The Science and Art of Manager Selection

In this paper we turn our attention to the subject of implementation. Some investors may choose to invest only in self-selected individual securities: stocks, bonds, futures contracts, properties, cash instruments, etc. Much more often, however, implementing some or all of the portfolio will involve directing money to one or more professional portfolio managers who will, through an index fund, a mutual fund, a partnership, or a separate account, buy and sell individual securities on the beneficial investors’ behalf.

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Gold Demand Trends - Full Year 2011

2011 was another impressive year for global gold demand: volume grew 0.4% to 4,067.1 tonnes. Investment was the main driver of growth, although jewellery and technology were resilient in the ace of higher gold prices. Record mine production was offset by lower recycling activity and significant central bank purchases.

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The Yo-Yo Years

In the larger policy debate about getting to sustainable debt levels in most developed economies, people are making critical assumptions that, when we consider the business cycle, are highly questionable. If such assumptions, like those about long-term growth and the likelihood of recession, don’t hold, a lot of bets are off. For years we’ve been honing in on a very ominous pattern in the United States. Actually this goes back to the summer of 2008 (before Lehman), when we realized that we were entering an era of more frequent recessions than anyone was used to. Further research shows that these patterns also hold for much of Europe – let me explain.

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The Second Economic Adjustment Programme for Greece - March 2012

Greece made mixed progress towards the ambitious objectives of the first adjustment programme. Several factors hampered implementation: political instability, social unrest and issues of administrative capacity and, more fundamentally, a recession that was much deeper than previously projected. Important fiscal targets were missed, which led to the adoption of additional consolidation measures throughout 2010 and 2011. However, Greece achieved a substantial reduction in the general government deficit: from 153⁄4 per cent of GDP in 2009 to 91⁄4 percent in 2011. This fiscal adjustment was necessary given the extremely high deficit reached in 2009. The adjustment is much larger than most other fiscal consolidation episodes in EU countries observed in the past. This fiscal consolidation had to be achieved over a period in which the economy contracted by more than 11 percent, which was unavoidable given the substantial positive output gap that had built up due to the non-sustainable policies conducted until 2009.

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S&P Indices Versus Active Funds (SPIVA) Scorecard - Year-End 2011

March, 2012 - "There is nothing novel about the index versus active debate. It has been a contentious subject for decades, and there are a few strong believers on both sides, with the vast majority of investors falling somewhere in between. Since it was first published ten years ago, the SPIVA Scorecard has served as the de facto scorekeeper of the active versus passive debate. Over the last decade, we have heard passionate arguments from believers in both camps when headline numbers have deviated from their beliefs."

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The 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey:

The 22nd wave of the Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) finds that Americans’ confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement is stagnant in the face of more immediate financial concerns about job uncertainty, debt, and financial insecurity. At the same time, the percentage of workers1 saving for retirement continues its gradual decline, and many remain uncomfortable using new technologies to help them manage their finances.

Findings in this year’s RCS include:

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What to do About Seniors’ Benefits in Canada: The Case for Letting Recipients Take Richer Payments Later

"The recent polarized reaction to the prospect of changes to Old Age Security (OAS) recalled the debate over Canada and Quebec Pension Plan (C/QPP) reform in the 1990s. Happily, persuasion and adept design got the C/QPP reforms done. A similar success is possible with OAS and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), especially if policymakers give those programs a key C/QPP feature: letting participants choose when to start their benefits, and reap rewards if they wait."

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Introduction to technical analysis

Quite simply, technical analysis is the study of investor behaviour and its effect on the subsequent price action of financial instruments. The main data that we need to perform our studies are the price histories of the instruments, together with time and volume information. These enable us to form our views, based on objective facts.

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A guide to building financial confidence in girls and women

"This is a research paper – but not one based on numbers. Instead, the data is composed of stories and pictures. Women’s stories and pictures, in fact.

In 2010, I conducted a survey of a thousand women, followed up with indepth interviews and then published a white paper on Canadian women’s financial behaviour and attitudes: Financial Lives of Girls and Women. The most important finding was that over half of women said that their financial knowledge was principally acquired through informal instruction from other people.

Not from university text books, not from newspapers, not from financial institutions.

Women learnt about money and success through real stories from real people: mentors, role models, families, friends – even through negative examples like watching a parent struggle with debts."

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Pooled Target-Benefit Pension Plans

"Pooled target-benefit pension plans would be a practical improvement to the recently introduced pooled registered pension plans — they would provide better coverage, lower fees, and enhanced security in retirement savings, while ensuring cost-predictability for employers"

 

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BP Energy Outlook 2030

January 2012 - "This Energy Outlook contains our projections of future energy trends and key uncertainties, based on our views of the evolution of the world economy, of policy, and technology.This is our view of the most likely outcome for world energy supply and demand to 2030; it is not necessarily the energy world we at BP wish to see.

This year we examine in more detail several important facets of the global energy story: the pathways for economic development and energy demand in China and India; the factors affecting the energy export prospects of the Middle East; and the “drivers” of energy consumption in road transportation."

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The VIX and What it Tells Investors About Market Volatility

"In light of recent market and macroeconomic turmoil, investors would be prudent to take a closer look at the various risks associated with their investment portfolios as well as the broader market. In general, greater economic uncertainty tends to become reflected in the market through increased volatility. Typically, as the range of potential outcomes for companies becomes wider, so, too, does the potential value of their stock prices. In periods of high volatility, stocks tend to exhibit wide price swings, whereas low volatility is usually characterized by less-dramatic movements in price."

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