FINRA Talks a Good Game

FINRA's recent report on conflicts of interest at brokerages laid bare some dingy practices. Some say it's a move to burnish FINRA's credentials as a candidate for regulator of all brokers and advisors under a uniform fiduciary rule.

Annuities and the Charles Schwab Deal

Most of the annuities now on the Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade platforms are offered by mutual or foreign-owned life insurers. Lincoln Financial is the sole exception.

Marshmallows and Social Security

Should US retirees delay claiming Social Security until age 70, even if they have to spend savings until then? The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College proposes that strategy as a default option in retirement plans.
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The Uncertain Future of Central Bank Supremacy

"Comforted by the notion of a “central-bank put,” ...many investors have “looked through” countries’ unbalanced economic policies.The result is financial risk-taking that exceeds what would be warranted strictly by underlying fundamentals," writes PIMCO's CEO.

Which Bubbles Will Burst Worst?

The universe of assets whose price will collapse in the next downturn is considerably better populated than the collection of assets whose price won't collapse. If you asked me to guess, I'd put the collapse's onset in the fourth quarter of 2014, writes this columnist, who calls himself "Prudent Bear."
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More DB sponsors intend to off-load risk

“Pension plan sponsors remain under tremendous pressure to reduce the financial liabilities of their DB plans,” said Michael Archer, leader of the client solutions group for retirement, North America at Towers Watson.

Vanguard tops mutual fund flow charts in October

Vanguard gathered just over $6 billion in the quarter ($60 billion YTD) to lead all fund companies. American Funds, PIMCO, Columbia and Janus all saw outflows of more than $10 billion each, according to Morningstar data.