Pension funds in developing markets are increasing their exposure to alternative assets at the expense of more traditional allocations to fixed-income, according to a study by consulting firm Mercer. The study finds that pension funds in Taiwan have increased their alternatives exposure by 6.6% over the past five years, while pension funds in Mexico grew their allocations by 3.9% over the same period.
More traditional hedge fund firms are starting to use natural-language tools to gather in-house data from their company analysts' and managers' emails, instant messages and memos in order to tap opinions on market signals.
A JPMorgan report says that "the importance of the listed [bitcoin] futures market has been significantly understated." JPMorgan strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou writes that the understatement of the listed futures' importance suggests that market structure has "changed considerably since the previous spike in Bitcoin prices in end-2017 with a greater influence from institutional investors."
High-speed traders Citadel Securities, GTS Securities and IMC have sided with the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and Cboe Global Markets in a legal fight to block the Securities and Exchange Commission's Transaction Fee Pilot. The program is on hold pending a decision from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The latest IRI Retirement Fact Book explains that guaranteed income from sources including annuities is essential because systematic withdrawal strategies, such as the 4% rule, are outdated. Popular withdrawal strategies rely on historical asset-return data and assume investors always act rationally, IRI says.
Annuity sales totaled $57.8 billion in the first quarter, 17.5% more than the amount in Q1 of 2018, according to IRI. "As private pensions fade away, annuities are helping retirees and near retirees use their hard-earned savings to create steady, guaranteed, lifetime income," President and CEO Wayne Chopus says.
One factor contributing to growth of annuity sales is that financial professionals are making it clear to consumers annuities offer guarantee lifetime income in a way other products can't, says Ted Repass, a divisional vice president at Prudential Annuities. "What we've seen is the variable annuity industry has gotten better at telling a story," Repass says.
Retirees who do not need to use required minimum distributions for income might use them to cover essential or discretionary expenses or to leave a legacy. Kelly LaVigne of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America provides an overview of RMD rules and information for using RMDs in different ways.
The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act would end a tax-planning strategy known as the stretch IRA. BluePrint Wealth Alliance CEO Jeffrey Levine shares five things financial advisors should discuss with clients in case this takes effect.
The Financial Services Institute sent a letter to the New Jersey Bureau of Securities saying the state's proposed fiduciary rule could encourage New Jersey advisors to move their business elsewhere and restrict investors' access to financial advice and services. "Many negative unintended consequences will result if New Jersey investors lose access to financial professionals as a result of the proposal," said Robin Traxler, FSI's senior vice president and deputy general counsel.