David Larrabee, CFA, is director of Member and Corporate Products at CFA Institute and serves as the subject matter expert in portfolio management and equity investments. Previously, he spent two decades in the asset management industry as a portfolio manager and analyst. He holds a BA in economics from Colgate University and an MBA in finance from Fordham University. Topical Expertise: Equity Investments · Portfolio Management
For Andy Acker, CFA, portfolio manager of the Janus Global Life Sciences Fund, these are especially exciting times for investors in the health care sector. Opportunities abound, as significant advances in understanding the genetic causes of disease have resulted in a surge in new and more effective treatments. At the same time, risks remain and a disciplined approach to stock selection and portfolio construction is imperative for success.
It's more a less a certainty that, net of fees, the average active investor will underperform the stock market. Yet empirical data also suggest that there are a number of market anomalies that have persisted over time, and disciplined investors can exploit them to generate outsized returns. Peter Berezin highlights some of the most compelling ones.
Keith P. Ambachtsheer, long an outspoken advocate for pension reform, gave a sober assessment of the state of the world’s workplace retirement plans, praising the relative strength of plans in northern Europe while declaring those in southern Europe to be a “disaster.”
At the recent CFA Institute Equity Research and Valuation Conference in Philadelphia, Fidelity fund manager Chuck Myers, CFA, drew on his experiences as a value investor and shared some of the lessons he learned along the way that have come to shape his investing philosophy.
It has been nearly a decade since the US Federal Reserve last raised its Fed Funds rate, which may help to explain the apprehension among financial market participants who wonder how markets will react when the Fed finally decides to move its benchmark rate up from the current 0% to 0.25% range. Earlier this week, we asked CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief readers when they expect the Fed to hike interest rates. Not surprisingly, opinions were divided.
Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig recently wrote of a truism that is rarely acknowledged within the investment industry: Wall Street market forecasts offer little to no value. While it may be a fruitless exercise, hearing the prognostications of acknowledged market experts remains a guilty pleasure of many investment professionals, which may explain why nearly 1,000 of them turned out last week for CFA Society Toronto’s 58th Annual Forecast Dinner.
Most studies of the impact of family ownership indicate that, on balance, family control is a good thing for stockholders. Family-controlled firms typically maintain a long-term perspective and strong balance sheets, and boast corporate cultures that have won the admiration of Warren Buffett. Credit Suisse has added to the body of research on family-controlled firms with the recent release of The Family Business Model, a global study which sought to better understand why family-run businesses outperform.
The travails of active managers in recent years have been well-chronicled. Their poor collective performance has led investors to flee actively managed funds for passive products and others to question their relevance. To better understand the challenges facing active managers today, the industry’s response to those challenges, and the likely future state of the industry, CFA Institute is hosting an online forum as part of its Future of Finance initiative.
Central bankers in the US have long fixated on the equilibrium real interest rate (ERIR) as their lodestar, an obsession that GMO’s James Montier, in The Idolatry of Interest Rates, bemoans as “a massive exercise in navel gazing.” According to Montier, the broad acceptance of the theoretically dubious ERIR — the real interest rate consistent with full employment of labor and capital resources—is not an example of the wisdom of crowds, but rather “groupthink extraordinaire.” Further, investors’ collective preoccupation with interest rates as an economic “cure-all” and their “deification of central bankers” are equally misguided, says Montier.
The burgeoning market for mergers is reflective of a lack of organic growth opportunities, cheap capital, and flush corporate coffers. Additionally, elevated stock prices provide buyers with a strong currency and sellers with a reason to cash in, which helps explain why M&A activity has tended to peak around market tops, most recently in 2007, and before that in 2000. So while the pace of deals may be a sign that CEOs and their boards are more confident about their prospects for growth, investors should be aware that their timing of late has been less than prescient. For those investors tempted to pick the next takeover target, the safer bet may be on the Wall Street bankers who are doing the matchmaking and financing. They always get paid.
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