Thursday, April 13, 2017

Another Reason Altnertative Sales Are Down?

Last weekend, I read this article on the Above The Market blog describing various financial advisor personality types.  In short, these personality types base their investment recommendations on alternatives to evidence-based investing.   The article's examples include fear-based advisors, intuitive-based advisors, and self-righteous-based advisors.  The advisor type that is hurting alternative sales is the ideology-based advisor.  These advisors believe that when an opposing political party is in office the stock market is bad and hard assets are where to invest, and when their political party is in power the stock market is where to invest.  The investment recommendations are based on political beliefs, not solid investment research. 

The New York Times had an article on how even economic data is now partisan.  It appears that the partisan divide is getting worse.  The following is from the article:
Since Donald J. Trump’s victory in November, consumer sentiment has diverged in an unprecedented way, with Republicans convinced that a boom is at hand, and Democrats foreseeing an imminent recession.

“We’ve never recorded this before,” said Richard Curtin, who directs the University of Michigan’s monthly survey of consumer sentiment. Although the outlook has occasionally varied by political party since the survey began in 1946, “the partisan divide has never had as large an impact on consumers’ economic expectations,” he said.
This is scary from an investor standpoint, as even hard data is being skewed or interpreted through a partisan filter.  Anecdotally, based on my interaction with financial advisors that favor alternative investments, many fall on the right side of the political spectrum, some to the right of right.  This political outlook, coming after the credit crisis and recession of 2008 and 2009 and the election of a Democratic president, I believe, led many advisors to recommend the perceived safety of hard assets and helped the sale of non-traded securities.  This world view is now bringing money back to the stock market.  (Poorly designed T Shares are hurting sales, too.)

Advisors and investors need to start looking at evidence and make decisions based on sound, unbiased data, not a gut feel, or a pundit's opinion on Fox News, or MSNBC.   I'll be the first to admit that the political channels and websites are entertaining these days, but take your investment advice from the business pages, not the editorial pages.  Markets and investments are politically unbiased, and they perform independent of what ever party is charge.  Policies may help specific investments, like how easy lending standards boosted home prices in the 2000s, but over the long term, markets react to underlying economic principals, not politics.

No comments: