3rd Quarter 2017 Capital Market Review

Q3-2017The third quarter of the year was more of the same for equity markets. Between three hurricanes, gridlock over health care and tax reforms in Washington, interest rate increases, threats of nuclear war with North Korea, rising tension with Russia, a horrific domestic shooting, widespread social unrest, the looming Federal Reserve balance sheet tapering, and general tightening by Central Banks around the world, the markets did not slow down. Consumer optimism is reaching all-time highs, inflation is stubbornly low (confounding the Fed), wages are ticking up, and the job market remains tight with unemployment hovering near all-time lows.

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Pension Consultants Hosts Annual Pension Focus Conference

home page pic with keynote speaker

Over this past week, Pension Focus hosted another successful year of the Pension Focus Conference (“PFC”).

Hosted at the beautiful Chateau on the Lake in Branson, Missouri, the PFC focuses on providing in-depth, retirement plan management education for both plan fiduciaries and plan administrators.

This year PFC was fortunate to have several speakers from various avenues of retirement plan management ranging from ERISA attorneys, to a consumer behaviorist, to a Department of Labor representative. Among those speakers was our nationally-recognized keynote speaker, Mr. Bradford Campbell, ERISA attorney at Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP.Continue reading

Q2 2016 Capital Markets Update

We experienced a very quiet, low-volatility market for the first two months and 3 weeks of the 2nd quarter.  Then the Brexit happened!

For most of the quarter, equity investors continued the trend of climbing the wall of worry.  The quarter saw concerns over the job market (only 38,000 jobs created in May[1]), no growth in corporate earnings (for the 4th consecutive quarter), uncertainty over future Federal Reserve rate hikes, and anticipation of the British referendum over whether to stay in the European Union.  But in the midst of all these concerns equity markets slowly climbed higher.  It was not until June 24, when the surprise result came out of Britain to leave the EU, that the markets received a jolt of volatility.Continue reading

Pension Consultants named a 2016 PLANSPONSOR Retirement Plan Adviser of the Year finalist

(Springfield, MO, February 23, 2016) – Pension Consultants, Inc., a leader in offering in-depth, un-conflicted advice on every aspect of retirement plan management, was recently named one of five finalists for the 2016 PLANSPONSOR Retirement Plan Adviser of the Year award. PLANSPONSOR, a national publication, is the leading authority on retirement and benefits programs and is dedicated to helping employers navigate the complex world of retirement plan design and strategy.Continue reading

Third Quarter 2015 Capital Markets Update

Equity and fixed income markets were especially volatile during the third quarter of 2015 with the surprise Chinese de-valuation of their currency, the yuan. This made exports from the U.S. and other countries more expensive, hurting sales during the third quarter. We expect this volatility to continue as companies report third quarter results and provide their outlook for the remainder of the year. Investors remain concerned about the Fed raising interest rates, slower global growth, and a weaker-than-expected jobs report for the U.S. Continue reading

Second Quarter 2015 Capital Markets Update

Both domestic and foreign markets struggled during the second quarter of 2015 compared to last year due to:

  1. uncertainty regarding the timing and size of an interest rate increase by the Fed,
  2. the potential impact on the European Union and the euro should Greece exit and drop the euro as currency, and
  3. lowered growth expectations for China which had been viewed as virtually immune from the problems affecting other regions of the world.

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First Quarter 2015 Capital Markets Update

Equity and fixed income markets remained volatile during the first three months of the year as concerns about the Fed raising interest rates, slower economic growth, weaker corporate earnings, and geopolitical unrest weighed on investors’ minds.  As a result, investors were conflicted between the search for higher returns (with higher risk) and the need to preserve capital and minimize losses (with lower returns).  Risk takers, not satisfied with returns from the broader equity and fixed income markets focused on areas that appeared to offer more growth, albeit while taking on more risk.Continue reading

Are You Using the Right Yardstick to Measure Investment Performance and Risk?

Have you ever put together a fantasy sports team? If you have several fantasy sports teams – let’s say one for football, baseball and another for basketball – you know the measure of success is different for each league. You wouldn’t want to measure performance of the baseball team using football’s statistics – touchdowns, completions, passing yards, rushing yards. In baseball, batting average, RBIs, runs, errors, ERA, home runs are more pertinent measures of the strength or success of the team.Continue reading