Brendan Conway, Barron's

Brendan Conway


New York, NY, United States

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Past articles by Brendan:

Twelve Lessons: What I’ve Learned About Fund Investing

Today is my last day as a Barron’s columnist and blogger. I’m leaving to take up a position at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Serving this readership day in and day out, in a lucky two-plus years of being paid to learn, ask questions and report it all back to you, has been an honor. Here are the most [...] → Read More

Socially Responsible Investing, and Your Blogger’s Ice Bath

I got called out for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by Joel Dickson of the Vanguard Group. Here I am getting dunked on Sixth Avenue. I’m challenging Todd Rosenbluth of S&P Capital IQ, Dodd Kittsley of Deutsche Bank and Chris Dieterich of the Wall Street Journal. Watch the whole video on socially responsible investing, with cameos [...] → Read More

Eight Lessons Learned

In his farewell column, our reporter shares the most important things he's discovered while covering exchange-traded funds. → Read More

MLP Funds Surge — a Kinder Morgan Precedent? - Focus on Funds -

The yield-rich domain of master limited partnerships is surging Monday. The news: Sector heavy Kinder Morgan (KMI) is abandoning the MLP structure it helped popularize. Colleague Mike Aneiro has the details on Kinder Morgan’s planned consolidation, as well as a just-published MLP Roundtable which steps back to consider the key issues in MLP investing, especially the niche’s thorny taxation. Basically,… → Read More

Barron’s ETF Special Report: The Linkfest - Focus on Funds -

Here’s a synopsis of the articles in this weekend’s Barron’s ETF Special Report, with links to the full stories. Can ETFs be Derailed? In the cover story, Barron’s staff writer Jonathan R. Laing surveys the ways in which the details of the ETF market might one day trip up investors. Laing reviews how funds for less [...] → Read More

Don't Pay Up for Selloff Protection

ETFs with selloff-protection strategies come with their own troubles. → Read More

Why Utility Funds Might Weather the Next Rate Scare - Focus on Funds -

Morningstar’s Robert Goldsborough gives the reason why utilities might not repeat their mid-2013 swoon as he discusses Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU). AP Since 2000, when interest rates began a secular decline, utilities companies have seen their investor bases broadened by those also seeking price appreciation in addition to income generation and reliability. Now, Morningstar’s equity analysts believe… → Read More

March Redux? Once-Hot ETFs Lead Tuesday Selloff - Focus on Funds -

The blue-chip Dow is on course to snap a three-day winning streak on Tuesday. Just like that, the worrywarts are back! Or, more accurately, they’ve got new converts. One is perennially bullish Raymond James strategist Jeffrey Saut, who’s quoted by Steven Russolillo of the Wall Street Journal predicting a market hiccup: Less than a week [...] → Read More

VIX Creator ‘Shocked,’ ‘Appalled’ at Volatility ETFs, Backs a Competitor - Focus on Funds -

Robert E. Whaley, credited as the father of the “fear index,” unloaded on exchange-traded funds and notes built around the index on Thursday, saying he was “shocked” and “appalled” at the makers of the products and at index maker S&P Dow Jones Indices. Whaley, who recently signed on as a partner in startup AccuShares Investment [...] → Read More

Hedge Funds Are Now a $3 Trillion Industry - Focus on Funds -

What mediocre returns? The hedge-fund industry keeps winning over new investors. The latest data point: Total industry assets have surpassed $3 trillion for the first time, according to fund watcher eVestment. The industry set a new all-time high in assets under management in April, and then proceeded to break $3 trillion last month, when investors [...] → Read More

Here’s Why Nobody Buys Closed-End Funds - Focus on Funds -

Morningstar’s closed-end fund guru Steven Pikleny isn’t having this stuff about “more investor education.” He traces investors’ disinterest in closed-end funds to three of the structure’s investor-unfriendly features. One is the unfavorable fees which accompany the launch of a CEF. Launch happens to be the key moment when the fund can raise capital: The real [...] → Read More

‘Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’ - Focus on Funds -

No, the headline isn’t a typo. That’s the title of a derivatives strategist’s note to clients this morning, which aptly describes the quiet in markets at the moment. MKM Partners’ Jim Strugger writes that the 10-day realized volatility of the S&P 500 has been at current levels just 1.5% of the time since 1970. While [...] → Read More

What’s Going On With Gold? - Focus on Funds -

Gold’s price fell to a nearly four-month low Tuesday, but good luck getting strategists to agree on why. They just can’t. To Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid, the Tuesday gold selloff — which sent the most actively traded futures contract in New York down 2% — is about improving U.S. economic data. It’s also, per Reid, [...] → Read More

Is Your Hedge Fund Secretly a Pricey Put-Selling Strategy? - Focus on Funds -

No, really. Does your hedge fund’s purportedly sophisticated investment strategy have a similar risk profile to a simple options strategy? Justin Lahart of the Wall Street Journal argues the answer often enough is yes. To make the argument, Lahart leans on an oldie but goodie by MIT’s Andrew Lo. The traditional argument is that, through flexibility [...] → Read More

Fund D’oh: Only 8% of Large Growth Managers Are Beating the Index - Focus on Funds -

The chorus at the beginning of the year was that 2014 has all the conditions to be the year of the fund manager. Stockpickers, unite!  The results so far: Nope. For most categories, the year is shaping up as either disappointing or downright horrifying in terms of comparative performance. Investors who think fund managers should justify [...] → Read More

Smallcap Corrections Are Commonplace — Just Not Lately - Focus on Funds -

Heads turned on Thursday when the Russell 2000 index of small stocks briefly dipped into correction territory. The Russell has been so strong for so long — it gained 37% last year and fell only about 6% at its steepest drawdown — that the move was greeted as a sign of a broader pullback. Here’s [...] → Read More

Grant on Gazprom: ‘Worst-Managed Company on the Planet’ is a Buy - Focus on Funds -

James Grant, editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, rattled off a sample of the hazards of owning shares in Russia’s Gazprom (OGZPY) before endorsing the stock at the 19th annual Sohn Investment Conference in New York. “You need more time than I have today to enumerate the reasons not to get involved,” Grant told the audience, noting a news story [...] → Read More

Glenview’s Robbins: ‘Outbreak of Old People,’ Buy HMO Stocks - Focus on Funds -

Larry Robbins of Glenview Capital just made the bull case for HMO stocks, the health-care industry laggard whose shares he says now trade for 10.6 times 2015 earnings — and he also endorsed owning another investment bearing much-loathed three-letter acronyms (GMOs), Monsanto (MON). “There’s an alarming outbreak of old people in the United States, ”I’m not sure if you’ve [...] → Read More

Gundlach: Single-Family Homes Overbelieved, Overrated, Short XHB ETF - Focus on Funds -

Noted bond investor Jeffrey Gundlach is training his sights on the love for single-family housing as an investment idea, going so far as to call it “overbelieved and overrated” — and argued in favor of shorting a popular housing-sector exchange-traded fund. “One thing that people seem to falsely believe is that the American homebuyer is somehow deleveraged, [...] → Read More

Focus on Funds Video: Beyond Bogle Lies… What, Exactly? - Focus on Funds -

Jack Otter and Jared Kizer of the BAM Alliance talk exchange-traded funds in this week’s Focus on Funds video. Kizer is a fan, but for the more active sort of investing — the things today lumped under the labels “fundamental” investing or “smart beta” — he wants the assurance of very long track records. Since [...] → Read More