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A Look Back at Eugene Fama's 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics

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by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors
Sunday, April 24, 2016

As we approach the three year anniversary of Professor Eugene Fama winning the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, we thought it worthwhile to call attention to this article by his colleague at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and son-in-law, Professor John ...Read More

Article Library

  • The 1st Quarter of 2016 in Review [VIDEO]

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, April 19, 2016

    The first quarter of this year was a textbook case on the importance of having discipline when approaching the investment process. January was a punishing month for markets around the world as fears of China’s economic slowdown precipitated across all major asset classes. ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    The Not So Midas Touch - A Deeper Look at the Performance

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Monday, April 18, 2016

    King Midas of Pessinus was a well-known character in Greek mythology that was known for turning whatever he touched into gold, known as the Midas Touch. Some companies have embraced the story of King Midas and his touch within their own ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    Oppenheimer Funds: A Deeper Look At Their Performance

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, April 12, 2016

    Oppenheimer Funds is a subsidiary of Oppenheimer Holdings & Co., one of the largest financial institutions in the entire world. Having roots dated over a century ago, the Oppenheimer name has acted as a beacon of financial expertise. Their services include investment baking, ...Read More

  • Fort Lauderdale Joins the Evidence-Based Investing World

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    by Tom Allen and Brendan Connelly — Monday, April 11, 2016

    Being a part of the passive investment community can be very isolating at times. It is a constant uphill battle against an industry that is built largely on an illusion. Most of the headlines and stories by active managers that we read in any online or print publications are ...Read More

  • Pursuing a Better Investment Experience with Index Fund Advisors

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, April 7, 2016

    The wide world of investing is complex. For most of us, it’s a vague concept that is seemingly associated with uber-wealthy like Warren Buffett. We all understand the concept of having our money grow for future financial goals like retirement, but connecting the dots from ...Read More

  • Free Throws

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    by David Butler — Wednesday, April 6, 2016

    Dave Butler offers a sports example to help investors apply discipline in a stressful market   “What do you regard as the most difficult period in the financial markets during your 25 years in the investment business?” I am often asked this question, usually by ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    Wells Fargo: A Deeper Look at the Performance

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, March 31, 2016

    Wells Fargo is one of the largest institutions in the world. In fact, it is considered a Systematically Important Financial Institution (SIFI), in which its failure could potentially lead to a much larger financial crisis, similar to what we experienced in 2008 and ...Read More

  • Warren Buffett, Market Efficiency and the Disappearance of Alpha

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, March 30, 2016

    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 711-fold increase in wealth as ...Read More

  • Failure of Active Management is Not Just a U.S. Phenomenon

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, March 24, 2016

    It is common to believe, unfortunately, that there are certain areas of the public equities market that may ripe for active managers to display their skill. The belief is that certain corners such as the small cap market in the United States or the Emerging Markets in general ...Read More

  • How To Read Your Form 1099 Composite

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, March 18, 2016

    As we approach tax day (April 18th, 2016), we wanted to take the time to go over the 1099 Forms that have been provided to our clients by Fidelity, Schwab, and TD Ameritrade. If you haven’t received this document, you can download them online at your custodian’s ...Read More

  • The $1 Million Dollar Bet: Buffett Winning Big

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, March 16, 2016

    Warren Buffett is considered a household name amongst the investment community. The famed investor and third richest man on planet earth is well-known for his investing acumen. Although he has had long-term success in beating the overall stock market, he is also well known for ...Read More

  • DoubleLine Equities Growth Fund: Another One Bites the Dust

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Monday, March 14, 2016

    We have written extensively about the “stock pickers graveyard,” which is the final resting place for those funds that ended up on the wrong side of Lady Luck. Jeffrey Gundlach, former fund manager and founder of DoubleLine Capital, recently announced that they were ...Read More

  • Diversification: Expanding the Opportunity Set!

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Monday, March 7, 2016

    “Diversification is your buddy!” – Merton Miller, Nobel Laureate Diversification means different things to different people. Some people understand the timeless adage of “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket,” which strongly emphasizes the ...Read More

  • The Leap Year Approach to Investing

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, March 3, 2016

    2016 marks another special year for those who happened to have a significant event, like a birthday or wedding anniversary, fall on February 29th. The Leap Year, which is that extra day that we get every 4 years to help align our calendar year with an actual solar year ...Read More

  • Quantifying the Value of Tax Loss Harvesting: An Update

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Monday, February 29, 2016

    In August of 2014 we released a study that attempted to quantify the value of providing tax loss harvesting services using a data sample from our own clients’ experiences. As we mentioned in the original study, there has been dispute among investment professionals on ...Read More

  • Booth, Fama and French: Perspectives on Market Volatility

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    by Dimensional Fund Advisors — Friday, February 26, 2016

    Volatile markets can be stressful for investors. But volatility also can be viewed in a more positive light. Price changes show that markets are working as they quickly incorporate new information into stock prices. A sound investment philosophy can guide behavior during ...Read More

  • Volatility is a Good Thing!

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, February 23, 2016

    Many readers may call us crazy, but hear us out. The beginning of 2016 has been tumultuous to say the least. Concerns over China’s transition from an export based economy to a more developed economy based on its own aggregate demand as ...Read More

  • Oil Prices and Equity Returns

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, February 19, 2016

    No doubt one of the biggest stories over the last 18 months has been oil. Currently, oil prices (as measured by the WTI Crude Index) are at levels we haven’t seen for almost 13 years. While many see falling oil prices acting as a tailwind for the overall economy, ...Read More

  • Good Advice

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    by Mark Hebner — Wednesday, February 17, 2016

    In today’s climate of one-page financial plans, bargain-basement fund pricing and automated investment tools, you may wonder whether you still need a living, breathing financial adviser. You do. But with a twist. First, we need to redefine traditional financial advice ...Read More

  • Low Future Economic Growth and Expected Returns

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, February 16, 2016

    We have recently come across a series of articles that are giving warning about the near future of slowed economic growth, high levels of volatility, and potentially lower returns from stocks and bonds. Although the stories are compelling, we believe that investors should be ...Read More

  • Tom and Becky

    Social Security Changes: Is the "File and Suspend" Strategy For Me

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    by Tom Pohlen and Becky Vasquez — Friday, February 12, 2016

    Understanding the ever-changing landscape of our government’s Social Security system has grown more complex over time.  Whether it is a question as simple (on the surface at least) as when to file for Social Security, or something much more complex as to trying to ...Read More

  • Are You Saving Too Little or Too Much for Retirement?

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    How do we enjoy our resources today without sacrificing future financial security? What is the delicate tradeoff between current and future consumption? These questions are extremely important. At one extreme we find the vast majority of Americans who spend almost all of their ...Read More

  • Replacing Speculation With An Education: Investors Embrace Index Funds

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, February 3, 2016

    The war has been long. Much longer than the World Wars of the 20th century, the Vietnam War, the Civil War, and even the war on terrorism. This war started in the early 1960s, when statisticians began digging into stock price data to find trends. To their bewilderment, there ...Read More

  • Shifting the Conversation: Benchmarks for Managing Income Uncertainty

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Monday, February 1, 2016

    In order to find the right solution, you must ask the right question. Within retirement planning, particularly within the realm of target date funds, we may have been asking the wrong question for some time now. Many investors are well aware of traditional target date fund ...Read More

  • The Retirement Plan Puzzle: Advisor is the Key Piece

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, January 29, 2016

    The retirement plan industry has come out of the shadows in the last three decades. For the better half of the last century, the topic of retirement plans could have rivaled watching the grass grow in terms of entertainment and intellectual curiosity. Why? Most citizens whose ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    USAA Mutual Funds: A Deeper Look at Their Performance

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, January 22, 2016

    The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) started during the roaring 20’s. Their story began with US Army officers who were refused insurance due to the risky nature of their careers (only 4 years removed from World War I). These men saw a ...Read More

  • What Jack Bogle Does With a 10% Market Drop: Absolutely Nothing!

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, January 22, 2016

    In a recent interview with CNBC, founder of Vanguard, Jack Bogle, tells investors do just “stand still,” amid the recent 10% drop in US markets. Highlights include maintaining the same savings behavior for retirement plan participants, the superiority of index ...Read More

  • A Vanishing Value Premium?

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    by Weston Wellington — Friday, January 22, 2016

    Value stocks underperformed growth stocks by a material margin in the US last year. However, the magnitude and duration of the recent negative value premium are not unprecedented. This column reviews a previous period when challenging performance caused many to question the ...Read More

  • The 4th Quarter of 2015 in Review [VIDEO]

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, January 20, 2016

    The best way we can describe the 4th Quarter, overall, is a great end to somewhat of an abysmal year. Stocks delivered positive results in the United States, International/Developed, and Emerging Markets. Global Real Estate and Foreign Bonds also posted positive results, while ...Read More

  • Alternative Investments in Target-Date Funds: Poisoning the Well

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, January 19, 2016

    A recent report was released by ThinkAdvisor cited the recent increase in alternative investments making their way into defined contribution plans. According to Cerulli Associates, a research firm based out of Boston, “alternatives have long been used in defined benefit ...Read More

  • 2016: Ten Predictions to Count On

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    by Jim Parker — Wednesday, January 13, 2016

    The New Year is a customary time to speculate. In a digital age, when past forecasts are available online, market and media professionals find it harder to hide their blushes when their financial predictions go awry. But there are ways around that. The ignominy that goes with ...Read More

  • What Not To Put On Your New Year's Resolution List: Investment Strategy

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, January 12, 2016

    As we start the beginning of the year as we all customarily do, evaluating some of the things we neglected in the previous year, such as health and wellness, certain relationships, etc., and decide to reverse those trends this year, the one thing that should not be on the ...Read More

  • The Market Playing Peek-a-Boo

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    by Mark Hebner — Thursday, January 7, 2016

    Have you ever noticed how a newborn’s favorite game is peek-a-boo? Now you see it. Now you don’t. In 2015, global markets seemed particularly intent on playing peek-a-boo with ...Read More

  • The Market Knows Best: Federal Reserve Raises Rates

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, January 5, 2016

    Well there you have it folks. The Federal Reserve finally took action to increase the Federal Funds Rate. The catastrophe that was anticipated by many financial pundits ended up being what seemed like no news at all. How could this possibly be? While many market participants ...Read More

  • 5 Actions You Should Take Going Into 2016

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, December 29, 2015

    As we button up the end of another year here at IFA, we wanted to remind clients of some of the things they should be thinking about when it comes to their finances going into ...Read More

  • The Short End of a Corrupt Giant

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Monday, December 28, 2015

    Most of us are aware of the story of David and Goliath from the Holy Bible. According to the Books of Samuel, Goliath was a Philistine warrior of tremendous strength and size who was defeated by a much smaller, ...Read More

  • You, Your Financial Well-Being and the Federal Reserve

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    by Mark Hebner — Tuesday, December 22, 2015

    It’s been nearly a decade in the making, but time has finally come: On December 16, 2015, the U.S. Federal Reserve (the Fed) raised the federal funds rate by 0.25 percent. In and of itself, it’s a small move. But it’s being reported as “a historic ...Read More

  • Portfolio Rebalancing: A Reminder on Why We Do It

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, December 17, 2015

    As we come to the end of the year, many clients may be wondering whether or not there needs to be action taken within their portfolio. Some asset classes, like International/Developed Small Cap stocks, have done quite well year-to-date, while others, like Emerging Markets Value, ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    Thrivent Financial: A Deeper Look at Their Performance

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, December 15, 2015

    Thrivent Financial is a wonderful story about a non-profit that has done a tremendous job formulating a successful financial planning process. Focusing on the niche clientele of Christians, Thrivent provides a process that incorporates facets of overall wealth management like ...Read More

  • The Devil's Financial Dictionary

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    by Mark Hebner — Monday, December 7, 2015

    Jason Zweig is one of the few financial journalists who writes articles and books that actually contribute an investor's success in capturing the returns that markets have to offer. His books include  ...Read More

  • Second-Hand News

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    by Jim Parker — Friday, December 4, 2015

    Why don’t the media run more good news? One view is bad news sells. If people preferred good news, the media would supply it. But markets don’t see news as necessarily good or bad, rather in terms of what is already built into prices. One academic study appears to ...Read More

  • A Journey to the Past for Advice in the Present

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, December 2, 2015

    Let’s travel back 55 years into the past and see what the world was like. It was the early-1960s, where our country was still riding the coattails of a post-war economic and population boom. President John F. Kennedy would be elected into office, the United States would ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    The MFS "Active Advantage"... Really?

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, November 11, 2015

    MFS Investment Management made very well scripted and produced commercials highlighting some of the typical selling points active managers like to make when speaking to investors. Let's take a deeper ...Read More

  • Independence & Financial Advice: Another Case That Proves the Point

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, November 6, 2015

    There has been a consistent theme within the financial services industry for far too long: conflicts of interest. What motivates your personal wealth advisor to give the advice that they give? It is sometimes not as clear-cut as some of us think. Ideally, it would be doing what ...Read More

  • IFA's Take On What's Appropriate for a Performance Monitoring Report

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, October 28, 2015

    One of the most important functions as an investment fiduciary is to monitor our entire investment lineup that we advise for our clients. It is almost like a report card for the advice we give. But not all performance-monitoring reports (PMR) are universal, and IFA’s take ...Read More

  • Recent Trends in the Global Market Breakdown

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, October 22, 2015

    The world economy is a continuously shifting system. Consumer preferences are in constant flux and new ideas for businesses are cropping up what seems like every single day. Where investors place value can tell us a lot about the future growth of any local or regional economy, ...Read More

  • Index Fund Assets Still on the Rise

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    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, October 21, 2015

    The Investment Company Institute (ICI) published its annual Fact Book back in May, which addressed the recent trends in the mutual fund and exchange traded fund investment strategies. One of the most common trends that the ICI saw in 2014 was the large inflow into index funds ...Read More