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Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

The Academic Advantage

by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The financial services industry has evolved over the last six decades. What started as essentially a broker or salesman role for getting people access to publicly traded securities has transformed into an academic discipline. We have documented this evolution from its roots ...Read More


  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    Dividends and the Lag in Fund Values

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Monday, July 10, 2017

    As we approach a calendar quarter-end, investors should be expecting both dividend and/or capital gain distributions from their mutual funds. The mechanics may confuse some investors, so we wanted to take the ...Read More

  • Dimensional Fund Advisors

    Global Market Breakdown

    by Dimensional Fund Advisors — Tuesday, June 27, 2017

    The global market breakdown represents the value of capitalism among the U.S., International/Developed, and Emerging Markets around the world. Investors can use the global market breakdown as a starting point ...Read More

  • Dimensional Fund Advisors

    When Rates Go Up, Do Stocks Go Down?

    by Dimensional Fund Advisors — Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Should stock investors worry about changes in interest rates? Research shows that, like stock prices, changes in interest rates and bond prices are largely unpredictable.[1] It follows that an investment ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    Stock Picking Fails in All Types of Markets

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, June 6, 2017

    A very common sales pitch amongst the active management community is their ability to provide “downside protection” for investors in falling markets. Here is an example from MFS Investment ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    Legg Mason: A Deeper Look at the Performance

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, May 24, 2017

    Legg Mason, Inc. has been a powerhouse in the world of asset management for over a century. Founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1899, Legg Mason is a publicly traded company (NYSE: LM) manages $710 billion in ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    Non-Fiduciaries Behaving Badly

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    It should go without saying that doing business should always involve doing the very best for the person on the other side of the handshake. Unfortunately, this is not a requirement from a legal standpoint. ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    Does Dollar Cost Averaging Really Work?

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Monday, May 8, 2017

    Dollar cost averaging is the process of investing a lump-sum of money over a predetermined period of time. For example, let’s say you have $120,000 to invest. You can either invest the entire $120,000 or ...Read More

  • Tom Allen and Mark Hebner

    Cambria Funds: A Deeper Look at the Performance

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, May 2, 2017

    The explosion in ETFs over the past decade has been substantial. Marrying the ideas of fund management with the ability to trade throughout the day, ETFs have become one of the most popular vehicles utilized ...Read More

  • The 1st Quarter of 2017 in Review

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, April 27, 2017

    2017 started off on a positive note for global investors. With international and emerging markets leading the way, most global indices on are track for another great year. In the U.S., jobless claims fell to ...Read More

  • The Importance of Global Diversification

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    Investing, in a nutshell, is really about dealing with risk and uncertainty.  While most of us like to focus on return aspect of investing, it is important to remember that return is only one side of the ...Read More

  • Index Fund Advisor's Qualifications

    by Mark Hebner — Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    The financial advisory business has a very low barrier to entry. Actually, let me rephrase that. It has absolutely NO barrier to entry. Your neighbor, hair stylist, or even your pastor can give financial ...Read More

  • iShares vs. Dimensional: Through a Statistical Lens

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    In Step 11 of the IFA 12-Step Recovery Program for Active Managers we talk about the implementation of our 100 IFA Index Portfolios. As strong proponents of a passive investment strategy, we have options in ...Read More

  • Are There Potential Downfalls to Passive Investing?

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Monday, April 17, 2017

    A recent article from the LA Times highlighted the recent trend of small investors putting more of their retirement savings into passive index funds. Citing multiple statistics from the Investment Company ...Read More

  • AQR: A Deeper Look at the Performance

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, April 14, 2017

    Applied Quantitative Research (AQR) was founded in 1998 by Clifford Asness, David Kabiller, Robert Krial, and John Liew. Similar to Dimensional Fund Advisors, AQRs roots stem back to the University of Chicago ...Read More

  • Time for the Fire Drill

    by Mark Hebner — Monday, April 10, 2017

    Most of us remember the days at school when we had our routine fire drill. The fire alarms around the school would ring, we would all calmly and collectedly stand up, form a line, and walk out of the school to ...Read More

  • Vanguard vs. Dimensional: Through A Statistical Lens

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Monday, April 3, 2017

    As advocates for passive investing, it is a common question amongst clients and prospects about why our 100 IFA Index Portfolios utilize strategies from Dimensional Fund Advisors versus better-known passive ...Read More

  • Understanding the Limitations of Our Own Faculties

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, March 30, 2017

    “We're blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We're not designed to know how little we know.”– Daniel KahnemanThe Intelligent Investor   Working in the ...Read More

  • What To Do With a Concentrated Stock Position

    by Derick Kann — Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    Many investors receive company stock or stock options from their employer as part of their overall compensation. What may seem like a small part of their overall portfolio, company stock can become a much ...Read More

  • Luck vs. Skill Across U.S. Equity Asset Classes

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, March 15, 2017

    When it comes to analyzing active management performance, it is important to understand the role that luck can play over various time horizons. Given the randomness of markets around the world, there is always ...Read More

  • Going Global: A Look at Public Company Listings

    by Dimensional Fund Advisors — Tuesday, March 14, 2017

    Trivia time: how many stocks make up the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index (a widely used benchmark for the US equity market)? While the logical guess might be 5,000, as of December 31, 2016, the index actually ...Read More

  • The Random Walker, Visualizing How Markets Work

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, March 8, 2017

    Since the firm’s founding in 1999, investor education has been one of the cornerstones of our business model. Understanding the link between investment knowledge and risk capacity, our commitment to ...Read More

  • Investment Shock Absorbers

    by Jim Parker, Dimensional Fund Advisors — Monday, February 27, 2017

    Ever ridden in a car with worn-out shock absorbers? Every bump is jarring, every corner stomach-churning, and every red light an excuse to assume the brace position. Owning an undiversified portfolio can ...Read More

  • 2017 Contribution Limits

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, February 23, 2017

    The beginning of the year is a great time to remind investors of the contribution limits for various savings vehicles in order for them to maximize their tax-preferential savings and avoiding, what can be, ...Read More

  • Tax Preparation Documents from Your Custodians

    by Index Funds Advisors — Thursday, February 9, 2017

    As we start approaching April 18th, we wanted to keep our clients informed of when their 1099 Composites will be available online at Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and Charles Schwab. The chart below details when ...Read More

  • Rule or No Rule: You Should Insist on a Fiduciary

    by Mary Brunson and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, February 7, 2017

    The fiduciary rule issued last year by the Department of Labor (DOL) and backed by the previous administration is now under review at the request of the new administration and implementation may be delayed. ...Read More

  • The 4th Quarter and Annual Review of 2016

    by Mark Hebner — Wednesday, January 25, 2017

    There were a lot of great themes we could take out of 2016. Ideas like diversification and patience when targeting risk premiums all presented themselves this year. First, it is important to remind investors ...Read More

  • Managing Investor Expectations

    by Mark Hebner — Wednesday, January 18, 2017

    Expectations can be a double edged sword. On one side, expectations represent what is most likely to take place, which can have practical value when talking about planning for the future. On the other hand, it ...Read More

  • A Look Back at 2016

    by Weston Wellington — Monday, January 16, 2017

    Every year brings its share of surprises. But how many of us could have imagined that 2016 would see the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, Bob Dylan receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Donald Trump elected ...Read More

  • Saving for College: Is the 529 Plan Optimal?

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, January 13, 2017

    Over the holiday weekend, I was having a discussion with a family member about saving for college given the recent birth of their daughter. This particular family member was looking into a 529 plan, but was ...Read More

  • Why Discipline is So Important for Investors

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, January 10, 2017

    As we come to the end of the year it is important to reflect on some of the lessons learned from 2016. One of the biggest that comes to mind is the importance of discipline when it comes to investing, ...Read More

  • The Value IFA Brings to Your Personal Finances

    by Index Funds Advisors — Tuesday, January 10, 2017

    As an investor it is important to understand the value your advisor provides for the fee they are charging you. While many traditional financial firms believe the majority of their value comes in the form of ...Read More

  • Alliance Bernstein: A Closer Look at the Performance

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, January 5, 2017

    New York based money manager, Alliance Bernstein, has built a reputation of being one of the leading investment experts. They currently manage $490 Billion in assets, have 47 locations across 21 different ...Read More

  • Hedge Funds and Fraud: Way to Break the Stereotype

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, December 29, 2016

    Hedge funds have received a pretty bad wrap since the last financial crisis. Some of the big stories that involved illegal behavior on behalf of hedge funds include Dreier LLP, Weavering Capital, Capitol ...Read More

  • Retirement Funds: The "Off Limits" Money

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Wednesday, December 28, 2016

    Saving for retirement, let alone saving enough for a retirement, is a difficult endeavor for most investors. With the majority of baby boomers being underfunded for retirement, the overall conclusion that ...Read More

  • Putnam Investments: A Deeper Look at the Performance

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Thursday, December 8, 2016

    Boston based money manager, Putnam Investments, has fallen on some hard times. As reported in the Boston Globe article, on Tuesday the company announced that it is going to cut 115 jobs or about 8% of its ...Read More