October 24, 2014

The U.S. stock market has been one of the strongest performers in the world since the financial crisis, but some question if its days of market leadership are numbered. This week’s guest is starting to look in battered down international markets. Gregg Fisher, a top-rated financial advisor explains the diversification benefits of small company foreign stocks and international real estate.

GREGG FISHER Founder & Chief Investment Officer Gerstein Fisher

CONSUELO MACK: This week on WEALTHTRACK, multi-tasking Gregg Fisher, one of Barron’s Top 100 Financial Advisors and a four-star fund manager explains why he is fishing overseas for bargains, dabbling in global real estate and doing tax planning… Gerstein Fisher’s Gregg Fisher is next on Consuelo Mack WEALTHTRACK.

Hello and welcome to this edition of WEALTHTRACK, I’m Consuelo Mack.

Talk to just about any CEO of an American corporation and they will tell you their first responsibility is to the shareholders, who are the true owners of the company. And one of their top, if not the top priority is to maximize shareholder value. Not everyone agrees with that sentiment, but that’s a topic we will tackle another day…

Major U.S. corporations take their mission very seriously.

According to a recent article in Bloomberg, companies in the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index, the who’s who of corporate America are poised to spend $915 billion on share buybacks and dividends this year, that’s about 95 percent of earnings. And money returned to stockholders in the form of dividends and buybacks actually exceeded profits in the first quarter of this year and might have also done so in the third quarter.

Those policies have paid off for shareholders. According to Bloomberg, stocks with the most buybacks have gained more than 300 percent since the March ‘09 bottom, far exceeding the very strong returns of the overall market. And the pressure is increasing to continue those and other stock price boosting policies. Activist hedge funds have amassed war chests of more than $111 billion to invest in companies and pressure them to act.

For many reasons the U.S. stock market has been one of the strongest performers in the world since the financial crisis. But many question whether its days of market leadership are numbered.

This week’s guest is one of those starting to look in battered down international markets, but he is also constantly adjusting his own and his clients’ portfolios as conditions change.

He is Gregg Fisher, Founder and Chief Investment Officer of the independent investment management and advisory firm, Gerstein Fisher which he launched in 1993 and now has over $3 billion dollars under management. He has been named one of Barron’s Top 100 Financial Advisors, among other distinctions.

In 2009 he also established the Gerstein Fisher Research Center which does research on finance and investment risk with noted academics.

In addition he is the Portfolio Manager of the 4-star rated Gerstein Fisher Multi-Factor Growth Equity Fund which he launched in 2010. It is in the top quartile of its large growth category for the last three years.

In a wide ranging interview I asked Fisher what he is telling clients about valuations in the U.S. market.

GREGG FISHER: So a lot of clients are asking us, you know, what’s going on in the market? We’ve just seen something like 10,000 points on the Dow in the last five or so years. Is it a good time to invest? Should we trim down the winnings? What should we do?

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