Research Magazine December 2011


  • A Rational Look at a Much Maligned Product

    Few products within the financial services industry have received as much consistent criticism as fixed index annuities. An FIA is a type of deferred fixed annuity that earns interest or provides benefits that are linked to an external reference or index, most commonly the S&P 500. The insurer underwriting the...

  • Disclosure Upheaval

    In 2012 two new fee disclosure regulations will take effect for 401(k) and similar retirement plans. These new regulations were issued and will be enforced by the Department of Labor (DoL) and the IRS.

  • Research Roundtable: Gundlach, Rodriguez, Others

    Our expert panel — John Buckingham, Kenneth L. Fisher, Jeffrey Gundlach, Robert Rodriguez — sees turbulence and opportunity in the year ahead, as history makes clear that presidential election years are usually favorable for the securities markets.


  • What’s Your Name?

    What’s in a name? Experts tell us that picking the right name (for your firm) can be crucial when it comes to marketing and branding your new empire. What you call yourself can definitely sway people’s first opinion of you. Think about it … would you buy ice cream...

  • Dividend Trouble

    In the third quarter, an unusual situation arose in U.S. financial markets: dividend yield on stocks surpassed the interest rate on the 10-year Treasury bond. While some technical analysts saw this as a strong “buy” signal, and the market did subsequently rally, the real explanation is probably far less favorable...

  • Prospecting Strategy

    A recent survey by Cerulli showed that wirehouse BDs had about a 43% market share of retail asset management as of end-2010 — down from almost half the market in 2007. Naturally, other distribution channels were gaining, among them independent BDs and RIAs.


  • Blair, Gross, Other Experts Weigh in on Euro Tumult and Anti-Wall Street Protests

    Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the resolution of today’s global economic and financial challenges could get derailed by short-term political thinking, though he remains optimistic that leaders can address long-term issues. Blair spoke Nov. 2 to about 2,100 financial advisors and about 2,000 other guests as the keynote...

  • Vying for Growth

    When Guggenheim Partners entered the ETF market, it wanted to make a permanent impression. Over the past year and a half, the firm acquired Claymore ETFs and Rydex SGI. The moves have vaulted Guggenheim to become one of the top 10 providers of ETFs worldwide, offering more than 100 ETFs...

  • Senators Scrutinize ETFs

    The expanding world of ETFs made its way to Capitol Hill on October 19, with a Senate Hearing titled “Market Microstructure: Examination of Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs).” The purpose of the meeting was to analyze the impact of ETFs on the financial markets.

  • Van Eck Converting HOLDRS

    Van Eck Global has made a bid to convert the assets for six Merrill Lynch-sponsored HOLDRS into its Market Vectors ETF lineup. The HOLDRS, now part of the Van Eck lineup are the Oil Services (OIH), Semiconductor (SMH), Pharmaceutical (PPH), Biotech (BBH), Retail (RTH), and Regional Bank (RKH).

  • The ETF Witch Hunt

    What are the reasons and causes behind the “Flash Crash” on May 6, 2010? Does anybody know? What about the stock market’s latest tendency to convulse? People still want answers because nothing they’ve heard up until now is satisfying. As a result, some of them have resorted to good old-fashioned...

  • Recruiting Wars for Teams Heat Up

    Recruiters say the departure of Harvey Kadden and his colleagues from Merrill should send a strong warning to Bank of America-Merrill Lynch — either improve the relationship between the bank management and FAs or watch more wealth managers depart.

  • Merrill Boosting Edge FSA Force

    BofA-Merrill added 27 Merrill Edge financial solutions advisors in Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; and Nashville and other nearby cities to its mass-affluent platform in late October. The bank says it is on track to nearly double the number of FSAs in branches and call centers to more than 1,000 by the...

  • Most Earnings Top Estimates on Mixed Advisor-Headcount News

    Bank of America reported net income of $6.2 billion, or $0.56 per share, for the third quarter vs. a net loss of $7.3 billion, or $0.77 per share, last year — topping analysts’ estimates by a wide margin. Revenue, net of interest expense (and calculated on a fully taxable-equivalent basis)...

  • Bond Investors Seek More Transparency

    Many U.S. retail bond investors would like more information about how individual bonds are priced and the way that they’re sold, according to a recent report released by Charles Schwab. The study found that 73 percent of bond investors surveyed want pricing details, 44 percent can’t figure out how...

  • Top Funds for Tough Markets

    The fund research team at S&P Capital IQ says that thanks to a nice market uptick in October, the S&P 500 Index was back in the black on a year-to-date basis through Oct. 28, rising 2.2 percent. The team’s latest report, authored by Todd Rosenbluth, notes that these market gains...

  • ICI Forms Global Group; Releases Retirement Study

    The Investment Company Institute’s Board of Governors recently determined that the organization should significantly broaden its international engagement and launched ICI Global to fulfill that role. The board also established a new class of institute members, consisting of regulated funds publicly offered to investors in leading jurisdictions worldwide.

Editor's Note

  • This Christmas Say No, for Now, to Shopping

    NEWS SOURCES ARE ALREADY REPORTING sightings of the Grinch poised to steal Christmas. Subpar sales are signaling a frigid holiday season ahead, and retailers are aggressively courting consumers through deep discounts. But Americans should avoid this snare.

Investment Spotlight

  • Moving Higher

    Commercial aerospace: Demand for new aircraft at Boeing and Airbus remains robust with combined orders through September of approximately 1,700. Airbus’ introduction of the A320-NEO is largely responsible for the surge in orders with over 1,000 orders for the aircraft. In addition, we have begun to see increased interest from...

  • Above-Peer Performance

    Before the market open on November 3, CVS Caremark reported solid 3Q’11 results. During 3Q’11, retail same-store sales were 2.3 percent, and the company appears to be tracking nicely to its full year guidance of 1.5-2.5 percent. Notably, front-store comparable sales increased 2.0 percent, which is the strongest performance in...