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Brad Steiman

Paradox of Skill

by Brad Steiman
Monday, February 6, 2012

Manager selection is a process that requires analyzing noisy performance data, so it should lean heavily on the notion of statistical ...Read More

Article Library

  • Just How Skilled of a Manager Picker Do You Need to Be?

    by IFA Contributors — Friday, February 3, 2012

    At Index Funds Advisors, Inc. we often refer to the proverbial monkey throwing darts at the stock pages of the Wall Street Journal and how active fund managers as a group have had about the same overall success as the monkey at beating the market. Case in point, the average ...Read More

  • Morningstar's Manager of the Year: Luck or Skill?

    by IFA Contributors — Thursday, February 2, 2012

    Unfortunately for them, investors are constantly bombarded with advertisements, market commentaries, and screaming magazine covers telling them what they should do with their money. Contributing to all the clamor and din is Morningstar’s annual announcement of their awards ...Read More

  • Jim Parker

    Hedge of Darkness

    by Jim Parker — Thursday, January 19, 2012

    It's true. Big money can be made from hedge funds. If you run one, that ...Read More

  • Tilting Towards Small Cap Stocks: Is It Still Worthwhile?

    by IFA Contributors — Friday, January 13, 2012

    To summarize, the question an investor should ask is not "should I be in large caps or small caps?" but rather "what is a sensible blend of large and small companies that will allow me to capture a risk premium without being tempted to sell out of my portfolio when it performs ...Read More

  • Weston Wellington

    Year-End Review

    by Weston Wellington — Monday, January 9, 2012

    Equity investors around the world had a disappointing year in 2011 as thirty-seven out of forty-five markets tracked by MSCI posted negative returns. The US did well on a relative basis and was the only major market to achieve a positive total return, although the margin of ...Read More

  • Bryan Harris

    2011 Review: Economy and Markets

    by Bryan Harris — Monday, January 9, 2012

    The past year reminded investors that they should hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and be thankful when reality does not match their fears. Investors entered 2011 with hopes that the world economy would continue recovering from a long and painful deleveraging process. ...Read More

  • 2011: The Year in Review

    by IFA Contributors — Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Unlike 2009 and 2010, 2011 was a year in which most risks were not rewarded. It is important to bear in mind that if risk were rewarded every year, it wouldn’t be risk and investors would have no right to expect a positive real return. One of the noteworthy events that ...Read More

  • Mark Hebner

    Tax Loss Harvesting [VIDEO]

    by Mark Hebner — Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    In addition to rebalancing, taxable investors should also consider a tax-savings tool called tax loss ...Read More

  • Reaching for Yield: Preferred Stock

    by IFA Contributors — Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    In this continuing series exploring different ways investors might attempt to increase the annual income received from their portfolios, we look at preferred stock, a special equity security that has properties of both equity and debt instruments. In general, preferred ...Read More

  • Hedge Funds on Edge

    by IFA Contributors — Monday, December 12, 2011

    A recent article in the Economist, “Dazed and Confused”, details what a difficult year 2011 has been for the $1.9 trillion hedge fund industry. The average hedge fund has fallen by around 9% this year compared ...Read More

  • Reaching for Yield: High-Yield Mortgage REITs

    by IFA Contributors — Monday, December 12, 2011

    In this continuing series exploring different ways investors might attempt to increase the annual income received from their portfolios, we look at mortgage real estate investment trusts (REITs). A REIT is a security that sells like a stock and invests in real estate either ...Read More

  • International Diversification: Is It Still Worthwhile?

    by IFA Contributors — Thursday, December 8, 2011

    With all the recent turmoil in Europe, Index Funds Advisors, Inc. has received questions from clients regarding whether there is still an expected benefit from international diversification in equities. In 2011, international and emerging markets indexes lagged behind their ...Read More

  • Weston Wellington

    What Does a Winning Streak Tell Us?

    by Weston Wellington — Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Bill Miller is one of the most closely watched money managers in the industry, so it was big news when he announced his decision last week to step down as portfolio manager of Legg Mason Capital Management Value Trust (LMVTX) early next year. His departure also adds an ...Read More

  • Index Funds Advisors, Inc’s Concerns with Muni Bonds

    by IFA Contributors — Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Due to their tax-exempt status, many high net worth investors have become convinced that all of their fixed income exposure should be in municipal (muni) bonds. These investors have enabled state and local government entities to borrow $3.7 trillion1 for all sorts of ...Read More

  • Fidelity Magellan's Alpha?

    by Mark Hebner — Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    The chart below is the Alpha Chart for the famous Fidelity Magellan fund. Peter Lynch managed the Fidelity Magellan Fund from 1977 to 1990, during which time the fund's assets grew from $20 million to $14 billion, just in time to experience more losing years than winning ...Read More

  • Stock Pickers and the Illusion of Validity

    by IFA Contributors — Monday, October 31, 2011

    To beat up an old cliché, if you ask 1,000 stock pickers for an explanation for why they chose to buy a particular stock, you are likely to get 1,000 different answers. They range the gamut from "Cramer likes it" to "it just hit a head-and-shoulders bottom" to an ...Read More

  • IFA’s Concerns with ETFs

    by IFA Contributors — Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    With the Securities and Exchange Commission’s launching of a broad, agency-wide review of exchange-traded funds and the recent Senate subcommittee hearings concerning the rapidly growing $1 trillion ETF industry and its potential impact on market volatility, now is a good ...Read More

  • UBS: A Rotten Culture Inspires Rotten Actions

    by IFA Contributors — Thursday, September 29, 2011

    UBS, the Swiss-based financial services company that is the world’s second largest manager of private wealth assets, has been in the news a lot lately. We all know about the rogue trader,Kweku Adoboli, who cost UBS a cool $2.3 billion, prompting major questions and ...Read More

  • Warren Buffett, Market Efficiency and the Disappearance of Alpha

    by IFA Contributors — Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    As staunch admirers of Warren Buffett, we at IFA can only marvel at the value he has created for his investors over the course of his illustrious career. Anyone fortunate enough to own Berkshire Hathaway since June 1st, 1979 has seen a remarkable 600-fold increase in wealth as ...Read More

  • The Turn of the Tide

    by Mark Hebner — Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Is there change on the horizon? A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek by Charles Stein details the disenchantment investors are experiencing with stock pickers. Mutual funds that invest in domestic equities have experienced a mass exodus of around $8 billion in redemptions ...Read More

  • A Review of the Florida Retirement System

    by Mark Hebner — Friday, July 29, 2011

    The Florida State Pension plan, in my opinion, has provided further evidence of the failure of active management. All the time and money spent by Florida on the selection and termination of investment managers has resulted in returns below an IFA selected benchmark returns. ...Read More

  • Wall Street Still Running Amok

    by IFA Contributors — Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    IFA implores taxpayers to keep an eye on government officials entrusted with public funds and to help them steer clear of the sharks of Wall ...Read More

  • Brad Steiman

    What's the Significance?

    by Brad Steiman — Friday, May 6, 2011

    Caution: Technical Discussion to Follow—READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. As the old saying goes, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. It is true data can be tortured with statistical tools that will make it confess to almost anything. On the other hand, ...Read More

  • Burton Malkiel on Tech | Ticker

    by TechTicker — Monday, January 10, 2011

    Look at the performance of mutual funds over the last forty years: It’s clear that index funds like Vanguard’s have a huge advantage over other ...Read More

  • Index Funds Advisors

    Are You an Active Investor?

    by Index Fund Advisors — Sunday, January 31, 2010

    The first step on the index funds journey is to recognize active investor behavior. If all investors were lined up in a row, could the active investors be identified? ...Read More

  • John Resurreccion

    Endowments Article Review

    by John Resurreccion — Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Princeton—we know these institutions as our top providers of secondary education and research in the world. In the investing world, their endowments along with foundations and pension funds like the California Public Employees’ ...Read More

  • John Resurreccion

    Galleon Insider Trading Review

    by John Resurreccion — Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    The hedge-fund industry, $1.2 trillion strong, has been lobbying for years to avoid heavy regulation. That fight has stepped up recently in the wake of the financial crisis, but they have been dealt a serious blow by Galleon Group and their founder Raj ...Read More

  • John Resurreccion

    Hedge Fund Lies

    by John Resurreccion — Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Where is South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson when you need him? The shouting of “You Lie!”, although inappropriate during a joint session of congress, may just be warranted when pointed in the direction of Hedge Fund managers. In a new study entitled ...Read More

  • A Tribute to David Booth

    by Sameer Desai — Monday, December 14, 2009

    Mr. David Booth’s $300 million gift to his alma-mater has to be a milestone in the annals of finance, economics and investments. University of Chicago’s announcement that its business school was being renamed Chicago-Booth. ...Read More

  • Sam Mamudi

    To beat index funds, luck is your only hope

    by Sam Mamudi — Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Investors who continue to send money to actively managed mutual funds in the hope that managers will be able to beat less-costly index funds are going to lose out almost all of the time, a new study ...Read More

  • Index Funds Advisors

    Harry M. Markowitz explains Portfolio Theory

    by Index Fund Advisors — Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    what it is and how it's used from a top-down model from the asset classes to the investments. He covers Standard Deviation, Variance, Correlation, and Covariance. Markowitz also explains what happened in 2008 with Modern Portfolio ...Read More

  • Index Funds Advisors

    Mark T. Hebner - Big Losses, Big Government and Your Investments

    by Index Fund Advisors — Saturday, October 3, 2009

    Mark T. Hebner covers historic recovery patterns and probability of future returns, the risks and returns that come with big government, the role of commodities in your investments, the pros and cons of inflation-hedging securities, and an investment ...Read More

  • Eugene Fama Jr - Vice President, Dimensional Fund Advisors

    Clarion Call

    by Eugene Fama Jr. — Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    When returns are poor (and sometimes even when they're good), investors wonder if things have changed. Is this time different? Does a buy-and-hold strategy still make ...Read More

  • IFA's Quote of the Week - 52 (Fred Schwed Jr.)

    by — Friday, April 3, 2009

    "Once in the dear dead days beyond recall, an out-of-town visitor was being shown the wonders of the New York financial district. When the party arrived at the Battery, one of his guides indicated some handsome ships riding at anchor. He said, ‘Look, ...Read More

  • An Interview with Eugene Fama Jr.

    by Jennifer Nille — Friday, March 13, 2009

    Has the current financial crisis KO'd capital markets? Eugene Fama Jr. says no. The son of the author of the theory reminds us that in troubled times, believers in efficient markets need the courage of their convictions and to keep ...Read More