In whose best interest?

“The SEC rules, to be implemented by June 30, 2020, are considered a win for Wall Street because, unlike the Department of Labor rules, they would still allow brokers to recommend products that benefit them, provided they disclose the conflict.”

– Reuters reporter Katanga Johnson, in a 6/5/19 article about recently approved “Regulation Best Interest” rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The rules require brokers to recommend only those investment products that are in a client’s “best interest,” a standard not as high as what the Labor Department fought for last year. Read more

The more things change…

“We keep an eye out for the widespread belief that ‘this time it’s different’ because we want to know if markets are being lifted by bullishness, optimism, risk tolerance and low levels of skepticism. Everything else being equal, these things result in asset prices that are high relative to intrinsic values, and their presence exposes us to the risk that they’ll abate, taking asset prices down with them.”

– Howard Marks, co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, from his latest client memo. He described — and then dispelled — nine ways in which today’s investors seem to think “this time it’s different.” Read more

Like watching paint dry

“Long-term investing is both boring and thrilling at the same time. We take long rides that seem to go nowhere only to hit a new stride out of the blue. This can be maddeningly frustrating, especially when a lifetime of savings is at play. None of us [has] a crystal ball, and trying to time the ups and downs of the market lends itself to two opportunities to be wrong.”

– Investment advisor Blair duQuesnay, writing on her blog, The Belle Curve, on 6/10/19. She was commenting on the fact that today’s market essentially is where it was 18 months ago. Read more

Investing means living in the tension

“This is what makes investing so tough. You can be rewarded in the short run for things that don’t matter in the long run, and you can be punished in the short run for things that do matter in the long run. You can be wrong even when you get it right.”

– Of Dollars and Data blogger Nick Maggiulli, writing on 6/11/19 about one of the more maddening aspects of being an investor. Read more