Archive for 'September 2015'

    The Fed: Are Yellen and Markets on the Same Page?

    September 25, 2015 4:04 PM by Zane Brown

    The U.S. Federal Reserve chair attempted to clarify the central bank’s policy stance on September 24. Investors appear far from convinced. 

    In an academic speech at the University of Massachusetts, on September 24, U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) chairwoman Janet Yellen did her best to provide clarity on the direction of Fed policy. The fine-tuning came one week after a communiqué from the Fed’s policy-setting arm, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), on September 17—and a subsequent press conference from Yellen—that left investors dazed and confused.

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    SIMPLE IRA Rollovers and Distributions: Proceed with Caution

    September 24, 2015 5:12 PM by Brian Dobbis

    Failure to observe holding rules for newly established plans can result in stiff penalties. 


    A SIMPLE IRA can serve as an attractive retirement-savings vehicle for small-business owners and their workers. But plan simplicity may become slightly more complicated for the uninformed when it comes to taking distributions.

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    Why Irish Eyes Are Smiling

    September 24, 2015 4:58 PM by Harold E. Sharon

    Thanks to a "NICE" recovery—that is, non-inflationary, creditless expansion—once-beleaguered Ireland is poised to report the fastest economic growth in the eurozone over the next two years.

    - “A commercial building in the middle of downtown Dublin thought to be worth €50 million sells for €90 million.”
    - “Taxes are being cut, and government spending is increasing in the 2016 budget.”
    - “GDP is above the 2007 peak, and growing at roughly 5.5% for 2015.”

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    Bond Funds: Solid Answers to Key Liquidity Questions

    September 24, 2015 11:55 AM by Andrew H. O'Brien, CFA

    A recent press report suggested that 10 large corporate-bond funds' holdings of illiquid securities exceeded regulatory maximums. Here's what the article gets wrong.

    A Wall Street Journal article published Tuesday, September 22, 2015, analyzed the liquidity of corporate bond holdings of a number of large fixed-income mutual funds as part of the newspaper’s series on bond mutual funds and its concerns about bond market liquidity. 

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    Simple Answers to SIMPLE Questions

    September 18, 2015 11:10 AM by Brian Dobbis

    As the October 1 deadline for establishing SIMPLE IRAs draws near, here are answers to frequently asked questions about establishing and maintaining these popular retirement plans.


    Shorter days and changing foliage remind us that autumn is approaching and, with it, some important IRA-related deadlines. Primary among them is the October 1 deadline for employers to establish SIMPLE IRA plans for 2015. SIMPLE plans established after October 1, 2015, will not take effect until January 1, 2016, at the earliest, for that year. 

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    The Fed Scrubs a September "Liftoff"

    September 17, 2015 3:38 PM by Zane Brown

    Besides leaving the fed funds rate unchanged, the U.S. central bank also signaled a measured pace to future interest-rate hikes. 

    The long-awaited rate increase—“liftoff”— will have to wait at least another month. Although low unemployment (5.1%) and improving labor conditions provided justification for the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) to raise rates, the central bank’s policy-setting arm, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), opted to delay taking the first step to policy normalization at the conclusion of its policy meeting on September 16–17.  

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    Back by Popular Demand: Our Top Rollover Tips

    September 17, 2015 12:30 PM by Brian Dobbis

    A recent webinar indicated that advisors are eager for information on how to grab a piece of the $7 trillion IRA market.


    A record number of advisors tuned in to my webinar on IRA rollovers, on September 15, to learn how to find IRA prospects and convert them to clients.

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    Volatility, Fear, and the Benefits of Stock Picking

    September 14, 2015 3:57 PM by Joseph M. Graham, CFA

    Active management can add value during periods of high volatility and intra-market correlation.

    “Turmoil” and “fear” are popular words these days. You can go to Google Trends and see how much these words are surging in Internet searches. “Turmoil” has even morphed into a verb, as in “The market is turmoiling again due to hawkish overtones from strong jobs data.” As with much of etymology, there’s some truth hidden in the newly popular form. But it may not be the truth people imagine, that formerly rare bouts of volatility have now become commonplace.

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    SIMPLE IRA or 401(k)? A Side-by-Side Comparison

    September 11, 2015 2:20 PM by Brian Dobbis

    Small-business owners who want to establish retirement savings plans for themselves and their workers have several options. Our at-a-glance comparison evaluates the two most popular plans.


    Choice, flexibility, and affordability are among the characteristics self-employed individuals and small-business employers should consider when they decide to establish a retirement savings plan for their workers and themselves. 

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    For the Fed, a 1/8% Solution

    September 11, 2015 1:15 PM by Zane Brown

    By starting small, the U.S. Federal Reserve could initiate interest-rate hikes without sparking market volatility.

    The U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) needs to replenish its policy ammunition. To achieve that, it will have to raise the fed funds rate from its current near-zero level. Such a move will help the central bank restore its traditional policy approach of adjusting the benchmark interest rate to help speed up, or slow down, U.S. economic growth, while ensuring that price stability and employment growth are maintained.

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    Saving for Retirement? The Answer is SIMPLE

    September 4, 2015 9:50 AM by Brian Dobbis

    SIMPLE IRAs are flexible, cost-effective, and low-maintenance, making them great starter plans or 401(k) alternatives for small employers. The deadline for implementing 2015 accounts is approaching.


    Advisors who have entrepreneurs and small-business owners as clients or prospects frequently are asked for advice on how to establish a retirement savings plan that will be attractive to their workers and, at the same time, affordable to their clients. 

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