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.

The Five Most Important Retirement Income Decisions

'Many of the decisions presented here are beyond the skills of most pre-retirees and retirees,' writes the author, a research scholar at the Stanford Center on Longevity. 'They’re going to need help.'

A Closer Look at CLOs (and Other U.S. Credit)

Bond mavens, check this out. A new SEC report describes how most of the $54-trillion dollar U.S. credit market survived last spring's financial crisis. It covers securitized 'leveraged loans,' which provide high-octane fuel for fixed indexed annuity issuers.

She’s Got Advice for Life Insurers

'Insurers can't remain wedded to product sales, which are becoming commoditized in a future that trends toward financial advice,' says industry veteran Michelle Richter, who just launched Fiduciary Insurance Services, LLC.
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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.