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Old 05-28-2013, 04:02 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Sorry, I didn't actually mean that in a derogatory way, but as a matter of explanation.
Thanks for the clarification.

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IIRC, some earlier posts from you struck me as very complicated. I think you just view things differently than me in terms of complexity. I'm a Keep It Simple Stanley kinda guy. Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.
And here we find this financial planner who makes my approaches look downright simplistic by comparison!

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It is actually just stunning to me that anyone would seriously post a list like that for review, or that they would take it seriously for more than a nano-second before just handing the list back to their 'advisor' with a 'are you joking?' look on their face. The complexity is just staggering to me.
I think you have to factor in the innate respect due anyone, and that especially due someone who a close friend values and respects greatly. Beyond that, I don't want to confront the man with just my own words; my rejection of his proposal is stronger for the constructive insights others have offered in this thread and others.
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Old 05-28-2013, 05:09 PM   #42
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I'm going through my adviser's reply. Some of it sounds quite worthy of consideration, such as this comment aimed at explaining why he's recommending an asset allocation close to 80/20:
Quote:
The concern we have about the amount of fixed income current portfolio (and in 401k plan target date funds) and the reason we’d replace bonds with dividend paying equities, real estate, non-traditional fixed income and other alternatives is that for the first time in 30 years it is reasonable to expect a loss in fixed income over the long-term. Not just an after-inflation “real” loss, but more devastatingly, a pre-inflation “nominal” loss. Interest rates have gone from a peak of over 14% on a 10-yr us treasury, to less than 2% over the last 30 years. As interest rates go down, as they did from 1982 through this year, bonds become more valuable. Rules of thumb like % splits based on age were determined during this time period when it was impossible to lose money in bonds and won’t be equally valid during periods of stable or rising interest rates. You also may see other rules of thumb like “subtracting your age from 100” to get an equity percentage. That rule has been changed to subtracting from 120 based solely on longer life expectancy. Such rules were developed for an audience who were supported by pensions for income and investments were their extra money. Pensions were managed for growth behind the scene, without the pensioner’s conscious knowledge, skewing the effective total portfolio allocation. Your accounts will have to be growth, income, and extra money all at the same time.
What I think he's saying is that things have changed (and that's for sure) - that bonds simply are bad right now (and that's almost surely true, as well). I'm not sure that that really means that the right answer is more equities, however, cash assets are losing "real" value (though not "nominal" value). Is anyone ready to stand up and say that holding 35% of your entire savings in CDs is the way to go?

He also tackled the tax-efficient fund placement issue, in a rather novel way:
Quote:
With capital gains, you’ll have to pay the tax eventually. You could wait for retirement or reduced income when you might qualify for the 15% rate, but it’s probably better to accept the fact that the government has a 20% claim to your gains whether you take them now or in the future. The bite could even be more than 20% in the future. We hope that your investments keep growing, but if they do, the dollar amount that you have to pay the IRS grows too. It is usually better to put together the best portfolio you can, include tax efficient investments where possible, and pay what you must.
What I think he is saying here is that, essentially, he doesn't see a big benefit in strategically placing funds (at least not with regard to the value versus growth dynamic) because he sees taxes on gains going up (and that's almost surely true), and that we're probably going to get hit with worse taxes when we take the money out than if we just pay the tax now - that the compound effect may actually be smaller than the impact of taxes increasing. I'm not sure that that's true, and I'm not sure it really gets to the heart of the tax-efficient fund placement issue.
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Old 05-28-2013, 05:16 PM   #43
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I didn't go over the entire list. I can tell you just at a glance that it stinks to high heaven.

Here's the very simple reason why:

Front loaded mutual funds. Why are you paying this "advisor" 4.9% of your investment funds right up front for actively managed funds when actively managed funds historically underperform index funds? Anything with "Class A" is a front loaded mutual fund. I just looked at a couple more at random, and, surprise, they were front loaded as well. A front load means sales commission for the "financial advisor" - a wealth transfer from you to him with no value added. You say he's already paid for, but he's not. He's about to take 4.9% of your net worth for a ride into his pocket.

I have an article coming out on this exact topic and an evaluation of how loads + active management crush your portfolio.

But, in the interim, I can at least provide a teaser: Front loaded funds versus their no load equivalents

Before you do anything else with this guy, no matter how much anyone else respects him, make him sign a legally binding fiduciary oath. Once he's signed that, see if he recommends this bag of Russian Roulette front-loaded mutual funds.
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Old 05-28-2013, 05:47 PM   #44
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I apologize if you've seen this message on other forums, but I'm seeking feedback from various sources.

I recently received a proposal from a financial adviser. Putting aside that he didn't map out how we'd get from where we are to where he proposed we go, could you please assess his recommendations based on:

Just FYI.

Having multiple actively managed funds all covering the same sector will result in your simply duplicating an index fund, but with a much higher ER.
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Old 05-28-2013, 06:12 PM   #45
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Your financial advisor doesn't seem to be as thorough as one would hope. How could he leave out the Disney Mutual Fund?
+++


oldnews thread heading: I put it all in Disney in October 2012…

quote: oldnews: …I view DIS as a mutual fund without any fees, and they pay a dividend…
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Old 05-28-2013, 06:49 PM   #46
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Front loaded mutual funds.
Front-loading is a non-starter for me. It's just utterly backwards.

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You say he's already paid for, but he's not.
He is. I've made it very clear to him, saying "Something else we outlined from the start was that we would not consider changing our brokerage to yours." His reply, "I’d be happy to review the Fidelity fund screener to see if there are reasonable alternatives available to you." (The Fidelity fund screener was my personal preference.)

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I have an article coming out on this exact topic and an evaluation of how loads + active management crush your portfolio.
Any chance of including in your article a direct rebuttal to this article?

Active Share and Mutual Fund Performance, Antti Petajisto - January 15, 2013
Active Share and Mutual Fund Performance by Antti Petajisto :: SSRN
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Old 05-28-2013, 06:51 PM   #47
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Not really: His services are already paid-for, and investing is just one part of what he's providing advice on. So there's really no reason to "fire" him. It'll just upset the friend who recommended him, and won't actually benefit us. Besides, perhaps calling him out on these problems will get him to do some more work that I can use, and get him a bit more nervous about losing my friend's business, that he'll look into doing a better job for her going forward.
Would you really take what appears to be bad advice (as you pointed out - 80/20 mix) so that you don't upset your friend?

I'm all about friendship - but not at the risk of my nest egg.

I looked up several of the funds - high expense ratio's... front loads... etc.

As you know ER.org is full of DIYers who prefer LOW COST index funds. That's why so many people are reacting strongly.

I don't see where this FA is adding value... only expense and risk.
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Old 05-28-2013, 06:55 PM   #48
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Having multiple actively managed funds all covering the same sector will result in your simply duplicating an index fund, but with a much higher ER.
Pretty much. Someone on another forum was nice enough to enter the portfolio and backtracking it to 2000. I'm not sure it means anything, but it's a pretty graph. (Attached.)
Attached Images
File Type: png Recommendations2013-04-24.png (56.0 KB, 50 views)
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:40 PM   #49
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On the interest rate risk thing, I agree that bonds are subject to price declines if interest rate rise from the low rates today, but I'm not convinced that the best solution is to load up on equities, even dividend paying equities. I think the better solution is to move to short/medium duration bonds or CDs and accept the lower return in exchange for the lower interest rate risk. My solution has been to move into Guggenheim target date bond funds which have a defined maturity so it is like investing in individual bonds with built-in credit risk diversification.

Actually, if CD rates were a tad higher I would consider putting my whole fixed income allocation in 5 year CDs. The problem is that I would have to then have numerous IRAs with a few different banks and I'm not keen on doing that. Since with the Guggenheim target date funds I expect to get the par upon maturity in 5 years, I view it as similar to a CD but with some credit risk and more liquidity risk.

On the tax thing, at least in my situation he would be dead wrong. My federal tax rate has dropped from 28%+ while working to 0% in retirement. I can now harvest about significant capital gains at 0% tax.
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:03 PM   #50
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Any chance of including in your article a direct rebuttal to this article?

Active Share and Mutual Fund Performance, Antti Petajisto - January 15, 2013
Active Share and Mutual Fund Performance by Antti Petajisto :: SSRN
I'd do it, but Larry Swedroe already stole my thunder.

Even if you dismiss the skewness (and potential homoscedasticity) problem, there are still three issues:
  1. Aside from one year (2010, if I recall correctly), the outperformance of the active pickers still didn't justify a 4.9% front load. 19 years of underperformance out of 20 is not the benchmark I'd seek to emulate.
  2. Are all of the funds recommended by this "financial adviser" in that small quintile?
  3. To borrow a quote, "The problem with most tactical asset allocation schemes is that they can't be systematized, which basically means in the end you're relying on someone's gut instinct and eventually they're going to screw up."
I do find it interesting that the author is a Vice President at BlackRock's Multi-Asset Strategies group. I think it would be in his best interest to find evidence to support active management. He does brush off survivor bias rather blithely. However, since I don't have the data, I won't wander farther than Swedroe already did in raising questions.

Assuming you decide to go with actively managed funds, it's still difficult to ascertain the difference between skill and luck. Furthermore, you run into retirement or death risk; by the time a fund has escaped the incubation bias, the manager's probably been around for many years. What happens when you're reliant on a stock picker and that stock picker is no longer there?

Regardless, the biggest bugabear is still the front loaded mutual funds. You told this "financial advisor" that you weren't going to pay him any loads, and yet front-loaded mutual funds were the best he could come up with? He really seems like a one-trick pony and simply based on the evidence you presented is not someone I would advise my parents to go seek financial counsel from.

I'm probably dancing close enough to compliance issues that I should stop; I'm not your advisor, this isn't investment advice, and returns aren't guaranteed. Insert further SEC weasel clauses as needed! :-)

I wish you good luck in your endeavors!
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Old 05-29-2013, 03:40 AM   #51
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I'm finding some other comments that are also filling in various gaps.

For example:
Quote:
Originally Posted by toulamapS@fatwallet
I read the paper cover-to-cover, with some parts more carefuly, and others less carefully.

Some thoughts and questions:

1. I think the results make sense, and do not contradict existing literature that active management generally underperforms passive indexing,

2. So among the 4 types of active funds: (a) diversified stock pickers, (b) concentrated stock pickers, (c) factor bettors / timers, and (d) closet indexers, only (a) is shown to have alpha relative to benchmarks. However, there are many caveats, such as the consistency of the diversified stock pickers, and the temporal opportunity of stock picking,

3. I believe there is no reason to expect that someone has refuted this paper. Several reasons: (i) author is building on similar research, (ii) analysis seems thorough, (iii) it is too new to be refuted any way.

4. Do I believe the results? I am tempted to. Market efficiency states that whenever there is alpha, it will be arbitraged away. Even picking better mutual funds is a source of alpha, so this paper is identifying how to consistently pick funds expected to perform better. However, consider the following: (i) the results are relative new, (ii) the alpha is relatively weak, (iii) the "Active Share" is not easily accessible for funds (while the tracking error is VERY EASILY accessible).

However, I believe that "Active Share" can be approximately computed for many / most funds without much effort.

At any rate, good paper, and thanks for sharing.

----

a good exercise for you, IMHO, would be to figure out the Active Share and Tracking Error of each of those funds listed in the OP. Similar to that spreadsheet you have posted for the non-retirement account funds, you can try to add the Active Share of each fund.

Because Acive Share is not readily available, this would require some work on your part.
Also, obtaining the Tracking Error, although easy, might not be trivial. I suggest you obtain the tracking error relative to the closest benchmark. E.g, for a fund that claims to be "Mid-cap value", you might want to determine what Mid-cap index they are following, and then determine the Tracking Error like that. Obtaining Tracking Error vs the SP500 might not be that precise for the purpose of Petajisto paper.
That second message gets to the heart of the matter: It's loads of work to figure out the Active Share and Tracking Error of each funds. The question is whether there is a way to do or buy that work without it "costing" more than it offers.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:04 AM   #52
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He also tackled the tax-efficient fund placement issue, in a rather novel way:
Quote:
With capital gains, you’ll have to pay the tax eventually. You could wait for retirement or reduced income when you might qualify for the 15% rate, but it’s probably better to accept the fact that the government has a 20% claim to your gains whether you take them now or in the future. The bite could even be more than 20% in the future. We hope that your investments keep growing, but if they do, the dollar amount that you have to pay the IRS grows too. It is usually better to put together the best portfolio you can, include tax efficient investments where possible, and pay what you must.
What I think he is saying here is that, essentially, he doesn't see a big benefit in strategically placing funds (at least not with regard to the value versus growth dynamic) because he sees taxes on gains going up (and that's almost surely true), and that we're probably going to get hit with worse taxes when we take the money out than if we just pay the tax now - that the compound effect may actually be smaller than the impact of taxes increasing. I'm not sure that that's true, and I'm not sure it really gets to the heart of the tax-efficient fund placement issue.
That misses the point of tax-efficient placement altogether (you decide when you pay taxes on dividends & CG in deferred accounts and at what rate to a large extent, not so in taxable accounts). Even if you don't sell anything, rebalancing alone will generate a tax liability that you can't influence timing/amount on, not so with deferred. You're getting bad advice, but if you're happy that's all that matters, though not sure why you asked here and elsewhere...
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:49 AM   #53
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......... You're getting bad advice, but if you're happy that's all that matters, though not sure why you asked here and elsewhere...
That sums it up.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:00 AM   #54
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Two more points I made in my email to him: "Something else we outlined from the start was that we would not consider changing our brokerage to yours." And: "(See a comparison of just-the-non-retirement suggestions to possible alternatives, in a chart, below.)" In most cases, I readily (okay - it took me a few hours) came up with what I would consider

This sounds like a waste of time all around.
Why is the FA spending all this time and effort if you won't invest with him? Are you paying him for his time and ideas?
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Old 05-29-2013, 01:30 PM   #55
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That misses the point of tax-efficient placement altogether (you decide when you pay taxes on dividends & CG in deferred accounts and at what rate to a large extent, not so in taxable accounts). Even if you don't sell anything, rebalancing alone will generate a tax liability that you can't influence timing/amount on, not so with deferred.
Probably true, but only "probably". This seems to be very much related to the Roth 401k vs. Traditional 401k question. For some people - reasonable people - Roth wins. Since it is his time, I can't complain. As long as he does what we are paying him for, competently and properly, whatever else he wants to do in addition is his concern.

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You're getting bad advice, but if you're happy that's all that matters, though not sure why you asked here and elsewhere...
Who said anything about being happy? I even said, "I'm not sure that that's true, and I'm not sure it really gets to the heart of the tax-efficient fund placement issue." How did you get "happy" from that? I'm really wondering how you made that leap.

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This sounds like a waste of time all around.
Why is the FA spending all this time and effort if you won't invest with him? Are you paying him for his time and ideas?
Anyone who uses a commission-based FA is getting bad advice. He's getting paid to review our existing financial plan. Why he chose to propose this radically different approach, instead of just doing what we asked him to do is beyond me. As long as he does what he's being paid for, competently and properly, what he does on his own time, in addition, is his own concern.
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Old 05-29-2013, 02:25 PM   #56
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You're getting bad advice, but if you're happy that's all that matters, though not sure why you asked here and elsewhere...
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Who said anything about being happy? I even said, "I'm not sure that that's true, and I'm not sure it really gets to the heart of the tax-efficient fund placement issue." How did you get "happy" from that? I'm really wondering how you made that leap.
OK, call it "satisfied", but the word itself wasn't the point at all...best of luck.
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Old 05-29-2013, 02:57 PM   #57
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I even said, "I'm not sure that that's true, and I'm not sure it really gets to the heart of the tax-efficient fund placement issue."
OK, call it "satisfied"
How about calling it "unsatisfied", since that's far closer to "not sure that that's true" than "satisfied".


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Old 05-29-2013, 03:05 PM   #58
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bUU, why not post your original posting questions over on the Bogleheads website forums and see what those folks give you for advice. They appear to have more of the "investment focus" on that site. Plus, they have an entire forum section dedicated for investment portfolio analysis.
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Old 05-29-2013, 03:12 PM   #59
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We're already discussing the article on bogleheads.org. That's actually where I got the referral to the Vanguard document that I quoted earlier.
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Old 05-29-2013, 03:31 PM   #60
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I apologize if you've seen this message on other forums, but I'm seeking feedback from various sources.

I recently received a proposal from a financial adviser. Putting aside that he didn't map out how we'd get from where we are to where he proposed we go, could you please assess his recommendations based on:

a) placement of each investment for tax efficiency
b) the quality of the funds he's proposing
c) overall asset allocation for folks 5-10 years from retiring

Non-Retirement Accounts
2% Artisan Small Cap Fund Investor Shares
3% Baron Partners Fund Retail Shares
2% Baron Small Cap Fund
2% Calvert Short Duration Income Fund Class Y
2% Hartford Capital Appreciation Fund Class I
3% Hartford Dividend and Growth Fund Class I
1% Hartford Small Company Fund Class A
3% Loomis Sayles Strategic Income Fund Class A
4% Nuveen High Yield Municipal Bond Fund Class I
3% Pioneer Mid-Cap Value Fund Class Y
2% Royce Dividend Value Fund Service Class
1% Royce Global Dividend Value Fund Service Class
4% Royce Opportunity Fund Investment Class
3% Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund Institutional Class
3% Third Avenue Real Estate Value Fund Institutional Class
1% Wasatch Long/Short Fund Investor Class
2% Wasatch World Innovators
39% TOTAL Non-Retirement Accounts

Retirement Accounts
1% ALPS | Red Rocks Listed Private Equity Fund Class I
1% Artisan Mid Cap Fund Investor Class
2% Artisan Mid Cap Value Fund Investor Shares
1% Baron Partners Fund Retail Shares
1% Baron Real Estate Fund Retail Class
3% BlackRock Equity Dividend Fund Investor A Shares
1% Bridgeway Small Cap Growth Fund
2% Bridgeway Small Cap Value Fund
3% &nbspelaware Small Cap Value Fund Class A
2% &nbspodge & Cox International Stock Fund
1% &nbspodge & Cox Stock Fund
0% Fidelity Contrafund Fund
4% Goldman Sachs Growth Opportunities
3% Hartford Growth Opportunities Fund Class I
1% Hennessy Gas Utility Index Fund Investor Class
2% ING Corporate Leaders Trust Series B
1% ING Senior Income Fund Class A
3% Invesco Charter Fund Class A
3% Invesco Convertible Securities Fund Class Y
3% Ivy Small Cap Growth Fund Class A
2% Matthews Asia Dividend Fund Investor Class
4% Prudential Jennison Utility Fund Class A
2% Putnam Voyager Fund Class Y
1% T. Rowe Price Health Sciences Fund
2% The Hartford Healthcare Fund Institutional Class
3% Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund Institutional Class
1% Vanguard Developed Markets Index Fund Investor Shares
2% Wasatch Emerging Markets Small Cap
2% Wasatch International Growth Fund
1% Wells Fargo Advantage Discovery Fund Class A
61% TOTAL Retirement Accounts
If this is what you posted at Bogleheads, I can't find it there.
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