MFA Insights

May 2015: Beneficiary Designations: Out of Sight Out of Mind?

Posted by on May 30, 2015 in MFA Insights

Estate planning must rank right up there with gum surgery as the type of chore in life that we are most likely to want to put off. We have trouble even saying the word “death”, as inevitable as it is for us all. So regardless of when we “check out” or “kick the bucket”, we are likely to leave a mess if proper planning isn’t in place. Estate Plans (wills and trusts) are an important part of the process, as are having life insurance in place. Yet a topic that often gets less attention that it deserves is beneficiary designations...

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March 2015: Advisor or Salesperson?

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 in MFA Insights

Advisor or salesperson?  Clients may not know if their financial representative is subject to a weaker “suitability requirement” of the salesman or the stronger “fiduciary standard” of a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA).  Marin Financial Advisors is a RIA firm, regulated by the SEC and therefore subject to more transparency and laws that require us to put our clients’ interests ahead of our own. Brokerage firms and banks including such well known firms such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo Advisors and UBS do not act as advisory firms.  Instead they are subject to...

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December 2014: Is Diversification a Drag?

Posted by on Dec 11, 2014 in MFA Insights

Recent performance across asset classes has led some clients to wonder out loud if we should have less money allocated to bond and emerging market stock funds. This is an understandable reaction to a 5 year period when pegging all of your investment dollars to the US stock market has provided the best return.

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September 2014: Are Hedge Funds the Answer?

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014 in MFA Insights

“The implication is that people in the mutual fund world, if they were any good, would be running hedge funds. That’s complete nonsense.  Just because you’re greedy, it doesn’t make you smart.”  John Osterweiss, investment company founder, CEO and former long/short Hedge Fund Manger   No matter how much the economy, housing markets, banking industry and other objective measures of broad financial health continue to improve; it’s never hard to find a fresh source of financial angst.  The Financial Crisis of 2008-09 turned out to be an ideal breeding ground...

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August 2014: How Do Market Timers Perform?

Posted by on Aug 26, 2014 in MFA Insights

You may have heard us profess that we don’t try to time markets because we believe it is extremely rare to find someone who has successfully done it over the long run.  Well now there is more proof. Getting out of the market at the top is one thing, getting back in is another. Mark Hulbert has been tracking 160 financial newsletters since 1980 via his Hulbert Financial Digest.  Mr. Hulbert recently wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Still Trying to Time the Stock Market? Read This First”1.  In the article he cites the example of Richard Russell, the editor of the...

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June 2014: Are the Markets Rigged?

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in MFA Insights

Some of you may have read Michael Lewis’ newest book Flash Boys – we devoured it shortly after it was published in April.  Others may have watched as Lewis was interviewed on 60 Minutes and other media outlets as part of the “book launch” and still others may be waiting for the inevitable movie.  Very briefly, the book outlines a scheme to rig the markets by companies most have never heard of using technology and “dark pools” to wring small gains out of many of the stock trades that occur in the US each day. “investors are systematically disadvantaged”1 Likely as a result...

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