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    Dr. Marcinko is originally from Loyola University MD, Temple University in Philadelphia and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in PA; as well as Oglethorpe University and Emory University in Georgia, the Atlanta Hospital & Medical Center; Kellogg-Keller Graduate School of Business and Management in Chicago, and the Aachen City University Hospital, Koln-Germany. He became one of the most innovative global thought leaders in medical business entrepreneurship today by leveraging and adding value with strategies to grow revenues and EBITDA while reducing non-essential expenditures and improving dated operational in-efficiencies.

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    Dr. David E. Marcinko is past Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious “Journal of Health Care Finance”, and a former Certified Financial Planner® who was named “Health Economist of the Year” in 2010. He is a Federal and State court approved expert witness featured in hundreds of peer reviewed medical, business, economics trade journals and publications [AMA, ADA, APMA, AAOS, Physicians Practice, Investment Advisor, Physician’s Money Digest and MD News] etc.

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    As a state licensed life, P&C and health insurance agent; and dual SEC registered investment advisor and representative, Marcinko was Founding Dean of the fiduciary and niche focused CERTIFIED MEDICAL PLANNER® chartered professional designation education program; as well as Chief Editor of the three print format HEALTH DICTIONARY SERIES® and online Wiki Project.

    Dr. David E. Marcinko’s professional memberships included: ASHE, AHIMA, ACHE, ACME, ACPE, MGMA, FMMA, FPA and HIMSS. He was a MSFT Beta tester, Google Scholar, “H” Index favorite and one of LinkedIn’s “Top Cited Voices”.

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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 Jeffery S. Coons PhD CFA

TMDr. Jeff Coons

dr-david-marcinko9

-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.

***

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

***

[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.

***

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

***

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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Some Prognostications On Government Bond Yields?

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Gazing into the Future … Always Dangerous!

tim[By Timothy J. McIntosh MBA CFP® MPH]

Given that government bond yields today are at historical lows, the opportunity for price appreciation is minimal. More likely, the collection of interest payments will provide most, if not all, of market returns.

Additionally, interest rates could also trend up over the ensuing decade.  This would result in capital losses as bond prices decline, reducing total return further.  Much like the decade of the 1940s, total returns from bonds will most likely be subdued as either market interest rates remain constant or interest rates trend upwards.

Most certainly, physicians and all investors, cannot expect an average long term return of 5.40%.  A 3% total return over the ensuing decade is most probable.  The problem with this examination is that most individual investors have a substantial portion of their assets in bonds, especially of the government sort.  As the average total portfolio return target for most investors is 6-8% on an annualized basis, investors must expect either a substantial decline in interest rates from the current historic lows, or that stocks will make up the difference.

***

Portrait of two surgeons in a operating theatre

***

Although bonds do present moderate investments returns for today’s investor, without bonds as part of a portfolio, investment losses could be a much higher percentage if invested in stocks alone.  But, stocks do generate a higher rate of return over a long period, in short or immediate term, they may well be outperformed by bonds, especially at critical periods in the economic cycle. Bonds in general are known for the stability and predictability of returns. Bonds, especially those of the government kind, have a low standard deviation (volatility).

In fact, bonds are one of the least risky asset classes an investor can own.  When combining bonds in a diversified portfolio, you will lower your overall risk.  The tradeoff, of course, is the return will be lower than an all stock portfolio.

Most investors have money parked in bonds of the government type, i.e. notes, bills, or bonds.  The reason for this has to do with risk and diversification.  Government bonds have one of the lowest risk profiles of any asset class, and have generally produced consistent returns.  Government bonds are also thought to maintain a very low correlation (a statistical measure of how two securities move in relation to each other) with equities.  The long-term average correlation is about 0.09.

***

Bonds

***

However, this verity has to be examined on a long-term framework.  In fact, correlations between U.S. stocks and treasury bonds have swung widely over the past eighty years. The correlation was positive for most of the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s.  In the 1950s, the correlation was actually negative as stocks advanced strongly and bonds suffered from declining prices (due to increasing interest rates).  From the mid-1960s until 2000 there was a positive correlation, averaging about 0.50.  The correlation turned negative once gain during the past decade.

This was primarily due to the fact that stocks struggled mightily with two large bear market declines (2002, 2008), while bonds rallied strongly as interest rates declined.  So much of the supposed low or negative correlation depends upon what time period you examine. The principal problem with owning government bonds is the negative correlation an investor is looking for only appears sporadically throughout history.

Assessment

There are a number of risk variables to consider when investing in bonds as they may affect the value of the bond investment over time. These variables include changes in interest rates, income payments, bond maturity, redemption features, credit quality, priority in capital structure, price, yield, tax status and other provisions.

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.

Conclusion

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“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.”

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More on “Passive Investing” for Physicians

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Basic Financial Concepts

tim

By Timothy J. McIntosh; CFPMBA MPH CMP [hon]

By Jeffery S. Coons; PhD CFA

By Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA CMP™

Passive investing is a monetary plan in which an investor invests in accordance with a pre-determined strategy that doesn’t necessitate any forecasting of the economy or an individual company’s prospects.

Premise

The primary premise is to minimize investing fees and to avoid the unpleasant consequences of failing to correctly predict the future. The most accepted method to invest passively is to mimic the performance of a particular index. Investors typically do this today by purchasing one or more ‘index funds’. By tracking an index, an investor will achieve solid diversification with low expenses.  Thus, a physician-investor could potentially earn a higher rate of return than an investor paying higher management fees.

Passive management is most widespread in the stock markets.  But; with the explosion of exchange traded funds on the major exchanges, index investing has become more popular in other categories of investing. There are now literally hundreds of different index funds.

***

Bull Markets

[Domestic Bull Markets – Historical USA]

***

Passive management is based upon the Efficient Market Hypothesis theory.  The Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) states that securities are fairly priced based on information regarding their underlying cash flows and that investors should not anticipate to consistently out-perform the market over the long-term.

The Efficient Market Hypothesis evolved in the 1960s from the Ph.D. dissertation of Eugene Fama.  Fama persuasively made the case that in an active market that includes many well-informed and intelligent investors, securities will be appropriately priced and reflect all available information. If a market is efficient [even emerging and/or world markets], no information or analysis can be expected to result in outperformance of an appropriate benchmark.

***

World Markets

[USA versus World Index]

***

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The Author

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.

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

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

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Understanding Stock Market Performance Benchmarks

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An important role in monitoring investment portfolio progress

By TIMOTHY J. McINTOSH; MBA, MPH, CFP®, CMP™ [Hon] 

tim

Performance measurement has an important role in monitoring progress toward any portfolio’s goals.  The portfolio’s objective may be to preserve the purchasing power of the 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, performance numbers need to be evaluated based on an understanding of the market environment over the period being measured.

So, here is a brief review for our ME-P readers, doctors and subscribers; after a good market day today.

17,666.40 +305.36 +1.76%

Time-weighted Returns

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 investor and 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 US 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:

  • Barclays Aggregate Bond Index – a broad index of bonds.
  • 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.

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.

***

Healthcare job expense deductions

***

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. Although this capitalization-bias does not typically affect long-term performance comparisons, 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.

Peer Groups

Thus, an 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.Peer group comparisons tend to avoid the capitalization-bias of many market indices, although identifying an appropriate peer group is as difficult as identifying an appropriate market index.

Furthermore, peer group universes will tend to have an additional problem of survivorship bias, which is the loss of (generally weaker) performance track records from the database. This is the greatest concern with databases used for marketing purposes by managers, since investment products in these generally self-disclosure databases will be added when a track record looks good and dropped when the product’s returns falter. Whether mutual funds or managers, the potential for survivorship bias and inappropriate manager universes make it important to evaluate the details of how a database is constructed before using it for relative performance comparisons.

***

investing

***

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The Author

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.

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:

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Efficient Market Hypothesis – or Not?

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Contradicting the Hypothesis

[A SPECIAL ME-P REPORT]

[By Timothy J McIntosh MBA CFP® MPH CMP™ [Hon]

[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™]

http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

***

Not everyone believes in the efficient market.  Numerous researchers over the previous decades have found stock market anomalies that indicate a contradiction with the hypothesis.  The search for anomalies is effectively the hunt for market patterns that can be utilized to outperform passive strategies.

white swan

[White Swan of the EMH]

Such stock market anomalies that have been proven to go against the findings of the EMH theory include:

  1. Low Price to Book Effect
  2. January Effect
  3. The Size Effect
  4. Insider Transaction Effect
  5. The Value Line Effect

The Anomalies

All the above anomalies have been proven over time to outperform the market.  For example, the first anomaly listed above is the Low Price to Book Effect.  The first and most discussed study on the performance of low price to book value stocks was by Dr. Eugene Fama and Dr. Kenneth R. French.  The study covered the time period from 1963-1990 and included nearly all the stocks on the NYSE, AMEX and NASDAQ. The stocks were divided into ten subgroups by book/market and were re-ranked annually.

In the study, Fama and French found that the lowest book/market stocks outperformed the highest book/market stocks by a substantial margin (21.4 percent vs. 8 percent).  Remarkably, as they examined each upward decile, performance for that decile was below that of the higher book value decile.  Fama and French also ordered the deciles by beta (measure of systematic risk) and found that the stocks with the lowest book value also had the lowest risk.

What is Value?

Today, most researchers now deem that “value” represents a hazard feature that investors are compensated for over time.  The theory being that value stocks trading at very low price book ratios are inherently risky, thus investors are simply compensated with higher returns in exchange for taking the risk of investing in these value stocks.

The Fama and French research has been confirmed through several additional studies.  In a Forbes Magazine 5/6/96 column titled “Ben Graham was right–again,” author David Dreman published his data from the largest 1500 stocks on Compustat for the 25 years ending 1994. He found that the lowest 20 percent of price/book stocks appreciably outperformed the market.

***

Ex-Cathedra black swan

[Ex-Cathedra or Black Swan Event]

Assessment

One item a medical professional should be aware of is the strong paradox of the efficient market theory.   If each investor believes the stock market were efficient, then all investors would give up analyzing and forecasting.  All investors would then accept passive management and invest in index funds.

But, if this were to happen, the market would no longer be efficient because no one would be scrutinizing the markets.  In actuality, the efficient market hypothesis actually depends on active investors attempting to outperform the market through diligent research

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The Author

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.

Conclusion

So, what about the “January Effect for 2015“?

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About Peer-to-Peer Lending [P2PL]

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What it is – How it works?

big_picBy TIMOTHY J. McINTOSH; MBA, MPH, CFP®, CMP™ [Hon]

Similar to private equity or venture capital, peer-to-peer lending [aka person-to-person lending, peer-to-peer investing and social lending] is the practice of lending money to unrelated individuals without the benefit a traditional financial intermediary like a bank or financial institution. P2P lending takes place online using various platforms and credit checking tools.

And, it has been in existence for about a decade.

Here are some important characteristics:

  • P2PL offers a chance to get a lower interest rate than a bank, and gives investors a chance to receive higher returns. Of course, more rewards means more risk.
  • The two largest P2PL companies are Prosper.com and LendingClub.com.  Prosper is older, Lending Club is bigger.  Prosper allows bidding on the interest rates you’re willing to provide a loan. Lending Club sets the rates.
  • Initial returns on Prosper were disappointing because default rates were high; today it is better. For loans originating in the last six months of 2009, both Lending Club and Prosper have a default rate (including currently late loans) of about 13.5%. Using loans from that same time period, Prosper had overall returns of 8.3% and Lending Club had returns of 4.3%.
  • Since avoiding defaults is an important part of P2PL, investors should buy many lots of notes – for as little as $25 each – which make it relatively easy to achieve broad diversification.  Compared to buying index funds and rebalancing once a year, P2PL is more time-consuming as you must pick the loans to invest in individually.  Filtering through the offered loans is time-consuming, but can be rewarding. Some investors sell off their notes at a discount once the borrower goes late on a payment for instance, or just because they need their money out of the investment before the term is up.
  • No matter how closely watched there will be a drag on returns from the cash in your portfolio.  It takes time to choose loans acceptable and then for them to be approved.  Just as with a mutual fund, this will lower your returns, perhaps as much as 1%.
  • One of the real benefits of P2PL is a low correlation with other investments, as it is different than other asset classes and ought to perform differently from equity and fixed income investments.

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Assessment

The Author

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.

Conclusion

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Understanding Crypto Currencies & Bitcoins

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Understanding Risks and Benefits

By Timothy J. McIntosh CFP® MPH CFA

TMMedical professionals might not know rupees from ringgits, but any investor should consider the benefits of currency investing.  Buying currencies allow for a hedge against the U.S. dollar and also permit for an investor to take advantage of major movements of foreign currencies for profit.

Today, it is easier than ever to invest in currencies through mutual funds or exchange traded funds.  U.S. investors are impacted by foreign currency fluctuations through international stock and bond exposure.

Advantages

The advantage of investing in currencies is the investment generally has limited correlation with other real or liquid assets.  Medical professionals can initiate the process of currency investing by starting a forex account.  In many instances, an account can be opened with minimal investment.

Taxation

One caveat is the tax consequences, as currency-based profits are taxed as ordinary income rather than the more favorable capital gains rate.

Digital Currency

Bitcoin is an open sourcepeer-to-peer payment network and digital currency pioneered in 2009 by pseudonymous developer “Satoshi Nakamoto“. Bitcoin has been called a cryptocurrency because it utilizes public-key cryptography for protection. Users send payments by broadcasting digitally signed messages that reassign ownership of bitcoins. A decentralized network of specialized computers verifies and timestamps all transactions using a proof-of-work system. The operators of these computers, known as “miners“, are satisfied with transaction fees and newly minted bitcoins.

Commercial Use

The commercial use of Bitcoin, illicit or otherwise, is currently diminutive compared to its use by speculators, which has led to extreme price volatility.  Companies and merchants have an enticement to recognize the currency because transaction fees are lower than the 2 to 3% classically imposed by the major credit card companies like Visa®.

Bitcoin Graph

Assessment

Given the fact that Bitcoin is a new currency with extreme volatility, medical professionals should be very cautious with any potential investment.

UPDATE: 2017

Conclusion

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