sa·pi·ent | ˈsāpēənt | (adjective): full of knowledge, wise, discerning; having judgment gained through experience.

Kevin Means, CFA

Recent Posts

7  Common Investment-Related Tax Mistakes

Posted by Kevin Means, CFA on Jul 12, 2019 9:55:29 AM

Taxes are usually a bigger drag on returns than expenses, though they are less visible and get less attention.  How many of these 7 common mistakes are you making?

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MTUM For Momentum

Posted by Kevin Means, CFA on Jul 9, 2019 8:45:00 AM

A recent article showed that among 7 major “smart beta” factors, momentum was the one with the highest risk-adjusted return in recent years.  The ETF (exchange-traded fund) used to represent the momentum factor was iShares Edge MSCI USA Momentum Factor ETF (MTUM).  Because of its low costs and tax efficiency, it is a very attractive way to invest in the momentum factor over the long-term.  Currently, MTUM has characteristics, especially very strong upward revisions of EPS forecasts of its constituent stocks, that make now a particularly good time to initiate a position.        

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Should I Invest in New Jersey Municipal Bonds?

Posted by Kevin Means, CFA on Jun 20, 2019 8:45:00 AM

An earlier article discussed the basic considerations for investors contemplating an investment in municipal bond funds.  National Muni Bond ETFs provide a low-cost and simple way to invest.  However, municipal bond closed-end funds (CEFs) are sometimes a more attractive way to invest in the space when they are trading at an unusually large discount to the net asset values of their portfolios.  Written specifically for New Jersey taxpayers, this article compares what we consider to be the most attractive New Jersey municipal bond mutual funds and CEFs to national ETFs and CEFs.          

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Should I Invest in Pennsylvania Municipal Bonds?

Posted by Kevin Means, CFA on Jun 20, 2019 8:45:00 AM

An earlier article discussed the basic considerations for investors contemplating an investment in municipal bond funds.  National Muni Bond ETFs provide a low-cost and simple way to invest.  However, municipal bond closed-end funds (CEFs) are sometimes a more attractive way to invest in the space when they are trading at an unusually large discount to the net asset values of their portfolios.  Written specifically for Pennsylvania taxpayers, this article compares what we consider to be the most attractive Pennsylvania municipal bond mutual funds and CEFs to national ETFs and CEFs.          

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Investing in iShares MSCI Sweden ETF (EWD)

Posted by Kevin Means, CFA on Jun 5, 2019 8:45:00 AM

Several characteristics have provided consistent risk-adjusted excess return for country ETFs, including value-, momentum-, quality-, and sentiment-related factors.  This article highlights a country ETF that is currently very attractive using an ETF selection model based upon such factors:  iShares MSCI Sweden ETF (EWD).            

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A Smarter Way to Use Smart Beta ETFs

Posted by Kevin Means, CFA on May 31, 2019 8:45:00 AM

There are many “smart beta” ETFs that claim to offer market-beating return potential.  These funds are based upon academic research regarding characteristics or “factors” that have historically produced risk-adjusted excess return.  Which ones should you use?  And as important, when should you use them?  This article seeks to help answer these important questions.   

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What Does “CFA” Mean?

Posted by Kevin Means, CFA on May 21, 2019 3:42:34 PM

Does your wealth manager measure up?  That is “the right question” according to the CFA Institute.  But most people don’t even know that “CFA” stands for “Chartered Financial Analyst.”  And they have no idea what that designation means or how a CFA Charterholder might stand out from among wealth managers with other credentials.  This article will lay out why the CFA charter is widely considered the “gold standard” in the investments industry.   

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Investing in the Semiconductor Industry ETF SMH

Posted by Kevin Means, CFA on May 16, 2019 2:11:26 PM

Several characteristics have provided consistent risk-adjusted excess return for sector and industry ETFs, including value-, momentum-, quality-, and sentiment-related factors.  This article highlights an industry ETF that is currently very attractive using an ETF selection model based upon such factors:  VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH)

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Should I Invest in Municipal Bonds?

Posted by Kevin Means, CFA on May 10, 2019 2:32:03 PM

April 15 may be behind us, but it’s not too soon to start planning ahead for 2019 taxes.  Municipal bonds are attractive after-tax investments for those in higher tax brackets and do a better job of diversifying stock risk than corporate bonds.  Although attractive national muni bond ETFs are available, closed-end municipal bond funds are currently selling at above-average discounts to NAV and may be an especially attractive way to invest in the space.  In particular, AllianceBernstein National Municipal Income Fund (AFB) is selling at an unusually large discount of 12%.  In addition to its attractive distribution yield and moderate level of interest rate and credit risk, buying its assets at 88 cents on the dollar makes it an especially appealing investment for high tax bracket investors.  If the NAV discount reverts back toward a more normal level, which my research indicates is likely, it will be icing on the cake.             

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Keynes and the “Fail Conventionally” Syndrome

Posted by Kevin Means, CFA on Apr 25, 2019 4:22:23 PM

Keynes was a very successful investor as well as a renowned economist.  Much of his success can be attributed to his willingness to depart from conventional wisdom even in the face of intense criticism and the risk of failure.  Investors can learn something from him.      

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