Building Dynamic Portfolios Searching the Globe Delivering Objective Strategies

Fund Architects Commentary


Tuesday, July 08, 2014


So, last week, BNP Paribas SA — the mother ship of France’s banking industry — was tagged with an $8.9 billion fine for willfully evading U.S. sanctions against rogue nations. In the most abrupt “tomber en disgrace” since Lance Armstrong hit the ditch, the nearly 200-year old behemoth fessed up to criminal charges that it had falsified business records and engaged in elaborate schemes to conceal illegal transactions from regulators.  Continue reading »

ADVISOR INSIGHTS - If you Markit, they will come

Monday, June 23, 2014


Ten years or so ago, a former TD Securities credit-trading executive – one interestingly named Lance Uggla – started a little outfit called Markit. Launched on the outskirts of London, in a barn no less, the good Mr. Uggla’s calling was to tap into the burgeoning credit-default-swaps market, which at the time was growing faster than Iowa corn.

People will come Lance.

Fortuitously enough, Markit eventually created the so-called "ABX" index, which famously became a way for banks to wager on the subprime-mortgage market ahead of and during the financial crisis. Since then, the company has figured out how to make money by charging its 3,000 or so clients fees for services and occasionally for licensing.  Continue reading »

ADVISOR INSIGHTS - Alts, on the Rocks

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


So here we are at the investment bar…stocks are chasing all-time highs, bond yields are on ice, volatility’s spiking, and global geopolitical risks are bubbling over the rim. No surprise that today’s asset mixologist is creating more enticing cocktails by combining interesting alternative strategies with more traditional assets. And he better -- a simple concoction of stocks, bonds, and cash seems downright old fashioned in this modern setting. But adding a splash of financial alternatives by itself ain’t gonna’ win this flair contest…what we need is a shot of booze in our allocation mix.  Continue reading »

ADVISOR INSIGHTS - Much Ado About Nothing To Do

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


If you missed the Treasury Department’s conference a few days back, money managers from around the U.S. assembled to talk about the bad “work” of the Financial Stability Oversight Council. The FSOC, as you’ve surely forgotten, is a marvel created in the Dodd-Frank quagmire that gives otherwise useless bureaucrats broad authority to “identify and monitor excessive risks to the U.S. financial system.”  Continue reading »


Tuesday, May 13, 2014


You may have heard that Chinese e-commerce colossus Alibaba Group filed paperwork last week for an initial public offering. The deal, when it makes its debut on the NYSE or the Nasdaq, will set the value of the company between $135 billion and $250 billion. At the lower end, the Oriental behemoth will be worth as much as Facebook. On the high side, it’ll be on par with Wal-Mart. Say what? Continue reading »

Fund Architects ViewPoints - May 2014

Friday, May 09, 2014


Economic Highlights
US GDP for first quarter 2014 (1Q14) was reported at 0.1%, lower than analysts’ estimates of 1.1%. The harsh winter weather was the main attributor to the uninspiring growth rate. In Euro land, GDP growth continues to be positive and analysts are becoming more constructive on economic growth from many constituent countries going forward. Initial data from Japan suggests consumers may not have retreated from making purchases to the degree forecasted because of higher sales taxes taking effect as part of Abenomics. This dynamic could bode well for investors as Japanese policy makers continue attempting to structurally change their domestic economy.  Continue reading »


Monday, April 28, 2014


So, last Thursday – from way back in the nether regions of the currency markets – Denmark’s central bank announced an increase in its deposit rate, i.e., the rate commercial banks receive for parking funds. Moves of this sort are generally no big deal, of course, but this one, no pun intended, is altogether interesting. Why? Cuz’ the move effectively brings to an end the Dane’s improbable experiment with an implausible idea: Negative interest rates.  Continue reading »

ADVISOR INSIGHTS - Flash Test Dummies

Monday, April 14, 2014


Flashback: It’s 1792, and we’re shouting buy and sell orders from a New York City curb to traders standing under a Buttonwood tree. Investing life is pretty simple…arbitrage is a word known only in France and front running refers to one’s foot speed to the pub after a tough day on the Street. High frequency trading is a relative thing that involves the occasional confluence of good weather, a sharp pencil, and green eyeshades. Continue reading »

ADVISOR INSIGHTS - Nothing Pretty at Citi

Monday, March 31, 2014


Quick…name the only two major U.S. banks to twice fail the Fed’s stress test…

If you answered Ally Financial and Citigroup, there’s a toaster in it for you. If you knew that Ally was actually considered a major U.S. bank, maybe you’ll get a four-slicer.  Continue reading »

Fund Architects ViewPoints - February 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014


Economic Highlights
US GDP for fourth quarter 2013 (4Q13) was revised downward to 2.4% from the initial estimate of +3.2%. Many pundits have attributed rough winter weather to recent economic data coming in weaker than expected. The euro area has now posted three consecutive quarters of positive GDP growth, which is a sign of stability. The rate of growth has been less than 1% but is encouraging nonetheless. Japanese authorities continue onward with the implementation of Prime Minister Abe’s policies in the attempt to reinvigorate their long dormant economy. Continue reading »

1 2 3 4 5 .. 15 Next