While revenue sharing may be a legitimate way to pay for the costs of operating a plan, both US courts and the Department of Labor (DOL) have made it clear that plan sponsors have a significant responsibility as fiduciaries to fully understand, evaluate and monitor their revenue-sharing arrangements and determine whether they are reasonable. Therefore, the most prudent response for plan sponsors may be to rethink the practice of revenue sharing altogether. (more…)
Small-cap stocks have lagged large-cap stocks by a substantial margin over the past few months, but a close look at the causes makes us think they could be in for a reversal of fortune. (more…)
It’s not easy for investors to grasp the dynamics of consumer spending in diverse emerging markets. We think the best way is to look inside the refrigerators of people across the developing world. (more…)
The uproar over Pfizer’s failed bid for AstraZeneca has faded, but the tax inversion debate is just heating up. This week, Medtronic’s offer for Covidien has again raised questions about why companies are so eager to move their tax homes abroad—and what it means for investors. (more…)
Chasing returns into—and out of—specific credit sectors happens so often in bond markets that it hardly rates a raised eyebrow. But running with the herd can be risky, which is probably why Federal Reserve officials reportedly have discussed slapping exit fees on bond funds to avoid a disorderly rush to the exit. (more…)
US defined contribution (DC) plan fees have been hit with heavy scrutiny recently—from Department of Labor (DOL) disclosure regulations to a rash of lawsuits that have cost several large plan sponsors millions of dollars in settlements and judgments. But perhaps one of the most interesting fee issues today focuses on revenue sharing. (more…)
Longer-dated oil futures contracts have been on the rise so far in 2014, and we think there’s a good case to be made that they’ve got further to go. The potential for an upside oil-price surprise may point to investment opportunity.
Falling yields on Treasuries are often seen as a signal of a weakening economy that could undermine stocks. We think there are other explanations that don’t threaten the outlook for equities. (more…)
In early 2013, we urged investors to take a hard look at the interest-rate risk in their bond portfolios. If they didn’t do it then, they have a chance to do it now. (more…)
This year’s leveraged buyouts (LBOs) are being financed with more debt and include fewer protections for creditors. Regulators, the press and market participants are watching this closely, and so are we. But we don’t think it’s worth losing sleep over—at least not yet.