Monday, May 22, 2017

Stock Picking, Fifty Years Ago and Now

"Some facts will not come to us," reports this 1967 Merrill Anderson ad for U.S. Trust. "We hunt them out and bring them back – alive."

Today, stock pickers need not hit the road. The digital revolution offers access to zillions of facts in the form of big data, and quants use algorithms to massage the data and generate investment decisions.

"Prognosticators imagined a time when data-driven traders who live by algorithms rather than instincts would become the kings of Wall Street," The Wall Street Journal($) recalls. "That time has arrived." Quantitative hedge funds "are now responsible for 27% of all U.S. stock trades by investors, up from 14% in 2013,"
WSJ subscribers can view the anatomy of an investment algorithm here.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Generosity of a Reformed Stockpicker

After trying and failing to pick stock winners himself,” a retired ophthalmologist in Washington, D. C., “made his fortune by investing in the funds in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index.”

Unmarried and living modestly, the retiree has used the fruits of his investing for philanthropy, dispensing millions to area charities. He agreed to tell his story to The Washington Post “to encourage others to invest wisely, research thoroughly and support those doing good work that will make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

Will the publicity cause the wise indexer to be inundated with requests for handouts? Not likely. He says he would never donate to an institution that approached him first.”

Friday, May 12, 2017

Mother's Day

A wealth manager we'll call Ed just sent a financial-workshop invitation to my mother. The mailing arrived today, May 12, exactly 26 years after my mother died on the eve of her 95th birthday.

A little late, Ed!

Ed's off-the-shelf web site could use more care, too. When boilerplate copy calls for inserting your company name, the text should not still display the place marker "(DBA as)."

Whether breeding dogs or judging horticultural exhibits, my mother was conscientious in her work. Marketers of wealth management do well to follow her lead.

And for Ed's sake, clean up your mailing lists every quarter century!


Thursday, May 04, 2017

Today's Trusts Explained

From a Massachusetts law firm comes Demystifying Trusts, a guide to currently popular trust arrangements. They include revocable living trusts, special needs trusts and trusts designed to maximize Medicaid eligibility for trustors in nursing homes. Also, ILITs.