PHYSICIANS BEWARE: Traditional Financial Planning “Rules of Thumb”

DOCTORS AND MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS BEWARE?

We ARE Different

By Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA CMP®

SPONSOR: http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

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  • While financial planning rules of thumbs are useful to people as general guidelines, they may be too oversimplified in many situations, leading to underestimating or overestimating an individual’s needs. This may be especially true for physicians and many medical professionals. Rules of thumb do not account for specific circumstances or factors occurring at a particular time, or that could change over time, which should be considered for making sound financial decisions.
  • Great Health Industry Resignation: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2021/12/12/healthcare-industry-hit-with-the-great-resignation-retirement/

For example, in a tight job market, an emergency fund amounting to six months of household expenses does not consider the possibility of extended unemployment. I’ve always suggested 2-3 years for doctors. Venture capitalist lay-offs of physicians during the pandemic confirm this often criticized benchmark opinion of mine.

As another example, buying life insurance based on a multiple of income does not account for the specific needs of the surviving family, which include a mortgage, the need for college funding and an extended survivor income for a non-working spouse. Again a huge home mortgage, or several children or dependents, may be the financial bane of physician colleagues and life insurance.

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/082610254

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EXAMPLES: Old/New Rules

  • A home purchase should cost less than an amount equal to two and a half years of your annual income. I think physicians in practice for 3-5 years might go up to 3.5X annual income; ceteras paribus.
  • Save at least 10-15% of your take-home income for retirement. Seek to save 20% or more.
  • Have at least five times your gross salary in life insurance death benefit. Consider 10X this amount in term insurance if young, and/or with several children or other special circumstances.
  • Pay off your highest-interest credit cards first. Agreed.
  • The stock market has a long-term average return of 10%. Agreed, but appreciated risk adjusted rates of return..
  • You should have an emergency fund equal to six months’ worth of household expenses. Doctors should seek 2-3 years.
  • Your age represents the percentage of bonds you should have in your portfolio. Risk tolerance and assets may be more vital.
  • Your age subtracted from 100 represents the percentage of stocks you should have in your portfolio. Risk tolerance and assets may still be more vital.
  • A balanced portfolio is 60% stocks, 40% bonds. With historic low interest rates, cash may be a more flexible alternative than bonds; also avoid most bond mutual funds as they usually never mature.

There are also rules of thumb for determining how much net worth you will need to retire comfortably at a normal retirement age. Here is the calculation that Investopedia uses to determine your net worth:

Compensation in the Physician Specialties: Mostly Stable - NEJM  CareerCenter Resources

RULES 72, 78 and 115: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2022/01/30/the-rules-of-72-78-and-115/

INVITATION: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2021/05/08/invite-dr-marcinko-to-your-next-big-event/

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SECOND OPINIONS: Physician Financial Planning, Investing, Medical Practice Management and Business Valuations; etc!

BY DR. DAVID EDWARD MARCINKO MBA CMP

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Financial Planning for Medical Professionals

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What is Risk Adjusted Stock Market Performance?

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Update on Some Interesting and Important Financial Calculations

By Timothy J. McIntosh MBA CFP® MPH

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™

By Jeffrey S. Coons PhD CFA

TMDr. Jeff Coons

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-INTRODUCTION-

Performance measurement, like an annual physical, is an important feedback loop to monitor progress towards the goals of the medical professional’s investment program.  Performance comparisons to market indices and/or peer groups are a useful part of this feedback loop, as long as they are considered in the context of the market environment and with the limitations of market index and manager database construction.

Inherent to performance comparisons is the reality that portfolios taking greater risk will tend to out-perform less risky investments during bullish phases of a market cycle, but are also more likely to under-perform during the bearish phase.  The reason for focusing on performance comparisons over a full market cycle is that the phases biasing results in favor of higher risk approaches can be balanced with less favorable environments for aggressive approaches to lessen/eliminate those biases.

So, as physicians and other investors, can we eliminate the biases of the market environment by adjusting performance for the risk assumed by the portfolio?  While several interesting calculations have been developed to measure risk-adjusted performance, the unfortunate answer is that the biases of the market environment still tend to have an impact even after adjusting returns for various measures of risk.

However, medical professionals and their advisors will have many different risk-adjusted return statistics presented to them, so understanding the Sharpe ratio, Treynor ratio, Jensen’s measure or alpha, Morningstar star ratings, etc. and their limitations should help to improve the decisions made from the performance measurement feedback loop.

[a] The Treynor Ratio

The Treynor ratio measures the excess return achieved over the risk free return per unit of systematic risk as identified by beta to the market portfolio.  In practice, the Treynor ratio is often calculated using the T-Bill return for the risk-free return and the S&P 500 for the market portfolio.

[b] The Sharpe Ratio

The Sharpe ratio, named after CAPM pioneer William F. Sharpe, was originally formulated by substituting the standard deviation of portfolio returns (i.e., systematic plus unsystematic risk) in the place of beta of the Treynor ratio.  Thus, a fully diversified portfolio with no unsystematic risk will have a Sharpe ratio equal to its Treynor ratio, while a less diversified portfolio may have significantly different Sharpe and Treynor ratios.

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8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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[c] The Jensen Alpha Measure

The Jensen measure, named after CAPM research Michael C. Jensen, takes advantage of the CAPM equation discussed in the Portfolio Management section to identify a statistically significant excess return or alpha of a portfolio.  The essential idea is that to investigate the performance of an investment manager you must look not only at the overall return of a portfolio, but also at the risk of that portfolio.

For instance, if there are two mutual funds that both have a 12 percent return, a lucid investor will want the fund that is less risky. Jensen’s gauge is one of the ways to help decide if a portfolio is earning the appropriate return for its level of risk. If the value is positive, then the portfolio is earning excess returns. In other words, a positive value for Jensen’s alpha means a fund manager has “beat the market” with his or her stock picking skills compared with the risk the manager has taken.

[d] Database Ratings

The ratings given to mutual funds by databases, such as Morningstar, and various financial magazines are another attempt to develop risk-adjusted return measures.  These ratings are generally based on a ranking system for funds calculated from return and risk statistics.

A popular example is Morningstar’s star ratings, representing a weighting of three, five and ten year risk/return ratings.  This measure uses a return score from cumulative excess monthly fund returns above T-Bills and a risk score derived from the cumulative monthly return below T-Bills, both of which are normalized by the average for the fund’s asset class.  These scores are then subtracted from each other and funds in the asset class are ranked on the difference.  The top 10 percent receive five stars, the next 22.5 percent get four stars, the subsequent 35 percent receive three stars, the next 22.5 percent receive two stars, and the remaining 10 percent get one star.

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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Assessment

Unfortunately, these ratings systems tend to have the same problems of consistency and environmental bias seen in both non-risk adjusted comparisons over 3 and 5 year time periods and the other risk-adjusted return measures discussed above.  The bottom line on performance measurement is that the medical professional should not take the easy way out and accept independent comparisons, no matter how sophisticated, at face value.  Returning to our original rules-of-thumb, understanding the limitations of performance statistics is the key to using those statistics to monitor progress towards one’s goals.

This requires an understanding of performance numbers and comparisons in the context of the market environment and the composition/construction of the indices and peer group universes used as benchmarks.

Another important rule-of-thumb is to avoid projecting forward historical average returns, especially when it comes to strong performance in a bull market environment.  Much of an investment or manager’s performance may be environment-driven, and environments can change dramatically.

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ABOUT

Timothy J. McIntosh is Chief Investment Officer and founder of SIPCO.  As chairman of the firm’s investment committee, he oversees all aspects of major client accounts and serves as lead portfolio manager for the firm’s equity and bond portfolios. Mr. McIntosh was a Professor of Finance at Eckerd College from 1998 to 2008. He is the author of The Bear Market Survival Guide and the The Sector Strategist.  He is featured in publications like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Investment Advisor, Fortune, MD News, Tampa Doctor’s Life, and The St. Petersburg Times.  He has been recognized as a Five Star Wealth Manager in Texas Monthly magazine; and continuously named as Medical Economics’ “Best Financial Advisors for Physicians since 2004.  And, he is a contributor to SeekingAlpha.com., a premier website of investment opinion. Mr. McIntosh earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Florida State University; Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) degree from the University of Sarasota; Master of Public Health Degree (M.P.H) from the University of South Florida and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® practitioner. His previous experience includes employment with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida, Enterprise Leasing Company, and the United States Army Military Intelligence.

Dr. Jeffrey S. Coons is the Co-Director of Research at Manning & Napier Advisors, Inc. with primary responsibilities focusing on the measurement and management of portfolio risk and return relative to client objectives.  This includes providing analysis across every aspect of the investment process, from objectives setting and asset allocation to on-going monitoring of portfolio risk and return.  Dr. Coons is also member of the Investment Policy Group, which establishes and monitors secular investment trends, macroeconomic overviews, and the investment disciplines of the firm. Dr. Coons holds a doctoral degree in economics from Temple University, graduated with distinction from the University of Rochester with a B.A. in Economics, holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst, and is one of the employee-owners of Manning and Napier.

Conclusion

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PODCAST: The Real Secret About Why Corporate Mergers Fail

AN AUDIO PRESENTATION

 

By Vitaliy Katsenelson CFA

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Corporate acquisitions often fail for one simple reason: the buyer pays too much. An old Wall Street adage comes to mind: Price is what you pay, value is what you get.

It all starts with a control premium

When we purchase shares of a stock, we pay a price that is within pennies of the last trade. When a company is acquired, the purchase price is negotiated during long dinners at fine restaurants and comes with a control premium that is higher than the latest stock quotation.

How much above?

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

 

FINANCIAL PLANNING: Strategies for Doctors and their Advisors

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BY DR. DAVID E. MARCINKO MBA CMP®

SPONSOR: http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

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REVIEWS:

Written by doctors and healthcare professionals, this textbook should be mandatory reading for all medical school students—highly recommended for both young and veteran physicians—and an eliminating factor for any financial advisor who has not read it. The book uses jargon like ‘innovative,’ ‘transformational,’ and ‘disruptive’—all rightly so! It is the type of definitive financial lifestyle planning book we often seek, but seldom find.
LeRoy Howard MA CMPTM,Candidate and Financial Advisor, Fayetteville, North Carolina

I taught diagnostic radiology for over a decade. The physician-focused niche information, balanced perspectives, and insider industry transparency in this book may help save your financial life.
Dr. William P. Scherer MS, Barry University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

This book was crafted in response to the frustration felt by doctors who dealt with top financial, brokerage, and accounting firms. These non-fiduciary behemoths often prescribed costly wholesale solutions that were applicable to all, but customized for few, despite ever-changing needs. It is a must-read to learn why brokerage sales pitches or Internet resources will never replace the knowledge and deep advice of a physician-focused financial advisor, medical consultant, or collegial Certified Medical Planner™ financial professional.
—Parin Khotari MBA,Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University, New York

In today’s healthcare environment, in order for providers to survive, they need to understand their current and future market trends, finances, operations, and impact of federal and state regulations. As a healthcare consulting professional for over 30 years supporting both the private and public sector, I recommend that providers understand and utilize the wealth of knowledge that is being conveyed in these chapters. Without this guidance providers will have a hard time navigating the supporting system which may impact their future revenue stream. I strongly endorse the contents of this book.
—Carol S. Miller BSN MBA PMP,President, Miller Consulting Group, ACT IAC Executive Committee Vice-Chair at-Large, HIMSS NCA Board Member

This is an excellent book on financial planning for physicians and health professionals. It is all inclusive yet very easy to read with much valuable information. And, I have been expanding my business knowledge with all of Dr. Marcinko’s prior books. I highly recommend this one, too. It is a fine educational tool for all doctors.
—Dr. David B. Lumsden MD MS MA,Orthopedic Surgeon, Baltimore, Maryland

There is no other comprehensive book like it to help doctors, nurses, and other medical providers accumulate and preserve the wealth that their years of education and hard work have earned them.
—Dr. Jason Dyken MD MBA,Dyken Wealth Strategies, Gulf Shores, Alabama

I plan to give a copy of this book written
by doctors and for doctors’ to all my prospects, physician, and nurse clients. It may be the definitive text on this important topic.
—Alexander Naruska CPA,Orlando, Florida

Health professionals are small business owners who need to apply their self-discipline tactics in establishing and operating successful practices. Talented trainees are leaving the medical profession because they fail to balance the cost of attendance against a realistic business and financial plan. Principles like budgeting, saving, and living below one’s means, in order to make future investments for future growth, asset protection, and retirement possible are often lacking. This textbook guides the medical professional in his/her financial planning life journey from start to finish. It ranks a place in all medical school libraries and on each of our bookshelves.
—Dr. Thomas M. DeLauro DPM,Professor and Chairman – Division of Medical Sciences, New York College of Podiatric Medicine

Physicians are notoriously excellent at diagnosing and treating medical conditions. However, they are also notoriously deficient in managing the business aspects of their medical practices. Most will earn $20-30 million in their medical lifetime, but few know how to create wealth for themselves and their families. This book will help fill the void in physicians’ financial education. I have two recommendations: 1) every physician, young and old, should read this book; and 2) read it a second time!
—Dr. Neil Baum MD,Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, Louisiana

I worked with a Certified Medical Planner™ on several occasions in the past, and will do so again in the future. This book codified the vast body of knowledge that helped in all facets of my financial life and professional medical practice.
Dr. James E. Williams DABPS, Foot and Ankle Surgeon, Conyers, Georgia

This is a constantly changing field for rules, regulations, taxes, insurance, compliance, and investments. This book assists readers, and their financial advisors, in keeping up with what’s going on in the healthcare field that all doctors need to know.
Patricia Raskob CFP® EA ATA, Raskob Kambourian Financial Advisors, Tucson, Arizona

I particularly enjoyed reading the specific examples in this book which pointed out the perils of risk … something with which I am too familiar and have learned (the hard way) to avoid like the Black Death. It is a pleasure to come across this kind of wisdom, in print, that other colleagues may learn before it’s too late— many, many years down the road.
Dr. Robert S. Park MD, Robert Park and Associates Insurance, Seattle, Washington

Although this book targets physicians, I was pleased to see that it also addressed the financial planning and employment benefit needs of nurses; physical, respiratory, and occupational therapists; CRNAs, hospitalists, and other members of the health care team….highly readable, practical, and understandable.
Nurse Cecelia T. Perez RN, Hospital Operating Room Manager, Ellicott City, Maryland

Personal financial success in the PP-ACA era will be more difficult to achieve than ever before. It requires the next generation of doctors to rethink frugality, delay gratification, and redefine the very definition of success and work–life balance. And, they will surely need the subject matter medical specificity and new-wave professional guidance offered in this book. This book is a ‘must-read’ for all health care professionals, and their financial advisors, who wish to take an active role in creating a new subset of informed and pioneering professionals known as Certified Medical Planners™.
—Dr. Mark D. Dollard FACFAS, Private Practice, Tyson Corner, Virginia

As healthcare professionals, it is our Hippocratic duty to avoid preventable harm by paying attention. On the other hand, some of us are guilty of being reckless with our own financial health—delaying serious consideration of investments, taxation, retirement income, estate planning, and inheritances until the worry keeps one awake at night. So, if you have avoided planning for the future for far too long, perhaps it is time to take that first step toward preparedness. This in-depth textbook is an excellent starting point—not only because of its readability, but because of his team’s expertise and thoroughness in addressing the intricacies of modern investments—and from the point of view of not only gifted financial experts, but as healthcare providers, as well … a rare combination.
Dr. Darrell K. Pruitt DDS, Private Practice Dentist, Fort Worth, Texas

This text should be on the bookshelf of all contemporary physicians. The book is physician-focused with unique topics applicable to all medical professionals. But, it also offers helpful insights into the new tax and estate laws, fiduciary accountability for advisors and insurance agents, with investing, asset protection and risk management, and retirement planning strategies with updates for the brave new world of global payments of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Starting out by encouraging readers to examine their personal ‘money blueprint’ beliefs and habits, the book is divided into four sections offering holistic life cycle financial information and economic education directed to new, mid-career, and mature physicians.

This structure permits one to dip into the book based on personal need to find relief, rather than to overwhelm. Given the complexity of modern domestic healthcare, and the daunting challenges faced by physicians who try to stay abreast of clinical medicine and the ever-evolving laws of personal finance, this textbook could not have come at a better time.
—Dr. Philippa Kennealy MD MPH, The Entrepreneurial MD, Los Angeles, California

Physicians have economic concerns unmatched by any other profession, arriving ten years late to the start of their earning years. This textbook goes to the core of how to level the playing field quickly, and efficaciously, by a new breed of dedicated Certified Medical Planners™. With physician-focused financial advice, each chapter is a building block to your financial fortress.
Thomas McKeon, MBA, Pharmaceutical Representative, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

An excellent resource … this textbook is written in a manner that provides physician practice owners with a comprehensive guide to financial planning and related topics for their professional practice in a way that is easily comprehended. The style in which it breaks down the intricacies of the current physician practice landscape makes it a ‘must-read’ for those physicians (and their advisors) practicing in the volatile era of healthcare reform.
—Robert James Cimasi, MHA ASA FRICS MCBA CVA CM&AA CMP™, CEO-Health Capital Consultants, LLC, St. Louis, Missouri

Rarely can one find a full compendium of information within a single source or text, but this book communicates the new financial realities we are forced to confront; it is full of opportunities for minimizing tax liability and maximizing income potential. We’re recommending it to all our medical practice management clients across the entire healthcare spectrum.
Alan Guinn, The Guinn Consultancy Group, Inc., Cookeville, Tennessee

Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™ and his team take a seemingly endless stream of disparate concepts and integrate them into a simple, straightforward, and understandable path to success. And, he codifies them all into a step-by-step algorithm to more efficient investing, risk management, taxation, and enhanced retirement planning for doctors and nurses. His text is a vital read—and must execute—book for all healthcare professionals and physician-focused financial advisors.
Dr. O. Kent Mercado, JD, Private Practitioner and Attorney, Naperville, Illinois

Kudos. The editors and contributing authors have compiled the most comprehensive reference book for the medical community that has ever been attempted. As you review the chapters of interest and hone in on the most important concerns you may have, realize that the best minds have been harvested for you to plan well… Live well.
Martha J. Schilling; AAMS® CRPC® ETSC CSA, Shilling Group Advisors, LLC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I recommend this book to any physician or medical professional that desires an honest no-sales approach to understanding the financial planning and investing world. It is worthwhile to any financial advisor interested in this space, as well.
David K. Luke, MIM MS-PFP CMP™, Net Worth Advisory Group, Sandy, Utah

Although not a substitute for a formal business education, this book will help physicians navigate effectively through the hurdles of day-to-day financial decisions with the help of an accountant, financial and legal advisor. I highly recommend it and commend Dr. Marcinko and the Institute of Medical Business Advisors, Inc. on a job well done.
Ken Yeung MBA CMP™, Tseung Kwan O Hospital, Hong Kong

I’ve seen many ghost-written handbooks, paperbacks, and vanity-published manuals on this topic throughout my career in mental healthcare. Most were poorly written, opinionated, and cheaply produced self-aggrandizing marketing drivel for those agents selling commission-based financial products and expensive advisory services. So, I was pleasantly surprised with this comprehensive peer-reviewed academic textbook, complete with citations, case examples, and real-life integrated strategies by and for medical professionals. Although a bit late for my career, I recommend it highly to all my younger colleagues … It’s credibility and specificity stand alone.
Dr. Clarice Montgomery PhD MA,Retired Clinical Psychologist

In an industry known for one-size-fits-all templates and massively customized books, products, advice, and services, the extreme healthcare specificity of this text is both refreshing and comprehensive.
Dr. James Joseph Bartley, Columbus, Georgia

My brother was my office administrator and accountant. We both feel this is the most comprehensive textbook available on financial planning for healthcare providers.
Dr. Anthony Robert Naruska DC,Winter Park, Florida

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Careers and Net Worth

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Your Career as an Asset Class

By Rick Kahler MS CFP® http://www.KahlerFinancial.com

Rick Kahler CFPIs your [medical] career part of your net worth? Should you include it as an asset class in a diversified investment portfolio? While we consider careers as essential aspects of financial and professional success, few of us think of or manage them as financial assets.

Emerging New Philosophy

Michael Haubrich, CFP®, of Financial Service Group, Inc., in Racine, Wisconsin, encourages clients to think of careers this way. Some of the following ideas come from his new book, Career Asset Management: Getting Ahead, Staying Ahead and Using Your Head to Maximize Your Career Value.

Career as Assset

If you consider your career an asset, then managing it means paying attention to the return you get from that asset. Here are a few things to consider in order in order to receive the most value from a career.

  1. Keep in mind that the most important return on investment from a career is not necessarily financial

The value of a career is much more than just the money you earn; it includes a host of less tangible but vital rewards like the satisfaction you get from your work and the fulfillment that comes from following your dreams and using the talents that make up your unique genius.

  1. Consciously set out to build a career rather than get a job

As with investing, this provides the most benefit when you start early. Settling long-term for “just a job” usually won’t provide as much value, in terms of both income and job satisfaction, as you will get from a meaningful career.

  1. If your career asset isn’t providing a good return, make changes

Just as you might sell an underperforming mutual fund, consider making changes to your career if you aren’t getting the earnings, fulfillment, or other value you want from it. You might look for a similar job with a different company, add skills and knowledge to help you move up, consider changing careers, or explore starting your own business.

One way to fund such changes is to budget for a reserve over and above the six months of living expenses that many financial advisors recommend. Mike calls this reserve an Asset Working Capital Fund. He suggests the amount to have in this fund depends on the “velocity” and “volatility” of your career asset—including how fast you’re likely to advance, the stability of your job and career field, and life changes like starting a family that will affect your income.

  1. Think of your career as a rental property

Mike recommends viewing your career as an asset that you own and rent to others for given periods of time. To get the highest “rent”—income and satisfaction—you need to keep that asset in top shape by keeping your skills and knowledge up to date, maintaining your passion for your work, and building a strong reputation and network of relationships within your profession.

  1. Make the most of your near-retirement years

Wanting to retire early because you’re dissatisfied with your work can be a sign that your career asset isn’t working for you. Yet staying employed for even a few more years can make a big difference in your retirement income. Mike suggests considering options like part-time or contract work, flexible scheduling, consulting, or freelancing to add value to your late-career years. This can help you move into retirement gradually, as well as provide more financial security.

Bear + A Falling Stock Chart

Assessment

Chances are you won’t choose to list your career as an asset class in your investment portfolio. To make the most of both your aspirations and your earning power, however, keep in mind that a satisfying career is one of the most important assets you can own.

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Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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WHO / WHAT Are the Best Predictors of Stock Market Performance?

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Lon Jefferies

By Lon Jefferies MBA CFP®

WHO Are the Best Predictors of Stock Market Performance?

Every day CNBC airs dozens of “financial professionals” making market forecasts. Similarly, every financial publication has multiple pieces regarding the future of the stock market. With so much information, how is it possible to determine who is worth listening to and what information to incorporate into your investment strategy?

Dropping Names

Without dropping any names, I’d suggest that the more confident a market pundit is about his or her prediction, the more you should question their advice.

People who make strong, unwavering forecasts are interesting to watch and appear as intelligent, appealing leaders whose advice is worth following. Meanwhile, people who frequently say phrases such as “it depends,” “maybe,” or even “I don’t know” don’t seem to be adding much value and don’t appear to be any more knowledgeable than the average investor. Yet, I’d suggest you tune out the stanch forecaster pounding his fist on the table as he speaks and rather listen closely to the individual who is less willing to make firm predictions.

Stock market performance

Stock market performance is clearly not a result of any singular factor such as whether or not companies will generate more profits than expected. If this was the case, making market predictions would be easy – one could simply guess the answer to be yes or no and have a 50% chance of being correct. Rather, hitting profit targets is only point A on a long list of factors impacting stock market performance.

Point B may be whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates during their next meeting. Again, our market forecaster could guess yes or no to this question and have a 50% chance of being correct. However, when considering both factors A and B, now our market forecaster has to be right twice on two issues where there is only a 50% probability of being correct on each. Simple math tells us there is only a 25% chance that this will occur (50% x 50% = 25%).

Point C may be whether the republicans or the democrats win the 2016 election. Again, there is a 50% chance of either possibility. Now there are three factors in play, each with a 50% probability, so the probability that the market pundit will get all three factors correct is 12.5% (50% x 50% x 50% = 12.5%).

Point D may be whether the US dollars strengthens or weakens when compared to other currencies. Again, there is a 50% chance of getting this right, so when we consider all four factors, there is now a 6.25% chance of getting it right (50% x 50% x 50% x 50% = 6.25%).

The equation

There are hundreds of factors that go into this equation. Will Greece have another economic crisis? Will the price of oil go up or down? Will a war breakout with Russia? This is exactly why forecasting market performance is so difficult!

For this reason, the people who make the best forecasters are people who say phrases such as “perhaps,” “however,” and “on the other hand” a lot. Doing so illustrates that the individual has looked at the situation from a lot of different perspectives and realizes that everything may not go according to plan. These types of people also tend to admit when they are wrong more willingly and update their analysis utilizing the latest information available, even if the new information doesn’t reflect what they previously anticipated. Their thought process is likely: “I got point A wrong, so I need to adjust my thinking on point B, which will have an impact on point C, so how does this change my perspective on point D.” We’ll call this a point-A-to-point-B-to-point-C-to-point-D mentality.

By comparison, the forecaster who makes the strong prediction while staring into the camera likely utilizes more of a point-A-to-point-D mentality. They are less likely to admit that there are more factors affecting market performance than can be managed, and less likely to incorporate new information that doesn’t coincide with his previous prediction when making forward-looking forecasts. Their thought process is likely: “I may have gotten point A wrong, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is point D and I believe I got that right when making my prediction.” This approach is obviously less logic-based than the approach taken by the forecaster who knows there are too many factors to enable an individual to make a confident prediction.

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Assessment

While people who make confident predictions regarding market performance are entertaining to watch and provide advice that is simple to follow (he said buy, so I’ll buy), their advice is not likely to be any more accurate than other market pundits. In fact, if they are unwilling to admit when they get any potential factor concerning market performance wrong, their advice may be more damaging then useful.  By comparison, market forecasters who utilize phrases such as “however,” “it is hard to say,” and “I’m not sure” provide advice that may come off as unhelpful or impossible to follow, but it is these people who provide logic-based nuggets of information that are likely to benefit your investment portfolio.

ABOUT

Lon Jefferies, a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP), is a fee-only financial advisor and trusted fiduciary at Net Worth Advisory Group in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is dedicated to providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management on a fee-only basis.

Conclusion

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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[Dr. Cappiello PhD MBA] *** [Foreword Dr. Krieger MD MBA]

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What is Tactical Portfolio Management?

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Re-Thinking Strategic Allocation

[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA]

Dr. David E. Marcinko MBAMany successful physician investors, retirement account managers or endowment fund administrators will establish a “strategic” allocation policy that is intended to guide long-term (greater than one-year) investment decisions.

Thinking Long Term?

This strategic allocation reflects the endowment’s thinking regarding the existence of perceived fundamental shifts in the market. Most endowments will also establish a target range or band for each asset class. The day-to-day managers then have the flexibility to make tactical decisions for a given class so long as they stay within the target range.

Terms

The term “tactical” when used in the context of investment strategy refers to the investor or manager’s ability to take advantage of short-term (under one year) market anomalies such as pricing discrepancies between different sectors or across different styles.

Assessment

Historically, tactical decisions with respect to asset allocation were derided as “market timing.” However, market timing implies moving outside of the target ranges whereas tactical decision making simply addresses the opportunistic deployment of funds within the asset class target range.

So, what do you think?

Online MD investor

Conclusion

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A Few Simple Rules For Money Managers

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A Few Simple Rules For Money Managers

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[By Vitaliy Katsenelson CFA]

One of the biggest hazards of being a professional money manager is that you are expected to behave in a certain way: You have to come to the office every day, work long hours, slog through countless e-mails, be on top of your portfolio (that is, check performance of your securities minute by minute), watch business TV and consume news continuously, and dress well and conservatively, wearing a rope around the only part of your body that lets air get to your brain. Our colleagues judge us on how early we arrive at work and how late we stay. We do these things because society expects us to, not because they make us better investors or do any good for our clients.

Somehow we let the mindless, Henry Ford–assembly-line, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., widgets-per-hour mentality dictate how we conduct our business thinking. Though car production benefits from rigid rules, uniforms, automation and strict working hours, in investing — the business of thinking — the assembly-line culture is counterproductive. Our clients and employers would be better off if we designed our workdays to let us perform our best.

Investing

Investing is not an idea-­per-hour profession; it more likely results in a few ideas per year. A traditional, structured working environment creates pressure to produce an output — an idea, even a forced idea. Warren Buffett once said at a Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting: “We don’t get paid for activity; we get paid for being right. As to how long we’ll wait, we’ll wait indefinitely.”

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How you get ideas is up to you. I am not a professional writer, but as a professional money manager, I learn and think best through writing. I put on my headphones, turn on opera and stare at my computer screen for hours, pecking away at the keyboard — that is how I think. You may do better by walking in the park or sitting with your legs up on the desk, staring at the ceiling.

I do my best thinking in the morning. At 3:00 in the afternoon, my brain shuts off; that is when I read my e-mails. We are all different. My best friend is a brunch person; he needs to consume six cups of coffee in the morning just to get his brain going. To be most productive, he shouldn’t go to work before 11:00 a.m.

And then there’s the business news. Serious business news that lacked sensationalism, and thus ratings, has been replaced by a new genre: business entertainment (of course, investors did not get the memo). These shows do a terrific job of filling our need to have explanations for everything, even random events that require no explanation (like daily stock movements). Most information on the business entertainment channels — Bloomberg Television, CNBC, Fox Business — has as much value for investors as daily weather forecasts have for travelers who don’t intend to go anywhere for a year. Yet many managers have CNBC, Fox or Bloomberg on while they work.

Filters

You may think you’re able to filter the noise. You cannot; it overwhelms you. So don’t fight the noise — block it. Leave the television off while the markets are open, and at the end of the day, check the business channel websites to see if there were interviews or news events that are worth watching.

Don’t check your stock quotes continuously; doing so shrinks your time horizon. As a long-term investor, you analyze a company and value the business over the next decade, but daily stock volatility will negate all that and turn you into a trader. There is nothing wrong with trading, but investors are rarely good traders.

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Numerous studies have found that humans are terrible at multitasking. We have a hard time ignoring irrelevant information and are too sensitive to new information. Focus is the antithesis of multitasking. I find that I’m most productive on an airplane. I put on my headphones and focus on reading or writing. There are no distractions — no e-mails, no Twitter, no Facebook, no instant messages, no phone calls. I get more done in the course of a four-hour flight than in two days at the office. But you don’t need to rack up frequent-flier miles to focus; just go into “off mode” a few hours a day: Kill your Internet, turn off your phone, and do what you need to do.

I bet if most of us really focused, we could cut down our workweek from five days to two. Performance would improve, our personal lives would get better, and those eventual heart attacks would be pushed back a decade or two.

Assessment

Take the rope off your neck and wear comfortable clothes to work (I often opt for jeans and a “Life is good” T-shirt). Pause and ask yourself a question: If I was not bound by the obsolete routines of the dinosaur age of assembly-line manufacturing, how would I structure my work to be the best investor I could be? Print this article, take it to your boss and tell him or her, “This is what I need to do to be the most productive 

ABOUT

Vitaliy N. Katsenelson, CFA, is Chief Investment Officer at Investment Management Associates in Denver, Colo. He is the author of Active Value Investing (Wiley 2007) and The Little Book of Sideways Markets (Wiley, 2010).  His books have been translated into eight languages.  Forbes called him – the new Benjamin Graham.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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PODCAST: Hedge Fund Manager Michael Burry MD

In The Subprime of His Life – My Story

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA, CMP™

[Editor-in-Chief]

I am a long time fan of financial industry journalist Michael Lewis [Liars’ Poker, Moneyball and others] who just released a new book. The Big Short is a chronicle of four players in the subprime mortgage market who had the foresight [and testosterone] to short the diciest mortgage deals: Steve Eisner of FrontPoint, Greg Lippmann at Deutsche Bank, the three partners at Cornwall Capital, and most indelibly, Wall Street outsider Michael Burry MD of Scion Capital.

They all walked away from the disaster with pockets full of money and reputations as geniuses.

About Mike

Now, I do not know the first three folks, but I do know a little something about my colleague Michael Burry MD; he is indeed a very smart guy. Mike is a nice guy too, who also has a natural writing style that I envy [just request and read his quarterly reports for a stylized sample]. He gave me encouragement and insight early in my career transformation – from doctor to “other”.

And, he confirmed my disdain for the traditional financial services [retail sales] industry, Wall Street and their registered representatives and ‘training’ system, and sad broker-dealer ethos [suitability versus fiduciary accountability] despite being a hedge fund manager himself.

I mentioned him in my book: “Insurance and Risk Management Strategies” [For Physicians and their Advisors].

http://www.amazon.com/Insurance-Management-Strategies-Physicians-Advisors/dp/0763733423/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269254153&sr=1-2

He ultimately helped me eschew financial services organizations, “certifications”, “designations” and ”colleges”, and their related SEO rules, SEC regulations and policy wonks; and above all to go with my gut … and go it alone!

And so, I rejected my certified financial planner [marketing] designation status as useless for me, and launched the www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org on-line educational program for physician focused financial advisors and management consultants interested in the healthcare space … who wish to be fiduciaries.

And I thank Mike for the collegial good will. By the way, Mike is not a CPA, nor does he posses an MBA or related advanced degree or designation. He is not a middle-man FA. He is a physician. Unlike far too many other industry “financial advisors” he is not a lemming.

IOW: We are not salesman. We are out-of-the-box thinkers, innovators and contrarians by nature. www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com

From a Book Review

According to book reviewer Michael Osinski, writing in the March 22-29 issue of Businessweek.com, Lewis is at his best working with characters and Burry is rendered most vividly.

A loner from a young age, in part because he has a glass eye that made it difficult to look people in the face, Burry excelled at topics that required intense and isolated concentration. Originally, investing was just a hobby while he pursued a career in medicine. As a resident neurosurgeon at Stanford Hospital in the late 1990s, Burry often stayed up half the night typing his ideas onto a message board. Unbeknownst to him, professional money managers began to read and profit from his freely dispensed insight, and a hedge fund eventually offered him $1 million for a quarter of his investment firm, which consisted of a few thousand dollars from his parents and siblings. Another fund later sent him $10 million”.

“Burry’s obsession with finding undervalued companies eventually led him to realize that his own home in San Jose, Calif., was grossly overpriced, along with houses all over the country. He wrote to a friend: “A large portion of the current [housing] demand at current prices would disappear if only people became convinced that prices weren’t rising. The collateral damage is likely to be orders of magnitude worse than anyone now considers.” This was in 2003.

“Through exhaustive research, Burry understood that subprime mortgages would be the fuse and that the bonds based on these mortgages would start to blow up within as little as two years, when the original “teaser” rates expired. But Burry did something that separated him from all the other housing bears—he found an efficient way to short the market by persuading Goldman Sachs (GS) to sell him a CDS against subprime deals he saw as doomed. A unique feature of these swaps was that he did not have to own the asset to insure it, and over time, the trade in these contracts overwhelmed the actual market in the underlying bonds”.

“By June 2005, Goldman was writing Burry CDS contracts in $100 million lots, “insane” amounts, according to Burry. In November, Lippmann contacted Burry and tried to buy back billions of dollars of swaps that his bank had sold. Lippmann had noticed a growing wave of subprime defaults showing up in monthly remittance reports and wanted to protect Deutsche Bank from potentially massive losses. All it would take to cause major pain, Lippmann and his analysts deduced, was a halt in price appreciation for homes. An actual fall in prices would bring a catastrophe. By that time, Burry was sure he held winning tickets; he politely declined Lippmann’s offer”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Link: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_12/b4171094664065.htm

My Story … Being a Bit like Mike

I first contacted Mike, by phone and email, more than a decade ago. His hedge fund, Scion Capital, had no employees at the time and he outsourced most of the front and back office activities to concentrate on position selection and management. Early investors were relatives and a few physicians and professors from his medical residency days. Asset gathering was a slosh, indeed. And, in a phone conversation, I remember him confirming my impressions that doctors were not particularly astute investors. For him, they generally had sparse funds to invest as SEC “accredited investors” and were better suited for emerging tax advantaged mutual funds. ETFs were not significantly on the radar screen, back then, and index funds were considered unglamorous. No, his target hedge-fund audience was Silicon Valley.

And, much like his value-hero Warren Buffett [also a Ben Graham and David Dodd devotee], his start while from the doctor space, did not derive its success because of them.

Moreover, like me, he lionized the terms “value investing”, “margin of safety” and “intrinsic value”.

Co-incidentally, as a champion of the visually impaired, I was referred to him by author, attorney and blogger Jay Adkisson www.jayadkisson.com Jay is an avid private pilot having earned his private pilot’s license after losing an eye to cancer.

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Mike again re-entered my cognitive space while doing research for the first edition of our successful print book: “Financial Planning Handbook for Physicians and Advisors” and while searching for physicians who left medicine for alternate careers!

In fact, he wrote the chapter on hedge funds in our print journal and thru the third book edition before becoming too successful for such mundane stuff. We are now in our fourth edition, with a fifth in progress once the Obama administration stuff [healthcare and financial services industry “reform” and new tax laws] has been resolved

http://www.amazon.com/Financial-Planning-Handbook-Physicians-Advisors/dp/0763745790/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269211056&sr=1-1

Assessment

News: Dr. Burry appeared on 60 Minutes Sunday March 14th, 2010. His activities with Scion Capital are portrayed in Michael Lewis’s newest book, The Big Short.  An excerpt is available in the April 2010 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, and at VanityFair.com 

Video of Dr. Burry: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6298040n&tag=contentBody;housing

Video of Dr. Burry: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6298038n&tag=contentBody;housing

PS: Michael Osinski retired from Wall Street and now runs Widow’s Hole Oyster Co. in Greenport, NY http://www.widowsholeoysters.com

And, our www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com related books can be reviewed here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=david+marcinko

Assessment

Visit Scion Capital LLC and tell us what you think http://www.scioncapital.com.

And to Mike himself, I say “Mazel Tov” and congratulations? I am sure you will be a good and faithful steward. The greatest legacy one can have is in how they treated the “little people.” You are a champ. Call me – let’s do lunch. And, I am still writing: www.BusinessofMedicalPractice.com for the conjoined space we both LOVE.

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[Dr. Cappiello PhD MBA] *** [Foreword Dr. Krieger MD MBA]

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On Wall Street’s Suitability, Prudence and Fiduciary Accountability

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Financial Advisor’s are Not Doctors!

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Dr. David E. Marcinko FACFAS MBA CMP™ MBBS

THRIVE-BECOME A CMP™ Physician Focused Fiduciary

http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

Financial advisors don’t ascribe to the Hippocratic Oath.  People don’t go to work on “Wall Street” for the same reasons other people become firemen and teachers.  There are no essays where they attempt to come up with a new way to say, “I just want to help people.”

Financial Advisor’s are Not Doctors

Some financial advisors and insurance agents like to compare themselves to CPAs, attorneys and physicians who spend years in training and pass difficult tests to get advanced degrees and certifications. We call these steps: barriers-to-entry. Most agents, financial product representatives and advisors, if they took a test at all, take one that requires little training and even less experience. There are few BTEs in the financial services industry.

For example, most insurance agent licensing tests are thirty minutes in length. The Series #7 exam for stock brokers is about 2 hours; and the formerly exalted CFP® test is about only about six [and now recently abbreviated]. All are multiple-choice [guess] and computerized. An aptitude for psychometric savvy is often as important as real knowledge; and the most rigorous of these examinations can best be compared to a college freshman biology or chemistry test in difficulty.

Yet, financial product salesman, advisors and stock-brokers still use lines such as; “You wouldn’t let just anyone operate on you, would you?” or “I’m like your family physician for your finances.  I might send you to a specialist for a few things, but I’m the one coordinating it all.”  These lines are designed to make us feel good about trusting them with our hard-earned dollars and, more importantly, to think of personal finance and investing as something that “only a professional can do.”

Unfortunately, believing those lines can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of retirement. 

More: Video on Hedge Fund Manager Michael Burry MD

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Suitability Rule

A National Association of Securities Dealers [NASD] / Financial Industry Regulatory Authority [FINRA] guideline that require stock-brokers, financial product salesman and brokerages to have reasonable grounds for believing a recommendation fits the investment needs of a client. This is a low standard of care for commissioned transactions without relationships; and for those “financial advisors” not interested in engaging clients with advice on a continuous and ongoing basis. It is governed by rules in as much as a Series #7 licensee is a Registered Representative [RR] of a broker-dealer. S/he represents best-interests of the firm; not the client.

And, a year or so ago there we two pieces of legislation for independent broker-dealers-Rule 2111 on suitability guidelines and Rule 408(b)2 on ERISA. These required a change in processes and procedures, as well as mindset change.

Note: ERISA = The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) codified in part a federal law that established minimum standards for pension plans in private industry and provides for extensive rules on the federal income tax effects of transactions associated with employee benefit plans. ERISA was enacted to protect the interests of employee benefit plan participants and their beneficiaries by:

  • Requiring the disclosure of financial and other information concerning the plan to beneficiaries;
  • Establishing standards of conduct for plan fiduciaries ;
  • Providing for appropriate remedies and access to the federal courts.

ERISA is sometimes used to refer to the full body of laws regulating employee benefit plans, which are found mainly in the Internal Revenue Code and ERISA itself. Responsibility for the interpretation and enforcement of ERISA is divided among the Department Labor, Treasury, IRS and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.

Yet, there is still room for commissioned based FAs. For example, some smaller physician clients might have limited funds [say under $100,000-$250,000], but still need some counsel, insight or advice.

Or, they may need some investing start up service from time to time; rather than ongoing advice on an annual basis. Thus, for new doctors, a commission based financial advisor may make some sense. 

Prudent Man Rule

This is a federal and state regulation requiring trustees, financial advisors and portfolio managers to make decisions in the manner of a prudent man – that is – with intelligence and discretion. The prudent man rule requires care in the selection of investments but does not limit investment alternatives. This standard of care is a bit higher than mere suitability for one who wants to broaden and deepen client relationships. 

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Prudent Investor Rule

The Uniform Prudent Investor Act (UPIA), adopted in 1992 by the American Law Institute’s Third Restatement of the Law of Trusts, reflects a modern portfolio theory [MPT] and total investment return approach to the exercise of fiduciary investment discretion. This approach allows fiduciary advisors to utilize modern portfolio theory to guide investment decisions and requires risk versus return analysis. Therefore, a fiduciary’s performance is measured on the performance of the entire portfolio, rather than individual investments 

Fiduciary Rule

The legal duty of a fiduciary is to act in the best interests of the client or beneficiary. A fiduciary is governed by regulations and is expected to judge wisely and objectively. This is true for Investment Advisors [IAs] and RIAs; but not necessarily stock-brokers, commission salesmen, agents or even most financial advisors. Doctors, lawyers, CPAs and the clergy are prototypical fiduciaries. 

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More formally, a financial advisor who is a fiduciary is legally bound and authorized to put the client’s interests above his or her own at all times. The Investment Advisors Act of 1940 and the laws of most states contain anti-fraud provisions that require financial advisors to act as fiduciaries in working with their clients. However, following the 2008 financial crisis, there has been substantial debate regarding the fiduciary standard and to which advisors it should apply. In July of 2010, The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act mandated increased consumer protection measures (including enhanced disclosures) and authorized the SEC to extend the fiduciary duty to include brokers rather than only advisors, as prescribed in the 1940 Act. However, as of 2014, the SEC has yet to extend a meaningful fiduciary duty to all brokers and advisors, regardless of their designation.

The Fiduciary Oath: fiduciaryoath_individual

Assessment 

Ultimately, physician focused and holistic “financial lifestyle planning” is about helping some very smart people change their behavior for the better. But, one can’t help doctors choose which opportunities to take advantage of along the way unless there is a sound base of technical knowledge to apply the best skills, tools, and techniques to achieve goals in the first place.

Most of the harms inflicted on consumers by “financial advisors” or “financial planners” occur not due to malice or greed but ignorance; as a result, better consumer protections require not only a fiduciary standard for advice, but a higher standard for competency.

The CFP® practitioner fiduciary should be the minimum standard for financial planning for retail consumers, but there is room for post CFP® studies, certifications and designations; especially those that support real medical niches and deep healthcare specialization like the Certified Medical Planner™ course of study [Michael E. Kitces; MSFS, MTax, CLU, CFP®, personal communication].

Being a financial planner entails Life-Long-Learning [LLL]. One should not be allowed to hold themselves out as an advisor, consultant, or planner unless they are held to a fiduciary standard, period. Corollary – there’s nothing wrong with a suitability standard, but those in sales should be required to hold themselves out as a salesperson, not an advisor.

The real distinction is between advisors and salespeople. And, fiduciary standards can accommodate both fee and commission compensation mechanisms. However; there must be clear standards and a process to which advisors can be held accountable to affirm that a recommendation met the fiduciary obligation despite the compensation involved.

Ultimately, being a fiduciary is about process, not compensation.

More: Deception in the Financial Service Industry

Full Disclosure:

As a medical practitioner, Dr. Marcinko is a fiduciary at all times. He earned Series #7 (general securities), Series #63 (uniform securities state law), and Series #65 (investment advisory) licenses from the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD-FINRA), and the Securities Exchange Commission [SEC] with a life, health, disability, variable annuity, and property-casualty license from the State of Georgia.

Dr.Marcinko was a licensee of the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Board of Standards (Denver) for a decade; now reformed, and holds the Certified Medical Planner™ designation (CMP™). He is CEO of iMBA Inc and the Founding President of: http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

More: Enter the CMPs

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  Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™  Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

[Dr. Cappiello PhD MBA] *** [Foreword Dr. Krieger MD MBA]

[Two Newest Books by Marcinko annd the iMBA, Inc Team]

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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  [Foreword Dr. Hashem MD PhD] *** [Foreword Dr. Silva MD MBA]

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About Securities “Shelf Registration”

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A Primer for Physician Investors and Medical Professionals

By: Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™ http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

[Editor-in-Chief]

[PART 5 OF 8]

Dr. Marcinko with ME-P Fans

NOTE: This is an eight part ME-P series based on a weekend lecture I gave more than a decade ago to an interested group of graduate, business and medical school students. The material is a bit dated and some facts and specifics may have changed since then. But, the overall thought-leadership information of the essay remains interesting and informative. We trust you will enjoy it.

Introduction

A relatively new method of registration under the Act of ’33 is known as shelf registration. Under this rule, an issuer may register any amount of securities that, at the time the registration statement becomes effective, is reasonably expected to be offered and sold within two years of the initial effective date of the registration. Once registered, the securities may be sold continuously or periodically within 2 years without any waiting period for a registration to clear issuers generally like shelf registration because of the flexibility it gives them to take advantage of changing market conditions.

In addition, the legal, accounting, and printing costs involved in issuance are reduced, since a single registration statement suffices for multiple offerings within the 2 year period. In effect, what the issuer does is register securities that will meet its financing needs for the next 2  years. It issues what it needs at the current time, and puts the balance on the shelf” to be taken off the shelf as needed.

SECURITIES MARKETS 

The purchase of common stock in an IPO (initial public offering) is facilitated through of the members an investment bank underwriting syndicate or selling group. This is known as the primary market and the proceeds of sale go directly to the issuing company. Six months later however, if a doctor wants to sell his shares, this would be accomplished in the secondary market. The term secondary market refers to trading in outstanding issues as the proceeds do not go to the issuer, but to the current owner of the securities, such as the physician investor.

Therefore, the secondary market provides liquidity to doctors who acquired securities in the primary market. After a doctor has acquired securities in the primary market, he wants to be able to sell the securities at some point in the future in order to acquire other securities, buy a house, or go on a vacation. Such a sale takes place in the secondary market. The medical investor’s ability to convert the asset (securities) into cash is heavily dependent upon the secondary market. All investors would be hesitant to acquire new securities if they felt they would not subsequently have the ability to sell the securities quickly at a fair price in the secondary market.

Securities Act of 1934

Every trade of stocks and bonds that is not a purchase of a new issue is a trade that takes place in the secondary market. The market place for secondary trading is the stock exchanges and the over-the-counter (OTC) market, and is governed by the Securities Act of 1934, which actually created the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and outlines the powers of the SEC to interpret, supervise, and enforce the securities laws of the United States. The Act of 34 is very broad and governs the sales of securities, including the regulation of securities markets exchanges, OTC markets, broker/dealers, their employees, the conduct of secondary markets, the extension of credit in the purchase and sale of securities, and the conduct of corporate insiders (officers and directors and holders of more than 10% of the outstanding stock). The Act also prohibits fraud and manipulative and deceptive activities in securities transactions

The Stock Exchanges

A stock exchange is a private association of brokers. The main purpose of an exchange is to provide a central meeting place for its member-brokers. This central meeting place is called the floor. It is on the floor that the members trade in securities. It is important to remember that a stock exchange itself does not own any of the securities that are traded on its floor. Nor does it buy or sell any of the securities traded on the exchange. Instead, the securities are owned by member firms, customers, or perhaps, by the exchange member firm itself.

It is also important to remember that a stock exchange does not establish or fix the price at which any security is traded on the exchange. The price is determined in a free and open auction type of trading. It depends on the supply and  demand relationship of that security at a particular time. In other words, if sellers of a stock are offering to sell more shares of that stock than buyers want to buy, the price of that stock will tend to go down. On the other hand, if buyers want to buy more shares of a stock than the sellers are offering to sell, the price of that stock will tend to go higher because of the strong demand.

Any discussion of stock exchanges has to focus on the NYSE, which is by far the largest and most important of the exchanges. There are two exchanges referred to as national stock exchanges, the NYSE and the American Stock Exchange (AMEX). In addition to these two national exchanges, there are several regional stock exchanges including the Philadelphia Exchange, the Chicago Exchange (formerly Midwest), the Pacific Exchange, the Boston Exchange, and the Cincinnati Exchange. Stocks that are traded on an exchange are referred to as listed stocks. The term “listed on an exchange” means that the issue is eligible for trading on the floor of the exchange.

How does a stock become listed? The issuing company, having decided that they wish the prestige and broad visibility of being listed on the NYSE, applies to the exchange for listing. A critical condition for listing is that the issuer agrees to solicit proxies from those common stock shareholders unable to attend shareholder meetings. Once the securities have been accepted for listing (trading) on an exchange, the issuer must continue to meet certain requirements which are not quite as stringent as the original listing requirements, and may be de-listed if the firm ceases to solicit proxies on its existing voting stock, or meet other minimal requirements.

Physically, the exchange brings together buyers and sellers on a trading floor. The NYSE floor is larger than several football fields and is divided into 19 trading posts. Eighteen of the posts are horseshoe or U-shaped stations 100 square feet in area. The nineteenth post (post number 30) is in the northwest corer and really isn’t a post at all; it’s just an area where the inactive stocks trade.

The Specialist

Specialists are experts in trading one or more specific stocks at their particular post on the exchange floor. Their activity is vital to the maintenance of a free and continuous market in the specific issues they represent. They are responsible for conducting the auction at the post. Everyone interested in buying the stock calls out a price and the shares go to the highest bidder. The buyers compete, but there is only one seller. Unlike the usual auction market, the auction on the floor of the exchange is a two way auction with some brokers seeking to buy at the lowest possible price for their doctor clients and other brokers trying to sell at the highest possible price for their doctor clients. When two brokers, one representing a buyer and one a seller, agree on a price, a sale is made. The specialist functions in a dual capacity as a dealer and as a broker. As a dealer or principal, he buys and sells for his own account and risk to maintain a fair and orderly market in the stocks in which he specializes.

For example, if a commission broker approaches the specialist at the post with a buy or sell order, and there are no other brokers in the crowd, that is currently interested in buying or selling the stock, the specialist will buy the stock from that commission broker (if it’s a sell order) for his own account or sell the stock from his inventory (if it’s a buy order). Perhaps, he may even be able to fill the order from his specialist’s book?

Stock_Market

Specialist’s Book

This is done by using the specialist’s book of buy orders (bids), marked on the left hand page, or sell orders (offers) on the right. There is a book for each stock in which the specialist specializes. The pages are ruled and are usually printed with fractional stock points at regular intervals to permit easy insertion of orders. The orders are entered in the book by the specialist according to price and in the sequence in which they are received at the post. He notes the number of shares, putting down 1 for 100 shares, 2 for 200 shares, etc. He also notes the name of the member firm placing the order and if the order is Good Till Cancelled (GTC), or not. When orders are executed, they are executed in the same order recorded in the book at that particular price.

The specialist’s book also keeps track of all orders “away from the market ” (limit orders and stop orders) in his book. The book is organized with all buy orders on the left hand side of the page and all sell orders on the right hand side. In the absence of bids and offers from the “trading crowd” on the floor, the specialist can quote the best available market for the security by announcing the highest bid and the lowest offer (ask). The best bid is always the highest buy limit order on his book and the best offer (ask) is always the lowest sell limit on his book. In addition to quoting the best price, he will also give the “size of the market ” which is determined by the number of shares being bid for and offered at the respective best bid and best ask prices. The quote is price and size. When asked to quote the market for a security, the specialist disregards any stop orders on his book since those orders do not become activated until triggered by another trade. One thing to remember is that since most doctors place stop orders to hedge (protect) against a price movement adverse to their interests, most stop orders are entered with the fervent wish that they never be executed.

On stop and limit orders placed below the market, the specialist is required to reduce the price of those orders on the ex-dividend (ex-split, ex-rights) date. The two critical things to remember are: what types of orders are reduced and by how much? The specialist will reduce all GTC (open) buy limit and sell stop orders on an ex-date. You may remember this with the acronym BLISS where the BL equals buy limit and the SS equals sell stop. The only time either of these orders will not be reduced is if the medical client turned in DNR (do not reduce) instructions.

The price of the order is then reduced by enough to equal or exceed the amount of the dividend.

If we go back to the example approaching the specialist to buy or sell stock and there is no one in the “crowd”, the specialist will first give the commission broker a quote from his book. That quote will be the highest bid price (the highest priced limit order to buy on his books) and the best asked price {the lowest priced sell limit on his books). If the commission broker is willing to buy at the lowest ask or offering price on the specialist’s book, then a trade will take place; if the commission broker is looking to sell and is willing to accept the highest bid price on the specialist’s book then, again, a trade will take place. It is the responsibility of the specialist to maintain an orderly market and to keep the spread between the bid and asked prices as narrow as possible. If the spread between bid and asked is too wide to generate market activity, the specialist will act on his own account.

If the specialist is presented with sell orders at the post and he has no buyers, he must bid at least 1/8 of a point higher than the best bid on his books. If he has buyers and no sellers, then he must offer stock from his inventory at a price at least, 1/8 of a point below the lowest offer on his book.

Why? It’s because the specialist cannot “compete” with public orders and if his bid matched a customer’s bid or his offer matched a customer’s offering or ask price, he would be considered to be ” competing”.  Since the specialist is required to bid higher and ask lower than the best public orders on his book, the spread is narrowed. That is why it is said that the specialist acts in a dual capacity, as a dealer and as a broker. When buying and selling for his own account, he is acting as a dealer. The specialist acts as a broker when he executes limit orders left with him by commission brokers. When these limit orders are executed out of the specialist’s book (the doctor’s limit price is reached), the specialist uses a priority, parity, and precedence system, as to which order is executed first. These rules, like most others, are designed to give preference to the general public, not to members of the exchange, on a first come first served basis.

Walking Through a Trade

To see how the transactions are actually handled on the floor of an exchange, let us assume that an order to buy 100 shares of General Electric has been given by a doctor customer to the registered representative (stock broker), of a member firm in Atlanta. The order is a market order (an order to buy at the lowest possible price at the time the order reaches the floor of the exchange). This order is telephoned by direct wire, or computer, to the New York office of the member firm, which in turn telephones its order to its clerk on the floor of the exchange.

Each member firm has at least one member of the exchange representing them making trades on the floor. Each one of these members is assigned a number for identification. When the floor clerk receives the order to purchase the General Electric, he causes his member’s call number to appear on 3 large boards situated so that one is always in view. These boards are constantly watched brokers so that they will know when wanted at the phone, since there’s too much noise on the floor to use a paging system. Seeing his number on the board, the broker hurries to his telephone station or cell phone and receives the order to buy 100 shares of G.E. “at the market”. Acting as a commission broker, he immediately goes to the post where G.E. is traded and asks “how’s G.E”, of the specialist?

Part 4: Underwriting US Government Securities Issues

Conclusion

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FINANCIAL INVESTING RISKS DOCTORS SHOULD KNOW

Types & Definitions

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Financial Investing risk is any of various types of risk associated with financing, including financial transactions that include company loans in risk of default. Often it is understood to include only downside risk, meaning the potential for financial loss and uncertainty about its extent.

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BY DR. DAVID E. MARCINKO MBA CMP®

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Understanding Financial Risk

Although broad investing risks can be quickly summarized as “the failure to achieve spending and inflation-adjusted growth goals,” individual assets may face any number of other subsidiary risks:

  • Call risk – The risk, faced by a holder of a callable bond that a bond issuer will take advantage of the callable bond feature and redeem the issue prior to maturity. This means the bondholder will receive payment on the value of the bond and, in most cases, will be reinvesting in a less favorable environment (one with a lower interest rate)
  • Capital risk – The risk an investor faces that he or she may lose all or part of the principal amount invested.
  • Commodity risk – The threat that a change in the price of a production input will adversely impact a producer who uses that input.
  • Company risk – The risk that certain factors affecting a specific company may cause its stock to change in price in a different way from stocks as a whole.
  • Concentration risk – Probability of loss arising from heavily lopsided exposure to a particular group of counterparties
  • Counterparty risk – The risk that the other party to an agreement will default.
  • Credit risk – The risk of loss of principal or loss of a financial reward stemming from a borrower’s failure to repay a loan or otherwise meet a contractual obligation.
  • Currency risk – A form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another.
  • Deflation risk – A general decline in prices, often caused by a reduction in the supply of money or credit.
  • Economic risk – the likelihood that an investment will be affected by macroeconomic conditions such as government regulation, exchange rates, or political stability.
  • Hedging risk – Making an investment to reduce the risk of adverse price movements in an asset.
  • Inflation risk – The uncertainty over the future real value (after inflation) of your investment.
  • Interest rate risk – Risk to the earnings or market value of a portfolio due to uncertain future interest rates.
  • Legal risk – risk from uncertainty due to legal actions or uncertainty in the applicability or interpretation of contracts, laws or regulations.
  • Liquidity risk – The risks stemming from the lack of marketability of an investment that cannot be bought or sold quickly enough to prevent or minimize a loss.

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Capital Market Expectations, Asset Allocation and Safe Portfolio Withdrawal Rates

By Staff Reporters

From: Munich Personal RePEc Archive [MPRA]

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Economist Wade Donald Pfau wrote an article called, “Capital Market Expectations, Asset Allocation, and Safe Withdrawal more than a decade ago. Today, is is still a vital read.

Abstract

Most retirement withdrawal rate studies are either based on historical data or use a particular assumption about portfolio returns unique to the study in question.

But, financial advisors and planners may have their own capital market expectations for future returns from stocks, bonds, and other assets they deem suitable for their clients’ portfolios. These uniquely personal expectations may or may not bear resemblance to those used for making retirement withdrawal rate guidelines. The objective here is to provide a general framework for thinking about how to estimate sustainable withdrawal rates and appropriate asset allocations for clients based on one’s capital market expectations, as well as other inputs about the client including the planning horizon, tolerance for exhausting wealth, and personal concerns about holding riskier assets.

The study also tests the sensitivity of various assumptions for the recommended withdrawal rates and asset allocations, and finds that these assumptions are very important. Another common feature of existing studies is to focus on an optimal asset allocation, which is expected either to minimize the probability of failure for a given withdrawal rate, or to maximize the withdrawal rate for a given probability of failure. Retirement withdrawal rate studies are known in this regard for lending support to stock allocations in excess of 50 percent.

Assessment

This study shows that usually there are a wide range of asset allocations which can be expected to perform nearly as well as the optimal allocation, and that lower stock allocations are indeed justifiable in many cases.

Link: MPRA_paper_32973

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NOTE: Wade Donald Pfau is an Associate Professor of Economics at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo, Japan. His PhD in economics was from Princeton University.

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Modern Portfolio Theory and Asset Allocation [Not Correlation]

THE CORRELATION HOT TOPIC

ACADEMIC C.V. | DAVID EDWARD MARCINKO

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP©

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Modern Portfolio Theory approaches investing by examining the complete market and the full economy. MPT places a great emphasis on the correlation between investments. 

DEFINITION:

Correlation is a measure of how frequently one event tends to happen when another event happens. High positive correlation means two events usually happen together – high SAT scores and getting through college for instance. High negative correlation means two events tend not to happen together – high SATs and a poor grade record.

No correlation means the two events are independent of one another. In statistical terms two events that are perfectly correlated have a “correlation coefficient” of 1; two events that are perfectly negatively correlated have a correlation coefficient of -1; and two events that have zero correlation have a coefficient of 0.

Correlation has been used over the past twenty years by institutions and financial advisors to assemble portfolios of moderate risk.  In calculating correlation, a statistician would examine the possibility of two events happening together, namely:

  • If the probability of A happening is 1/X;
  • And the probability of B happening is 1/Y; then
  • The probability of A and B happening together is (1/X) times (1/Y), or 1/(X times Y).

There are several laws of correlation including;

  1. Combining assets with a perfect positive correlation offers no reduction in portfolio risk.  These two assets will simply move in tandem with each other.
  2. Combining assets with zero correlation (statistically independent) reduces the risk of the portfolio.  If more assets with uncorrelated returns are added to the portfolio, significant risk reduction can be achieved.
  3. Combing assets with a perfect negative correlation could eliminate risk entirely.   This is the principle with “hedging strategies”.  These strategies are discussed later in the book.

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BUT – CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION

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In the real world, negative correlations are very rare 

Most assets maintain a positive correlation with each other.  The goal of a prudent investor is to assemble a portfolio that contains uncorrelated assets.  When a portfolio contains assets that possess low correlations, the upward movement of one asset class will help offset the downward movement of another.  This is especially important when economic and market conditions change.

As a result, including assets in your portfolio that are not highly correlated will reduce the overall volatility (as measured by standard deviation) and may also increase long-term investment returns. This is the primary argument for including dissimilar asset classes in your portfolio. Keep in mind that this type of diversification does not guarantee you will avoid a loss.  It simply minimizes the chance of loss. 

In the table provided by Ibbotson, the average correlation between the five major asset classes is displayed. The lowest correlation is between the U.S. Treasury Bonds and the EAFE (international stocks).  The highest correlation is between the S&P 500 and the EAFE; 0.77 or 77 percent. This signifies a prominent level of correlation that has grown even larger during this decade.   Low correlations within the table appear most with U.S. Treasury Bills.

Historical Correlation of Asset Classes

Benchmark                             1          2          3         4         5         6            

1 U.S. Treasury Bill                  1.00    

2 U.S. Bonds                          0.73     1.00    

3 S&P 500                               0.03     0.34     1.00    

4 Commodities                         0.15     0.04     0.08      1.00      

5 International Stocks              -0.13    -0.31    0.77      0.14    1.00       

6 Real Estate                           0.11      0.43    0.81     -0.02    0.66     1.00

Table Source: Ibbotson 1980-2012

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The [Negative] Short-Term Implications of Investment Portfolio Diversification

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Delving Deeper into Asset Allocation

By Lon Jefferies MBA CFP® CMP®

Lon JeffriesAsset allocation is one of the key factors contributing to long-term investment success.

When designing a portfolio that represents their risk tolerance, investors should be aware that a portfolio that is 50% stocks is likely to obtain approximately half of the gain when the market advances but suffer only half the loss when the market declines.

This general principle frequently holds true over extended investing cycles, but can waiver during shorter holding periods.

Case Model

For example, a fairly typical physician client of mine who has a 50% stock, 50% bond portfolio has obtained a return of 4.62% over the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has obtained a return of 14.31% over the same time period (as of 10/30/14).

An investor expecting to obtain half the return of the index would anticipate a return of 7.15%, and by this measuring stick, has underperformed the market by over 2.50% during the last year.

What caused this differential?

Answer

The issue resides in how we define “the market.” In this example, we use the S&P 500 index as a measure for how the market as a whole is performing. As you may know, the S&P 500 (and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, for that matter) consists solely of large company U.S. stocks.

Of course, a diversified portfolio owns a mixture of large, mid, and small cap U.S. stocks, as well as international and emerging market equities. Consequently, comparing the performance of a basket of only large cap stocks to the performance of a diversified portfolio made up of a variety of different asset classes isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison.

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Stock_Market

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Frequently, the diversified portfolio will outperform the non-diversified large cap index because several of the components of the diversified portfolio will obtain higher returns than those achieved by large cap holdings.

However, the past 12 months has been a case where a diversified portfolio underperformed the large cap index because large cap stocks were the best performing asset class over the time period. In fact, over the last twelve months, there has been a direct correlation between company size and stock performance (as of 10/30/14):

  • Large Cap Stocks (S&P 500): 14.92%
  • Mid Cap Stocks (Russell Mid Cap): 11.08%
  • Small Cap Stocks (Russell 2000): 4.45%
  • International Stocks (Dow Jones Developed Markets): -1.05%
  • Emerging Market Stocks (iShares MSCI Emerging Markets): -1.04%

Since large cap stocks were the best performing element of a diversified portfolio over the last 12 months, in retrospect, an investor would have obtained a superior return by owning only large cap stocks during the period as opposed to owning a diversified mix of different equities. Does this mean owning only large cap stocks rather than a diversified portfolio is the best investment approach going forward? Of course not.

Year after year, we don’t know which asset category will provide the best return and a diversified portfolio ensures we have exposure to each year’s big winner. Additionally, although large caps were this year’s winner, they could easily be next year’s big loser, and a diversified portfolio ensures we don’t have all our investment eggs in one basket.

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Assessment

Don’t be overly concerned if your diversified portfolio is underperforming a non-diversified benchmark over a short period of time. As always, long-term results should be more heavily weighted than short-term swings, and having a diversified portfolio is likely to maximize the probability of coming out ahead over an extended period.

Conclusion

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Value v. Growth Fund Managers

Understanding Investment Styles

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMPbiz-book1

A mutual or hedge fund manager’s investment style is defined by the means or strategies used to accomplish the fund’s stated objective. Most managers have a strategy they believe to be the key to maximizing risk-adjusted investment returns. For example, two equity managers may seek growth of capital or capital appreciation over the long term. The strategies they use to achieve that goal can be vastly different, however, as evidenced by their choice of securities.

Style Characteristics

Astute physician-investors are aware that there are four, main manager style characteristics: value vs. growth, top-down vs. bottom-up—which can be refined further by additional approaches. Certain statistics and information reveal a manager’s style. An investor may prefer one style or one combination over another

Approaches Vary

Style approaches can be used in tactical asset allocation. Research has shown that one style tends to outperform the other during certain periods. If investors believe they can identify when one style will outperform the other, they could overweight the favored approach. More and more fund complexes are now offering funds in each style; especially for large healthcare entities and other institutions.

Value vs. Growth

Manager autonomy and style is an important consideration.

  1. Value managers focus on a company’s assets or net worth and attempt to place a value on such assets: if their valuation is greater than the market’s valuation, the security is a candidate for ownership. Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, believed this approach to selecting securities would eventually be recognized by the market, rewarding patient, long-term investors. In today’s service economy, value managers also attempt to value the intangible assets of a company, such as franchise value or human capital. Value managers tend to be contrarians—they buy out-of-favor stocks or stocks not widely followed or recommended by analysts. Value managers also look at the breakup value of a company (what the individual parts could be sold for). They buy cheap stocks: stocks with low P/E ratios or low price-to-book value relative to the market, and stocks of established companies that pay dividends.
  2. Growth managers look at corporate earnings and focus on improving or accelerating earnings. They look at the trend of an industry or market sector (for example, environmental technology) to see if there is future sales-growth potential. They may lean toward companies that are dominant in the industry or have a product or service that will dramatically improve their market share. Growth managers typically own stocks with higher P/E ratios than the market average; these stocks may not be out of favor, but they may have been overlooked by market analysts. Growth stocks usually are not high-income-paying stocks.

Assessment

Prior to the recent financial meltdown, growth and momentum investing was the norm. Now it is value investing. What about the future for the physician-investor?

Conclusion

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Put and Call OPTIONS RATIO?

By Staff Reporters

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Options are contracts that give investors the right to buy or sell stocks, indexes or other financial securities at an agreed upon price and date. Puts are the option to sell while calls are the option to buy.

Specifically – A Call Option gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation to buy the underlying security at the exercise price, at or within a specified time. A Put Option gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation to sell the underlying security at the exercise price, at or within a specified time.

Ratio – When the ratio of puts to calls is rising, it is usually a sign investors are growing more nervous. A ratio above 1 is considered bearish. The Fear & Greed Index uses a bearish options ratio as a signal for Fear.

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Medical Endowment Fund Manager Selection

Are External Financial Consultants Necessary?

[By Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA CMP]

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John English, of the Ford Foundation, once observed that:

[T]he thing that is most interesting to me is that every one of the managers is able to give me a chart that shows me he was in the first quartile or the first decile. I have never had a prospective manager come in and say, ‘We’re in the fourth quartile or bottom decile’.

According to Wayne Firebaugh CPA, CFP® CMP™ most medical endowment funds today, even those with internal investment staff, rely heavily upon consultants and external managers.

In fact, the 2006 Commonfund Benchmarks Healthcare Study revealed that 85% of all surveyed institutions relied upon consultants with an even greater percentage of larger endowments relying upon consultants.  The common reasons given by endowments for such reliance are augmenting staff and oddly enough, cost containment.  In essence, the endowment staff’s job becomes one of managing the managers.

Manager Selection 

Even those endowments that use consultants to assist in selecting outside managers remain involved in the selection and monitoring process.  Interestingly, performance should generally not be the overriding criterion for selecting a manager.  Selecting a manager could be viewed as a two-step process in which the endowment first establishes its initial allocation and determines what classes will require an external manager.  The second part of the process is to select a manager that due diligence has indicated to have two primary characteristics: integrity and a repeatable and sustainable systematic process.  These characteristics are interrelated, as a manager who embodies integrity will also strive to follow the established investment selection process.

Of Medical-Managers

In medicine, obtaining the best care often means consulting a specialist.  As a manager of managers, the average endowment should seek specialist managers within a given asset class. Just as physicians and healthcare institutions gain additional insight and skill in their area of specialty, investment managers may be able to gain informational or system advantages within a given concentrated area of investments.

Assessment

Since most plan managers are seeking positive alpha by actively managing certain asset classes, many successful endowments will use a greater number of external managers in the concentrated segments than they will in the larger, more efficient markets.

Conclusion

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Money Management and Portfolio Performance

Money Management and Portfolio Performance

By Jeffrey S. Coons; PhD, CFA

By Christopher J. Cummings; CFA, CFP™

Evaluating portfolio performance is a vital and often contentious topic in monitoring progress towards a physician’s investment goals.   

Introduction 

A typical portfolio’s objective may be to preserve the purchasing power of its assets by achieving returns above inflation – or to have total returns adequate to satisfy an annual spending need without eroding original capital, etc.  Whatever the absolute goal for the doctor; performance numbers need to be evaluated based on an understanding of the market environment over the period being measured.

One way to put a portfolio’s a time-weighted return in the context of the overall market environment is to compare the performance to relevant alternative investment vehicles.   This can be done through comparisons to either market indices, which are board baskets of investable securities, or peer groups, which are collections of returns from managers or funds investing in a similar universe of securities with similar objectives as the portfolio.

By evaluating the performance of alternatives that were available over the period, the physician investor and/or his/her advisor are able to gain insight to the general investment environment over the time period.

The Indices 

Market indices are frequently used to gain perspective on the market environment and to evaluate how well the portfolio performed relative to that environment. 

Market indices are typically segmented into different asset classes.

Common stock market indices include the following:

· Dow Jones Industrial Average – a price-weighted index of 30 large U.S. corporations.

· Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index – a capitalization-weighted index of 500 large U.S. corporations.

· Value Line Index – an equally-weighted index of 1700 large U.S. corporations.

· Russell 2000 – a capitalization-weighted index of smaller capitalization U.S. companies.

· Wilshire 5000 – a cap weighted index of the 5000 largest U.S. corporations.

· Morgan Stanley Europe Australia, Far East (EAFE) Index – a capitalization-weighted index of the stocks traded in developed economies. 

Common bond market indices include the following:

· Lehman Brothers Government Credit Index – an index of investment grade domestic bonds excluding mortgages.

· Lehman Brothers Aggregate Index – the LBGCI plus investment grade mortgages.

· Solomon Brothers Bond Index – similar in construction to the LBAI.

· Merrill Lynch High Yield Index – an index of below investment grade bonds.

· JP Morgan Global Government Bond – an index of domestic and foreign government-issued fixed income securities.

Assessment

The selection of an appropriate market index depends on the goals of the portfolio and the universe of securities from which the portfolio was selected. 

Just as a portfolio with a short-time horizon and a primary goal of capital preservation should not be expected to perform in line with the S&P 500, a portfolio with a long-term horizon and a primary goal of capital growth should not be evaluated versus Treasury Bills.

Conclusion 

While the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 are often quoted in the newspapers, there are clearly broader market indices available to describe the overall performance of the U.S. stock market.

Likewise, indices like the S&P 500 and Wilshire 5000 are capitalization-weighted, so their returns are generally dominated by the largest 50 of their 500 – 5000 stocks.

Fortunately, capitalization-bias does not typically affect long-term performance comparisons, but there may be periods of time in which large cap stocks out-or under-perform mid-to-small cap stocks, thus creating a bias when cap-weighted indices are used versus what is usually non-cap weighted strategies of managers or mutual funds.

Finally, the fixed income indices tend to have a bias towards intermediate-term securities versus longer-term bonds.  Therefore, a physician investor with a long-term time horizon, and therefore potentially a higher allocation to long bonds, should keep this bias in mind when evaluating performance.

How do you evaluate your portfolio?

Do you evaluate it on a risk-adjusted basis?

***

Managing for Endowment Fund Portfolio Alpha

Understanding Non-Systematic Return on Investment

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[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA]

According to Wayne Firebaugh CPA, CFP®, CMP™ alpha measures non-systematic return on investment [ROI], or the return that cannot be attributed to the market.

It shows the difference between a fund’s actual return and its expected performance given the level of systematic (or market) risk (as measured by beta).

Example

For example, a fund with a beta of 1.2 in a market that returns 10% would be expected to earn 12%. If, in fact, the fund earns a return of 14%, it then has an alpha of 2 which would suggest that the manager has added value. Conversely, a return below that expected given the fund’s beta would suggest that the manager diminished value.

In a truly efficient market, no manager should be able to consistently generate positive alpha. In such a market, the endowment manager would likely employ a passive strategy that seeks to replicate index returns. Although there is substantial evidence of efficient domestic markets, there is also evidence to suggest that certain managers do repeat their positive alpha performance.

In fact, a 2002 study by Roger Ibbotson and Amita Patel found that “the phenomenon of persistence does exist in domestic equity funds.” The same study suggested that 65% of mutual funds with the highest style-adjusted alpha repeated with positive alpha performances in the following year.

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More Research

Additional research suggests that active management can add value and achieve positive alpha in concentrated portfolios.

A pre 2008 crash study of actively managed mutual funds found that “on average, higher industry concentration improves the performance of the funds. The most concentrated funds generate, after adjusting for risk … the highest performance. They yield an average abnormal return [alpha] of 2.56% per year before deducting expenses and 1.12% per year after deducting expenses.”

FutureMetrics

FutureMetrics, a pension plan consulting firm, calculated that in 2006 the median pension fund achieved record alpha of 3.7% compared to a 60/40 benchmark portfolio, the best since the firm began calculating return data in 1988. Over longer periods of time, an endowment manager’s ability to achieve positive alpha for their entire portfolio is more hotly debated.  Dimensional Fund Advisors, a mutual fund firm specializing in a unique form of passive management, compiled FutureMetrics data on 192 pension funds for the period of 1988 through 2005.

Their research showed that over this period of time approximately 75% of the pension funds underperformed the 60/40 benchmark. The end result is that many endowments will use a combination of active and passive management approaches with respect to some portion of the domestic equity segment of their allocation.

Assessment

One approach is known as the “core and satellite” method in which a “core” investment into a passive index is used to capture the broader market’s performance while concentrated satellite positions are taken in an attempt to “capture” alpha. Since other asset classes such as private equity, foreign equity, and real assets are often viewed to be less efficient, the endowment manager will typically use active management to obtain positive alpha from these segments.

Notes:

  • Ibbotson, R.G. and Patel, A.K. Do Winners Repeat with Style? Summary of Findings – Ibbotson & Associates, Chicago (February 2002).
  • Kacperczyk, M.T., Sialm, C., and Lu Zheng. On Industry Concentration of Actively Managed Equity Mutual Funds. University of Michigan Business School. (November 2002).
  • 2007 Annual US Corporate Pension Plan Best and Worst Investment Performance Report.  FutureMetrics, April 20, 2007.

Conclusion

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ENCORE: The Danger of Groupthink with Endowment Fund Portfolio Managers

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A Historical Look-Back to the Future?

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By Wayne Firebaugh CPA CFP® CMP™

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It is not unusual for endowment fund managers to compare their endowment allocations to those of peer institutions and that as a result, endowment allocations are often similar to the “average” as reported by one or more survey/consulting firms.

One endowment fund manager expanded this thought by presciently noting that expecting materially different performance with substantially the same allocation is unreasonable [personal communication]. It is anecdotally interesting to wonder whether the seminal study “proving” the importance of asset allocation could have even had a substantially different conclusion. It seems likely that the pensions surveyed in the study had very similar allocations given the human tendency to measure one’s self against peers and to use peers for guidance.

Peer Comparison

Although peer comparisons can be useful in evaluating your institution’s own processes, groupthink can be highly contagious and dangerous.

For example, in the first quarter of 2000, net flows into equity mutual funds were $140.4 billion as compared to net inflows of $187.7 billion for all of 1999. February’s equity fund inflows were a staggering $55.6 billion, the record for single month investments. For all of 1999, total net mutual fund investments were $169.8 billion[1] meaning that investors “rebalanced” out of asset classes such as bonds just in time for the market’s March 24, 2000 peak (as measured by the S&P 500).

Of course, investors are not immune to poor decision making in upward trending markets. In 2001, investors withdrew a then-record amount of $30 billion[2] in September, presumably in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks. These investors managed to skillfully “rebalance” their ways out of markets that declined approximately 11.5% during the first several trading sessions after the market reopened, only to reach September 10th levels again after only 19 trading days. In 2002, investors revealed their relentless pursuit of self-destruction when they withdrew a net $27.7 billion from equity funds[3] just before the S&P 500’s 29.9% 2003 growth.

The Travails

Although it is easy to dismiss the travails of mutual fund investors as representing only the performance of amateurs, it is important to remember that institutions are not automatically immune by virtue of being managed by investment professionals.

For example, in the 1960s and early 1970s, common wisdom stipulated that portfolios include the Nifty Fifty stocks that were viewed to be complete companies.  These stocks were considered “one-decision” stocks for which the only decision was how much to buy. Even institutions got caught up in purchasing such current corporate stalwarts as Joe Schlitz Brewing, Simplicity Patterns, and Louisiana Home & Exploration.

Collective market groupthink pushed these stocks to such prices that Price Earnings ratios routinely exceeded 50. Subsequent disappointing performance of this strategy only revealed that common wisdom is often neither common nor wisdom.

Senate house conference committee meets wall street reform

[Wall Street Reform?]

More Current Examples

More recently, the New York Times reported on June 21, 2007, that Bear Stearns had managed to forestall the demise of the Bear Stearns High Grade Structured Credit Strategies and the related Enhanced Leveraged Fund.

The two funds held mortgage-backed debt securities of almost $2 billion many of which were in the sub-prime market.  To compound the problem, the funds borrowed much of the money used to purchase these securities.

The firms who had provided the loans to make these purchases represent some of the smartest names on Wall Street, including  JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and Deutsche Bank.[4]

Assessment

Despite its efforts Bear Stearns had to inform investors less than a week later on June 27th that these two funds had collapsed.

Conclusion

Is this same Groupthink mentality happening on Wall Street, today? Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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[1]   2001 Fact Book, Investment Company Institute.

[2]   Id.

[3]   2003 Fact Book, Investment Company Institute.

[4]    Bajaj, Vikas and Creswell, Julie. “Bear Stearns Staves off Collapse of 2 Hedge Funds.”
New York Times, June 21, 2007.

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ENCORE: How to Interview an Investment Portfolio Manager?

Selection Criteria Critical for Physicians

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief and former certified financial plannerdem2]

Recently in the Atlanta area, two high-profile financial advisors and portfolio investment managers have been charged with client embezzlement, malfeasance, and more!

The first was Kirk Wright, a Harvard-educated fund manager who was convicted last week in a fraud scheme that bilked investors out of tens of millions of dollars.  He later hanged himself, according to the Fulton County Georgia medical examiner’s office.  A federal jury convicted Wright last week on all 47 counts of mail fraud, securities fraud and money laundering stemming from a scam run through his firm, International Management Associates. High-profile clients included sports-stars, celebrities and several well-known local physicians.

The second, Frederick J. Barton, received a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) civil action letter on June 3rd, 2008. Barton, formerly a registered representative of a national, registered broker-dealer and two entities he controlled: TwinSpan Capital Management, LLC (TwinSpan), an investment adviser formerly registered with the Commission, and Barton Asset Management, LLC (Barton Asset Management). The Commission alleges that, between 1999 and 2007, Barton, acting individually or through TwinSpan or Barton Asset Management, engaged in three separate securities frauds-including one involving a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s disease-and through his misconduct obtained over $3 million in ill-gotten gains. The Commission further alleges that he then spent his ill-gotten gains, among other things, to send his children to an exclusive private school, fund his own investment portfolio, and service his credit card debts. 

Manager Selection

So, how can the medical professional reduce the potential for similar behavior from his/her portfolio manager?

The first way is to skip the middle-man and “do-it-yourself.” But, doctors are sometimes hard-pressed to following this directive because of time constraints, knowledge paucity, fear/greed and/or disinterest; among other reasons.

The second way, of course, is to outsource the task by hiring a financial advisor. But, how do you find a financial advisor (easy), and more importantly, how do you discern a good fit (personally and professionally)? Still, there is no guarantee of honesty or capability.

But, your odds can be improved with insider knowledge of the financial services industry; a common-theme of the ME-P. And so, the following checklist may be a good place to start the selection, or triage process.  

SAMPLE: Engagement Letter

Mr. Joseph H. Sample

Vice President

Medical Capital Management of Nevada, LLC

RE: Letter to Request Pre-Interview Information from Portfolio Manager

Dear [Mr. Name]:

Thank you for agreeing to meet with us on [date, time] in our office. We are in the process of interviewing several portfolio investment managers.

So that we may obtain consistent information in our evaluation, we would appreciate the coverage of specific areas during your presentation. We are particularly interested in information regarding your approach to investment management in the following areas:

Investment philosophy and approach

• Describe your management style and any changes you have made over the past decade.

• Describe your investment decision-making process.

• Do you make the decisions or do you rely on others, and if so, who?

• Describe your sources of research.

• What contact, if any, do you have with the management of companies in which you invest?

• Briefly describe the sell disciplines employed by you and your firm.

• Describe whether/how you use top-down or bottom-up approaches to investment selection.

• Are you value or growth orientated; hedged or not; domestic or international?

Track record

• Please supply performance data by 5, 10 and 15-year intervals.

• Please supply performance records compared to benchmarks you feel appropriate.

• If balanced management, please provide performance data by asset class.

• Provide MPT or APT statistics such as beta, alpha, standard deviations, etc.

• What are your cash holdings; fully invested or selectively invested at various times?

• Turnover history and number of securities, industries and sectors; are guidelines in place?

• Typical portfolio percentage of largest ten positions.

Firm/advisor background

Please provide us with information regarding your background, including general information about the organization. In particular, please cover:

• The stability of ownership, managers, analysts or others directly involved in management.

• Who makes the investment decisions and how the firm dictates policy to managers?

• A description of expenses, including management fees, commissions, and other expenses.

• A detailed description of the growth of money under management over the past ten years.

• Please discuss the flexibility in design and management of a client’s portfolio by managers.

• If your firm is multidisciplined, what are your areas of expertise?

• Who is the custodian of securities? Does the firm have insurance?

Manager background

Please provide the resume(s) of the manager(s) as well as information about the manager’s style and consistency. Additional items of interest include:

• The manager’s record with other firms, if employed less than ten years.

• How the manager does research, including use of analysts and outside research?

• Regarding the decision process, what steps does the manager actually take?

• Manager’s ownership status in the firm?

• History of asset growth under the specific manager.

• Examples of past successes and failures on investment decisions.

Statistics

Please provide the following statistical information:

• Price/earnings ratios compared to market

• Price/book ratios compared to market

• Average earnings growth data

• Average market cap of companies in portfolio

• Average dividend yield information

• Average maturity and/or duration of fixed-income portfolios (and how this is managed)

• Average credit rating of fixed-income portfolios

• Where short-term funds are invested

Communication

• How often do you provide portfolio and performance reports?

• How do you compare performance to the market? What benchmarks do you use?

• Who will meet with us (and how often)?

• Who is the primary and secondary contact?

• Does the firm provide investment newsletters or promotional literature, with sample?

• Is the portfolio manager(s) available to meet or discuss issues with the client or advisor?

Compliance

• Are you a fiduciary? Will you sign-off as same?

• Are you a stoke-broker or registered representative?

• What securities licenses do you hold?

• Are you independent?

• Who is your broker-dealer?

• Who is your custodian and clearinghouse?

• Are you a RIA or RIA representative?

• May we please see you ADV Parts I, II, III

• May we review a sample investment policy statement?

• May we see your CRD report?

• Must we sign an arbitration clause?

• What educational degrees have earned?

• What financial/securities designation do you hold?

• What peer-reviewed or non-peered reviewed material have you published, and where? 

• What medical specificity do you possess?

• Do you hold the AIF® and/or AIFA® designations, and adhere to its code-of-ethics?

• Are you a [CMP] Certified Medical Planner™?

• Are you a [CFP] Certified Financial Planner™ with health economics knowledge?

• How do/can you demonstrate you specific knowledge on the heath care space?

Thank you.

Dr. Michael B. Sample; MD/DO

Managing Partner – Medical Associates of Nevada, PC  

Assessment

Some financial advisors, insurance agents, portfolio and wealth managers speak of “prospecting”, “hunting” or “screening” clients. In fact, potential doctor-clients are often, not-so-charmingly called, “prospects”.

Don’t you think it’s about time that the “tables-are-turned” by informed medical professionals, as the “hunted-becomes-the-hunter”, by the informed physician? Triage well, and always remember; caveat emptor and vendor emptor!

What other criteria should be included in this engagement letter, or personal interview itself? What has been your experience with portfolio manager selection? How do you select same, and what has been your success rate? Why don’t you do-it-yourself? Please comment and opine.

Conclusion

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Musings on a Famous Portfolio Asset Allocation Study

Some Critics Claim Brinson, Hood, and Beebower Conclusions Wrong

[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™]

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[Publisher-in-Chief]

Frequently, we hear the axiom that asset allocation is the most important investment decision, explaining 93.6% of portfolio returns. The presumption has been that once the risk tolerance and time horizon have been established, investing is simply a matter of implementing a fixed mix of stocks, bonds, and cash using mutual funds selected for this purpose. This axiom is based on a famous study by Brinson, Hood, and Beebower (BHB) published in the Financial Analysts Journal in July/August 1986. It is the stuff of most modern business school and graduate students in economics and finance.

Enter the Critics

One critic claims that BHB’s conclusions and the interpretation of their conclusions are wrong, stating that because of several methodological problems, BHB needed to make certain assumptions for their analysis to go forward. They assumed that the average asset-class weights for the 10-year period studied are the same as the actual normal policy weights; that investments in foreign stocks, real estate, private placements, and venture capital can be proxied by a mix of stocks, bonds, and cash; and that the benchmarks for stocks, bonds, and cash against which fund performance was measured are appropriate. The author believes that each of these assumptions can lead to a faulty measurement of success or failure at market timing and stock selection.

The Jahnke Study

William Jahnke claims that BHB erred in their focus on explaining the variation of quarterly portfolio returns rather than portfolio returns over the 10-year period studied. According to the study, asset allocation policy explains only a small fraction of the range of 10-year portfolio returns earned by the pension funds reported in the study. The author concluded that this discrepancy is caused by the effect of compounding returns. He adds that BHB were wrong to use variance of quarterly returns rather than the standard deviation. Use of standard deviation would reduce the often cited 93.6% to about 79%. Moreover, BHB did not consider the cost of investing, such as operating expenses, management fees, brokerage commissions, and other trading costs, which are more significant for individual investors than for the pension plans studied. Jahnke claims that excessive costs can reduce wealth accumulation by 50%.

Note: (“The Asset Allocation Hoax,” William W. Jahnke, Journal of Financial Planning, February 1997, Institute of Certified Financial Planners [303] 759-4900).

Assessment

Finally, the author takes issue with establishing long-term fixed asset class weights. Asset allocation should be a dynamic process. Higher equity return expectations should in turn produce larger equity allocations, other things being equal.

Certified Medical Planner

Conclusion

Are doctors different than the average investor noted in this essay?

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Thinking Beyond Portfolio Asset Allocation

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Don’t Forget Your Spending Policy – Doctors

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™

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[Publisher-in-Chief]

If you are economically literate – or read the ME-P regularly – you may be tired of hearing the familiar saw, “the single most important determinant of investment results over time is asset allocation.”

But, as most of us realize, this glosses over critical obstacles to building personal wealth—taxes, inflation, and spending policy. A doctor’s spending policy itself is as critical as asset allocation in preserving wealth, as well as for all investors who understand the trade-offs: there are both allocation and spending strategies that stand to preserve wealth and insulate against excessive equity risk at the same time.

Income versus Security

In proving his point a decade ago, the author—Roger Hertog in “Income Versus Security”— traced the growth of a $1 million portfolio during the period of 1960–1994. He showed that while an all-stock portfolio would have experienced a compound growth rate of 10.1%, an all-bond portfolio of 7.4%, and an all T-bill portfolio of 6.1%, these growth rates dropped to 8%, 5%, and 3.7%, respectively, after taxes and conservative transaction costs. When further reduced by inflation, they dropped to 3.1%, 0.2%, and -1%, respectively. Stocks still nearly tripled in real value after taxes.

Next, Hertog factored in spending. He showed that the greater the equity exposure, the more likely investors will preserve or increase their levels of real spending and wealth. Also, he demonstrated how a spending policy of a fixed percentage of the portfolio; or of spending all the income is ill-suited to estate building. He arrived at an optimum allocation of 60% stocks and 40% bonds with a policy of spending all stock dividends but only spending interest to the extent it exceeds inflation. This latter spending policy adjusts for the fact that in – unlike today but perhaps again in the near future – an inflationary environment a portion of bond interest is a return of principal. This type of asset allocation and spending policy resulted in the greatest amount of growth over the years and gained on inflation. Hertog contends that the 60/40 allocation provides an appealing combination of growth and protection.

IOW: It gives investors a milder ride.

Assessment

Over the 35-year period studied, a 60/40 mix returned almost as much as the all-stock portfolio both before taxes and after taxes and achieved some 75% of its real after-tax growth. Also, the portfolio’s worst year was only half as bad as the all-stock portfolio. Hertog believed that balancing with bonds softened the downside. But – what about the “flash-crash” of 2008-09?

Note: “Income Versus Security: Do You Have To Choose?” Roger Hertog, Trust & Estates, March 1997, pp. 44–62, Intertec Publishing Corporation.

Conclusion

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Financial Monte Carlo Simulation’s FLAW and FIXES

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Physicians Must Understand Deus ex Machina

[By Wayne J. Firebaugh Jr; CPA, CFP®, CMP™]

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wayne-firebaughNamed after Monte Carlo, Monaco, which is famous for its games of chance, MCS is a software technique that randomly changes a variable over numerous iterations in order to simulate an outcome and develop a probability forecast of successfully achieving an outcome.

Endowment Fund Perspective

In private portfolio and fund endowment management, MCS is used to demonstrate the probability of “success” as defined by achieving the endowment’s asset growth and payout goals. In other words, MCS can provide the endowment manager with a comfort level that a given payout policy and asset allocation success will not deplete the real value of the endowment.

Divorce from Judgment

The problem with many quantitative software and other tools is the divorce of judgment from their use. Although useful, both mean variance optimization MVO and MCS have limitations that make it so they should not supplant the physician investor or endowment manager’s experience. MVO generates an efficient frontier by relying upon several inputs: expected return, expected volatility, and correlation coefficients. These variables are commonly input using historical measures as proxies for estimated future performance. This poses a variety of problems.

Problems with MCS 

First, the MVO will generally assume that returns are normally distributed and that this distribution is stationary. As such, asset classes with high historical returns are assumed to have high future returns.

Second, an MVO optimizer is not generally time sensitive. In other words, the optimizer may ignore current environmental conditions that would cause a secular shift in a given asset class returns.

Finally, an MVO optimizer may be subject to selection bias for certain asset classes. For example, private equity firms that fail will no longer report results and will be eliminated from the index used to provide the optimizer’s historical data [1].

Example:

As an example, David Loeper, CEO of Wealthcare Capital Management, made the following observation regarding optimization:

Take a small cap “bet” for our theoretical [endowment] with an S&P 500 investment policy. It is hard to imagine that someone in 1979, looking at a 9% small cap stock return premium and corresponding 14% higher standard deviation for the last twenty years, would forecast the relationship over the next twenty years to shift to small caps under-performing large caps by nearly 2% and their standard deviation being less than 2% higher than the 20-year standard deviation of large caps in 1979 [2].

Table: Compares the returns, standard deviations for large and small cap stocks for the 20-year periods ended in 1979 and 1999.  Twenty Year Risk & Return Small Cap vs. Large Cap (Ibbotson Data).

1979 1999
Risk Return Correlation Risk Return Correlation
Small Cap Stocks 30.8% 17.4% 78.0% 18.1% 16.9% 59.0%
Large Cap Stocks 16.5% 8.1% 13.1% 18.6%

Reproduced from “Asset Allocation Math, Methods and Mistakes.” Wealthcare Capital Management White Paper, David B. Loeper, CIMA, CIMC (June 2, 2001).

More Problems with MCS

David Nawrocki identified a number of problems with typical MCS as being that most optimizers assume “normal distributions and correlation coefficients of zero, neither of which are typical in the world of financial markets.”

Dr. Nawrocki subsequently describes a number of other issues with MCS including nonstationary distributions and nonlinear correlations.

Finally, Dr. Nawrocki quotes Harold Evensky who eloquently notes that “[t]he problem is the confusion of risk with uncertainty.

Risk assumes knowledge of the distribution of future outcomes (i.e., the input to the Monte Carlo simulation).

Uncertainty or ambiguity describes a world (our world) in which the shape and location of the distribution is open to question.

Contrary to academic orthodoxy, the distribution of U.S. stock market returns is far from “normal” [3]. Other critics have noted that many MCS simulators do not run enough iterations to provide a meaningful probability analysis.

Assessment

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Some of these criticisms have been addressed by using MCS simulators with more robust correlation assumptions and with a greater number of iterative trials. In addition, some simulators now combine MVO and MCS to determine probabilities along the efficient frontier.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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References:

1. Clark, S.E. and Yates, T.T., Jr. “How Efficient is your Frontier?” Commonfund Institute White Paper (November 2003).

2. Loeper, D.B., CIMA, CIMC. “Asset Allocation Math, Methods, and Mistakes.” Wealthcare Capital Management White Paper (June 2001).

3. Nawrocki, D., Ph.D. “The Problems with Monte Carlo Simulation.” FPA Journal (November 2001).

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How [DOCTORS] Construct Investment Portfolios That Protect Them

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Vitaliy N. Katsenelson, CFA - YouTube

By Vitaliy N. Katsenelson, CFA

***

Question: How do you construct investment portfolios and determine position sizes (weights) of individual stocks?

I wanted to discuss this topic for a long time, so here is a very in-depth answer.
CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/082610254

Answer
For a while in the value investing community the number of positions you held was akin to bragging on your manhood– the fewer positions you owned the more macho an investor you were. I remember meeting two investors at a value conference. At the time they had both had “walk on water” streaks of returns. One had a seven-stock portfolio, the other held three stocks. Sadly, the financial crisis humbled both – the three-stock guy suffered irreparable losses and went out of business (losing most of his clients’ money). The other, after living through a few incredibly difficult years and an investor exodus, is running a more diversified portfolio today.

Under-diversification: Is dangerous, because a few mistakes or a visit from Bad Luck may prove to be fatal to the portfolio.

On the other extreme, you have a mutual fund industry where it is common to see portfolios with hundreds of stocks (I am generalizing). There are many reasons for that. Mutual funds have an army of analysts who need to be kept busy; their voices need to be heard; and thus their stock picks need to find their way into the portfolio (there are a lot of internal politics in this portfolio). These portfolios are run against benchmarks; thus their construction starts to resemble Noah’s Ark, bringing on board a few animals (stocks) from each industry. Also, the size of the fund may limit its ability to buy large positions in small companies.

There are several problems with this approach. First, and this is the important one, it breeds indifference: If a 0.5% position doubles or gets halved, it will have little impact on the portfolio. The second problem is that it is difficult to maintain research on all these positions. Yes, a mutual fund will have an army of analysts following each industry, but the portfolio manager is the one making the final buy and sell decisions. Third, the 75th idea is probably not as good as the 30th, especially in an overvalued market where good ideas are scarce.

Then you have index funds. On the surface they are over-diversified, but they don’t suffer from the over-diversification headaches of managed funds. In fact, index funds are both over-diversified and under-diversified. Let’s take the S&P 500 – the most popular of the bunch. It owns the 500 largest companies in the US. You’d think it was a diversified portfolio, right? Well, kind of. The top eight companies account for more than 25% of the index. Also, the construction of the index favors stocks that are usually more expensive or that have recently appreciated (it is market-cap-weighted); thus you are “diversified” across a lot of overvalued stocks.

If you own hundreds of securities that are exposed to the same idiosyncratic risk, then are you really diversified?

Our portfolio construction process is built from a first-principles perspective. If a Martian visited Earth and decided to try his hand at value investing, knowing nothing about common (usually academic) conventions, how would he construct a portfolio?

We want to have a portfolio where we own not too many stocks, so that every decision we make matters – we have both skin and soul in the game in each decision. But we don’t want to own so few that a small number of stocks slipping on a banana will send us into financial ruin.

In our portfolio construction, we are trying to maximize both our IQ and our EQ (emotional quotient). Too few stocks will decapitate our EQ – we won’t be able to sleep well at night, as the relatively large impact of a low-probability risk could have a devastating impact on the portfolio. I wrote about the importance of good sleep before (link here). It’s something we take seriously at IMA.

Holding too many stocks will result in both a low EQ and low IQ. It is very difficult to follow and understand the drivers of the business of hundreds of stocks, therefore a low IQ about individual positions will eventually lead to lower portfolio EQ. When things turn bad, a constant in investing, you won’t intimately know your portfolio – you’ll be surrounded by a lot of (tiny-position) strangers.

Portfolio construction is a very intimate process. It is unique to one’s EQ and IQ. Our typical portfolios have 20–30 stocks. Our “focused” portfolios have 12–15 stocks (they are designed for clients where we represent only a small part of their total wealth). There is nothing magical about these numbers – they are just the Goldilocks levels for us, for our team and our clients. They allow room for bad luck, but at the same time every decision we make matters.

Now let’s discuss position sizing. We determine position sizing through a well-defined quantitative process. The goals of this process are to achieve the following: Shift the portfolio towards higher-quality companies with higher returns. Take emotion out of the portfolio construction process. And finally, insure healthy diversification.

Our research process is very qualitative: We read annual reports, talk to competitors and ex-employees, build financial models, and debate stocks among ourselves and our research network. In our valuation analysis we try to kill the business – come up with worst-case fair value (where a company slips on multiple bananas) and reasonable fair value. We also assign a quality rating to each company in the portfolio. Quality is absolute for us – we don’t allow low-quality companies in, no matter how attractive the valuation is (though that doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally misjudge a company’s quality).

The same company, at different stock prices, will merit a higher or lower position size. In other words, if company A is worth (fair value) $100, at $60 it will be a 3% position and at $40 it will be a 5% position. Company B, of a lower quality than A but also worth $100, will be a 2% position at $60 and a 4% position at $40 (I just made up these numbers for illustration purposes). In other words, if there are two companies that have similar expected returns, but one is of higher quality than the other, our system will automatically allocate a larger percentage of the portfolio to the higher-quality company. If you repeat this exercise on a large number of stocks, you cannot but help to shift your portfolio to higher-quality, higher-return stocks. It’s a system of meritocracy where we marry quality and return.

Let’s talk about diversification. We don’t go out of our way to diversify the portfolio. At least, not in a traditional sense. We are not going to allocate 7% to mining stocks because that is the allocation in the index or they are negatively correlated to soft drink companies. (We don’t own either and are not sure if the above statement is even true, but you get the point.) We try to assemble a portfolio of high-quality companies that are attractively priced, whose businesses march to different drummers and are not impacted by the same risks.  Just as bank robbers rob banks because that is where the money is, value investors gravitate towards sectors where the value is. To keep our excitement (our emotions) in check, and to make sure we are not overexposed to a single industry, we set hard limits of industry exposure. These limits range from 10%–20%. We also set limits of country exposure, ranging from 7%–30% (ex-US).

CONCLUSION

In portfolio construction, our goal is not to limit the volatility of the portfolio but to reduce true risk – the permanent loss of capital. We are constantly thinking about the types of risks we are taking. Do we have too much exposure to a weaker or stronger dollar? To higher or lower interest rates? Do we have too much exposure to federal government spending? I know, risk is a four-letter word that has lost its meaning. But not to us. Low interest rates may have time-shifted risk into the future, but they haven’t cured it.

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What Physician Investors STILL NEED TO KNOW about Monte Carlo Simulation in 2022

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Probability Forecasting and Investing

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™

[Editor-in-Chief] www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

dr-david-marcinko1Recently, I had a physician-client ask me about Monte Carlo simulation. You know the routine: what it is and how it works, etc.

From Monaco

Named after Monte Carlo, Monaco, which is famous for its games of chance, MCS is a technique that randomly changes a variable over numerous iterations in order to simulate an outcome and develop a probability forecast of successfully achieving an outcome.

In endowment management, MCS is used to demonstrate the probability of “success” as defined by achieving the endowment’s asset growth and payout goals.  In other words, MCS can provide the endowment manager with a comfort level that a given payout policy and asset allocation success will not deplete the real value of the endowment.

Quantitative Tools Problematic

The problem with many quantitative tools is the divorce of judgment from their use. Although useful, MCS has limitations that should not supplant the endowment manager’s, FA or physician-investor’s, experience.

MCS generates an efficient frontier by relying upon several inputs: expected return, expected volatility, and correlation coefficients. These variables are commonly input using historical measures as proxies for estimated future performance. This poses a variety of problems.

  • First, the MCS will generally assume that returns are normally distributed and that this distribution is stationary.  As such, asset classes with high historical returns are assumed to have high future returns.
  • Second, MCS is not generally time sensitive. In other words, the MCS optimizer may ignore current environmental conditions that would cause a secular shift in a given asset class returns.
  • Third, MCS may use a mean variance optimizer [MVO] that may be subject to selection bias for certain asset classes. For example, private equity firms that fail will no longer report results and will be eliminated from the index used to provide the optimizer’s historical data.

Healthcare Investment Risks

A Tabular Data Example

This table compares the returns, standard deviations for large and small cap stocks for the 20-year periods ended in 1979 and 2010.

Twenty Year Risk & Return Small Cap vs. Large Cap (Ibbotson Data)

[IA Micro-Cap Value 14.66 17.44 24.69 0.44]

1979

2010

Risk

Return

Correlation

Risk

Return

Correlation

Small   Cap Stocks 30.8% 17.4% 78.0% 18.1% 26.85% 59.0%
Large   Cap Stocks 16.5% 8.1% 13.1% 15.06%

[Reproduced from “Asset Allocation Math, Methods and Mistakes.” Wealthcare Capital Management White Paper, David B. Loeper, CIMA, CIMC (June 2, 2001)]

The Problems

Professor David Nawrocki identified a number of problems with typical MCS in that their mean variance optimizers assume “normal distributions and correlation coefficients of zero, neither of which are typical in the world of financial markets.”

Dr. Nawrocki subsequently described a number of other issues with MCS including nonstationary distributions and nonlinear correlations.

Finally, Dr. Nawrocki quoted financial advisor, Harold Evensky MS CFP™ who eloquently notes that “[t]he problem is the confusion of risk with uncertainty.” Risk assumes knowledge of the distribution of future outcomes (i.e., the input to the Monte Carlo simulation). Uncertainty or ambiguity describes a world (our world) in which the shape and location of the distribution is open to question.

Assessment

Contrary to academic orthodoxy, the distribution of U.S. stock market returns is “far from normal.”[1] Other critics have noted that many MCS simulators do not run enough iterations to provide a meaningful probability analysis.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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[1]   Nawrocki, D., Ph.D. “The Problems with Monte Carlo Simulation.” FPA Journal (November 2001).

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The Long and Short of Portfolio Construction

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Long-Short Portfolio Construction vs. Long-Only

[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™]

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[Publisher-in-Chief]

Long-Short is an active portfolio construction discipline that balances long positions in high expected return securities and short positions in low expected return securities of approximately equal value and market sensitivity. This type of portfolio is “neutralized” or immunized against changes in value of the underlying market and, therefore, has zero systematic (beta) risk. If the selected securities perform as expected, the long-short positions will provide a positive return, whether the market rises or falls.

Misconceptions

While long-short portfolios are often perceived and portrayed as much costlier and much riskier than long-only, it is inherently neither. Much of the incremental cost and risk is either largely dependent on the amount of leverage employed or controllable via optimization. Those costs and risks that are not controllable—financial intermediation costs of borrowing shares to short, the trading costs incurred to meet long-short balancing, margin requirements, uptick rules, and the risks of unlimited losses on short positions—do not invalidate the viability of long-short strategies.

Long-Short Advantages

Compared with long-only portfolios, long-short portfolios offer enhanced flexibility not only in the control of risk and pursuit of return, but also in asset allocation. Basic market-neutral portfolios achieve a return consisting of three components: (1) interest on funds held as a liquidity buffer, (2) interest on the short sale proceeds maintained with the broker, and (3) the return spread between the aggregate long and aggregate short positions in the portfolios.

Disadvantages

Share borrow-ability and uptick rules make short-selling more difficult and costly than going long. Also, it may be legally or contractually restricted for some investors, such as mutual funds. Inefficiencies may be concentrated in overpriced stocks and, accordingly, short sales of the most overpriced stocks may offer higher positive returns than long purchases of underpriced stocks.

Assessment

Long-only portfolios are confined to altering the weighting of securities within an index in order to realize an excess return. Long-short portfolios are not constrained by index weights and, because they can short securities, they can “underweight” a security by as much as investment insights and risk considerations dictate. Long-short portfolios can be enhanced by “equitizing” them using stock index futures.

Note: “The Long and Short on Long-Short” by Bruce I. Jacobs and Kenneth N. Levy, The Journal of Investing, Spring 1997, pp. 73–86, Institutional Investor, Inc.

Conclusion

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Risk Aversion and Investment Alternatives

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Understanding Financial Tolerance in the New Era

[By Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA and Staff Reporters]

Some physicians and financial planners prefer to use a specific approach in determining these difficult-to-determine areas, in lieu of one of several psychological tests that are currently available.

Examples of this specific approach follow.

Investment Temperament

Which statement best describes your investment temperament? Please indicate by ranking the items below from 1 to 4, with 1 being the most descriptive and 4 being the least descriptive. Also, please indicate the extent of your risk aversion by indicating what percentage of your assets you would feel comfortable investing in each category (for example, 50% in the first category, 25% in the second, etc.).

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Numerical   Percentage  
ranking   allocation  
* I prefer only the safest of investments.
* I am interested only in “blue-chip” investments.
* An occasional risk is worth the effort for above-average potential reward.
* I’m willing to put everything on the line if the potential reward is large enough.

Listed below are various forms of investments. Please indicate your familiarity with each.

  Familiarity
Description High   Low
Certificates of deposit 5 4 3 2 1
Treasury bills 5 4 3 2 1
Other short-term fixed income 5 4 3 2 1
Stocks 5 4 3 2 1
U.S. government bonds 5 4 3 2 1
Corporate bonds 5 4 3 2 1
Municipal bonds 5 4 3 2 1
Mutual funds 5 4 3 2 1
Real estate—direct ownership 5 4 3 2 1
Real estate—limited partnerships 5 4 3 2 1
Oil and gas 5 4 3 2 1
Collectibles 5 4 3 2 1
Precious metals 5 4 3 2 1
Insurance products 5 4 3 2 1

Assessment

Any other thoughts on behavioral finance topics, like this?

Conclusion

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INSURANCE: Risk Management and Insurance Strategies for Physicians and Advisors

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Understanding investment banking rules, securities markets, brokerage accounts, margin and debt

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A Primer for Investors and Entrepreneurial Medical Professionals

Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

SPONSOR: http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

[PART 1 OF 8]

BC Dr. Marcinko

NOTE: This is an eight part ME-P series based on a weekend lecture I gave more than a decade ago to an interested group of graduate, business and medical school students. The material is a bit dated and some facts and specifics may have changed since then. But, the overall thought-leadership information of the essay remains interesting and informative. We trust you will enjoy it.

Introduction

The history, function and processes of the investment banking industry, and the rules and regulations of the securities industry and their respective markets, as well as the use of  brokerage accounts, margin and debt, will be briefly reviewed in this ME-P series.

An understanding of these concepts is required of all doctors and medical professionals as they pursue a personal investment strategy.

INVESTMENT BANKING AND SECURITIES UNDERWRITING

New economy corporate events of the past several years have provided many financial signs and symptoms that indicate a creeping securitization of the for-profit healthcare industrial complex. Similarly, fixed income medical investors should understand how Federal and State regulations impact upon personal and public debt needs. For, without investment banking firms, it would be almost impossible for private industry, medical corporations and government to raise needed capital.

Introduction

When a corporation such as a physician practice management company (PPMC), or similar entity needs, to raise capital for growth or expansion, there are two methods. Raising debt or equity. If equity is used, the corporation can market securities directly to the public by contacting its current stockholders and asking them to purchase the new securities in a  rights offering, by advertising or by hiring salespeople. Although this last example is somewhat exaggerated, it illustrates that there is a cost to selling new securities, which may be considerable if the firm itself undertakes the task.

For this reason, most corporations employ help in marketing new securities by using the services of investment bankers who sell new securities to the general public.  Although the investment banking is an exciting and vital industry, many SEC rules regulating it are not. Nevertheless, it is important for all physician executives to understand basic concepts of the industry if raising public money is ever a possibility or anticipated goal. It is also important for individual healthcare investors  to understand something about securities underwriting to reduce the likelihood of fraudulent investment schemes or ill-conceived transactions which ultimately result in monetary loss.

Fundamentals of the Investment Banking Industry

Investment bankers are not really bankers at all. The fact that the word banker appears in the name is partially responsible for the  false impressions that exist in the medical community regarding the functions they perform.

For example, they are not permitted to accept deposit, provide checking accounts, or perform other activities normally construed to be commercial banking activities. An investment bank is simply a firm that specializes in helping other corporations obtain the money they need under the most advantageous terms possible.

When it comes to the actual process of having securities issued, the corporation approaches an investment banking firm, either directly, or through a competitive selection process and asks it to act as adviser and distributor.  Investment bankers, or under writers, as they are sometimes called, are middlemen in the capital markets for corporate securities.

The medical corporation requiring the funds discuss the amount, type of security to be issued, price and other features of the security, as well as the cost to issuing the securities. All of these factors are negotiated in a process known as known as negotiated underwriting. If mutually acceptable terms are reached, the investment banking firm will be the middle man through which the securities are sold to the general public. Since such firms have many customers, they are able to sell new securities, without the costly search that individual corporations may require to sell its own security. Thus, although the firm in need of  additional capital must pay for the service, it is usually able to raise the additional capital at less expense through the use of an investment banker, than by selling the securities itself.

The agreement between the investment banker and the corporation may be one of two types. The investment bank may agree to purchase, or underwrite, the entire issue of securities and to re-offer them to the general public. This is  known as a firm commitment.

When an investment banker agrees to underwrite such a sale,  it  agrees to supply the corporation with a specified amount of money. The firm buys the securities with the intention to resell them. If it fails to sell the securities, the investment banker must still pay the agreed upon sum. Thus, the risk of selling rests with the underwriter and not with the company issuing the securities.

The alternative agreement is a best efforts agreement in which the investment banker makes his best effort to sell the securities acting on behalf of the issuer, but does not guarantee a specified amount of money will be raised.

When a corporation raises new capital through a public offering of stock, on might inquire from where does the stock come? The only source the corporation has is authorized, but previously un-issued stock. Anytime authorized, but previously un-issued stock (new stock) is issued to the public, it is known as a primary offering. If it’s the very first time the corporation is making the offering, it’s also known as the Initial Public Offering (IPO). Anytime there is a primary offering of stock, the issuing corporation is raising additional equity capital.

A secondary offering, or distribution, on the other hand, is defied as an offering of a large block of outstanding stock. Most frequently, a secondary offering is the sale of a large block of stock owned by one or more stockholders. It is stock that has previously been issued and is now being re-sold by investors. Another case would be when a corporation re-sells its treasury stock.

Prior to any further discussions of investment banking, there are several industry terms that’s should  be defined.

For example, an agent buys or sells securities for the account and risk of another party, and charges a commission. In the securities business, the terms broker and agent are used synonymously. This is not true of the insurance industry.

On the other hand, a principal is one who acts as a dealer rather than an agent or broker. A dealer buys and sells for his own account Finally, the dealer makes money by buying at one price and selling at a higher price. Thus, it is easy to understand how an investment banking firm earns money handling a best efforts offering; they make a commission on every share they sell.

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The Securities Act of 1933 (Act of Full Disclosure)

When a corporation makes a public offering of its stock, it is bound by the provisions of the Securities Act of 1933, which is also known as the Act of Full Disclosure. The primary requirement of  the Act is that the corporation must file a registration statement (full disclosure) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); containing some of the following items:

  • Description of the business entity raising the money.
  • Biographical data regarding officers and directors of the issuer.
  • Listing of share holdings of officers, directors, and holders of more than 10% of the issuer’s securities (insiders).
  • Financial statements including a breakdown of existing capitalization (existing debt and equity structure).
  • Intended use of offering proceeds.
  • Legal proceedings involving the issuer, such as suits, antitrust actions or strikes.

Acting in its capacity as an adviser to the corporation, the investment banking firm files out the registration statement with the SEC. It then takes the SEC a period of time to review the information in the registration statement. This is the “cooling off period” and the issue is said to be “in registration” during this time. When the Act written in 1933, Congress thought that 20 days would be enough time from the filing date, until the effective date the sale of  securities is permitted.

In reality, it frequently takes much longer than 20 days for the SEC to complete its review. But, regardless of how long it lasts, it’s known as the cooling off period. At the end of the cooling off period, the SEC will either accept the issue or they will send a letter back to the issuer, and the underwriter, explaining that there is incomplete information in the registration statement. This letter is known as a deficiency letter. It will postpone the effectiveness of the registration statement until the deficiency is remedied. Even if initially, or eventually approved, an effective registration does not mean that the SEC has approved the issue.

For example, the following well known disclaimer statement written in bold red ink, is required to be placed in capital letters on the front cover page of every prospectus:

###

THESE SECURITIES HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR DISAPPROVED BY THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION NOR HAS THE COMMISSION PASSED UPON THE ACCURACY OR ADEQUACY OF THIS PROSPECTUS. ANY REPRESENTATION TO THE CONTRARY IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE.

###

During the cooling off period, the investment bank tries to create interest in the market place for the issue. In order to do that, it distributes a preliminary prospectus, more commonly known as a “red herring”. It is known as a red herring because of the red lettering on the front page.  The statement on the very top with the date is printed in red as well as the statements on the left hand margin of the preliminary prospectus.

The cost of printing the red herring is borne by the investment bank, since they are  trying to market it.. The red herring includes information from the registration statement that will be most helpful for potential medical investors trying to make a decision. It describes the company and the securities to be issued; includes the firm’s financial statements; its current activities; the regulatory bodies to which it is subject; the nature of its competition; the management of the corporation, and what the expected proceeds will be used for. Two very important items  missing from the red herring are the public offering price and the effective date of the issue, as neither are known for certain at this point in time.

The public offering price is generally determined on the date that the securities become effective for sale (effective date). Waiting until the last minute enables the investment bankers to price the new issue in line with current market conditions. Since the investment banker uses the red herring to try to create interest in the market place, stock brokers [aka: Registered Representatives (RRs) with a Series # 7 general securities license –  After a 2 hour multiple-choice computerize test, I held this license for a decade ) will send copies of the red herring to their clients for whom they feel the issue is a suitable investment. The SEC is very strict on what can be said about an issue, in registration.

In fact, during the pre-filing period (the time when the negotiations are going on between the issuer\and underwriter), absolutely nothing can be said about it to anyone.  For example, if the regulators find out that your stock broker discussed with you  the fact that his firm was negotiating with an issuer for a possible public offering, he could be fined, or jailed.

During the cooling off period (the time when the red herring is being distributed), nothing may be sent to you; not a research report, nor a recommendation from another firm, or even the sales literature. The only thing you are permitted to receive is the red herring. The red herring is used to acquaint prospects with essential information about the offering. If you are interested in purchasing the security, then you will receive an “indication of interest”, but you can still not make a purchase or send money.

No sales may be made until the effective date; all that can be used to generate interest is the red herring.

Conclusion

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About Tombstone Securities Advertising and the “New Issue” Propsectus

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A Primer for Physician Investors and Medical Professionals

By: Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

[Editor-in-Chief]

[PART 2 OF 8]

BU Dr. Marcinko

NOTE: This is an eight part ME-P series based on a weekend lecture I gave more than a decade ago to an interested group of graduate, business and medical school students. The material is a bit dated and some facts and specifics may have changed since then. But, the overall thought-leadership information of the essay remains interesting and informative. We trust you will enjoy it.

Introduction

Despite the SEC restrictions, noted in Part I of this series, some idea of potential demand for a new security issue can be gauged and have a bearing on  pricing decisions.

For example, as CEO of a medical instrument company, or interested investor, would you rather see a great deal of interest in a potential new issue or not very much interest?  There is however, one kind of advertisement that the underwriter can publish during the cooling off period. It’s known as a tombstone ad.  The ad makes it clear that it is only an announcement and does not constitute an offer to sell or  solicit the issue, and that such an offering can only be made by  prospectus.  SEC Rule 134 of the 1933 Act  itself, refers to a tombstone ad as “communication not deemed a prospectus”  because it makes reference to the prospectus in the ad. Tombstones have received their name because of the sparse nature of details found in them.

However, the most popular use of the tombstone ad is to announce the effectiveness of a new issue, after it has been successfully issued. This promotes the success of  both he underwriter, as well as the company.

Since distributing securities involves potential liability to the investment bank, it will do everything possible to protect itself.  So, near the end of the cooling off period, a meeting is held between the underwriter and the corporation. It is known as a due diligence meeting. At this meeting they both discuss amendments that are going to be necessary to make the registration statement complete and accurate. The corporate officers, and the underwriters sign, the final registration statement. They have civil liability for damages that result from omissions of material facts or

Mis-statements of fact. They also have criminal liability if the distribution is done by use of fraudulent, manipulative, or deceptive means. Due diligence takes on a whole new meaning when  incarceration from a half-hearted effort underwriting efforts can occur. The investment bank strives to ensure that there have been no material changes to the issuer or the terms of the issue since the registration statement was filed.

Again, as a physician, how would you feel if you were an investment banker raising capital for a new pharmaceutical company that had developed a drug product that was highly marketable. But, on the day after the issue was effective, there was a major news story indicating that the company was being sued for patent infringement? What effect do you think that would have on the market price of this new issue? It would probably plunge. How could this situation have been prevented? The due diligence meeting is more than a cocktail party or a gathering in a smoke filled room. Otherwise, the company would require specially trained people, to do a patent search lessening the likelihood of this scenario. At the due diligence meeting, work is done on the preparation of the final prospectus, but the investment bank does not set the public offering price or the effective date at this meeting. The SEC will eventually set the effective date for the registration and it is on that date that the final offering price will be determined.

Once the SEC sets the effective date, sales may be executed and money can be accepted by the investment bank. It is at this time that the final prospectus, similar to the red herring but without the red ink and with the missing numbers, is issued. A prospectus is an abbreviated form of the registration statement, distributed to purchasers, on and after the effective date of  the registration. It is not the same as the registration statement. A typical registration statement consists of papers that stand more than a foot high; rarely does a prospectus go beyond 40 or 50 pages. All purchasers will receive a final prospectus and then it becomes permissible for the underwriter to provide sales literature.

In addition to the requirement that a prospectus must be delivered to a purchaser of new issues no later than with confirmation of the trade, there are two other requirements that healthcare executives investors should know.

90-day: When an issuer has an initial public offering (IPO), there is generally a lack of publicly available material relating to the operations of that issuer.  Because of this, the SEC requires that all members of the underwriting group make available a prospectus on an IPO for a period of 90 days after the effective date.

4O-day: Once an issuer has gone public, there are a number of routine filings that must be made with the SEC so there is publicly available information regarding the financial condition of that issuer. Since additional information is now available, the SEC requires that, on all issues other than IPOs, any member of the underwriting group must make available a prospectus for a period of 40 days after the effective date.

In the event that the investment bankers misgauged the marketplace, and the issue moves quite slowly, it is possible that information contained in the prospectus would be rendered obsolete by the SEC. Specifically, the SEC requires that any prospectus used more than 9 months after the effective date, may not have any financial information more than 16 months old. It can however, be amended or stickered, with updated information, as needed.

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Syndication Among Underwriters

Because the investment banking firm may be underwriting (distributing) a rather large dollar amount of securities, to spread its risk exposure, it may form a group made up of other investment bankers or underwriters, known as a syndicate. The syndicate is headed by a syndicate manager, or lead underwriter, and it is his job to decide whether to participate in the offering. If so, the managing underwriter will sign a non-binding agreement called a letter of intent. .

If all has gone well and the market place is sufficiently interested in the security, and the SEC has been satisfied with respect to the registration statement, it is time for all parties to the offering to formalize their relationships with a contract including the basic understandings reflected in the letter of intent. Three principal underwriting contracts are involved in the usual public offering, each serving a distinct purpose. These are the: Agreement among Underwriters, Underwriting Agreement, and the Dealer Agreement.

In the Agreement Among Underwriters (AAU), the underwriters committing to a portion of the issue, enter into an agreement establishing the nature and terms of their relationship with each other. It designates the syndicate manager to act on their behalf, particularly to enter into an Underwriting Agreement with the issuer, and to conduct the offering on behalf of each  of them. The AAU will designate the managing underwriter’s compensation (management fee) for managing the offering.

The authority to manage the offering includes the authority to: agree with the issuer as to the public offering price; decide when to commence the offering; modify the offering price and selling commission; control all advertising; and, control the timing and effectiveness of the registration statement by quickly responding to deficiency letters. Each underwriter agrees to purchase a portion of the underwritten securities, which is known as each under-writer’s allotment (allocation).  It is normally signed severally, but not jointly, meaning each underwriter is obligated to sell his allocation but bears no financial obligation for any unsold allotment of another underwriter. This is referred to as a divided account or a Western account. Much less frequently, an undivided or Eastern account, will be used. Each underwriter is responsible for unsold allotments of others, based upon a  proportionate share of the offering.

The above comments referred to firm commitment underwriting. Another type of underwriting commitment  however, is known as best efforts underwriting. Under the terms of  best efforts underwriting, the underwriters make no commitment to buy or sell the issue, they simply do the best they can, acting as an agent for the issuer, and having no liability to the issuer if none of the securities are sold. There is no syndicate formed with a best efforts underwriting. The investment bankers form a selling group, with each member doing his best to sell his allotment. Two variations of a best efforts underwriting are: the all-or-none, and the mini-max (part-or-none) underwriting. Under the provisions of an all-or-none offering, unless all of the shares can be distributed within a specified period of time, the offering will terminate and no subscriptions or orders will be accepted or filled. Under mini-max, unless a set minimum amount is sold, the offering will be terminated.

SEC Rule 15c2-4 requires the underwriter to set up an escrow account for any money received before the closing date, in the event that it is necessary to return the money to prospective purchasers. If the “minimum”, or the “all” contingencies are met, the monies in escrow go to the issuer with the underwriters retaining their appropriate compensation. In order to make sure that investors are properly protected, the escrow account must be maintained at a bank for the benefit of the investors until every appropriate event or contingency has occurred. Then, the funds are properly returned to the investors. If the money is to be placed into an interest bearing account, it must have a maturity date no later than the closing date of the offering, or the account must be redeemable at face with no prepayment penalty as regards principal.

Underwriter Compensation Hierarchy

As we have seen, in a firm commitment the underwriter buys the entire issue from the issuer and then attempts to resell it to the public. The price at which the syndicate offers the securities to the public is known as the public offering price. It is the price printed on the front page of the prospectus.

However, the managing underwriter pays the issuer a lower price than this for the securities. The difference between that lower price and the public offering price is known as the spread or underwriting discount. Everyone involved in the sale of a new issue is compensated by receiving part of the spread. The amount of the spread is the subject of negotiations between the issuer and the managing underwriter, but usually is within a range established by similar transactions between comparable issuers and underwriters. The spread is also subject to NASD [now FINRA] review and approval before sales may commence. The spread is broken down by the underwriters so that a portion of it is paid to the managing underwriter for finding and packaging the issue and managing the offering (usually called the manager’s fee); and a portion is retained by each underwriter (called the underwriting or syndicate allowance) to compensate the syndicate members for their expenses, use of money, and assuming the risk of the underwriting. The remaining portion is allocated to the selling group and is called selling concession. It is often useful to remember the compensation hierarchy pecking order in the following way:

  • Spread (syndicate manager).
  • Underwriters allowance (syndicate members)
  • Selling concession (selling group members)
  • Re-allowance (any other firm)

While the above deal with corporate equity, the only other significant item with respect to corporate debt is the Trust Indenture Act of 1939. This Federal law applies to public issues of debt securities in excess of $5,000,000. The thrust of this act is to require an indenture with an independent trustee (usually a bank or trust company) who will report to the holders of the debt securities on a regular basis.

Successful marketing of a new issue is a marriage between somewhat alien factors: compliance and numerous Federal, state, and self-regulatory rules and statutes; along with finely honed and profit-motivated sales techniques. It’s not too hard to see that there could be a real, or apparent, conflict of interest here. Most successful investment bankers have built their excellent reputations upon their ability to properly balance these two objectives consistently, year after year.

PART ONE:

Understanding investment banking rules, securities markets, brokerage accounts, margin and debt

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On New Issues and Securities Stabilization

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A Primer for Physician Investors and Medical Professionals

By: Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

[Editor-in-Chief] http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

[PART 3 OF 8]

NEU Dr. Marcinko

NOTE: This is an eight part ME-P series based on a weekend lecture I gave more than a decade ago to an interested group of graduate, business and medical school students. The material is a bit dated and some facts and specifics may have changed since then. But, the overall thought-leadership information of the essay remains interesting and informative. We trust you will enjoy it.

Introduction

Some securities issues move very well, like traditional blue chips stocks (ie., Wallgreen). Some are dogs, like smaller dot.com companies (iixl.com). Then, there are issues that are former darling, but are now ice cold; like PPMCs (i.e., Phycor) and internet stocks (i.e., Dr. Koop).  How far can an underwriting manager go in nudging along an issue that’s not selling well? SEC rules do permit a certain amount of help by the manager, even if this takes on the appearance of price-fixing. This help is called stabilizing the issue.

Simply put, if shortly after a new offering begins, supply exceeds demand, there will be downward pressure on the price. But, the law requires that all purchasers of the new issue pay the official offering price on the prospectus. If public holders of the stock become willing to bail out and accept a low selling price, the investor looking to buy will find he is able to buy stock of the issuer cheaper in the open market than buying it new from the syndicate members.

To prevent such a decline in the price of a security during a public offering, SEC rules permit the manager to offer to buy shares in \ the open market at a bid price at, or just below, the official offering price of the new issue. This is referred to as stabilizing and his bid price is called the stabilizing bid. There is always the risk, in a firm commitment underwriting, that the underwriters will have difficulty selling the new issue. What they can’t sell, they’re “stuck” with. That’s where the term “sticky issue” comes from.

As a physician executive, or potential investor in a new issue, be aware that the best way to get an issue to sell is to increase the compensation to the sales force (i.e., stock broker or Registered Rep).

Another choice is through stabilization. Stabilizing is a permitted form of market manipulation which tends to protect underwriters against loss. It allows the underwriting syndicate (usually through the efforts of the syndicate manager) to stabilize (peg or fix) the secondary market trading price in a new issue at the published public offering price. It works something like this.

When a new issue is selling slowly, some of the investors who initially purchased, may be dissatisfied with the performance of the stock (if it is selling slowly and the underwriters have plenty to sell at the public offering price, this is anything but a hot issue and the security price will not have risen).

This dissatisfaction with performance leads to these investors desiring to sell the securities they have just purchased. If the underwriters are unable to sell at the public offering price, certainly an individual investor will have to take less when bailing out. As market makers begin to trade the stock in the secondary market, they would only be able to compete with the underwriters by offering the stock at a lower price than the public offering  price. This would make it difficult (if not impossible) for the underwriters to distribute the remaining new shares.

In order to prevent this from happening, the managing underwriter (who is usually the one to assume the role of stabilizing underwriter), agrees to purchase back any of the new shares at or just slightly below the public offering price. That is a higher price than any market maker could, in all practicality, bid for the shares. When the shares are repurchased by the stabilizing underwriter, it is as if the initial trade were annulled and never took place so that these new shares are now placed back into the distribution and are sold as new shares at the public offering price. SEC rules do, however, require disclosure of this practice.

Therefore, no syndicate manager may engage in stabilizing unless the following phrase appears in bold print on the inside front cover page of the prospectus:

IN CONNECTION WITH THIS OFFERING, THE UNDERWRITERS MAY OVER ALLOT OR EFFECT TRANSACTIONS WHICH STABILIZE OR MAINTAIN THE MARKET PRICE OF (XYZ COMPANY) AT A LEVEL ABOVE THAT WHICH MIGHT OTHERWISE PREVAIL IN THE OPEN MARKET. SUCH TRANSACTIONS MAY BE EFFECTED ON (NYSE) STABILIZING, IF COMMENCED, MAY BE DISCONTINUED AT ANY TIME.

Of course, it would be manipulation and, therefore, a violation of law, if this “price-pegging” activity continued after the entire new issue was sold out. This activity costs the syndicate manager money which is recouped by levying a syndicate penalty bid against those members of the syndicate whose clients turn shares in on a stabilizing bid.

One way to avoid stabilization is to over allot  to each of the syndicate members. This is the same concept as “over booking” that’s done by the airlines. Most airlines typically sell 5% to 10% more seats than the airplane has knowing that there will be last minute cancellations and no shows. This tends to ensure that the plan will fly full. In the same manner, managing under-writers frequently over allot an additional 10% to each of their syndicate members so that last minute cancellations should still leave the syndicate with sell orders for 100% of the issue. If there are no “drop outs”, one of two things may happen.

  1. The issuer will issue the additional shares (which results in it raising more money).
  2. The issuer will not issue the additional shares and the syndicate will have to go short. Any losses suffered by the syndicate through taking of this short position are shared proportionately by the syndicate members.

Now, what if market conditions and the fervor surrounding a new issue like e-commerce company Ariba,  in 1999, remain so that the issue doesn’t cool down during the cooling off period? Such hot issues are a mixed blessing to be sure.

On the one hand, the issue is a sure sell-out. On the other hand, just how many healthcare investors are going to be told by brokers that additional shares can not be obtained.

Furthermore, the SEC and the NASD/FINRA are vigorous [or should be] in their scrutiny of  proper distribution channels for hot issues. Just what is a “proper” distribution?  It can be summed up in one sentence. Member firms have an obligation to make a “bona fide” public distribution of all the shares at the public offering price. The key to this rule lies within the definition of bona fide public distribution.

While the underwriting procedures for corporate bonds are almost identical to corporate stock, there are significant differences in the underwriting of municipal securities. Municipal securities are exempt from the registration filing requirements or the Securities Act of 1933. A state or local government, in the issuance of municipal securities, is not required to register the offering with the SEC, so there is no filing of a registration statement and there is no prospectus which would otherwise have to be given to investors.

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Municipal Underwriting

There are two main methods of financing when it comes to municipal securities. One method is known as negotiated. In the case of a negotiated sale, the municipality looking to borrow money would approach an investment bank and negotiate the terms of the offering directly with the firm. This is really not very different from the above equity discussions.

The other type of municipal underwriting is known as competitive bidding. Under the terms of competitive bidding, an issuer announces that it wishes to borrow money and is looking for syndicates to submit competitive bids. The issue will then be sold to the syndicate which submits the best bid, resulting in the municipality having the lowest net interest cost (lowest expense to the issuer).

If the issue is to be done by a competitive bid, the municipality will use a Notice of Sale to announce that fact. The notice of sale will generally include most or all of the following information.

  • Date, time, and place. This does not mean when the bonds will be sold to the public, but when the issue will be awarded (sold) to the syndicate issuing the bid.
  • Description of the issue and the manner in which the bid is to be made (sealed bid or oral). Type of bond (general obligation, revenue, etc.)
  • Semi-annual interest payment dates and the denominations in which the bonds will be printed.
  • Amount of good faith deposit required, if any.
  • Name of the law firm providing the legal opinion and where to acquire a bid form.
  • The basis upon which the bid will  e awarded, generally the lowest net interest cost.

Since municipal securities are not registered with the SEC, the municipality must hire a law firm in order to make sure that they are issuing the securities in compliance with all state, local and federal laws. This is known as the bond attorney, or independent bond counsel. Some functions are included below:

    1. Establishes the exemption from federal income tax by verifying  requirements for the exemption.
    2. Determines proper authority for the bond issuance.
    3. Identifies and monitors proper issuance procedures.
    4. Examines the physical bond  ertificates to make sure that they are proper
    5. Issues the debt and a legal opinion, since municipal bonds are the only securities that require an opinion.
    6. Does not prepare the official statement.

When medical investors purchase new issue municipal securities from syndicate or selling group members, there is no prospectus to be delivered to investors, but there is a document which is provided to purchasers very similar in nature to a prospectus. It is known as an Official Statement. The Official Statement contains all of the information an investor needs to make a prudent decision regarding a proposed municipal bond purchase.

The formation of a municipal underwriting syndicate is very similar to that for a corporate  issue. When there is a negotiated underwriting, an Agreement Among Underwriters (AAU) is used. When the issue is competitive bid, the agreement is known as a Syndicate Letter. In the syndicate letter, the managing underwriter details all of the underwriting agreements among members of the syndicate. Eastern (undivided) and Western (divided) accounts are also used, but there are  several different types of orders in a municipal underwriting. The traditional types of orders, in priority order, are:

Pre-Sale Order: Made before the syndicate actually offers the bonds. They have first priority over any other order turned in.

Syndicate (group net) Order: Made once the offering is under way at the public offering price. The purchase is credited to each syndicate member in proportion to its allotment. An institutional buyer will frequently purchase” group net”, since many of the firms in the syndicate may consider this buyer to be their client and he wishes to please all of them.

Designated Order: Sales to medical investors (usually healthcare institutions) at the public offering price where the investor designates which member or members of the syndicate are to be given credit.

Member Orders: Purchased  by members of  the syndicate at the take-down price (spread). The syndicate member keeps the full take-down if the bonds are sold to investors, or earns the take-down less the concession if the sale is made to a member of the selling group. Should the offering be over-subscribed, and the demand for the new bonds exceeds the supply, the first orders to be filled are the pre-sale orders. Those are followed by the syndicate (sometimes called group net) orders, the designated orders, and the last orders filled are the member’s.

Finally, be aware that the term bond scale, is a listing of coupon rates, maturity dates, and yield or price at which the syndicate is re-offering the bonds to the public. The scale is usually found in the center of a tombstone ad and on the front cover of the official statement.

One of the reasons why the word “scale” is used is, that like the scale on a piano, it normally goes up. A regular or positive scale is one in which the yield to maturity is lowest on the near term maturities and highest on the long term maturities. This is also known as a positive yield curve, since the longer the maturity, the higher the yield. In times of very tight money, such as in 1980-81, one might find a bond offering with a negative scale.

A negative (sometimes called inverted) scale is just the opposite of a positive one, with, yields on the short term maturities are higher than those on the long term maturities.

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How to Buy Securities On Margin

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How It Works and What Physicians’ Must Watch Out For

 Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP

“Buying on margin” is borrowing money from your stock-broker to buy a stock and using your investment as collateral. Physician-investors generally use margin to increase their purchasing power so that they can own more stock without fully paying for it. But, margin exposes all investors to the potential for higher losses.

https://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Health-Economics-Finance-Marcinko/dp/0826102549/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254413315&sr=1-6

This ME-P discusses the basics of buying on margin, some of the pitfalls inherent in margin buying, whether this financial tool is for you and how you can best use it.

How Does Margin Work?

Let’s say you buy a stock for $50 and the price of the stock rises to $75. If you bought the stock in a cash account and paid for it in full, you’ll earn a 50 percent return on your investment. But, if you bought the stock on margin – paying $25 in cash and borrowing $25 from your broker – you’ll earn a 100 percent return on the money you invested. Of course, you’ll still owe your brokerage $25 plus interest.

The downside to using margin is that if the stock price decreases, substantial losses can mount quickly. For example, let’s say the stock you bought for $50 falls to $25. If you fully paid for the stock, you’ll lose 50% of your money. But if you bought on margin, you’ll lose 100%, and you still must come up with the interest you owe on the loan.

Caution: In volatile markets, investors who put up an initial margin payment for a stock may, from time to time, be required to provide additional cash if the price of the stock falls. Investors have been shocked to learn that a broker has the right to sell the securities that were bought on margin – without any notification, and at a potentially substantial loss to the investor.

Caution: If your broker sells your stock after the price has plummeted, then you’ve lost out on the chance to recoup your losses if the market bounces back.

The Risks

Margin accounts can be very risky and they are not for everyone. Before opening a margin account, be aware that:

  • You can lose more money than you have invested;
  • You may have to deposit additional cash or securities in your account on short notice to cover market losses;
  • You may be forced to sell some or all of your securities when falling stock prices reduce the value of your securities; and
  • Your brokerage firm may sell some or all of your securities without consulting you to pay off the loan it made to you.

You can protect yourself by knowing how a margin account works and what happens if the price of the stock purchased on margin declines.

Tip: Your broker charges you interest for borrowing money; take into account how that will affect the total return on your investments.

Tip: Ask your broker whether it makes sense for you to trade on margin in light of your financial resources, investment objectives, and tolerance for risk.

Read Your Margin Agreement

To open a margin account, you must sign a margin agreement. The agreement may either be part of your account agreement or separate. The margin agreement states that you must abide by the rules of the Federal Reserve Board, the New York Stock Exchange, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc., and the firm where you have set up your margin account.

Caution: Carefully review the agreement before signing.

As with most loans, the margin agreement explains the terms and conditions of the margin account. The agreement describes how the interest on the loan is calculated, how you are responsible for repaying the loan, and how the securities you purchase serve as collateral for the loan. Carefully review the agreement to determine what notice, if any, your firm must give you before selling your securities to collect the money you have borrowed.

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margin risk

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Know the Margin Rules

The Federal Reserve Board and many self-regulatory organizations (SROs), such as the NYSE and NASD, have rules that govern margin trading. Brokerage firms can establish their own requirements as long as they are at least as restrictive as the Federal Reserve Board and SRO rules.

Here are some of the key rules you should know:

Before You Trade – Minimum Margin. Before trading on margin, the NYSE and NASD, for example, require you to deposit with your brokerage firm a minimum of $2,000 or 100 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. This is known as the “minimum margin.” Some firms may require you to deposit more than $2,000.

Amount You Can Borrow – Initial Margin. According to Regulation T of the Federal Reserve Board, you may borrow up to 50 percent of the purchase price of securities that can be purchased on margin. This is known as the “initial margin.” Some firms require you to deposit more than 50 percent of the purchase price.

Tip: Not all securities can be purchased on margin.

Amount You Need After You Trade – Maintenance Margin. After you buy stock on margin, the NYSE and NASD require you to keep a minimum amount of equity in your margin account. The equity in your account is the value of your securities less how much you owe to your brokerage firm. The rules require you to have at least 25 percent of the total market value of the securities in your margin account at all times. The 25 percent is called the “maintenance requirement.” In fact, many brokerage firms have higher maintenance requirements, typically between 30 to 40 percent and sometimes higher, depending on the type of stock purchased.

Example: You purchase $16,000 worth of securities by borrowing $8,000 from your firm and paying $8,000 in cash or securities. If the market value of the securities drops to $12,000, the equity in your account will fall to $4,000 ($12,000 – $8,000 = $4,000). If your firm has a 25 percent maintenance requirement, you must have $3,000 in equity in your account (25 percent of $12,000 = $3,000). In this case, you do have enough equity because the $4,000 in equity in your account is greater than the $3,000 maintenance requirement.

But, if your firm has a maintenance requirement of 40%, you would not have enough equity. The firm would require you to have $4,800 in equity (40% of $12,000 = $4,800). Your $4,000 in equity is less than the firm’s $4,800 maintenance requirement. As a result, the firm may issue you a “margin call,” since the equity in your account has fallen $800 below the firm’s maintenance requirement.

Margin Calls

If your account falls below the firm’s maintenance requirement, your broker generally will make a margin call to ask you to deposit more cash or securities into your account. If you are unable to meet the margin call, your firm will sell your securities to increase the equity in your account up to or above the firm’s maintenance requirement.

Tip: Your broker may not be required to make a margin call or otherwise tell you that your account has fallen below the firm’s maintenance requirement. Your broker may be able to sell your securities at any time without consulting you first. Under most margin agreements, even if your firm offers to give you time to increase the equity in your account, it can sell your securities without waiting for you to meet the margin call.

  • Margin accounts involve a great deal more risk than cash accounts, where you fully pay for the securities you purchase. You may lose more than your initial investment when buying on margin. If you cannot afford to do so, then margin buying is not for you.
  • Read the margin agreement, and ask your broker questions about how a margin account works and whether it’s appropriate for you to trade on margin. Your broker should explain the terms and conditions of the margin agreement.
  • Know how much you will be charged on money you borrow from your broker, and know how these costs affect your overall return.
  • Remember that your brokerage firm can sell your securities without notice to you when you don’t have sufficient equity in your margin account.

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RECAST: An Interview with Fiduciary Bennett Aikin AIF®

On Financial Fiduciary Accountability

[By Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA CMP™]

[By Ann Miller; RN, MHA]

Currently, there is a growing dilemma in the financial sales and services industry. It goes something like this:

  • What is a financial fiduciary?
  • Who is a financial fiduciary?
  • How can I tell if my financial advisor is a fiduciary?

Now, in as much as this controversy affects laymen and physician-investors alike, we went right to the source for up-to-date information regarding this often contentious topic, for an email interview and Q-A session, with Ben Aikin.ben-aikin

About Bennett Aikin AIF® and fi360.com

Bennett [Ben] Aikin is the Communications Coordinator for fi360.com. He oversees all communications for fi360. His responsibilities include messaging, brand management, copyrights and trademarks, and publications. Mr. Aikin received his BA in English from Virginia Tech in 2003 and is currently an MS candidate in Journalism from Ohio University.

Q. Medical Executive Post 

You have been very helpful and gracious to us. So, let’s get right to it, Ben. In the view of many; attorneys, doctors, CPAs and the clergy are fiduciaries; most all others who retain this title seem poseurs; sans documentation otherwise.

A. Mr. Aikin

You are correct. Attorneys, doctors and clergy are the prototype fiduciaries. They have a clear duty to put the best interests of their clients, patients, congregation, etc., above their own. [The duty of a CPA isn’t as clear to me, although I believe you are correct]. Furthermore, this is one of the first topics we address in our AIF training programs, and what we call the difference between a profession and an industry.  The three professions you name have three common characteristics that elevate them from an industry to a profession:

  1. Recognized body of knowledge
  2. Society depends upon practitioners to provide trustworthy advice
  3. Code of conduct that places the clients’ best interests first

Q. Medical Executive Post 

It seems that Certified Financial Planner®, Chartered Financial Analysts, Registered Investment Advisors and their representatives, Registered Representative [stock-brokers] and AIF® holders, etc, are not really financial fiduciaries, either by legal statute or organizational charter. Are we correct, or not? Of course, we are not talking ethics or morality here. That’s for the theologians to discuss.

A. Mr. Aikin

One of the reasons for the “alphabet soup”, as you put it in one of your white papers [books, dictionaries and posts] on financial designations, is that while there is a large body of knowledge, there is no one recognized body of knowledge that one must acquire to enter the financial services industry.  The different designations serve to provide a distinguisher for how much and what parts of that body of knowledge you do possess.  However, being a fiduciary is exclusively a matter of function. 

In other words, regardless of what designations are held, there are five things that will make one a fiduciary in a given relationship:

  1. You are “named” in plan or trust documents; the appointment can be by “name” or by “title,” such as CFO or Head of Human Resources
  2. You are serving as a trustee; often times this applies to directed trustees as well
  3. Your function or role equates to a professional providing comprehensive and continuous investment advice
  4. You have discretion to buy or sell investable assets
  5. You are a corporate officer or director who has authority to appoint other fiduciaries

So, if you are a fiduciary according to one of these definitions, you can be held accountable for a breach in fiduciary duty, regardless of any expertise you do, or do not have. This underscores the critical nature of understanding the fiduciary standard and delegating certain duties to qualified “professionals” who can fulfill the parts of the process that a non-qualified fiduciary cannot.

Q. Medical Executive Post 

How about some of the specific designations mentioned on our site, and elsewhere. I believe that you may be familiar with the well-known financial planner, Ed Morrow, who often opines that there are more than 98 of these “designations”? In fact, he is the founder of the Registered Financial Consultants [RFC] designation. And, he wrote a Foreword for one of our e-books; back-in-the-day. His son, an attorney, also wrote as a tax expert for us, as well. So, what gives?

A. Mr. Aikin

As for the specific designations you list above, and elsewhere, they each signify something different that may, or may not, lend itself to being a fiduciary: For example:

• CFP®: The act of financial planning does very much imply fiduciary responsibility.  And, the recently updated CFP® rules of conduct does now include a fiduciary mandate:

• 1.4 A certificant shall at all times place the interest of the client ahead of his or her own. When the certificant provides financial planning or material elements of the financial planning process, the certificant owes to the client the duty of care of a fiduciary as defined by CFP Board. [from http://www.cfp.net/Downloads/2008Standards.pdf]

•  CFA: Very dependent on what work the individual is doing.  Their code of ethics does have a provision to place the interests of clients above their own and their Standards of Practice handbook makes clear that when they are working in a fiduciary capacity that they understand and abide by the legally mandated fiduciary standard.

• FA [Financial Advisor]: This is a generic term that you may find being used by a non-fiduciary, such as a broker, or a fiduciary, such as an RIA.

• RIA: Are fiduciaries.  Registered Investment Advisors are registered with the SEC and have obligations under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to provide services that meet a fiduciary standard of care.

• RR: Registered Reps, or stock-brokers, are not fiduciaries if they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.  If they give investment advice that crosses the line into “comprehensive and continuous investment advice” (see above), their function would make them a fiduciary and they would be subject to meeting a fiduciary standard in that advice (even though they may not be properly registered to give advice as an RIA).

• AIF designees: Have received training on a process that meets, and in some places exceeds, the fiduciary standard of care.  We do not require an AIF® to always function as a fiduciary. For example, we allow registered reps to gain and use the AIF® designation. In many cases, AIF designees are acting as fiduciaries, and the designation is an indicator that they have the full understanding of what that really means in terms of the level of service they provide.  We do expect our designees to clearly disclose whether they accept fiduciary responsibility for their services or not and advocate such disclosure for all financial service representatives.

Q. Medical Executive Post 

Your website, http://www.fi360.com, seems to suggest, for example, that banks/bankers are fiduciaries. We have found this not to be the case, of course, as they work for the best interests of the bank and stockholders. What definitional understanding are we missing?

A. Mr. Aikin

Banks cannot generally be considered fiduciaries.  Again, it is a matter of function. A bank may be a named trustee, in which case a fiduciary standard would generally apply.  Banks that sell products are doing so according to their governing regulations and are “prudent experts” under ERISA, but not necessarily held to a fiduciary standard in any broader sense.

Q. Medical Executive Post 

And so, how do we rectify the [seemingly intentional] industry obfuscation on this topic. We mean, our readers, subscribers, book and dictionary purchasers, clients and colleagues are all confused on this topic. The recent financial meltdown only stresses the importance of understanding same.

For example, everyone in the industry seems to say they are the “f” word. But, our outreach efforts to contact traditional “financial services” industry pundits, CFP® practitioners and other certification organizations are continually met with resounding silence; or worse yet; they offer an abundance of parsed words and obfuscation but no confirming paperwork, or deep subject-matter knowledge as you have kindly done. We get the impression that some FAs honesty do-not have a clue; while others are intentionally vague.

A. Mr. Aikin

All of the evidence you cite is correct.  But that does not mean it is impossible to find an investment advisor who will manage to a fiduciary standard of care and acknowledge the same. The best way to rectify confusion as it pertains to choosing appropriate investment professionals is to get fiduciary status acknowledged in writing and go over with them all of the necessary steps in a fiduciary process to ensure they are being fulfilled. There also are great resources out there for understanding the fiduciary process and for choosing professionals, such as the Department of Labor, the SEC, FINRA, the AICPA’s Personal Financial Planning division, the Financial Planning Association, and, of course, Fiduciary360.

We realize the confusion this must cause to those coming from the health care arena, where MD/DO clearly defines the individual in question; as do other degrees [optometrist, clinical psychologist, podiatrist, etc] and medical designations [fellow, board certification, etc.]. But, unfortunately, it is the state of the financial services industry as it stands now.

Q. Medical Executive Post 

It is as confusing for the medical community, as it is for the lay community. And, after some research, we believe retail financial services industry participants are also confused. So, what is the bottom line?

A. Mr. Aikin

The bottom line is that lay, physician and all clients have a right to expect and demand a fiduciary standard of care in the managing of investments. And, there are qualified professionals out there who are providing those services.  Again, the best way to ensure you are getting it is to have fiduciary status acknowledged in writing, and go over the necessary steps in a fiduciary process with them to ensure it is being fulfilled.

Q. Medical Executive Post 

The “parole-evidence” rule, of contract law, applies, right? In dealing with medical liability situations, the medics and malpractice attorneys have a rule: “if it wasn’t written down, it didn’t happen.”  

A. Mr. Aikin

An engagement contract accepting fiduciary status should trump a subsequent attempt to claim the fiduciary standard didn’t apply. But, to reiterate an earlier point, if someone acts in one of the five functional fiduciary roles, they are a fiduciary whether they choose to acknowledge it or not.  I have attached a sample acknowledgement of fiduciary status letter with copies of our handbook, which details the fiduciary process we instruct in our programs, and our SAFE, which is basically a checklist that a fiduciary should be able to answer “Yes” to every question to ensure the entire fiduciary process is being covered.

Q. Medical Executive Post 

It is curious that you mention checklists. We have a post arguing that very theme for doctors and hospitals as they pursue their medial error reduction, and quality improvement, endeavors. And, we applaud your integrity, and wish only for clarification on this simple fiduciary query?

A. Mr. Aikin

Simple definition: A fiduciary is someone who is managing the assets of another person and stands in a special relationship of trust, confidence, and/or legal responsibility.

Q. Medical Executive Post 

Who is a financial fiduciary and what, if any, financial designation indicates same?

A. Mr. Aikin

Functional definition: See above for the five items that make you a fiduciary.

Financial designations that unequivocally indicate fiduciary duty: Short answer is none, only function can determine who is a fiduciary. 

Q. Medical Executive Post 

Please repeat that?

A. Mr. Aikin

Financial designations that indicate fiduciary duty: none. It is the function that determines who is a fiduciary.  Now, having said that, the CFP® certification comes close by demanding their certificants who are engaged in financial planning do so to a fiduciary standard. Similarly, other designations may certify the holder’s ability to perform a role that would be held to a fiduciary standard of care.  The point is that you are owed a fiduciary standard of care when you engage a professional to fill that role or they functionally become one.  And, if you engage a professional to fill a non-fiduciary role, they will not be held to a fiduciary standard simply because they have a particular designation.  One of the purposes the designations serve is to inform you what roles the designation holder is capable of fulfilling.

It is also worth keeping in mind that just being a fiduciary doesn’t equate to a full knowledge of the fiduciary standard. The AIF® designation indicates having been fully trained on the standard.

Q. Medical Executive Post 

Yes, your website mentions something about fiduciaries that are not aware of same! How can this be? Since our business model mimics a medical model, isn’t that like saying “the doctor doesn’t know he is doctor?” Very specious, with all due respect!

A. Mr. Aikin

I think it is first important to note that this statement is referring not just to investment professionals.  Part of the audience fi360 serves is investment stewards, the non-professionals who, due to facts and circumstances, still owe a fiduciary duty to another.  Examples of this include investment committee members, trustees to a foundation, small business owners who start 401k plans, etc.  This is a group of non-sophisticated investors who may not be aware of the full array of responsibilities they have. 

However, even on the professional side I believe the statement isn’t as absurd as it sounds.  This is basically a protection from both ignorant and unscrupulous professionals.  Imagine a registered representative who, either through ignorance or design, begins offering comprehensive and continuous investment advice.  Though they may deny or be unaware of the fact, they have opened themselves up to fiduciary liability. 

Q. Medical Executive Post 

Please clarify the use of arbitration clauses in brokerage account contracts for us. Do these disclaim fiduciary responsibility? If so, does the client even know same?

A. Mr. Aikin

By definition, an engagement with a broker is a non-fiduciary relationship.  So, unless other services beyond the scope of a typical brokerage account contract are specified, fiduciary responsibility is inherently not applicable.  Unfortunately, I do imagine there are clients who don’t understand this. Furthermore, AIF® designees are not prohibited from signing such an agreement and there are some important points to understand the reasoning.

First, by definition, if you are entering into such an agreement, you are entering into a non-fiduciary relationship. So, any fiduciary requirement wouldn’t apply in this scenario.

Second, if this same question were applied into a scenario of a fiduciary relationship, such as with an RIA, this would be a method of dispute resolution, not a practice method. So, in the event of dispute, the advisor and investor would be free to agree to the method of resolution of their choosing. In this scenario, however, typically the method would not be discussed until the dispute itself arose.

Finally, it is important to know that AIF/AIFA designees are not required to be a fiduciary. It is symbolic of the individuals training, knowledge and ongoing development in fiduciary processes, but does not mean they will always be acting as a fiduciary.

Q. Medical Executive Post 

Don’t the vast majority of arbitration hearings find in favor of the FA; as the arbitrators are insiders, often paid by the very same industry itself?

A. Mr. Aikin

Actual percentages are reported here: http://www.finra.org/ArbitrationMediation/AboutFINRADR/Statistics/index.htm However, brokerage arbitration agreements are a dispute resolution method for disputes that arise within the context of the securities brokerage industry and are not the only means of resolving differences for all types of financial advisors.  Investment advisers, for example, are subject to respond to disputes in a variety of forums including state and federal courts.  Clients should look at their brokerage or advisory agreement to see what they have agreed to. If you wanted to go into further depth on this question, we would recommend contacting Brian Hamburger, who is a lawyer with experience in this area and an AIFA designee. Bio page: http://www.hamburgerlaw.com/attorneys/BSH.htm.

Q. Medical Executive Post 

What about our related Certified Medical Planner® designation, and online educational program for financial advisors and medical management consultants? Is it a good idea – reasonable – for the sponsor to demand fiduciary accountability of these charter-holders? Cleary, this would not only be a strategic competitive advantage, but advance the CMP™ mission to put medical colleagues first and champion their cause www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org above all else. 

A. Mr. Aikin

I think it is a good idea for any plan sponsor to demand fiduciary status be acknowledged from anyone engaged to provide comprehensive and continuous investment advice.  I also think it is a good idea to be proactive in verifying that the fiduciary process is being followed.

Q. Medical Executive Post 

Is there anything else that we should know about this topic?

A. Mr. Aikin

Yes, a further note about fi360’s standards. I wrote generically about the fiduciary standard, because there is one that is defined by multiple sources of regulation, legislation and case law.  The process defined in our handbooks, we call a Fiduciary Standard of Excellence, because it covers that minimum standard and also best practice standards that go above and beyond.  All of our Practices, which comprise that standard, are legally substantiated in our Legal Memoranda handbook, which was written by Fred Reish’s law firm, who is considered a leading ERISA attorney.

Additional resources:

Q. Medical Executive Post 

Thank you so much for your knowledge and willingness to frankly share it with the Medical-Executive-Post.

Assessment

All are invited to continue the conversation with Mr. Aikin, asynchronously online, or thru this contact information:

fi360.com
438 Division Street
Sewickley, PA 15143
412-741-8140 Phone
866-390-5080 Toll-free phone
412-741-8142 Fax

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

Understanding Risk Adjusted Portfolio Performance

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A Vital Feedback Loop for any Medical Professional’s Investment Program

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA, CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]

While recently visiting the beautiful Johns Hopkins University and Medical School in Baltimore Maryland, I realized that investment portfolio performance measurement — much like an annual physical exam in the Spring — is an important feedback loop to monitor progress towards the goals of the medical professional’s investment program.

Performance comparisons to market indices and/or peer groups are a useful part of this feedback loop, as long as they are considered in the context of the market environment and with the limitations of market index and manager database construction.  Inherent to performance comparisons is the reality that portfolios taking greater risk will tend to out-perform less risky investments during bullish phases of a market cycle, but are also more likely to under-perform during the bearish phase.  The reason for focusing on performance comparisons over a full market cycle is that the phases biasing results in favor of higher risk approaches can be balanced with less favorable environments for aggressive approaches to lessen/eliminate those biases.

THINK: The “flash crash” of March 2009, and the DJIA now hovering near 12,000 of  late.

The Biases

Can we eliminate the biases of the market environment by adjusting performance for the risk assumed by the portfolio?  While several interesting calculations have been developed to measure risk-adjusted performance, the unfortunate answer is that the biases of the market environment still tend to have an impact even after adjusting returns for various measures of risk.

http://www.amazon.com/Financial-Planning-Handbook-Physicians-Advisors/dp/0763745790/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276795609&sr=1-1

Assessment

However, medical professionals and their advisors will have many different risk-adjusted return statistics presented to them, so understanding the Sharpe ratio, Treynor ratio, Jensen’s measure or alpha, Morningstar star ratings, etc. and their limitations should help to improve the decisions made from the performance measurement feedback loop.

And, these are discussed elsewhere on this ME-P.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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PODCAST: How Modernized Self-Directed IRAs Help Democratize [Physician] Retirement

***

In this podcast, host Dara Albright and guest, Eric Satz, Founder and CEO of Alto IRA, discuss how modern Self-Directed IRAs (SDIRAs) are democratizing retirement planning by providing all Americans with the ability to add non-correlated alternative asset classes to tax-advantaged accounts.

The single greatest – and free – investment tool is also disclosed.

***

What are the Advantages of Rolling the Money of My Retirement Plan into an  IRA? - Protection Point Advisors, Inc.

Discussion highlights include:

  • How SDIRAs offer wealth building opportunities for “not-yet accredited investors”;
  • How SDIRAs have evolved to accommodate micro-sized alternative investments; 
  • Why alternative assets belong in retirement vehicles;
  • Three reasons most retirement savers are underweighted in non-correlated assets;
  • Trading cryptocurrencies without tax consequences; 
  • Why RIAs are looking to ALTO for clients’ crypto allocation;
  • How to open a cryptoIRA account.

PODCAST: https://dwealthmuse.podbean.com/e/episode-12-how-modernized-selfdirected-iras-help-democratize-retirement-1623424270/

Your comments are appreciated.

THANK YOU

RELATED TEXTS: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2021/04/29/why-are-certified-medical-planner-textbooks-so-darn-popular/

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Stress Testing your Investment Portfolio

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What is Your Risk Number?

DG

[By David Gratke]

Are your current investments aligned with YOUR investment goals and expectations in 2022?

As we all know, the global financial markets have responded tremendously to the past seven years of Global Central Bank monetary polices. i.e. asset prices, stocks, bonds and real estate have all gone up in price as a result. But now, we have the pandemic and Ukraine war to consider.

So, when have you last ‘stress-tested’ your portfolio to see how durable it may through various market cycles? And, how do you determine if your current investment holdings are right for you? Maybe they are too conservative, or just the opposite, still too aggressive?  Maybe they are right where they need to be, but how do you know, how do you measure that?

  • Capture you Risk Tolerance
  • See if your portfolio fits you.
  • OK, How do I Start?

By simply answering a few questions, and spending 10 minutes of your time, based upon the size of your investment portfolio, you will quickly determine your own tolerance for risk.

Comparing your Risk Number to your Portfolio

Now that you have calculated your Risk Number, how does that number compare to your actual portfolio holdings? Is the portfolio you have today, the one you started with some time ago regarding risk and return? Is it still in alignment with your original expectations?

Does your portfolio have?

  • Too much risk?
  • Is it too conservative?
  • Or, is it just right
  • What if the market drops significantly? Instead, what if the market goes up significantly? See how your current portfolio will fair in any one of these market conditions:
  • Let’s put your portfolio onto the treadmill; just like the doctor’s office.
  • How do you know, how do you measure?

Let’s Stress Test your Portfolio

  1. Bull Market (Prices generally rise)
  2. Bear Market (Prices generally fall)
  3. Financial Crisis
  4. Rising Interest Rates

***

ScreenShot2015-06-01at11_34_02AM_113439

***

  • Are the results in alignment with your expectations?
  • Any ‘hot spots’ you need to know about?
  • Are there any individual holdings that will cause you loss of sleep over?
  • Maybe investments don’t generate enough income?
  • Maybe investments fluctuate too much in price?
  • Now you can have a look and see if there are any ‘hot spots’ where you may need to re-balance a portion of your holdings based upon these findings.

***

2

Yes! That feels like me

***

Congratulations. Once you have determined your Risk Number, and perhaps re-aligned your current portfolio to your Risk Number, then yes, you DO have the portfolio that is right for you, one that ‘feels like you’.

ABOUT

David Gratke is chief executive officer of Gratke Wealth LLC in Beaverton, Ore. A Registered Investment Advisory Firm.

***

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. How does the current market tumult affect this ME-P or your own investing strategy? Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

“Physicians who don’t understand modern risk management, insurance, business and asset protection principles are sitting ducks waiting to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous insurance agents and financial advisors; and even their own prospective employers or partners. This comprehensive volume from Dr. David Marcinko, and his co-authors, will go a long way toward educating physicians on these critical subjects that were never taught in medical school or residency training.”

Dr. James M. Dahle MD FACEP [Editor of The White Coat Investor, Salt Lake City, Utah]

***

USA “With time at a premium, and so much vital information packed into one well organized resource, this comprehensive textbook should be on the desk of everyone serving in the healthcare ecosystem. The time you spend reading this frank and compelling book will be richly rewarded.”

Dr. J. Wesley Boyd MD PhD MA [Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA]

Form ADV Part II [The Essential Document]

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Lifting the “Veil of Secrecy” on Selecting Financial Advisors

[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™]

DEM white  shirtBy law, financial advisors must provide you with a form ADV Part II or a brochure that covers the same information. Even if a brochure is provided, ask for the ADV. Today, it may even be online.

While it is acceptable, even desirable, for the brochure to be easier to read than the ADV, the ADV is what is filed with the appropriate state or SEC. If the brochure reads more like a slick sales brochure or the information in the brochure glosses over the items on the ADV to a high degree, one should consider eliminating the advisor from consideration.

Types of Advisors

Registering with a state or SEC gives an advisor a fiduciary duty to the client. This is a high standard under the law. There are several types of advisors who are exempt from registering and filing an ADV.

First, there are registered representatives (brokers).  Brokers have a fiduciary responsibility to their firms regardless of whether they are statutory employees or independent contractors.

Second are attorneys and accountants whose advice is “incidental” to their legal or accounting practices. But, why would one hire someone whose advice is “incidental” to his primary profession?

A top-notch advisor is a full-time professional and should be registered.  One should insist that their advisor be registered.

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Lifting veil of secrecy

[The Author in Chicago Seeking Fiduciary Transparency]

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The ADV will describe the advisor’s background and employment history, including any prior disciplinary issues. It will describe the ownership of the firm and outline how the firm and advisor are compensated. Any referral arrangements will be described. If an advisor has an interest in any of the investments to be recommended, it must be listed as well as the fee schedule. There is also a description of the types of investments recommended and the types of research information that is used.

Assessment

A review of the ADV should result in an alignment of what the advisor said during the interview and what is filed with the regulators. If there is a clear discrepancy, choose another advisor. If it is unclear, discuss the issue with the advisor.

  • SEC Headquarters
  • 100 F Street, NE Washington, DC 20549
  • (202) 942-8088

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Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners(TM)

Why 75+ Years of American Finance Should Matter to Physician Investors

A Graphic Presentation [1861-1935] with Commentary from the Publisher

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko FACFAS MBA CPHQ CMP™

http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

As our private iMBA Inc clients, ME-P subscribers, textbook and dictionary purchasers, seminar attendees and most ME-P readers know, Ken Arrow is my favorite economist. Why?

About Kenneth J. Arrow, PhD

Well, in 1972, Nobel Laureate Kenneth J. Arrow, PhD shocked Academe’ by identifying health economics as a separate and distinct field. Yet, the seemingly disparate insurance, asset allocation, econometric, statistical and portfolio management principles that he studied have been transparent to most financial professionals and wealth management advisors for years; at least until now.

Nevertheless, to informed cognoscenti, they served as predecessors to the modern healthcare advisory era. In 2004, Arrow was selected as one of eight recipients of the National Medal of Science for his innovative views. And, we envisioned the ME-P at that time to present these increasingly integrated topics to our audience.

Healthcare Economics Today

Today – as 2022 passes – savvy medical professionals, management consultants and financial advisors are realizing that the healthcare industrial complex is in flux; along with the Russian war, domestic inflation and this dynamic may be reflected in the overall flagging economy.

Like many laymen seeking employment, for example, physicians are frantically searching for new ways to improve office revenues and grow personal assets, because of the economic dislocation that is Managed Care, Medi Care and Obama Care [ACA], the depressed business cycle, etc.

Moreover, the largest transfer of wealth in US history is – or was – taking place as our lay elders and mature doctors sell their practices or inherit parents’ estates. Increasingly, the artificial academic boundary between the traditional domestic economy, financial planning and contemporaneous medical practice management is blurring.

I’m Not a Cassandra

Yet, I am no gloom and doom Cassandra like I have been accused, of late. I am not cut from the same cloth as a Jason Zweig, Jeremy Grantham or Nouriel Roubini PhD, for example.

However, I do subscribe to the philosophy of Hope for the Best – Plan for the Worst.

And so dear colleagues, I ask you, “Are the latest swings in the economic, healthcare and financial headlines making you wonder when it will ever stop?”

The short answer is: “It will never stop” because what’s been happening isn’t any “new normal”; it’s just the old normal playing out before a new audience; sans the war.

What audience?

The next-generation of investors, FAs, management consultants and the medical professionals of Health 2.0.

How do I know all this?

History tells me so! Just read this work, and opine otherwise, or reach a different conclusion.

Evidence from the American Financial Scene, circa 1861-1935

The work was created by L. Merle Hostetler in 1936, while he was at Cleveland College of Western Reserve University (now known as Case Western Reserve University). I learned of him while in B-School, back in the day.

At some point after it was printed, he added the years 1936-1938. Mr. Hostetler became a Financial Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in 1943. In 1953 he was made Director of Research. He resigned from the Bank in 1962 to work for Union Commerce Bank in Cleveland. He died in 1990.

The volume appears to be self published and consists of a chart, approximately 85′ long, fan-folded into 40 pages with additional years attached to the last page. It also includes a “topical index” to the chart and some questions of technical interest which can be answered by the chart.

Link: http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/75years

Assessment

And so, as with Sir John Templeton’s [whose son is an MD] four most dangerous words in investing (It’s different this time), Hostetler effectively illustrates that it wasn’t so different in his era, and maybe—just maybe—it isn’t so different today for all these conjoined fields.

Conclusion      

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. While not exactly a “sacred cow,” there is a current theory that investors will experience higher volatility and lower global returns for the foreseeable future.

In fact, it has gained widespread acceptance, from the above noted Cassandra’s and others, as problems in Europe persist and threats of a double-dip recession loom. But, how true is this notion; really?

Is Hostetler correct, or not; and why?

Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

Our Other Print Books and Related Information Sources:

DOCTORS:

“Insurance & Risk Management Strategies for Doctors” https://tinyurl.com/ydx9kd93

“Fiduciary Financial Planning for Physicians” https://tinyurl.com/y7f5pnox

“Business of Medical Practice 2.0” https://tinyurl.com/yb3x6wr8

HOSPITALS:

“Financial Management Strategies for Hospitals” https://tinyurl.com/yagu567d

“Operational Strategies for Clinics and Hospitals” https://tinyurl.com/y9avbrq5

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  Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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PENSION PLANS: Defined Benefit V. Defined Contribution Types

KNOW THE DIFFERENCE

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Defined Benefit Pension Plan

A defined benefit (DB) pension plan is a type of pension plan in which an employer/sponsor promises a specified pension payment, lump-sum or combination thereof on retirement that is predetermined by a formula based on the employee’s earnings history, tenure of service and age, rather than depending directly on individual investment returns. Traditionally, many governmental and public entities, as well as a large number of corporations, provide defined benefit plans, sometimes as a means of compensating workers in lieu of increased pay.

Defined Contribution Pension Plan

A defined contribution (DC) plan is a type of retirement plan in which the employer, employee or both make contributions on a regular basis. Individual accounts are set up for participants and benefits are based on the amounts credited to these accounts (through employee contributions and, if applicable, employer contributions) plus any investment earnings on the money in the account. In defined contribution plans, future benefits fluctuate on the basis of investment earnings. The most common type of defined contribution plan is a savings and thrift plan. Under this type of plan, the employee contributes a predetermined portion of his or her earnings (usually pretax) to an individual account, all or part of which is matched by the employer.

CITE: Wilipedia

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

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Your comments are appreciated.

THANK YOU

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General Obligation and Revenue Bonds

Understanding GOs and RBs

[By Staff Writers]fp-book2

General obligation bonds are secured by the taxing authority and are therefore considered safer than other municipals. The full faith and credit of the municipality ensures prompt payment of principal and interest.

Further more, most municipal bonds, including city, county, and school district issues, are secured by a pledge of unlimited property taxes (known as ad-valorem taxes), which further secures the bonds. If taxes are not paid, the property may be sold at a tax sale, at which the bondholder has a superior position.

Revenue bonds

Revenue bonds are payable from the earnings of a revenue-generating facility, such as water, sewers, or utility systems, toll bridges, or airports. The risk, however, is that the facility will not generate income sufficient to pay the interest, and therefore the yield is somewhat higher than for a general-obligation bond.

Revenue bonds are supported only by the revenue earned, so if the project does not produce revenues sufficient to pay the interest on the bonds, then the bonds go into default. Therefore, it is important to properly evaluate the municipality’s ability to tax and/or the assumptions used to project the facility’s revenue.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/HealthcareFinancialsthePostForcxos

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

LEXICONS: http://www.springerpub.com/Search/marcinko
PHYSICIANS: www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com
PRACTICES: www.BusinessofMedicalPractice.com
HOSPITALS: http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781466558731
CLINICS: http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781439879900
ADVISORS: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org
BLOG: www.MedicalExecutivePost.com

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#6: The Six Commandments of Value Investing

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6. In the long run, stocks revert to their fair value

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Although it has been some time since speaking live with busy colleague Vitaliy Katsenelson CFA, I review his internet material frequently and appreciate this ME-P series contribution. I encourage all ME-P readers to do the same and consider his value investing insights carefully.

By Vitaliy Katsenelson, CFA

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6. In the long run, stocks revert to their fair value

Reversion to fair value is not a pie-in-the-sky concept. If a stock is significantly undervalued for a long time, then this undervaluation gets cured, eventually. That can happen through share buybacks – the company can basically buy all of its shares and take itself private.

Or it can happen by the company’s paying out its earnings in dividends, thus creating yields that the market will not be able to ignore. Or the company’s competitors will realize that it is cheaper for them to buy the company than to replicate its assets on their own. Either way, undervaluation gets cured.

This faith that undervaluation will not last forever is paramount to value investing. But this is not your regular faith, which requires belief without proof. This is evidence-supported faith with hundreds of years of data to back it. Just look at the US stock market: it has gone through cycles when it was incredibly cheap and others when it was incredibly expensive. At some points in its journey from one extreme to the other, it touched its fair value, even if it was transitory.

Historically, value investing (owning undervalued companies) has done significantly better than other strategies. Paradoxically, the reason it has done well in the long run is because it did not work consistently in the short run. If something works consistently (keyword), everybody piles into it and it stops working.

These aforementioned cycles of temporary brilliance and dumbness are not just common to us mere mortals. Even Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway goes through them. As just one example, in 1999, when the stock market went up 21%, Berkshire Hathaway stock declined 19%. In 1999, the financial press was writing obituaries for Buffett’s investment prowess.

Suddenly, in 1999, Buffett’s IQ was lagging the market by 40%. At the time, investors were infatuated with internet stocks that were not making money but that were supposed to have a bright future. Investors were selling unsexy “old economy” stocks that Buffett owned in order to buy the “new economy” ones.

If at the end of 1999, you were to sell Berkshire Hathaway and buy the S&P 500 instead, you would have done the easy thing, but it would have been a large (though very common) mistake. Over the next three years Berkshire Hathaway gained over 30% while the S&P declined over 40%. During the year 1999, Buffett’s IQ did not change much; in fact, the (book) value of businesses Berkshire Hathaway owned went up by 0.5% that year. But in 1999, the market’s attention was somewhere else and it chose to price Berkshire Hathaway 19% lower. 

As a value investor, if you do a reasonable job estimating what the business is worth, then at some point the stock market will price it accordingly. You need to have faith. I am acutely aware how wishful this statement sounds. But this faith, the belief in mean reversion, has to be deeply ingrained in our psyche. It will allow us to remain rational when people around us are not. 

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CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

COMMENTS APPRECIATED

Editor’s Final Note; Many thanks to VK for this timely series on value investing. Our ME-P readers appreciate you.

Thank You

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#5: The Six Commandments of Value Investing

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Although it has been some time since speaking live with busy colleague Vitaliy Katsenelson CFA, I review his internet material frequently and appreciate this ME-P series contribution. I encourage all ME-P readers to do the same and consider his value investing insights carefully.

By Vitaliy Katsenelson, CFA

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5. Risk is a permanent loss of capital (not volatility)

Conventional wisdom views volatility as risk. Not value investors. We befriend volatility, embrace it, and try to take advantage of it. For someone who has not researched a company, it is not readily apparent whether a decline in shares is temporary or permanent. After all, if you don’t know what the company is worth, the quoted price becomes the quotient of intrinsic value. If you do know what the company is worth, then the change in intrinsic value is all that is going to matter. The price quoted on the exchange will be your friend, allowing you to take advantage of the difference between intrinsic value and quoted stock price. If the quoted stock price is significantly cheaper than your estimated intrinsic value, you buy it (or buy more of it if you already own it). If the opposite is true, you sell it.

What is a company worth?

Determining the intrinsic value requires a combination of art and science, in that order – it is not quoted on the exchanges. We go about this the same way a businessman would figure how much he’d want to pay for a gas station or a McDonald’s franchise. Analysis of each company will be different, but at the core we estimate the cash flows the business will produce for shareholders in the long run (at least ten years) and what the business will be worth then (based on our estimate of its earnings power at the time). The combination of the two provides us an approximation of what the business is worth now. To further embed “the right” type of risk analysis into our investment operating system, we build financial models. Models help us to understand businesses better and provide insights as to which metrics matter and which don’t. They allow us to stress test the business: We don’t just look at the upside but spend a lot of times looking at the downside – we try to “kill” the business. We look at known risks and try to imagine unknown ones; we try to quantify their impact on cash flows. This “killing” helps to us understand how much of a discount (margin of safety) we should demand to what the business is worth. By applying this discount to fair value, we arrive at a buy price. For every stock we buy we probably look at a few dozen (at least).

For instance, if we are looking at a company that is selling products or services to consumers, we’ll be focusing on customer-acquisition costs. We try to drill down to the essential operating metrics of each company. If it’s a convenience store retailer, we’ll look into gallons of gas sold and profit per gallon. If it’s an oil driller, we’ll look at utilization rates, rigs in service, average revenue per rig per day. If it’s a pharmaceuticals company, we’ll have revenue lines for each major drug it sells and model the company for the eventuality that patents will run out. (Revenues usually decline 80-90% when a patent expires).

These models help us to understand the economics of the business. We usually build two type of models. We start with what we call the “tablecloth” model. This is a very detailed, in-depth model that zeros in on different aspects of the business. But the risk we run with a tablecloth model is that we get lost in the trees and forget about the forest.

This brings us to our “napkin” model. It’s a much simpler and smaller model that focuses only on the essentials of the business. It is easier to build the tablecloth model than the “napkin.” If we can build a napkin model, that means we understand the drivers of the business – we understand what matters. Models are important because they help us remain rational. It is only the matter of time before a stock we own will “blow up” (or, in layman’s terms, decline).

In this type of analysis, what happens this month, this quarter, or even this year is only important in the context of the long run – unless the company’s good or bad earnings report in any quarter changes our assumptions on the company’s long-term cash flows. If you methodically focus on what the company is worth and if your Total IQ is maximized, then price fluctuations are just noise. Volatility becomes your friend because you can rationally take advantage of it. It’s an under-appreciated gift from Mr. Market.

Side Note: As an advisor, I feel it is one of my great responsibilities to be an honest and clear communicator. There is an asymmetry of information between us and our clients. We have invested weeks and months of research into the analysis of each stock; therefore, we have a good idea what each company is worth. Our clients have not done this research, and they should not have to – that is what they hired us to do.This is why we pour our heart and soul into our quarterly letters – we want to close this informational gap and so we try as hard as we can to explain what we think the companies in our portfolio are worth. Our letters are often 15-20 pages long. 

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COMMENTS APPRECIATED

Thank You

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The Active v. Passive Investing Dichotomy

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The Controversy Continues

LINK: http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

[By Amaury S. Cifuentes CFP® CMP®]

Physician and all investors are often overloaded with information regarding this debate, and many advisors differ in the conclusion of which strategy is best.

Stock Picking

Stock picking is typically a waist of time and few investors or advisors demonstrate the constant ability in picking winning stocks. Timing the market also becomes difficult and typically has negative effects in a portfolio. Investors will also find that they will usually have very little luck finding money mangers that can consistently out perform the market. Investors over a long period of investing time horizon would benefit from passive investing vs. active trading, with some exceptions.

Active Investors

Active investors spend time analyzing stocks or mutual funds based on a mismatch of the price relative to its value. In an efficient market, there is little or no mismatch between the current price and the true value of the investment. Also, real cost and expenses of active management are rarely calculated;  some consider the stock market a zero sum game, if the total market returns eleven percent then the investors must deduct the cost of the transaction, which would lower their return relative to the market.

Mutual Fund Performance

For example, Mark Carhart’s comprehensive study of 1,892 mutual funds title “On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance” showed that on average mutual fund manager under performs by 1.8% to their relative index.  In addition, William Sharpe Nobel laureate article “The Arithmetic of Active Management” stated that after cost, the return of active management dollars would be less than passive dollars.

Market Timing

Timing of markets is also very difficult. Timing the market can be defined by moving your asset from risky to non risky assets before negative events happen. The Random Walk Theory basically states that there are no patterns in the stock market prices. Basically, information moves the markets and information is random, so logic would suggest that timing the markets effectively is futile. Many reports demonstrate this effect, for example, a report form Javier Estrada, a finance professor at IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. He studied the DJIA form 1900-2008 and concluded that if you subtracted the ten best days from the market two thirds of the cumulative gains would disappear (10/29694 or .03%), almost impossible to predict even by the most astute investors. Much more extensive research showing that market timing does not work, Wei Jiang paper “A Nonparametric Test of Market Timing” concluded that timing ability on average is negative. There are countless of studies showing that there is no evidence that timing the markets can produce superior returns.

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Investing Difficulties Continue

To make thing even more difficult, investors that seek profession help cannot guarantee that the active managers they hire can consistently over long period of time outperform their benchmarks.  Obviously, it is evident that past performance is no indication of future results as advertised by all financial institution, and most active managers who outperform their bench market do not do consistently over long periods of time. John Boggle’s comprehensive study in 1992 of the Forbes Honor Roll title “Selecting Equity Mutual Funds” concluded that after commissions loads were taken into account the honor roll under performed the market between 1974 and 1990 by a difference of 193.75% cumulative.

Of Professor Burton Malkiel

Furthermore, investors over long periods of time will find that stock picking, timing the market and selecting active managers do not produce superior returns. John Stossel of ABC’s 20/20 interview Professor Burton Malkiel of Princeton University and stated in the interview that “All the information an analyst can learn about a company, from balance sheets to marketing material, is already built into the stock price, because all of the other thousands of analysts have the same information. What they don’t have is the knowledge that will move the stock, knowledge such as a news event, which is unpredictable and impossible to forecast.”

Assessment

Physicians and all investors may be better off concentrating on asset allocation, picking low cost investment, deciding on tactical or strategic rebalancing and implementing models like the three factor model as pioneered by Professor Eugene Fama and Professor Kenneth French in lieu active management.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/HealthcareFinancialsthePostForcxos

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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Why You CAN’T Turn Your Roth IRA Into a Billion-Dollar Tax Shelter

By Nadia Sussman, Sherene Strausberg and Justin Elliott

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. Series: The Secret IRS Files Inside the Tax Records of the .001%

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The Roth IRA: What It Is and How It Works | Personal ...

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Last week, ProPublica published the story of how PayPal co-founder and tech investor Peter Thiel was able to turn a Roth IRA initially worth around $2,000 into a jaw-dropping $5 billion tax-free retirement stash in just 20 years.

The story is even more remarkable because Congress created the Roth IRA in 1997 to encourage middle-class Americans to save for their golden years. Most Americans have struggled to do even that; the average account was worth about $39,000 in 2018. But Thiel and other billionaires have managed to turn their mundane Roths into giant onshore tax shelters.

Thiel was able to launch his Roth into the stratosphere through a complicated strategy involving the purchase of nonpublic stock at bargain prices — the kind of deal most people can’t access. Experts say it risked running afoul of rules designed to prevent IRAs from becoming illegal tax shelters. (Thiel’s spokesman didn’t respond to questions.)

Other ultrawealthy Americans have used different means to build Roths worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden is now looking at how to end the use of the Roth as “yet another tax dodge that allows mega millionaires and billionaires to avoid paying taxes.”

How are they able to do it while you can’t? Check out our explainer of one way the Roth works for the ultrawealthy and not for you.

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Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Citation: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

MORE: https://www.routledge.com/Comprehensive-Financial-Planning-Strategies-for-Doctors-and-Advisors-Best/Marcinko-Hetico/p/book/9781482240283

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