Tag Archives: Burton Malkiel


Smart Beta

Fads and fashions have always been part of the financial markets. Around the turn of the century Internet-related stocks were regarded as reliable instruments for growing and preserving wealth. During the early 2000s, real estate was the instrument of choice for savvy investors. Today “Smart Beta” is the mantra of legions of securities salesmen who claim that broad-based low-cost index funds are sub-optimal and that better results can be obtained by biasing portfolios toward a number of characteristics that promise higher returns. There is no universally accepted definition of “Smart Beta.” What most people using the term have in mind is that it may be possible to gain excess (greater than market) returns using a variety of relatively passive investment […]

Wealthfront Named ETF Strategist of the Year

Today I am proud to announce that Wealthfront has been named the “ETF Strategist of the Year” by ETF.com (formerly IndexUniverse), the world’s leading authority on exchange-traded funds. We are especially gratified to be chosen for this award from among all investment management firms that use ETFs, not just new entrants. At Wealthfront, we strive to build a world-class investment service and we’re proud to have assembled an unparalleled investment team led by Burton Malkiel. Over the past year, we added asset classes, released an improved and more diversified investment mix, delivered different asset allocations for taxable vs. retirement accounts to improve after tax returns, and launched the Wealthfront 500. In short, we aim to relentlessly improve our service to […]

Why Should I have Bonds in My Portfolio?

We have received quite a few inquiries of late related to bonds being a part of our client portfolios. Some clients note that bonds currently have a low rate of return and question their use. This post attempts to present the logic behind their continued inclusion. Historically, bonds have been an excellent diversifier, providing considerable portfolio stability. Even in recent years their returns have been negatively correlated with equity returns. Investors who had some bonds in their portfolios during the 2007-2008 financial crisis were at least partially protected by rising bond prices as governments tried to counteract recessionary balances by aggressively lowering interest rates. “History is unlikely to record a change in the important role that fixed income plays over […]

Burt Malkiel On Wealthfront’s Promise

Today I am excited to announce the first significant improvements to Wealthfront’s investment service since I joined the company as chief investment officer. These improvements help minimize taxes and increase returns without exposing clients to more risk. I’ll detail the changes below, but I also wanted to tell you why I joined the company and what my first three months have been like. My mission, through my books, op-ed pieces and speeches, has been to help make it easier for average investors – the little guys — to win in the markets. I was a member of the board of directors of Vanguard, the leader in low-cost index investing, for 28 years. I still serve on Vanguard’s international board, where […]

Burton Malkiel Joins Wealthfront As CIO

We’re honored to announce that famed economist Burton Malkiel, who helped launch the low-cost investing revolution with A Random Walk Down Wall Street, has joined Wealthfront as our Chief Investment Officer. Dr. Malkiel is one of the most important public voices in investment management and a leading light in the index investing movement. He’s an emeritus Princeton University economics professor, a former board member of Vanguard Group, and a former member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. As Chief Investment Officer, Burt will help Wealthfront continue to improve our investment services, including the choice of asset classes, the way we allocate among different classes, the choice of securities and the methods by which we evaluate risk and apply those […]

Lessons from 2011 And Ideas For Investing In 2012

The first week of the New Year was marked by plenty of stories that talked about the outlook for the capital markets in 2012. Investors should ignore most of them. If you need evidence of why you should ignore most of them, look back to the turn of 2011, when nine out of 10 stock market strategists polled by Barron’s predicted S&P gains of 7-17%. Yikes. Glad you didn’t shift all of your money into stocks based on those predictions. The S&P ended the year almost exactly flat. If you are looking for some thoughtful pieces on how to invest the money we hope you will make this year, check out these three pieces: Business Insider’s Henry Blodget is picking […]