News Mentions & Press Releases

Vanguard’s Ambitions Create a Five-Year Spiral for ETF Advisers

July 25, 2019
Vildana Hajric — Bloomberg

With the flick of his wrist, Richard Michaud flashes his Apple Watch and presses on its sleek black screen. In a few taps, green and red squiggles appear, revealing how the market performed that day. But this isn’t a benchmark like the S&P 500 or the Russell 2000. Instead, Michaud’s screen reflects the trajectory of his firm’s own strategies, using an index he started earlier this year.

“You can check it on your phone in real time,” says Michaud in an interview. “There’s no index like this in the world. These are all totally new.”

The proprietary gauge is one of several that Michaud, who runs Boston-based New Frontier Advisors with his son, Robert, created to stand out from the crowd. His peers are starting podcasts, ramping up their social-media footprint, and even creating video content. But all this creativity is aimed at fending off an existential threat.

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The Little Things Still Matter in ETF Investing

July 23, 2019
Grant Engelbart, CFA, CAIA — ETF Trends

The fee war is officially over. Well, at least I want it to be. Not that lower fees aren’t a great thing for investors, but they seem to have become the only thing (as I’ve written about before). However, I think there is some evidence that fees — insomuch as measured by expense ratios — are losing their singular status and that important ETF metrics are being accounted for by the masses. I may be grasping at straws, but I believe the little things still matter in ETF investing.

As evidenced by the chart below, flows into ETFs are still robust. But they are increasingly being directed into the lowest-cost funds. Is that it? Are investors just blindly buying whatever is cheapest? Many observers may believe that’s the case, but I don’t think it’s the whole story. Let’s explore.

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How to Manage Your Portfolio Over the Summer

July 12, 2019
Rebecca Lake — US News & World Report

AS THE LAZY DAYS OF summer tick by, investors can’t afford to be lazy when it comes to portfolio management. While market activity in terms of seasonality may hit a lull, it’s still important to stay on top of investments during the summer months.

“It’s natural to expect the markets to slow down and possibly become choppier in the summer; that’s where the phrase, ‘sell in May and go away,’ comes from,” says Todd Baker, co-founder of Legacy Capital Planners in Germantown, Maryland.

Specifically, there are two broad trends that can happen over the summer season, says Grant Engelbart, senior portfolio manager and director of research at CLS Investments. The first is the trend that trading volumes decline and the second is that equity market returns are comparatively slower than other seasons such as winter to spring.

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Stocks Leap to Records Following Powell’s Comments

July 12, 2019
Asjylyn Loder — Wall Street Journal

U.S. stocks leapt Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell set the stage for the central bank to cut interest rates to bolster flagging growth.

The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.75% to close at a record 8202.53. The S&P 500 touched a high during the trading session, briefly eclipsing the 3000 level for the first time before ending the day at 2993.07, 0.5% higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.3% to 26860.20, snapping a three-day losing streak.

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U.S. markets and stock exchange traded funds rallied to record highs Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s dovish comments helped stoked bets of interest rates cuts ahead to bolster economic growth.

On Wednesday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) increased 1.1%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) rose 0.5% and SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY)gained 0.6%.

Stock investors regained their risk-on attitude after Powell stated the central bank was ready to “act as appropriate” to support ailing economic growth, Reuters reports.

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8 Best Fidelity Index Funds to Buy

July 12, 2019
Debbie Carlson — US News & World Report

Fidelity is the fourth-largest asset-management firm in the U.S., surpassed only by Vanguard, Pimco and BlackRock. Because of that size, it offers a big menu of cheap index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds for investors. When it comes to 401(k) plan participant satisfaction rankings in a J.D. Power study, Fidelity is among the top two positions for medium and small plan providers and in the top six for large-plan providers. Given their ubiquity in 401(k) plans, many savers with employer-sponsored retirement plans will likely see Fidelity index funds available for their accounts. Here are eight of the best Fidelity index mutual funds and ETFs.

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ESG: Investing In Line with Your Values

July 1, 2019
Eleanor Laise — Kiplinger

Sticking to your principles feels good. But could it also be good for your portfolio?

That’s the question raised by “sustainable” funds, an umbrella term for a diverse group of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that generally incorporate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria in their investment processes. Typically, that doesn’t mean simply avoiding “sin” stocks such as alcohol, tobacco and firearms companies. The majority of these funds take a more active approach. They may seek out companies that have a strong track record on pollution, product safety and human rights; buy bonds that fund renewable energy projects; or actively engage with portfolio companies on board diversity or other governance issues.

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EventShares 10 Minutes 10 Answers Podcast

June 27, 2019
Ben Phillips, CFA — EventShares

EP 002 – Rusty Vanneman

Today I’m joined by Rusty Vanneman, who heads up CLS’s Portfolio Management Team overseeing all investment operations at CLS – investment philosophy, process, positioning, and performance.

Today’s 10 Questions

[1:42]  How is CLS changing the investment industry?
[3:38]  Big investment themes for the coming years?
[4:49]  What are investors missing on active management?
[6:08]  Biggest market lesson learned in 2019?
[7:17]  “Investing Dictionary”: What word would you remove?
[8:20]  Two factors to invest in for the next 100 years?
[10:12]  Hardest factor to quantify?
[10:30]  Current view on on ESG investing?
[10:58]  One bad recommendation you continue to hear?
[11:46]  Free tool for business you would recommend?

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Senior PM Shana Sissel speakers with TD Ameritrade Network’s Oliver Renick about tensions in the middle east and how that could impact crude oil prices in the weeks to come.

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Trading Grain ETFs

June 19, 2019
Lara Crigger — Trading Grain ETFs

ETF.com: We’ve been covering the grain space quite a bit on ETF.com lately. (Read: “Floods & Tariffs Lift Grain ETFs“; listen: “ETF Prime Podcast: Grain Funds Pop.”) You’ve also increased your allocation to corn ETFs recently. Why do you find CORN [the Teucrium Corn ETF] to be a compelling trade at the moment?

Grant Engelbart, CLS Investments: Generally, we’re asset allocators. We’re not all that tactical; we take a consistent amount of risk and make sure it’s balanced in our portfolios.

That leads us to use many different asset classes, particularly those with strong diversification properties. As of late, that’s been hard to find, but agricultural commodities tend to be driven by [fundamentals] completely diversified from the stock market, like weather conditions.

We’re value investors as well, so we’re constantly scouring the world for attractive value. When we look at an asset class like agriculture, one that’s been beaten down for years, we see compelling prices relative to their inflation-adjusted average prices.

Here in the Midwest—we’re located in Omaha, Nebraska—we’ve started to see changes in the supply/demand characteristics of the market that have led us to say this is attractive from a long-term perspective.

So we’ve invested in broad agriculture in general. We also use WEAT [the Teucrium Wheat Fund].

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