Quote of the Week
“There can be no innovation if you operate out of the fear of the new.” – Bob Iger, Disney CEO
Most of you have received a letter from National Financial Services informing you that we can no longer use Fidelity Advisor mutual funds. Fidelity Advisor Mutual Funds have a policy that if we buy and sell one of their mutual funds within a 30-day window and we do it twice in one year, I am blocked from using Fidelity for 85 days. Normally this has never created a problem, but due to the rapidly changing market environment, I was forced to trade the funds within the 30-day window. Just to assure you, this will have no effect on you or our ability to manage your accounts.
This brings me to an important point that I want you to understand regarding the process we use to manage your assets. Since the middle of last year, we have been using a firm called Hedgeye (Hedgeye.com) to help us make decisions on how to allocate your accounts. Before, we used a process called “trend following,” which would give us a signal when an investment trend had changed to either a positive or negative direction. We would then act on that signal. Trend following worked very well for us since 2005 when we adopted the theory. However, it failed for us in the fourth quarter of 2018. The problem was that we had to wait a period of time for a new trend to establish itself. You can read a prior explanation of the history of the switch to Hedgeye and Hedgeye’s process from our first letter of this year here: https://www.lofadvisors.com/weekly-commentary/1039/
Hedgeye is different from trend following in that the recommendations from Hedgeye are based on the “current” economic conditions rather than us waiting for a new trend to be established. Which, as the past experience of the fourth quarter of 2018, trend following was too late to recognize the negative trend and get us out of a rapidly declining market.
As most of you who have been with us for many years know, we are always looking for a better “mousetrap.” Technology, as you know, is advancing at a rapid pace. When a new and better method of asset management appears, we are not going to stay “stuck in our old ways.” We are always willing to change our minds.
I have a hunch that you might agree with me on this. There are few things as irritating as a robocall. This is especially aggravating when you are expecting an urgent call. The phone rings but you don’t recognize the number. Maybe it is a blocked number that your doctor’s office uses, so you answer the call. Then you hear the annoying background noise of a computer-generated call or worse, the sound of a room full of people placing calls. When will the madness end? Hopefully, help is on the way. Read on to hear more about the TRACED ACT.
TRACED Act Offers Consumers Additional Protections Against Robocalls
Whether at home, work, or on a cell phone, it’s a scenario many Americans have found themselves in: answering a phone call only to find out it’s from an unwanted robocaller. In fact, the number of unwanted robocalls in this country has skyrocketed in recent years. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ranks unwanted robocalls highest on their list of consumer complaints.1
Fortunately, consumers have won additional protections against unwanted robocalls under recent legislation signed by President Trump, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. One of the main goals of the TRACED Act is to establish rules to protect consumers from receiving calls from unauthenticated numbers. Provisions of the TRACED Act include:
- Requiring all carriers to implement new caller-ID technology at no additional charge to consumers
- Extending the statute of limitations for prosecuting illegal robocallers
- Allowing the FCC to go after first-time robocall offenders
- Increasing penalties for robocall violations
- Creating an interagency task force to study and improve the government prosecution of robocall violations
- Establishing a neutral consortium of carriers that will lead efforts to trace back the origin of robocalls
Protecting yourself from unwanted robocalls
Unfortunately, even with these new protections, it will take some time for all of the TRACED Act provisions to fully take effect. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to protect yourself:
- Don’t answer calls when you don’t recognize the phone number. Instead, let them go to voicemail and check later to verify the caller.
- Consider signing up for a robocall blocking service. Many phone service providers now offer robocall blocking solutions at no additional charge. You can also download additional robocall protection for free or minimal cost through a third-party app.
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry, which removes your number from the call lists used by legitimate telemarketing companies. Keep in mind that while registering with the DNC Registry will result in you getting fewer calls from legitimate telemarketers, the registry won’t stop illegal robocallers from contacting you.
1Federal Communications Commission, Report on Robocalls, February 2019
Copyright 2020 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.