MFA Quarterly Commentaries

2018 Q1: Round trip to tax time

Posted by on Apr 15, 2018 in MFA Quarterly Commentaries

The First Quarter’s Round Trip The global stock markets started the year off with a bang and by the end of the first quarter of 2018 they were back to a touch below where they started the year. After roaring up 6% to 8% in January, various global markets ended the quarter modestly down: U.S. stocks were down -0.61%, international stocks were down -1.18%. In the meantime, various bond market indices were also down slightly (flat to down about -1.5%). Over the past 12 months, overall diversified returns were about where we would expect with a large variance in returns. Bonds were flat or down...

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2017 Q4: Are we floating in a bubble?

Posted by on Jan 15, 2018 in MFA Quarterly Commentaries

Happy New Year! We enter 2018 after an exceptional year in the global stock markets. The U.S. market delivered a whopping 21% while global developed and emerging markets outdid that, delivering 24% and 37% respectively.1 It’s common to experience that good news with mixed emotion. On the one hand, you celebrate a generous year in portfolio returns. On the other hand, you might be wondering if markets are now getting overpriced and whether you should be cutting back your stock allocation or even getting out altogether. The emerging field of behavioral finance gives us lots of insight into...

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2017 Q3: Are we at the top?

Posted by on Oct 31, 2017 in MFA Quarterly Commentaries

Global Stock markets have extended the bull market run nine months into 2017. Bonds and real estate funds produced only modest returns. As we pen this letter every three months, we try to write to the issues we think are most on our clients’ minds. A common concern we hear is that the markets seems high, the bull market has had a very long run, there is lots of uncertainty in the world (political and otherwise) and, well, “when is this going to end?” The question of the hour is, “are we at a top?”.

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2017 Q2: Reversion to mean

Posted by on Jul 21, 2017 in MFA Quarterly Commentaries

In past letters, we have talked about reversion to the mean. In recent months, we are experiencing it.

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2017 Q1: The Fiduciary Rule – Does it affect me?

Posted by on May 3, 2017 in MFA Quarterly Commentaries

We wanted to bring an important development in the financial services industry to your attention: The Fiduciary Rule. To put it briefly, the Fiduciary Rule is a regulation that requires advisors to act in their clients’ best interests. With the new administration, the rule has been delayed and there is a great deal of confusion and uncertainty about its future. Whether you have never heard of it until now or are deeply familiar with it, we want you to be aware of what it is and understand our position on it. In the following pages, we have a Question and Answer piece to further explain the proposed advisor Fiduciary Rule and how it might affect you. If this raises any questions or you have comments, please let us know.

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2016 Q4: Trump and Bond Prices

Posted by on Jan 6, 2017 in MFA Quarterly Commentaries

In a backdrop of all kinds of unusual and unexpected news, not the least of which was the largely unanticipated Trump presidential victory, the US Stock market had one of its few “normal” year in over nine decades. Allow us to explain.

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