Author Archives: jwatkins

About jwatkins

I am a securities and ERISA attorney. I am a Certified Financial Planner(r) professional (32 years) and an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor. I am a 1977 graduate of Georgia State University and a 1981 graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School. I am the author of "CommonSense InvestSense: The Power of the Informed Investor" and " The 401(k)/403(b) Investment Manual: What Plan Sponsors and Plan Participants REALLY Need To Know. " As a former compliance director, I have extensive experience in evaluating the legal prudence of various types of investments, including mutual funds and annuities. My goal is to combine my legal and compliance experience in order to help educate investors on sound, proven investment strategies that will help them protect their financial security.

Non-Commission Annuities: The “New” Fiduciary Annuity Trap

“Equity abhors a windfall.” Fiduciary law is largely based on trust, agency and equity law, with an emphasis on fundamental fairness. Any situation in which a fiduciary benefits at a beneficiary’s expense is a potential breach of the fiduciary’s duties. … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, Annuities, compliance, consumer protection, cost-efficiency, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, investment advisers, prudence, Reg BI, RIA Compliance, RIA marketing, securities compliance, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Modern Portfolio Theory, the Prudent Investor Rule and Fiduciary Investing

Given the volatility of today’s stock market, the subject of fiduciary investing is a timely topic.  A fiduciary relationship creates the highest duty imposed by law, requiring that a fiduciary always put a client’s interests first and act solely on … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, Active Management Value Ratio, AMVR, DOL fiduciary rule, DOL fiduciary standard, ERISA, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, fiduciary standard, prudence, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back to the Future, Investment Fiduciary Style

With the Supreme Court’s new term scheduled to begin in a few days, we move closer to the Court hearing the Northwestern University 403b case. I believe that this case has the potential to be a landmark case, not just … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k investments, 403b, Active Management Value Ratio, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, fiduciary standard, pension plans | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

15 Quintessential Investment Quotes for Plan Sponsors and Investment Fiduciaries

On Investment Selection:Properly measured, the average actively managed dollar must underperform the average passively managed dollar, net of costs…. The best way to measure a manager’s performance is to compare his or her return with that of a comparable passive … Continue reading

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Costs, Correlations and Prudent Fiduciary Investing

The financial adviser tells you that a fund has a five-year compound return of 20 percent. The fund’s advertisement tells you that the fund has a five-year compound return of 20 percent. Morningstar tells you that the fund has a … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, fiduciary compliance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hughes v. Northwestern University and the Future of 401(k) Plans

I thoroughly enjoy reading a well-reasoned legal brief or decision. For instance, the Enron1 decision, while lengthy, is an excellent treatise on ERISA. The First Circuit’s decision in Brotherston v. Putnam Investments, LLC2 is one of the best decisions I … Continue reading

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The Active Management Value Ratio: Quantifying the “New” Fiduciary Prudence

Right now, the DOL and the SEC are trying to define “prudence” and “best interest,” respectively. I am on record as saying that the simplest and most logical step would be one, universal standard of prudence, using the Investment Advisor’s … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, Active Management Value Ratio, cost-efficiency, DOL fiduciary rule, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, pension plans, retirement planning, retirement plans, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Charley Ellis interview

People that know me know how much I respect Charley Ellis. His classic, “Winning the Loser’s Game, ” changed my whole perspective on investing. My popular metric, the Active Management Value Ratio, is based primarily on WLG. Robin Powell has … Continue reading

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“The Active Management Value Ratio 4.0: What Investors and Investment Fiduciaries REALLY Need to Know About Wealth Accumulation and Preservation”

The new video is available on the InvestSense YouTube channel.

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2Q 2021 Active Management Value Ratio “Cheat Sheet:” Every Picture Tells A Story

What was the fund’s stated return? At that point, many people, both investment professionals and ordinary investors, stop their AMVR analysis of the actively managed fund in question, unnecessarily exposing themselves to potential financial losses and/or legal liability. When InvestSense … Continue reading

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