Equity hedge funds have enjoyed the best start to a year since 2009, gaining an average 7%, according to Goldman Sachs, whose analysts say managers appear to be making relatively safe bets on proven stocks. However, the sector continues to underperform the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which has gained 12%.
Hedge funds had a strong performance in July, gaining 1.15%, according to Preqin data. Equity strategies and emerging-market funds led the rally, while commodity trading advisers recovered from a negative result in June.
Short positions on the US dollar declined to $8.84 billion last week from $10.23 billion the week before, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The development ends seven weeks of increased negative bets, with investors also showing a trend toward pulling out of long positions on the euro and the Canadian dollar.
Wall Street has made billions of dollars helping pension funds and other asset holders loan shares to back bets by hedge funds. Stock owners aim to gain a larger piece of the business, but banks likely will do what they can to retain the lucrative operation, Tom Buerkle writes.
Nearly all women in households with more than $4 million in investable assets are either sole or joint decision-makers regarding household banking, and 84% are at least somewhat responsible for the family's investments, an RBC Wealth Management survey finds. The survey also indicates that women in this classification -- which has been described as one of the world's largest emerging markets -- are more likely than men to seek financial advice and to be content with a general grasp of financial scenarios without needing to know details.
As life expectancy increases dramatically, the role of financial advisors in longevity planning grows more crucial, writes Kimberly Foss of Empyrion Wealth Management. She lists factors for advisors to consider as they seek to add value to the planning process.
Chris Eberly of the Novarica insurance IT consultancy has expressed an optimistic outlook on the future of the annuities business, claiming advisors and agents can look forward to simpler structures, faster delivery to market, more fee-based products and fewer riders and income guarantees. The days of "complex, tough-to-understand annuity products" are coming to an end, he said.
Morningstar executive Aron Szapiro says data auditing could be the key to enforcing the fiduciary rule's controversial best-interest contract exemption. He outlines a scenario in which a neutral third party would compile data on clients' portfolios, scoring them on factors such as quality and cost of investments, asset allocations and the extent of personalized advice given, then provide an automated decision on whether they are constructed in the clients' best interest.
Lawyer Alan Foxman offered clarification on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's definition of what constitutes an expert witness following a complaint that a witness called to speak at a recent FINRA hearing did not have relevant qualifications to comment on the case. Foxman notes the decision rests with the hearing officer and adds that if the complainant is not satisfied, the person may want to discuss appeal options with an attorney.
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