Tuesday, October 30, 2007

More asset management M&A ahead?

"... one result of the credit dustup could be a more pronounced shift of capital toward brand-name firms and managers, along with an acceleration of M&A activity in the sector," says the third quarter 2007 newsletter from Berkshire Capital (p. 2).

For example, Berkshire cites Citadel Investment Group's acquisition of distressed assets from Sowood Capital.

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How to cut excess words from your investment commentary

Fewer words and more punctuation can give your investment commentary more impact.

Below you'll find a before and after example.

With only two more Fed meetings remaining in 2007 (on Oct. 31 and Dec. 11), the issue remains whether the Fed’s unexpectedly aggressive 50 basis point cut in the fed funds rate last week was intended to shock the markets to restore confidence or, they are concerned that the underlying economic conditions are worse than most of us think.

The meaning of the Fed's 0.5% cut in short-term interest rates is not clear. The Fed might have made this unexpectedly large cut to restore confidence. Or, the Fed might be worried that the economy is in worse shape than most of us think.

The Before sentence is fine if it's only read by investment professionals who want to extract its meaning. They can get it in one reading. But unsophisticated readers will struggle. Why? Because the sentence is long. It also includes superfluous information and technical language.

In my After sentence I
  • Deleted unnecessary information about the Oct. and Dec. Fed meetings
  • Paraphrased my way around references to fed funds rate and basis points
  • Broke one sentence into three sentences
  • Referred to the Fed as it instead of they

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Friday, October 26, 2007

CFA Digest: "Diversification Benefits and Persistence of US-Based Global Bond Funds"

Adding a global bond fund can improve your portfolio's risk-return characteristics.

According to a CFA Digest abstract of "Diversification Benefits and Persistence of US-Based Global Bond Funds," "Adding global bond funds to a portfolio is found to provide significant incremental benefits to equity index funds and domestic bond funds and to reduce the impact of volatile markets on a portfolio."

The full article by Sirapat Polwitoon and Oranee Tawatnuntachai, CFA appeared in Journal of Banking & Finance, Vol. 30, No. 10: (October 2006)2767-2786.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Strategic relationships can boost revenues--and client satisfaction--for estate planning attorneys, says DKE Inc.

Estate planning attorneys can boost their revenues--and client satisfaction--through strategic relationships with investment advisors, says DKE Inc. in their white paper, excerpted below. You can access the entire white paper by clicking on this link and then clicking again on "Attorney Strategic Relationships." DKE Inc. is one of my clients.

Estate planning attorneys face downward pressure on their income due to increased competition from attorneys and non-attorneys. Changes in tax laws also threaten the market for their services.

Estate planning attorneys can overcome these barriers to growth by forming strategic relationships with professionals in related, noncompetitive areas. These relationships should not focus on revenue enhancement. Instead, their goal should be improving client satisfaction within the context of the estate planning attorney as the client’s most trusted advisor. Revenues will follow.

In this paper, we provide a blueprint for estate planning attorneys to establish solid, effective and enduring relationships with such professionals and their clients.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tax Policy Center has a new website

The Tax Policy Center has a new website.

This is a great source of data on tax issues, such as the AMT, that affect your clients.

Note added on 10/10:
The center has just added a matrix comparing presidential candidates' tax policies. This could be good fodder for your commentary.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

T Rowe Price fund focused on Africa

I know that mutual funds are cutting up the world into smaller and more exotic slices. Plus, emerging market investment has become much more respectable as their economic and financial strength has increased.

Still, I was surprised to read about the new T Rowe Price Africa & Middle East Fund (TRAMX) in David Snowball's article on the FundAlarm Annex.

Snowball's well-written article referred me to "The Case for Investing in the Middle East and Africa," a four-page report available from T Rowe, and the Center for Global Development's "Why Doesn't Africa Get More Equity Investment? Frontier Stock Markets, Firm Size and Asset Allocations of Global Emerging Market Funds-Working Paper 112."