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Money managers under the microscope

from Reuters Money:

Actively managed ETFs and other wrinkles

David Gaffen is pictured in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/HandoutThe following is an edited excerpt from Never Buy Another Stock Again: The Investing Portfolio that Will Preserve Your Wealth and Your Sanity, written by David Gaffen, who is the Reuters markets editor. It was printed with permission of FT Press, an imprint of Pearson.

One of the biggest growth industries in finance right now is in exchange-traded funds, and further growth in ETFs appears likely to come from several places.

Sector or country-specific ETFs and actively managed ETFs are likely to continue to be a growth area, along with perhaps a combination of the two (an actively managed ETF focusing on small-cap stocks, for instance).

The most popular sector ETFs are in natural resources and technology, although State Street, which sponsors the SPDRs ETF, has S&P sector ETFs for nine of the ten S&P sectors (telecommunications is the lone exception—it’s folded into another area); new ones continue to crop up.

from Reuters Money:

Lazy portfolios win again in 2010

A Chinese investor looks at share prices at a securities exchange in Shanghai March 28, 2005. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IVThose of you who diligently invest from reclining chairs with passive portfolios, rejoice! You had another good year without doing much of anything.

Not only did you get more out of life by not watching business TV channels, stock prices on your smartphone or fretting over the latest blip on Wall Street, you built up your retirement portfolio without much effort.

from Reuters Money:

The year’s best and worst ETFs

Dealers work on the trading floor at IG Index in London May 10, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne PlunkettThe best investments often don't have the highest returns. I know this is heresy to most, yet mass behavior can be a siren song.

About this time every year, we gaze intently at our portfolios, hoping against hope that we did something right. Sometimes we get lucky.

from Reuters Money:

Coming soon: the loud thud of a gold bust

VIETNAMSome time in the future the price of gold will crash and it won't have a fairy-tale ending for the millions of investors who piled on in recent months.

If I could tell you when gold was going to bust, I'd likely be wrong or bigger than Warren Buffett, so I won't even try. Just be incredibly cautious now. There are too many signs that gold is frothier than a Starbucks cappuccino.

Vanguard plans UK target retirement date funds


US passive giant Vanguard is planning to bring its target retirement date products to the UK market to target the growing defined contribution (DC) pensions business.

Taking to Reuters at the Fund Forum, Tom Rampulla, managing director of Vanguard UK, said that the firm was currently trying to structure these long term savings products for the UK market, and looking to add key funds to support the offerings.

Pensioners totter to the rescue


It may look like an unlikely scenario on paper, but Europe’s elderly masses could be about to provide the killer blow to draft EU rules to regulate the alternative investment industry.

Hedge fund associations, private equity lobbyists, the British government and even the United States Treasury have waded into the debate over the proposed legislation, seeking to soften an approach which has been labelled an exercise in post-financial crisis political grandstanding, rather than a measured look at how to better regulate the sector.