What’s one of the most noticeable consequences of the Fed’s third round of quantitative easing (i.e. QE3)? It’s the stark drop in fixed income volatility. Look at the chart below, which demonstrates this point for the investment grade credit market. The blue line is the rolling 21-day realized total-return volatility for a Barclays Global Investment Grade Credit Index. The red line is Thursday, September 13, 2012 – the day the Fed announced QE3. As the blue line crosses the red one, you can see marked drops in the level and range of volatility.
One thing is for sure – we are shaped by our experiences. And when I look back over the past 14 years of my career in the retirement industry, I’ve had some amazing experiences working with many of our industry’s most influential advocates, hundreds of plan sponsors and committees, and thousands of plan participants.
I’ve been so blessed, to learn so much from so many, that I feel obligated to pass on what I learned from these experiences and the wisdom that was shared with me. My blog will focus on practice management and development, mostly for retirement plan advisors and financial professionals, but occasionally broad concepts on marketing, sales, and service.
I’ve been working with advisors and financial professionals for nearly my entire career, but here’s what you need to know about me:
The Milken Institute Global Conference is over for 2013; Wednesday was the conference’s last day…and what an experience. For my last post on the conference, I’ll look back on something other than macroeconomic forces and investment trends. I’m taking a slightly different tack than previous posts because there was plenty of thought-provoking content on a wide range of other topics throughout the conference…and I’d be remiss not to give those topics some coverage.
Before I attended the conference, I didn’t fully appreciate the Milken Institute’s broad mission. That mission is to “improve lives around the world by advancing innovative economic and political solutions that create jobs, widen access to capital, and enhance health.” Read more
There’s been a lot of talk (and blogging) this week about the Milken Global Conference that’s going on in Los Angeles. I wasn’t able to attend in person this year, but, after looking at their website, I’m amazed at how much of the conference can be experienced virtually. The majority of the sessions are posted to their website within a few hours of their completion. After looking around, I was struck by the connections you can make at the Milken Global Conference. I’m not talking about the networking type of contacts – networking from 1,700 miles away is difficult, at best. No, I’m talking about how the conference’s melding of business, political, and academic leaders can serve to demonstrate the similarities in our experiences, whether they’re separated by thousands of miles or millennia.
As an example, I watched a panel discussion called “The Rise and Decline of Nations and Civilizations,” whose participants included Pulitzer Prize-winning author and UCLA professor Jared Diamond, and best-selling author and Harvard professor Niall Ferguson. Read more
Tuesday was another full day at the Milken Institute Global Conference. In my last post, I gave you a session-by-session recap of Monday’s events. Today, I thought I’d examine the past two days of presenters and panels with the intent of addressing the recurring questions called out in my previous post. First, how should we think about risks in the current environment? And second, when and where should we look for real growth? That second question of course implies a corollary, where will we find investment returns? Read more
We are often asked the following question from investment professionals and recordkeepers – “How do I demonstrate that my compensation is reasonable?” Understanding and demonstrating the “reasonableness” of your compensation has come to the forefront of what plan sponsors now expect in evaluating financial professionals and other plan service providers because of the onset of the Department of Labor’s fee disclosure regulation. And there can be little doubt that the fee disclosure regulation will continue to garner a lot of attention.
What seems to be lost in all of the publicity surrounding these new disclosure requirements is that the mandate that service provider fees be reasonable has been a condition to exemptive relief under DOL’s 408(b)(2) regulation since the enactment of ERISA. In other words, while it may now be the case now that provider compensation needs to be disclosed, it has always been the case that the amount paid needs to be reasonable.
All of this begs the question – how can I prove that the compensation I receive satisfies the “reasonableness” test? Read more