From the May 2009 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Upgrades

What Sam Stovall calls a "mega-meltdown" and others call a recession is likely to end by the fourth quarter of 2009, and while it won't be much of an upturn then, at least "we may be at a nadir for the market now," the chief investment strategist at Standard & Poor's told the wealth managers and high-net-worth investors in attendance at the inaugural Wealth Forum sponsored by Investment Advisor and the Wealth Management Exchange on April 1 at New York's Yale Club. In fact, says Stovall, "we possibly hit a bottom on March 9." The numbers show that this bear market is the second worst since 1929, Stovall reports, and the worst is not over: S&P expects unemployment to peak at just below 10% by the middle of this year...

Payden & Rygel introduced April 15 the Payden Corporate Bond Fund (PYACX), a no-load fund without a 12b-1 fee that will focus on investing in investment-grade corporate bonds, and uses Barclays' U.S. Corporate Investment Grade Index as its benchmark . . .

As part of what it called its ongoing efforts to come up with easy ways for people to plan and save for retirement by showing what consumers' peers are doing about retirement planning, ING recently launched a new online tool, INGCompareMe.com, which "allows people to look at what other folks in similar situations are doing, in the hopes that it may be a catalyst to get them to take action," says Richard Mason, president of corporate markets for ING U.S. Retirement Services...

Barclays PLC announced April 9 that it had agreed to sell its Barclays Global Investors' iShares ETF business to a new limited partnership formed by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners Group in a deal valued at $4.4 billion. BGI's iShares is the largest ETF provider both in the number of products, 369 ETFs, and assets of $296.8 billion, giving it a 46.8% market share, far ahead of the second largest ETF provider, State Street Global Advisors, which has 102 ETFs and $103.5 billion in assets for a 16.3% market share...

Speaking of State Street Global, SSgA said its SPDR Barclays Capital Convertible Bond ETF (CWB) began trading on the NYSE Arca on April 16, 2009. The company said it is the first convertible bond ETF available to U.S. investors...

Taking a look at the most recent numbers released on April 14 by mutual fund research firm Strategic Insight, as investor sentiment improved from the end of last year, "U.S. stock and bond mutual fund investors modestly allocated their positions during the first quarter of 2009, with bond fund inflows nearly matching stock fund outflows." Those figures, Strategic Insight says, "were a stark improvement from the fourth quarter of 2008, when stock and bond mutual funds experienced aggregate net redemptions well over $100 billion...Citing "changing market conditions and investor migration toward advice-driven channels," Denver-based Janus Capital Group said March 16 that it will merge its advisor-sold mutual funds with its retail funds, creating one no-load mutual fund platform that the company said will provide investors with a broader range of investment strategies...

In a speech March 10 to the Japan Society in New York, Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman lamented that "40% to 45% of the world's wealth has been destroyed in little less than a year and a half." While that may sound hyperbolic to some ears, it turns out that, in fact, much wealth has been lost, especially in the United States, over the past year. On March 12, the Federal Reserve reported that U.S. households lost $5.1 trillion of their wealth in 2008's final quarter, or 9%. That is the biggest single loss the Fed has recorded in the 57 years it's been keeping those records...

The Chicago-based Options Industry Council announced April 7 a new effort to serve the educational needs of advisors by launching a dedicated advisor Web portal--advisor.optionseducation.org/--and by naming Eric Cott as director of financial advisor education, in which role he will represent OIC at advisor conferences, and develop educational content for advisors. Cott most recently was a regional VP at Sunlife Financial Distributors Inc.

Reprints Discuss this story
This is where the comments go.