“Don’t write yourself into a corner,” Dr. Jeffrey Roach, chief economist and chair of the investment committee at Horizon Investments, told attendees at the ASPPA 401(k) Summit, encouraging them to write a flexible investment policy statement to manage money succesfully through a volatile market.
Advisors need to address several challenges including inflation, sovereign defaults, market crashes, dramatic regulatory changes and company-specific catastrophes. It is important for advisors to understand that the efficient frontier, the tradeoff between risk and return, may not be efficient for long, Roach said.
Rebalancing used to be a simple, tech-driven process, Roach said, but it’s not as easy as you think. Rebalancing may add risk to advisors’ overall process. “Rebalance only when there is a change to the investment thesis,” Roach encouraged attendees.
Furthermore, risk is not as easy to measure as advisors may believe, Roach said. Black swans are a perfect example; 99.9% of the time you’ll expect a particular outcome, but a system shock that results in a black swan can’t be measured.
Before the market collapse in 2008, the Federal Reserve used to keep excess reserves at about $2 billion, Roach said. Following the collapse, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke agreed to pay banks 1% for every dollar held in the national reserve. As a result, banks limited lending and today, there is close to $2 trillion.