Are E&Fs Jeopardizing Their Missions?

Many US endowments and foundations (E&Fs) still plan to spend 5% of their assets each year, despite unusually low expected returns. We think few understand how likely it is that this will limit their ability to fulfill their missions in perpetuity.

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What Can US DC Plans Learn from the Rolling Stones?

When it comes to constructing the perfect defined contribution (DC) plan, sponsors and participants both might benefit by taking a page from the Rolling Stones’ famous line: “You can’t always get what you want, but…you get what you need.”

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Afraid of QE3? Buy Real Assets

In the past few weeks, central banks have reaffirmed their intent to do “whatever it takes,” in European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi’s words, to address the various ailments afflicting the global economy. While central bank actions may or may not have their desired effects on the real economy, they do create short-term opportunities [...]

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New Fee Disclosures for US DC Plan Participants: Context Is Key

The US Department of Labor’s new 404(a)(5) fee-disclosure rules for defined contribution (DC) plans will provide participants with a lot more information on plan and investment fees—in plain language. That’s a good thing. But there’s a real risk that the new rule may unintentionally drive participants to make poor investment choices.

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Stocks and Bonds: Comparing the Range of Potential Outcomes

Investors fleeing stocks have mostly sought shelter in bonds. That’s understandable, given their relative stability and reliable income. But it’s important to compare long-term expected returns, too.

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The Fundamental Case for the 20,000 Dow

While some people deem stocks expensive relative to 10-year trailing earnings, we take a forward-looking approach. It starts with the premise that the stock market is not a casino and stock prices are not pulled out of thin air: they reflect the intrinsic value of companies’ future earnings.

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Note to Bond King: Check Your Math

The Wall Street Journal published an article on August 1 headlined: “Bill Gross: Equities are Dead.” In fairness to Gross, what he actually wrote in his August “Investment Outlook” was, “the cult of equities is dying.” We agree with most of Gross’s argument—but not with his unsupported forecast of extremely low  stock returns.

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Are Stocks Too Expensive Now?

Not in our view. Although we recognize that the US and global economies continue to be scarred by the credit crunch that began in 2008, we think stock prices already discount the risks.

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What History Suggests About the Future of Stocks

Some experts today argue that the world has entered a “New Normal” condition in which stocks have permanently lost their return edge. We’ve heard this before. It was wrong then, and we think it’s wrong now, too.

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Are Investors Worried About the Right Risk?

Individual and institutional investors alike have been shifting their capital from stocks to cash and bonds at a rapid rate in recent years, despite extraordinarily low interest rates. But if investors stop to weigh the importance of two different types of risk, they’ll see they still need stocks.

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