About Investing

These foundational articles about fixed income address some of the topics that should be read by advisors and interested investors.

Risk Radar (NEW! Posted 1-21-17)

What’s on your muni market risk radar? Here’s what we’re watching.

The Catchup Archive (NEW! Added 1-21-17)

Since we only provide a link to the most recent edition of The Muni Catchup, this archive provides an index to some of the special topics covered. The index begins with the 12/12/16 edition.

Bonds Are Not Stocks

What equity investors should know about bond investing:

  • Part 1: Bonds are Not Stocks; Ratings, Credit Risk and Political Risk
  • Part 2: Dividends and Interest; Low Rates Don’t Have to Mean Low Return; Liquidity Risk
  • Part 3: Bonds or Bond Funds; How About Bond ETFs?; Interest Rate Risk; How Will ____ Affect My Bonds?

 Timing Interest Rates

  • What’s the best way to time interest rates?
  • “Shouldn’t I just wait for rates to go higher?”
  • “When are yields going to be more attractive?”
  • “What will be the signal that rates are going to start moving?”
  • “What’s the best way to time interest rates?”

The Benefits of Professional Management

  • When should an investor use a professional manager?
  • If an investor needs more performance (yield or return), should he/she use a professional manager?
  • Should a manager be selected based on performance?
  • If a manager’s performance is lagging, should they be fired (or sold) by the investor?
  • Will using a professional manager protect from market declines?

What Investors Should Know About Conflicts of Interest

The continuing debate over regulatory implementation of a fiduciary standard on all financial services providers often misses an important point about conflicts of interest.

Performance: Don’t Just Look Backwards

Are you using the rearview mirror to figure out where you’re going?

How can an investor measure risk? To non-professionals, duration and standard deviation often don’t really make sense. But yield (or return) is a number that every investor understands, and is often used as the primary point of comparison between different prospective investments.

Return measures, however, are backwards looking. If you are driving, you would not expect good results by looking only in the rearview mirror.

What is Thought Leadership?

A recent survey of asset managers revealed that 2/3’rds of them describe themselves as thought leaders. Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 11.58.32 AM

But what does that mean? If everyone has thought leadership, does anyone have thought leadership? Is thought leadership really that important? If you are an investor, don’t you want to be working with a thought leader? If you are in the asset management business, don’t you want to be a thought leader?

When it comes to fixed income investing, who is the thought leader? Can there be more than one thought leader? Is it even important?

The Reverse Midas Effect

In the last decades, we have seen many examples of what I call “The Reverse Midas Effect.” That is, examples of turning gold into lead.

Maybe not in a literal sense of turning gold into lead (who the heck would want to do that?), but the action of turning something of great value into something of much lesser value. The government seems to specialize in this type of alchemy.

Book Recommendations

For bond investors, there are not as many books to select from as there are for equity investors. The good news, though, is that there are a handful of books that have stood the test of time and are still worth reading.

Bibliography (Updated 1-21-17)

If you just can’t get enough of what I’ve written, here’s a listing of articles that have been published elsewhere

 Glossary

This is not comprehensive, but is provided for cases where I have felt the need to add clarity to relevant terms.

Links of Note