Financial Crisis

No Time for Guarantees

The concept is seductive: a financial product that provides upside exposure in the event that equity markets trend up and to the right while also providing a floor of protection in case the bottom falls-out from under markets again.

Sort of like having your cake and eating it too. Very tempting in light of the massive financial uncertainty that has existed for the past several years.

Products playing into this “upside plus protection” theme include (but are not limited to) variable annuities with guaranteed...

Mark Warshawsky on the Retirement Income Market

Mark J. Warshawsky is Director of Retirement Research at Towers Watson.

Dr. Warshawsky served as assistant secretary for economic policy at the U.S. Treasury Department from 2004-2006 and he has held senior level economic research positions at the Federal Reserve Board, the Internal Revenue Service and...

Yield-Starved and Losing Patience

It seemed obvious several years ago that retirees would shoulder much of the burden of the financial crisis and its residual effects.

While events have generally played-out in line with this projection, the backlash from seniors has been surprisingly subdued.  The lack of pitchforks seems odd given the fact that the number of retirement age voters is increasing by 10,000 each day in the United States.

That said, the capital versus retirees story has been trending-up lately. This may have something to do with the...

Pimco’s Gross Describes a New Age of Risk

Pacific Investment Management Company (Pimco) founder and co-chief investment officer Bill Gross offered a revised view of the global investing landscape in a letter published on the company’s website. 

As the manager of the Pimco Total Return Fund, Gross’s 2011 investment decisions were driven in part by the “new normal” thesis. 

The new normal view...

The Real Cost of the Financial Crisis Bailout

In an extraordinary piece of investigative journalism, Bloomberg Markets Magazine describes the real financial bailout action that took place when banks tapped into the Federal Reserve’s Term Auction Facility for additional borrowing at below market rates. Select highlights include: While the TARP program had a big $700 billion price tag, the Federal Reserve committed as much as $7.77 trillion to banks as of March 2009. These additional trillions were provided in almost complete secrecy...