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The Truth About Your Need Of A 401(k) Investment Policy Statement – JD Supra

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Updated: May 25, 2018:

JD Supra is a legal publishing service that connects experts and their content with broader audiences of professionals, journalists and associations.

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The Truth About Your Need Of A 401(k) Investment Policy Statement - JD Supra

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October 20th, 2019 at 9:27 am

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Moats Are Lame: 3 Top Investing Themes of the 2010s – The Motley Fool

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A lot changes in a decade.

Ten years ago, the economy was still reeling from the effects of the Great Recession, and the stock market, though it had rebounded somewhat from its lows, was still well off of all-time highs set in October 2007. Few would have guessed that the longest bull market on record was beginning.

Data by YCharts.

The 2010s are now coming to an end, and worry is mounting that another recession is inevitable. Recession or not, it's worth reviewing the investment motifs that have fueled the last decade of returns, as they will likely be the drivers of growth in the next 10 years -- the beginning of them, anyway. Here are my favorite themes, quotes, and other business trends from the 2010s.

During the first-quarter 2018 earnings conference call for Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk gave the world this gem of a quote when answering a question about "competitive moats" and Tesla's charging stations:

First of all, I think moats are lame. It's nice sort of quaint in a vestigial way. If your only defense against invading armies is a moat, you will not last long. What matters is the pace of innovation. That is the fundamental determinant of competitiveness.

It was my favorite earnings call ever and will be a tough one for any CEO to beat. This statement, in particular, is worth unpacking. It offers some real insight into what has been happening in business and investing in the last decade. Historically, investors have searched high and low for companies with defensible business models, ones that are difficult for potential competitors to enter because of high costs or some enduring advantage the business maintains over everyone else. A slew of trends intersected over the last decade to challenge the idea of a competitive moat. Technological advancements, shifting consumer trends, venture capital willing to play the long (and sometimes money-losing) game, and changing brand loyalties have all been disruptive to the moat investing theory.

Technology has always been a disruptor of the status quo, but the pace of disruption and the subsequent rise of upstart businesses in the last decade has quickened. It isn't just Tesla that has benefited. I'm also thinking of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos' mantra "your margin is my opportunity," referring to the company's willingness to aggressively go after other retailers' business even if it meant little (or oftentimes no) profit -- all in the name of innovation and progress. Amazon seemingly came out of nowhere to become one of the largest companies on the planet, with its stock booming 1,750% over the last 10-year stretch. Disruption was also prevalent in 2007, with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone being responsible for setting the stage for the reshaping of communications. It too had a stellar run in the 2010s to make it one of the top dogs in the market. Steve Jobs passed in October 2011, but his legacy will be an especially long-lasting one.

Businesses and investors slow to pick up on where technology is headed have suffered (retail apocalypse, anyone?), while those with a keen eye for visionary ideas have ridden gains to new record highs. Does that mean the business concept of defensibility is dead and constant disruption is the new norm? Probably not. Investment in innovation will only continue if the long-term payoff is still there. Nevertheless, another decade of disruption appears to be in the cards, since "digital transformation" -- organizations updating their operations to a digital-first strategy -- is only just beginning to take hold around the globe.

Image source: Getty Images.

Speaking of digital transformation, "the cloud" came into its own during the 2010s and has been rocket fuel for organizations looking to make a digital upgrade to spur on future growth or higher profitability. But what is "the cloud"?

Put simply, the cloud refers to software or some other type of service delivered via a data center. The concept isn't new, as many organizations have been building their own data centers and servers for decades -- usually within or near the office building it was intended for. The concept of the cloud in today's language, though, came from the idea that excess network or server capacity could be "rented" via an internet connection -- saving money for businesses without the resources to build a dedicated data center and allowing those with excess capacity to generate extra revenue.

Amazon was again a revolutionary in this department. The e-commerce giant caught on to the idea that it could farm out its extra storage and computing power to others, birthing Amazon Web Services (AWS), now Amazon's primary source of profitability.

Other tech companies caught on and started building public cloud services. The market for these public data centers and the services they support is now dominated by AWS, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Azure, and Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) Google Cloud. The cloud has given rise to mobility, giving consumers and business employees the ability to access data and services on the go as long as they have an internet connection. Myriad digital services have arisen from the movement as well, from basic personal and business software like Microsoft Office 365 to streaming media (more on that in a minute) to ride-hailing on a platform like Uber to complex business needs like digital infrastructure and artificial intelligence.

The growth of the cloud is far from over. The pace of new data center construction has slowed in the last couple of years, but the industry is gearing up for phase two: edge computing. Smaller data centers and other small computing systems intended to do heavy lifting are getting built closer to the source of data and end-users, powering more mission-critical operations like connected manufacturing, healthcare, and autonomous machines. Build-out of edge computing systems could overtake the cloud in the decade ahead as technological demands continue to increase.

Now ubiquitous with television and home entertainment, TV streaming really didn't become a thing until the 2010s. Thank you, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). But while streaming shows and movies has become big business over the last 10 years, Netflix's monthly subscription model has had more far-reaching effects than just how consumers spend their free time.

To be fair, Netflix did not come up with the subscription service model, but Netflix and its cloud-delivered programming certainly helped pioneer what has become a subscription economy. Originally envisaged as software-as-a-service (SaaS), it now encompasses a wide array of digital platforms, services, and digital infrastructure paid for by customers via recurring payments.

The subscription model has gained in popularity for various reasons: ease of switching, low cost of entry, convenience, etc. Sometimes new subscription services pop up as a sort of gimmick or test, like how the auto industry has been trying out car subscription services. Others have quickly built small empires on the model, luring in customers with easy sign-up and low-obligation terms.

One argument against the subscription model is that all of those monthly obligations add up and create a big bill for consumers and organizations. Over the long term, a perpetual subscription can also be more expensive than just making an up-front purchase. However, given the rampant disruption and innovation going on, it looks like the subscription economy is here to stay.

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Moats Are Lame: 3 Top Investing Themes of the 2010s - The Motley Fool

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The Best Way to Invest in Real Estate Right Now – Motley Fool

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Invest in a vacation rental

Vacation rentals are becoming a popular real estate investment vehicle largely due to the rise of home-sharing companies like VRBO and Airbnb. A vacation rental can be a room or a home that's rented for a short term, often nightly or weekly. It can be a great way to generate cash flow.

The success of a vacation rental is largely based on the location, amenities, and quality of the property. Short-term rental demand in the area also plays a major role. Owning vacation rentals requires time spent managing online listings, communicating with potential renters, managing calendars for bookings, and ensuring check-in and turnover are handled effectively.

This type of rental property has a higher vacancy rate than other rental types and is restricted in some places.

Vacation rentals are best for the following investors:

Commercial real estate (CRE) is used for business purposes, such as retail or office space. Industrial buildings, apartment complexes, mobile home parks, and assisted living facilities also fall into this category. Commercial real estate is costlier than residential real estate, often requiring a greater down payment. There's usually more property to manage, too.

Investors in CRE need to dedicate ample time to learning how to properly invest in and manage the asset class before finding, buying, and managing an asset. With the larger upfront cost and significant time and effort required, many choose to invest in commercial real estate through alternative methods, such as REITs, ETFs, partnerships, or crowdfunding.

Commercial property is best for the following investors:

Real estate crowdfunding connects accredited investors with investment opportunities. These deals pool money from multiple investors to fund a real estate investment. The asset is owned and operated by the sponsor and the sponsor's management team, making this a passive investment.

Investors get returns in multiple ways, including dividends and preferred returns over time. Crowdfunding is a risky investment option and many variables affect the quality of an investment.

If you're interested in this avenue of investing, take a look at our complete guide to crowdfunding to determine whether it's right for you.

Real estate crowdfunding is best for the following investors:

There are times when specific avenues of real estate investing may be better than others because of current market conditions, but rarely is there one "best" way to invest over the long haul. The current investment fad may not be the best investment in 10 or 20 years.

There's no perfect model for investing. People have different financial goals, means, areas of interest, and specialties.

If you hate managing people and have a poor eye for design, rehabbing probably won't be good for you. If you're short on time and can't consistently find and review investment opportunities, never mind manage one, maybe real estate ETFs or REITs are better.

In general, the goal of investing is to build wealth over time and find investment opportunities that provide stable growth, income, and returns. Make sure you understand how the investment works, including how the return is calculated, the costs associated with that asset type, the risks, and the factors that contribute to a quality investment over time.

No matter which investment strategy you pursue, always conduct due diligence on the quality of the venture and the viability of the overall return. Continue to educate yourself on how to invest in that avenue to ensure you pursue worthwhile investments.

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The Best Way to Invest in Real Estate Right Now - Motley Fool

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If you invested $1,000 in Delta 10 years ago, here’s how much money you’d have now – CNBC

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Delta Air Lines was the first U.S. carrier to report third-quarter earnings this year, and despite rising costs putting pressure on the airline, strong travel demand helped its revenue and profit grow.

Since returning to the public market in 2007, Delta's stock has been a consistent performer, making it a win for those who invested 10 years ago. A $1,000 investment in 2009 would be worth more than $6,600, as of Oct. 10, 2019, for a total return of nearly 570%, according to CNBC calculations. In the same time frame, by comparison, the S&P 500 earned a total return of nearly 240%. The Atlanta-based airline's current share price is hovering around $54.

While Delta's stock has done well over the years, any individual stock can over- or underperform and past returns do not predict future results.

CNBC: Delta stock as of October 10, 2019.

Despite performing well in its third quarter, Delta's fourth quarter could be tough due to the airline's expectation that costs, excluding fuel, could rise as much as 5% year over year, CNBC reports. As J.P. Morgan analysts put it, Delta's prospects for the fourth quarter could be compared with "limping across the finish line."

Delta's stock has faced both ups and downs this year. In January, the shares tumbled almost 9% in one day after it predicted lower revenue growth. However, the stock is up almost 8% this year.

But going into the fourth quarter, many experts stand behind Delta, despite a lackluster forecast. Mark Tepper, CEO of Strategic Wealth Partners, said he's a fan of Delta's stock as opposed to other popular U.S. airlines for three main reasons.

For one, Delta doesn't fly the Boeing 737 Max, a type of airplane which has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes, Tepper said during a recent segment of CNBC's "Trading Nation." Two, it has "the best maintenance team in the industry," which helps extend the life of its aircraft, making it a good move financially. And three, Tepper supports Delta's partnership with American Express, which he calls "the gold standard," because it helps the company's bottom line.

Delta gained extra business while its competitors such as Southwest and American Airlines were forced to stop operating the Max and cancel thousands of flights. While Delta CEO Ed Bastian agrees the extra market share helped the airline's third-quarter performance, he doesn't believe "it was the main driver," Bastian said during a recent appearance on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Airlines

Anjali Sundaram | CNBC

Earlier this month, Delta was named the "Best North American Airline" for the second year in a row at the 2019 Business Traveller Awards. Delta has also been recognized by multiple organizations worldwide for its dedication to sustainability. And on Oct. 6, in an effort to close the gender gap in aviation, Delta celebrated International Girls in Aviation Day by flying 120 girls ages 12 to 18 to NASA in Houston.

The company isn't without its struggles, however. In 2007, the airline exited bankruptcy following a 19-month restructuring that cost $3 billion. Delta's shares were delisted by the NYSE after the bankruptcy filing before the company went public again in 2007. To get back into the black, Delta cut its labor force by around 6,000 and added dozens of new international routes, among other things. In 2008, the carrier merged with Northwest Airlines creating the world's largest airline at the time.

Looking forward, Delta plans on meeting the increased demand for flights by hiring at least 12,000 employees through 2020. This will include pilots, flight attendants, ground staff and more, Bastian told "Squawk Box." "We're [in] the process of hiring 6,000 people this year and at least a like amount next year," he said. Given that Delta expects its costs to rise in the fourth quarter, some wonder how a massive amount of hiring will impact its threshold for extra expenses.

If you are considering getting into investing, experts, including Warren Buffett, often advise starting with index funds, which hold all of the companies in an index, such as the S&P 500. Because index funds fluctuate with the market and aren't tied to the performance of a single business, they're less risky than individual stocks, making them a safer choice for beginners.

Here's a snapshot of how the markets look now.

Disclosure: Strategic Wealth Partners holds DAL.

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If you invested $1,000 in Delta 10 years ago, here's how much money you'd have now - CNBC

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Volkswagen pauses $1.4 billion investment in Turkey over Syria invasion – CNN

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"},{"title":"How China state media is spinning lackluster GDP growth","duration":"01:56","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/18/china-gdp-growth-state-media-culver-lkl-firstmove.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/18/china-gdp-growth-state-media-culver-lkl-firstmove.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190916011852-china-economy-slowdown-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/18/china-gdp-growth-state-media-culver-lkl-firstmove.cnn/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/2019/10/17/economy/china-gdp-economy-trade-war/index.html" target="_blank">China's growth dropped last quarteru003c/a> to its lowest level in nearly three decades, as the world's second largest economy continues to feel the pain from the trade war with the United States.","descriptionText":"u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/2019/10/17/economy/china-gdp-economy-trade-war/index.html" target="_blank">China's growth dropped last quarteru003c/a> to its lowest level in nearly three decades, as the world's second largest economy continues to feel the pain from the trade war with the United States."},{"title":"See Virgin Galactic's Under Armour spacesuits","duration":"01:06","sourceName":"CNN Business","sourceLink":"","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/16/virgin-galactic-under-armour-spacesuits-orig.cnn-business/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/16/virgin-galactic-under-armour-spacesuits-orig.cnn-business","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191016122716-02-virgin-galactic-under-armour-space-gear-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/16/virgin-galactic-under-armour-spacesuits-orig.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"Space tourism company Virgin Galactic unveiled the Under Armour spacesuits its passengers will wear during their visit to space.","descriptionText":"Space tourism company Virgin Galactic unveiled the Under Armour spacesuits its passengers will wear during their visit to space."},{"title":"Moody's forecast: Trump will win election in landslide","duration":"03:47","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/17/moodys-2020-prediction-election-trump-landslide-qmb-vpx-dbl.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/17/moodys-2020-prediction-election-trump-landslide-qmb-vpx-dbl.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191016192655-moodys-2020-prediction-election-trump-landslide-qmb-vpx-00000000-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/17/moodys-2020-prediction-election-trump-landslide-qmb-vpx-dbl.cnn/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"The financial firm Moody's Analyticsu003ca href="https://www.moodysanalytics.com/-/media/article/2019/president-election-model.pdf" target="_blank"> predicts that President Trump will win the 2020 election in a landslideu003c/a> due to today's economic conditions.","descriptionText":"The financial firm Moody's Analyticsu003ca href="https://www.moodysanalytics.com/-/media/article/2019/president-election-model.pdf" target="_blank"> predicts that President Trump will win the 2020 election in a landslideu003c/a> due to today's economic conditions."},{"title":"GM and UAW reach proposed deal to end strike","duration":"01:54","sourceName":"CNN Business","sourceLink":"","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/16/uaw-gm-strike-deal.cnn-business/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/16/uaw-gm-strike-deal.cnn-business","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191015140637-11-gm-strike-0916-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/16/uaw-gm-strike-deal.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"The United Auto Workers union has reached a tentative agreement with General Motors to end a 31-day strike by nearly 50,000 workers. 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Rick Osterloh, SVP of Devices and Services at Google, lays out why the software giant is continuing to invest in hardware."},{"title":"Businesses struggle to stay afloat in Hong Kong unrest","duration":"02:58","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/intl_business/2019/10/14/hong-kong-protests-businesses-struggle-during-unrest-stout-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"intl_business/2019/10/14/hong-kong-protests-businesses-struggle-during-unrest-stout-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191007110808-03-hong-kong-unrest-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/intl_business/2019/10/14/hong-kong-protests-businesses-struggle-during-unrest-stout-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"The u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/2019/10/12/asia/xi-jinping-balancing-act-hong-kong-intl-hnk/index.html" target="_blank">civil unrest that has shaken Hong Kongu003c/a> is taking a toll on small businesses. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/kristie-lu-stout" target="_blank">Kristie Lu Stoutu003c/a> reports.","descriptionText":"The u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/2019/10/12/asia/xi-jinping-balancing-act-hong-kong-intl-hnk/index.html" target="_blank">civil unrest that has shaken Hong Kongu003c/a> is taking a toll on small businesses. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/kristie-lu-stout" target="_blank">Kristie Lu Stoutu003c/a> reports."},{"title":"Watch Shepard Smith announce he's leaving Fox News","duration":"01:00","sourceName":"CNN Business","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com/business","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/11/shepard-smith-fox-news-departure-orig.cnn-business/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/11/shepard-smith-fox-news-departure-orig.cnn-business","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191011165209-shepard-smith-fox-news-departure-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/11/shepard-smith-fox-news-departure-orig.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"After 23 years with Fox News, chief news anchor Shepard Smith announced on his show that he's leaving the network. ","descriptionText":"After 23 years with Fox News, chief news anchor Shepard Smith announced on his show that he's leaving the network. "},{"title":"Talks to end GM strike take a 'turn for the worse'","duration":"03:05","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com/business","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/11/gm-strike-turn-for-the-worse-yurkevich.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/11/gm-strike-turn-for-the-worse-yurkevich.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191011144208-gm-strike-turn-for-the-worse-yurkevich-00005923-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/11/gm-strike-turn-for-the-worse-yurkevich.cnn/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"As the General Motors strike enters its fourth week, CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich takes an inside look at the life of workers whose job security remains uncertain.","descriptionText":"As the General Motors strike enters its fourth week, CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich takes an inside look at the life of workers whose job security remains uncertain."},{"title":"Trump: Trade talks between US and China going well","duration":"01:18","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/business","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/11/us-china-trade-talks-trump-meeting-sebastian-firstmove.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/11/us-china-trade-talks-trump-meeting-sebastian-firstmove.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191010173216-03-trump-1010-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/11/us-china-trade-talks-trump-meeting-sebastian-firstmove.cnn/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"As trade talks continue between the US and China, President Trump has signaled that negotiations are moving in a positive direction.","descriptionText":"As trade talks continue between the US and China, President Trump has signaled that negotiations are moving in a positive direction."},{"title":"He convinced the world's biggest brands to take a risk on reusable containers","duration":"03:47","sourceName":"CNN Business","sourceLink":"","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/07/risk-takers-terracycle-loop-tom-szaky-orig.cnn-business/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/07/risk-takers-terracycle-loop-tom-szaky-orig.cnn-business","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190917112315-20190917-rt-gfx-tom-szaky-terracycle-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/07/risk-takers-terracycle-loop-tom-szaky-orig.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky convinced Nestl, Unilever and other brands to sign on to his reusable container initiative, Loop. 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Volkswagen pauses $1.4 billion investment in Turkey over Syria invasion - CNN

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Iowa becomes latest pension fund to cut ties with Fisher Investments – Pensions & Investments

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The $34 billion Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System, Des Moines, terminated Fisher Investments on Friday from a $386 million actively managed U.S. equity portfolio, said Shawna Lode, a spokeswoman for the pension plan, in a statement.

The fund's investment staff reviewed the recent sexist comments Kenneth L. Fisher, the firm's executive chairman and co-chief investment officer, made at a conference earlier this month.

Ms. Lode said the opinion of the fund's investment officers was that "Mr. Fisher's comments have damaged the credibility of the firm and its leadership. As a result, the risk to IPERS is that the firm could lose investment talent and/or it may be unable to recruit high-caliber talent in the future."

She added that the fund's investment team also is concerned that the negative publicity resulting from Mr. Fisher's actions "will probably continue to be a major distraction to Fisher investment personnel."

She added that IPERS is considering transition options, including a search for a manager to take over management of the portfolio.

Ms. Lode did not provide more details on the strategy Fisher Investments managed.

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Iowa becomes latest pension fund to cut ties with Fisher Investments - Pensions & Investments

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Can Stephen Curry Revolutionize The Investment Game? – Forbes

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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 02: (L-R) SC30 Inc. President Bryant Barr and SC30 Inc. Founder ... [+] Stephen Curry speak onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2019 at Moscone Convention Center on October 02, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Our earning potential is a very short window, but how can you leverage that into opportunities that set you up for post-career? Stephen Curry told a TechCrunch Disrupt panel session on his entry into the investment world earlier this month. Its a question many athletes grapple with after their playing days are done. In recent years, though, more and more players have gotten involved in areas like investment and technology earlier in their careers, a movement spearheaded in part by Currys former teammate Andre Iguodala.

The genesis of SC30 Inc.

To answer this very question, Curry and his team set up SC30 Inc. last year, bringing together all his off-court interests. Bryant Barr, a former teammate and roommate of Currys at Davidson, heads up SC30 Inc. Barr told me on a call recently that after he moved to the Bay Area to study at Stanford, the company was born from a series of conversations over three or four years around how could Stephen think about his off-court business from a much longer-term, more strategic perspective. So instead of just thinking about his playing days and his career, how could he think about the next 20 or 30 years?

SC30 Inc. includes Currys work to build his own brand through projects like the Underrated Tour. Then theres his burgeoning media production company, Unanimous Media, which is responsible for movies such as Breakthrough, Emanuel and Jumpshot, and programming such as his recent Stephen vs The Game series on Facebook Watch. Then there are his philanthropic endeavors through the Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation, which he and Ayesha Curry launched in the summer.

The final pillar of SC30 Inc. is investment. But this is Stephen Curry were talking about, a man who has revolutionized an entire sport with his long-range shooting ability and managed to ruin the game, to quote the phrase SC30 Inc. has picked up and run with. He may be at the start of his investment journey, but its already clear that hes not just about a normal investment strategy.

Just as Curry has changed the game of basketball, his team are thinking about how they can change the world through his presence in the investment space as well. Barr sets out the aim underlying all of the work of SC30 Inc. as not just to make money so you can sit on it and have nice things and continue to build wealth, but what could you do with that wealth that drives an impact in a really material way?

The partnership with Guild Education

That aspiration has been realized in their latest investment in Guild Education, a venture-backed tech company that partners with businesses, colleges, and students to offer education as benefit and help more people go back to college. If it sounds like theres a tie in with Currys philanthropic work, thats because there is, as Barr concurs it was clear right off the bat that there was clear alignment with the foundation. It was mission-aligned quite perfectly.

But Guild is set specifically as a business and seeks venture capital for a reason, as Rachel Carlson, the companys founder explains. For Guild, the impetus for that is that there are 64 million Americans today who need what we do. They either need access to complete their college degree or they need to earn a skill-certificate the only way were going to be successful in making a dent in that problem is by rapidly scaling. So thats why weve sought out being a venture-backed company.

For SC30, Inc. its important that there is a return to be made, as Barr sets out. We want to make sure its a good financial investment, and if its not theres no way were going to invest. We made a decision very early on that were not going to invest in things just because theyre brand-accretive to Stephen. Thats great if thats true, but first and foremost we need to believe that we can generate our target return here. But the added value of the alignment with the foundation meant that investing in, and partnering with, Guild is a home run according to Barr.

A step into impact investing

Its a step into a new world of impact investing. Guild has made SC30, Inc. think differently already, as Barr admits. What Guild has started to make us think about is where are there other opportunities for investment that align with our philanthropic interests? I dont think social impact investing needs to just be completely philanthropic in nature. Guild is a fantastic business. Theyre crushing it right now. Were very excited about what the future holds for them. We believe its going to be a great investment for our overall portfolio. But it is incredibly helpful and exciting to have something that aligns so much with what were doing philanthropically and allows us to really lean in on it from a value-add perspective.

Carlson is at the forefront of this world. I think differently about investment. When were fundraising at Guild were thinking about how do we bring people around the table who share conviction in our double-bottom line. One of those lines is our eventual profit line The other is your mission. How do you ensure your margin reinforces your mission, and your mission reinforces your margin?

One of the most important elements in answering that question is how you measure the return both financially and in terms of social impact. At the moment SC30, Inc. has concentrated on the financial return, but Barr says thats actually starting to change. Hes been out meeting with other investors to learn more about this space. Barr is exploring the intricacies involved. How do you balance the two, and what are the certain KPIs and metrics that youre looking at to understand if youre really driving impact or not... were continuing to develop a hypothesis, test it, and go back to iterate and evolve. As we start looking at businesses like Guild and investing in them to go beyond just the financial success how do we align purpose and profit?

With Guild, theres a clear methodology. The company is certified as a B-Corp. Its a rigorous process where the company measures and reports on impact metrics in the same way they report on their financial metrics. Carlson sets out what that looks like for Guild. Key indicators for us are how many students are successfully progressing through their programs in order to graduate, our loan avoidance rate our primary employers offer either fully-funded degrees whereby the employee can go back to college debt-free, or dramatically reduced where the employee pays a small amount so we measure how much debt were helping avoid for our student population. We measure other metrics directly with our universities related to underrepresentation such as graduation rates for a single mom.

With Guild the data isnt just collected and reported on though. Carlson explains that the companys business model is that they only get paid when students are successful. In effect we put all of our revenue at risk. And so measuring those outcomes is actually paramount as they are key performance indicators that will let us know if our business is going to be successful.

Adding value

Just as Guild is adding value to SC30, Inc. by helping them explore this path, so too is Curry able to add value beyond a normal investor. Barr stresses that Stephen is not simply a celebrity, customer-acquisition vehicle. We are looking to truly add value as an investor.

Carlson pinpoints Currys authenticity and connection with their students and potential students as something that is already paying dividends. With our students its constantly challenging the status quo, its saying just because youre a working adult, just because youre in your 30s or 40s and havent gone to college yet, just because youre a parent, just because youre low income doesnt mean youre not capable of achieving a college degree or achieving your higher education goals and aspirations. And thats something thats an authentic position that Stephen takes in his philanthropic work, but also as role model, as an athlete. Theres been this connection with... our students path to challenging the status quo when college today is designed for wealthy 18-year olds.

Developing the point, Carlson elaborates the difference between Curry and a more traditional set of investors. As a tech company, the reasons we normally get pointed towards the East Bay or Silicon Valley is because of tech Luminati, or famous technical founders. Whats interesting is that those folks dont necessarily create role models for our students in the way that Stephen is capable of. His background, his ability to overcome those obstacles, and then his commitment both to topics like gender equality and education its special that hes investing. If you told me youve got to find ten investors that meet that profile I dont know where Id start.

Changing the tech and investment world

One element that both sides stress is the common mission to change the worlds theyre operating in. Guild is one of a small number of female-founded venture-backed companies, while Curry has long been a champion for gender equality. In fact, this bond helped build the partnership in the first place, as Carlson explains. We share a passion for the work that Guild is doing but we also share a lot of commonalities in terms of our position in the venture capital and impact landscape as a female CEO and a black investor.

The statistics dont lie. In 2018 just 2.2% of the $130 billion total in venture capital money invested went to female-founded companies. All-male teams got 76%, or $109.36 billion. Companies with at least one female founder received $15.76 billion, or 12%, of last years venture capital. Even if the picture is improving, with women now making up a record-high number of CEOs at top-grossing companies, its starting from a low base. That high is only 6.6%.

Changing that is a major priority for SC30, Inc. as Barr explains. We want to find more female founders to invest in. Were actively looking at how do we increase the number of female-founded companies that were adding to the beginning of the funnel. But one thing thats equally as important is making sure that were investing in teams that are prioritizing that gender-equity across the board Even with our male-founded companies its how are you thinking about females on your board, how are you thinking about women on your executive team?

Indeed SC30, Inc. just did a data collection exercise across all their portfolio companies, totalling around 1000 employees. That showed that the profile was 46% female. Barr says that this is just the start. As we look at companies that we want to invest in, its not just what are they doing, its how theyre going about doing that.

So can SC30 Inc. be pioneers for other athletes in the impact investment world, as Iguodala has been for the tech space? Barr admits theyre early on in the journey. Id be lying if I told you that we had all the answers and its crystal clear on our end. But the north star for us is to be purpose-driven and to align purpose with profit. Judging by what Curry has done on the court, you wouldnt bet against him changing the game off it too.

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Can Stephen Curry Revolutionize The Investment Game? - Forbes

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North Philly investment property had so much potential, he moved in himself – The Philadelphia Inquirer

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German universities ‘urgently need infrastructure investment’ – DW (English)

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It's that time of year German university students are heading back to the classroom for the start of semester after their summer break. But at the University of Bonn, as in many German universities, some students are unhappy with the standard of the buildings where they will be attending classes this fall.

"Every room I know in the main building is old-fashioned and unpractical,"Lisa Stroetmann, Masters student in Political Science in Bonn, told DWon a sunny October day as hundreds of fresh-faced "Erstis" (first years) entered the main building for their first week of classes. "It's really not good enough."

"The rooms really aren't properly equipped,"another student agreed, who didn't want to be named. "Often the seminar rooms aren't big enough for the amount of students, because they assume after the first week that people will stop showing up."

Graffiti adorns building work which masks the Electoral Palace building of the University of Bonn in front of the Hofgarten

Asbestos in the main building

The Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitt Bonn certainly looks impressive at first glance. The iconic Electoral Palace, former home of the Prince Electors of Cologne and Bonn, has been at the heart of the university since it was founded in 1818. To visitors and new students enjoying the leafy Hofgarten in front of the building on a sunny day, the yellow frontage gives an air of prestige.

However, the building itself is not original, having beenrebuilt in the 1950s after extensive bombing damage during World War II. University students at the time were required to help in the building works.According to university spokesperson Andreas Archut, it is in desperate need of renovation. Cracks run along the walls and mold and moss are growing in corners.

Weve also recently discovered asbestos in the main building, so now we have very strict regulations about building works," Archut told DW. "You're not even allowed to hammer a nail in the wall without special precaution procedures."

Asbestos, along with lead and PVC, are building materialsonce commonly used butnow considered toxic. PVC and lead have also been found in other Bonn university buildings.

Huge building works aretaking place on the front and basement garage of the building, as announced by signs covered in graffiti.But there areno plans for similar renovation work on the ground level.

Cracks and mold visible in a ceiling in the courtyard of the University of Bonn

'A permanent problem'

The University of Bonn is made up of around 200 buildings, many dating from the 1960s and 1970s. Although there are many new buildings, some of the most tired and old-fashionedcan be found at the Rmerstrae concrete complex, which houses IT and sports facilities.

"There's onebuilding at the Rmerstrasse complex which is completely unused because of PVCin the walls,"Archut told DW.

It is, however, beyond the university's control to tear down or renovate these buildings. All the university buildings are owned by BLB (Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb), a private company which rents the buildings to the university. This means that it is difficult for the university to instigate renovation projects.

The university in the city that hosts one of Germany's largest parties, Karneval, comes in tenth place. The relaxed attitude of the locals make it a popular destination with international students as does its proximity to other major European cities - it is a train ride from Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris.

The university is named after German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, just in case you were wondering. Frankfurt, which is often called "Mainhattan" because of its skyscrapers, is one of the country's ethnically diverse cities, and its banking sector offers a lot of opportunities.

With 37,000 students, the University of Duisburg-Essen is one of the largest higher education institutions in Germany. The university is a result of a merger in 2003 by the Universities of Duisburg and Essen. Studying in this region puts students in Germany's most densely populated region, the Ruhr Valley.

Founded in 1386, it is the oldest university in Germany. Bearing that title makes the university one of the most attractive destinations for foreign students, not to mention the appeal of Heidelberg - a city with one of the most charming and intact old towns in Germany.

It is one of the oldest universities in Germany. With notable alumni including Otto von Bismarck, Heinrich Heine, Robert Koch and African American activist WEB Dubois, the university also has a great reputation.

Berlin isn't only popular with tourists. Students love it. Apart from being known for its high ranked engineering program, Technical University of Berlin's location in the German capital is advantageous because it the cost of living is lower than other large western European cities.

RWTH Aachen university is located in the city it's named after, which lies on the German border with Belgium and the Netherlands. As Germany's largest technical university, RWTH's motto, "Zukunft denken" (Thinking the future) , also clearly reflects the university's reputation in the country.

The Bavarian capital is also home to another world class institution - the Munich University of Technology. In 2013, just under one in five students were foreign, according to the university's figures.

Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) is in Munich, which was ranked "the world's most livable city" by Monocle magazine in 2013. It is one of Germany's oldest and most prestigious universities - 34 Nobel laureates are associated with LMU.

The Free University of Berlin (FU Berlin) was founded in 1948. Its name is a reference to West Berlin because of its status as part of the "free world" unlike its counterpart in then Soviet-occupied East Berlin, Humboldt University. FU Berlin is among the 11 institutions in the German Universities Excellence Initiative.

Author: Chiponda Chimbelu

A recent article from German newspaper Die Zeit estimates that over 1 billion ($1.1 billion) isneeded to modernize the university buildings in Bonn. Archut described this number as "an easy figure" to cite,but agreed thatit might not be far off what would be needed. "Just the main building would probably need 100 million ($110 million),"he told DW.

"Recently some money has been put into the student residences and brand new buildings, but no money has been put into renovating the older buildings, said Luca Cristodero, a fourth-year medical student. "This is especially the case with technical equipment and also the look of the buildings."

"It's really a permanent problem,"another student said. "They've always got building work going on here and it never seems to make any difference to the standard of the buildings."

A large crack in the ceiling of a University of Bonn building

'Elite'universities

As long as the buildings do their job and are safe, it can be argued that German universities do not need to update tired facades. After all, German public universities simply don't have the same kind of money as British Russell Group universities orIvy League colleges in the US.

Indeed, German universitieshave long prided themselves on removing themselves from the narrative of "elite"universities thatpervades the educational cultureof many Western countries. Unlike in the US or UK, where a name like Oxford or Harvard on a resume can make all the difference to a job application, German students often choose universities which offer courses which they want to study, or simply which are closer to home or offer other practical benefits.

Map showing the excellence intiative universities of Germany

However, this all has been slowly changing since 2006, when a federally funded program referred to as the "Excellence Initiative"began to hand out funding to German universities that made great steps in research programs or had made attempts to be promotethemselves internationally, for example in their connection with the Scottish University of St Andrews.

Infrastructure investment 'urgently needed'

Following a renewal of the fund in 2018, 11 German universities have received funding of between 10 and 15 millionto spend over the next seven years. But this money is to be invested in research at the universities and will not be spent on infrastructure.

Its great that were got funding for all these new researchprojects," Archut said. "Butwe do not want the excellent new additional staff we can now hirejust turn around and leave when they seethefacilities.This is why more investmentininfrastructure isurgently needed."

The University of Bonn was officially added to the list in July 2019, in recognition of itsgrowing international status andresearch model. Despite its infrastructure issues, Bonn remains one of the most highly ranked universities in Germany, according to the British Times Higher Education ranking.

Top 10 German universities

International university with a bright future

A 2016 Zurich study on the impact of the excellence initiative in German universities points out that the initiative is slowly seeing German universities creep up international league tables and describes the "very positive"impact of the program.

Bonn also pridesitself on becoming more international, which means that more funding comes in from international tuition fees: Germanand EU citizens pay no or very low tuition fees. However, in Bonn, the vast majority of students are from Germany, and for these students the issue of infrastructure may be more important that a university's international standing.

Proportion of German and foreign students in the University of Bonn

Archut explained that there may be a precedent, with the universities of Aachen and Bochum in Germany investing some of their money from previous excellence initiative schemes into new buildings. But for now there are no such plans in Bonn.

For now, new undergraduate students and federally-funded postgraduate researchers alike will have to continue to work and study university buildings in dire need of an upgrade, or else work out of separate buildings which the university is now renting.

With enrollment higher this year than ever before and 1,000 new researchers expected as part of the excellence initiative, the University of Bonn, just likemany German universities,may need a solution fast.

Every evening, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

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German universities 'urgently need infrastructure investment' - DW (English)

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Bonds Are About To Become A Risky Investment, Experts Warn – HuffPost

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The stock market regularly makes headlines, especially with the wild swings weve experienced lately. But volatility among stocks is nothing new. What investors should really pay attention to, experts warn, is the bond market.

Long considered a secure, steady way to earn income and hedge retirement savings against risk, bonds likely wont be such a haven for much longer. The volatility that we may experience in the bond market could easily exceed the volatility thats normally associated with the stock market, said Ric Edelman, a financial advisor, author, syndicated radio host and co-founder of Edelman Financial Engines. And the worst part is, it will hit the very investor whos least able to sustain the volatility: the conservative, income-oriented investor who is retired and doesnt have 30 years to wait for recovery.

Investors that went into bonds under the guise of safety could get a rude awakening if interest rates rise.

Interest Rate Risk And Its Effect On Bonds

Rather than focusing on the short-term fluctuations of the stock market, which dont have much bearing on long-term goals, such as saving for retirement, Edelman said investors should be more concerned about interest rates and their effect on the bond market.

Nobody expected that interest rates would stay so low for so long or that we might experience zero or even negative interest rates, Edelman said. That means investors need to recognize the notion of interest rate risk.

The 1970s are considered by many to be one of the worst economic periods in modern American history. Folks who are old enough to remember can fondly recall the days of 15% CD rates and can also lament the days of 21% mortgages, Edelman said. Interest rates were at all-time highs until Ronald Reagan took office in 1982, at which point interest rates began to come down (you can argue the degree to which Reagan was responsible for this).

Considering that the average investor is in the market for about 40 years, according to Edelman, most investors today have only ever experienced consistently falling interest rates with a few upward fluctuations here and there. It also means theyve only ever experienced a rising bond market, since interest rates and bond yields have an inverse relationship.

It has caused many investors to conclude that this is the way bonds always behave because, in their individual memory, thats the way bonds always did behave, Edelman said.

What people may not realize is that at some point interest rates will have to rise again, which means bond yields will fall in value. They are on opposite ends of a seesaw: When one goes up, the other goes down, Edelman said.

Today, that ratio is about 1-to-7, meaning for every 1% change in interest rates, theres a 7% change in bond values. If interest rates go from 2% to 4% a 2% increase bonds could lose 15% of their value... and the majority of bond investors, I fear, are not aware of this risk, he said.

Is It Time To Ditch Bonds?

Greg McBride, a chartered financial analyst and senior vice president at Bankrate.com, agreed with Edelmans sentiment. There is a ton of risk in the bond market, concentrated among long-term bonds, he said. And a lot of investors that went into bonds under the guise of safety could get a rude awakening if interest rates rise and the value of those long-term bonds plunges.

Of course, experts have been claiming for the last 10 years that rates are going to go up. When they have risen, theyve done so modestly, only to move right back down. A skeptical investor might think this is crying wolf, McBride said. But just because it hasnt happened yet doesnt mean its not going to happen.

The whole idea of going into bonds for less volatile returns and predictable income is no longer a guarantee. You are getting very little in the way of income, and youve got a risk of significant downside volatility at this point, McBride said. Investors would be prudent to take a little money off the table now and lighten up on bonds.

That doesnt mean you should ditch them entirely, however. Edelman advised that investors simply shorten the maturity. We are recommending that you hold short-term and intermediate-term five- to seven-year maturities for the most part rather than predominantly 20- and 30-year maturities, he said. This will insulate you to a great degree against the risk that interest rates might rise. Edelman pointed out that since interest rates are now very low across the board, the difference in yield between a seven-year Treasury and a 20-year Treasury is not all that significant. So youre not sacrificing much income in order to obtain a higher degree of safety.

McBride added that for investors who still have a long time horizon before retirement, quality dividend-paying stocks are a much more attractive option. The valuations are reasonable, the income stream is poised to grow over time (unlike a bond, which stays static) and youre earning yields that are above what youre going to get on bonds, he said.

McBride recognized that this understandably might seem counterintuitive to investors. The reality of it is you can generate income and should generate income across your portfolio, he said. Not just in bonds and fixed-income, but from equities, real estate investment trusts, master limited partnerships... some of those investments that are riskier in the short-term are a much better hedge against inflation and preserving your buying power in the long-term.

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