ETF Insights

Control Your Emotions…Or Get Help!
December 25th, 2008 by Joe Massman

The quote I referenced recently from John Galbraith is a reminder of how much emotions play into investing.  You can have a perfectly designed asset allocation strategy and the best low cost investment vehicles available, but if you don’t stick to a plan, your returns will be abysmal.  Unfortunately, that happens more often than not […]

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Fidelity Customers – Are You Diversified?
December 22nd, 2008 by Joe Massman

One of the beautiful things about ETFs is you can access an asset class or a broad market index and know exactly what you own – – without any overlap in holdings.  You can easily construct a portfolio that gives you precise and systematic coverage of all desired asset classes.  Not so with mutual funds.  […]

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Understanding Modern Portfolio Theory
December 20th, 2008 by Robert Dubois

It is not at all uncommon to encounter an advertising banner relating to a mutual fund manager or financial advisor that proudly proclaims adherence to the tenets of Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT), or to extensions of the pioneering work achieved by Nobel Prize winning Harry Markowitz.  But what lies beneath the hyperbolic, marketing-driven, vague references […]

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How Did Madoff Happen?
December 16th, 2008 by Joe Massman

A lot of people are wondering how, in this age of Sarbanes Oxley, someone catering to sophisticated investors could pull off a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.  Didn’t the internet bubble, Enron and WorldCom teach investors and regulators anything? The answer is complex, and has a lot to do with the lack of transparency and regulation […]

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ETFs Still Talking Market Share
December 15th, 2008 by Joe Massman

While we still have unpredictable swings in the market each day, and the implications of the government’s rescue package are uncertain, there is one trend that has become reliable – – the continued growth of ETF market share gains against mutual funds.  The latest industry statistics are out from the Investment Company Institute, and as […]

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A Good Holiday Read: Crash Proof
December 13th, 2008 by Joe Massman

Anyone looking for a well-written, concise description of the economic underpinnings of the financial crisis would should spend some time over the holidays reading Peter Shiff’s “Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse” [link to Amazon].  Shiff’s book was published not very long ago – in 2007 – but before this year […]

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A Cruel Joke – Mutual Fund Fees Going Up!?
December 8th, 2008 by Joe Massman

As if 2008 wasn’t bad enough, now comes word from Investment News that mutual fund expense ratios might actually be going UP next year. According to the article, as mutual fund assets have gone down due to both market declines and redemptions, there are fewer revenues to help cover fixed costs, such as accounting and […]

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Inside Commodities Conference
December 5th, 2008 by Joe Massman

I had the opportunity to attend the Inside Commodities conference at the New York Stock Exchange last month.  The conference featured a Who’s Who of bigwigs from different corners of the commodities industry.  I wish anyone who doubts that commodities belong in everyone’s long-term portfolio could have been there. The highlight of the conference was […]

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Mutual Fund Tax Pain
December 3rd, 2008 by Joe Massman

One of the biggest benefits ETFs provide investors is they can cut your tax bill.  Because of their legal structure and minimal trading, ETFs typically distribute very little, if any, capital gains to investors.  As The Motley Fool explains, the same is not true for mutual funds.  Adding salt to the wound this year:  some […]

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