Market insights and analysis

How dynamic, risk-managed investment solutions are performing in the current market environment

3rd Quarter | 2021

Market insights and analysis


Updates on how dynamic, risk-managed investment solutions are performing in the current market environment.

They say New Year’s resolutions are meant to be broken. I am sure there are at least a few readers of this article who are already frustrated—10 days into the year—by their inability to follow through on some of their well-intentioned resolutions.

Each year, Proactive Advisor Magazine publishes reviews of major trends in the wealth-management industry, especially those related to managed investment accounts; the use of third-party investment managers; and viewpoints on active, risk-managed investment strategies.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, on behalf of Flexible Plan Investments (FPI), I would like to thank the many people who have worked with our company this year: our investor clients, financial advisers, our third-party partners throughout the investment industry and elsewhere, and members and businesses of our local community.

Countless news reports and research studies have examined the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. over the past two years. As important a topic as it might be, we may all be experiencing a degree of information overload.

I seem to say this each year around the beginning of October: It’s hard to believe the NFL football season is already a quarter gone. (Though I have to keep reminding myself that it is 17 games for the first season ever.)

Remembering 9/11

I cannot imagine writing about any other topic this week than the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Investors received a small taste of downside volatility last week, with the major indexes recovering on Friday to see only a small weekly decline.

As I was writing this article on Monday morning (August 2), the Dow Jones Industrial Average put in an all-time intraday high, and the other major indexes were not that far from their own all-time highs. Of note, the S&P 500 was close to doubling the closing daily pandemic lows of March 2020 (2,237.4)—a remarkable performance.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about interviewing a few different advisory teams in 2021 that are relatively new to the world of managed accounts, dynamically risk-managed strategies, and the overall philosophy of holistic active portfolio management.

I have interviewed a few different advisory teams for Proactive Advisor Magazine in 2021 that are relatively new to the world of managed accounts, dynamically risk-managed strategies, and the overall philosophy of holistic active portfolio management.

Is the economic glass three-quarters full?

In early May, my previous article asked the questions, “Have the Roaring ‘20s returned?” and “How good will it get for the economy?” as optimism improves regarding many significant aspects of the COVID pandemic in the U.S.

Have the Roaring ’20s returned?

In an upcoming Proactive Advisor Magazine article, the author (a successful financial adviser) writes about a behavioral finance issue affecting several of his clients. As opposed to the typical fear seen in severe market declines, these clients are fearful about the sustainability of the massive market rally since March 2020. Whether you call it fear or greed, they do not want to see their current portfolio gains diminished.

The importance of being “money smart”

Did you know that April is Financial Literacy Month? And that April 10–17, 2021, is Money Smart Week? Financial Literacy Month was designated officially by the United States Senate in 2004 via Resolution 316, during the administration of George W. Bush. (Interestingly, Barbara Bush was passionate about many literacy causes and started the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy in 1989.)

Visualizing the benefits of risk management

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a financial adviser’s analogy between the strategy in a Kansas City Chiefs 2021 playoff game and investor behavior. In that example, the point was how financial advisers could help their clients with the concept of “behavioral adherence,” or sticking with a well-constructed and risk-managed investment plan even when times get tough.

Staying relevant over the long run

I was listening to one of my favorite early morning radio shows last week. While it offers hard national and local news, it also features some lighter lifestyle stories. That can be a welcome change of pace these days.

Sticking with your investment game plan

Jerry Wagner, Flexible Plan Investments’ (FPI’s) founder and president, offered this piece of advice to financial advisers and investors in a recent article: “Have a plan and stick to it. As I’ve written many times, whether it is trying to invest by following headlines, financial talking heads, so-called market experts, or political predictions, none of these sources are likely to lead investors to long-term profits.

Understanding the ever-changing world around us

It has been an unprecedented and news-packed start to the new year. Developments last week in Washington, new COVID-related challenges, the complex and ongoing vaccine rollout, Georgia’s Senate races, the realities of implementing the Brexit deal, and the state of the U.S. jobs market and manufacturing sector are just some of the major headlines since January 1.

Kudos to financial advisers—and their clients

I wrote an article before Thanksgiving that, in part, praised the efforts of frontline medical workers, first responders, teachers, and others for their efforts during the 2020 pandemic. We all remain thankful for their outstanding efforts this year. Additionally, our thoughts go out to all who have had medical, employment, or financial issues during this crisis, especially as we come up to the holiday season.

Things to be thankful for

For a variety of reasons, 2020 has engendered a wide range of strong emotions for many people: fear, uncertainty, anger, depression, resignation, loneliness, and (unfortunately) sadness and grief. But for many, there have been more positive and constructive responses: determination, commitment, hope, and a sense of community.

The Halloween season has always been one of my favorite times of the year.


Over 2,500 years ago, in what may have been one of the earliest examples of behavioral finance theory, ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle is reported to have said the following regarding the achievement of success.

This year has been somewhat like a master class, or real-time laboratory, in illustrating some classic concepts of behavioral finance in a compressed time frame. Think about it.

This column has explored the topic of risk management in some detail over the years, addressing several questions: • Are the retail investor and financial adviser underserved by the buy-and-hold philosophy? • What is the potential role of dynamic risk-managed strategies in investors’ portfolios? • How might modern, risk-managed portfolios be best constructed on a conceptual level?

Several decades ago (far too many) I was a new MBA graduate and had entered the management trainee program at what is now one of the world’s largest fully integrated communications firms.


I was listening to one of my favorite radio broadcasts last Friday morning (March 6), about 45 minutes before the market open. Tom Keene, of Bloomberg Surveillance, was reviewing various pre-market levels. Dow futures were down at the time around 700 to 800 points, and other indexes were similarly heading south in a big way. He made the curious comment, “It just does not feel like a 49-level VIX for equities at the moment”—even though that is where the VIX stood. (The VIX, also known as the “fear index,” is a measure of stock market volatility. On Friday, it went on to make a 52-week high over 50 before closing at 41.9.)