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.

Research Roundup

Almost every controversial subject in the US today--from Fed policy to machine learning to immigration--contains an element or theme related to retirement policy. The articles reviewed in this month's Research Roundup are proof of that.

‘iTDFs’ Smooth the Bumps of Retirement Income

A former chief actuary of Denmark seeks a US target date fund company that might use his technology, the 'iTDF,' to create a seamless transition from pre-retirement savings to safe income during the first 20 years of retirement.

A Revolt Against PE-Led Annuity Issuers

Matt Zagula is an annuity wholesaler and fixed indexed annuity (FIA) designer. He and forensic accountant Tom Gober created the TSR ratio, a scale for rating FIA issuers. Mutual and fraternal insurers score best; private equity-led life insurers score worst.
Featured

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."
News

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.