Regulation and the Failure of Expertise

24 May, 2010 by Ben O'Brien in Commentary
The Wall Street Journal opined on Friday that “the IMF (International Monetary Fund) wizards who were urging more and more stimulus spending through last year have done a 180 and are now frantically advising tax increases and spending cuts…” The Journal is talking about policy flip-flops in ... read more...

The Hidden Costs of Mutual Funds

1 March, 2010 by Ben O'Brien in Commentary
We are often asked why we use individual stocks and bonds instead of mutual funds in client portfolios. One answer has to do with size. If you have, say, a few thousand dollars to invest, a mutual fund is great for diversification. But a larger portfolio, anything over $250,000, can achieve ... read more...

Thoughts on Dividends, Banks and Portfolio Management

8 February, 2010 by Ben O'Brien in Commentary
A client asked recently, why should I own any stocks that don’t pay a big dividend when I can own stocks that do pay a big dividend. And why hold on to stocks in troubled sectors like banking? What follows are some thoughts about portfolio management that address these concerns. In my year end ... read more...

Comment on Long Term (ten year) Performance

18 December, 2009 by Ben O'Brien in Commentary
Investment performance here at O’Brien Greene over the past 10 years tends to be on average considerably better than the performance of the S&P 500-stock index over the same period (the S&P 500 is the customary standard of comparison in the investment business). Our portfolios ... read more...

Comment on Short-Term (ytd 2009) Performance

18 December, 2009 by Ben O'Brien in Commentary
There are times when the S&P 500 looks like it is doing great but when really only parts of it are doing well. We saw this in the late 1990s, as we said above, when high tech and Internet stocks soared and pulled the rest of the average along behind. We are seeing the phenomenon again. ... read more...