consult with qualified legal or tax professionals regarding your individual circumstances.




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Market Review – 1st Quarter 2016

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2015 Review: Economy & Markets

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Market Review – 4th Quarter 2015

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Now More than Ever

Markets have been nothing short of disappointing and tough to negotiate for over a year now.  As we have gone through 2015, we have diligently rebalanced portfolios when appropriate and are producing returns consistent with what the market is allowing across our strategies.  Discipline is always easy when it’s not necessary.  One of the most important roles an advisor plays is executing on the game plan.  Deviating on that plan always leaves the team, business, or investor in much worse shape than they were at the beginning.  Know that we are watching what is happening and making sure in every way possible that you will be okay while executing on the plan we put in place for YOU.

While it may feel more compelling than ever to do something different, this is THE time to hold true and stick to your plan.  Not only does history tell us this is true, but for you sports fans out there I’d challenge you to give me a good example of the last time a “prevent defense” has worked well in a football game.

We are looking forward to sitting down with you in the coming weeks to go over YOUR PLAN and make sure that we are well positioned to achieve all that is important to you.

For those reading this that we do not work with, now more than ever is it critical to know what your game plan is so you can execute it with precision.  We’d love to offer our complimentary 2nd opinion service to you, or any other person in your life that you care about.

Let’s make 2016 all it can be!

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Market Review – 3rd Quarter 2015


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Market Review -2nd Quarter 2015

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