A. Michael Lipper, CFA, is president of Lipper Advisory Services, Inc., a firm providing money management services for wealthy families, retirement plans and charitable organizations. A former president of the New York Society of Security Analysts, he created the Lipper Growth Fund Index, the first of today’s global array of Lipper Indexes, averages and performance analyses for mutual funds. After selling his company to Reuters in 1998, Lipper has focused his energy on managing the investments of his clients and his family. His first book, Money Wise: How to Create, Grow and Preserve Your Wealth, was published by St. Martin's Press. Lipper’s unique perspectives on world markets and their implications have been posted weekly on his blog since August, 2008.
By far the biggest hurdle to handicapping or investing is recognizing when basic conditions have changed, be they rule changes, unexpected weather, personal issues of the professionals, or any number of other fluctuations. From an investment viewpoint, I believe 2015 experienced such cumulative changes that made many of our old approaches less useful.
In our job as professional investors for others as well as personal stewards for ourselves and our families, we try to do something today that will have a future beneficial result. This is easier said than done. To accomplish our goals we need to answer two basic questions: What Are We Doing? Which Future?
Investors who are primarily concerned about avoiding permanent losses would do well to analyze mounting fixed income leverage and remember the true meaning of risk.
Ever since the bottom of the stock market, if not before, individual investors and many institutional investors have been adding to their bond holdings at a much faster rate than their appreciating equity holdings. While the rush is understandable for those who suffered equity losses by selling in the decline or seeing their wealth on paper shrink, I nevertheless find any stampede a bit scary.
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