The Independent Market Observer

Brad McMillan, CFA, CAIA, MAI

Brad McMillan, CFA®, CAIA, MAI, is chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, the nation's largest privately held Registered Investment Adviser–independent broker/dealer. As CIO, Brad chairs the investment committee and is the primary spokesperson for Commonwealth’s investment divisions. Brad received his BA from Dartmouth College, an MS from MIT, and an MS from Boston College. He has worked as a real estate developer, consultant, and lender; as an investment analyst, manager, and consultant; and as a start-up executive. His professional qualifications include designated membership in the Appraisal Institute (MAI), the CFA Institute, and the CAIA Association. Brad speaks around the country on investment issues and writes for industry publications, as well as for this blog.
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Recent Posts

A Step Back for Summer

May 20, 2022

Hi, everybody. It has been a busy week. Even though the market continues to drop, frankly I don’t have much to say that I haven’t already said. So, this will be a very short post!

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Are Market Declines Setting the Stage for Future Growth?

May 19, 2022

When we look at yesterday’s market performance, something stands out. It’s not just the magnitude of the decline, bad though it was, but the speed. And it wasn’t just yesterday, as this past month has seen pretty much all of the decline for the past quarter and well over half of the decline for the year. In other words, the market has essentially been down all year. It started to stabilize in March and April—only to collapse again in May. That’s scary.

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A Quick Look at the Markets

May 18, 2022

This will be a short post as I am back from a Commonwealth conference and catching up. There are lots of things to think about, on both a professional and personal level, and I will share more going forward. As always, it was great to see my Commonwealth friends, old and new, and do some really cool stuff including a cooking class (didn’t see that coming, did you?) and a Red Sox game with Tim Wakefield, who very nicely signed a hat for my wife. She did very well out of the conference, with the hat and a signed pastry cookbook. You have to take care of the home front.

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Challenging Our Assumptions

May 17, 2022

Today, I’m attending the Commonwealth Chairman’s Retreat conference. Of course, we’ll spend some time discussing business and the markets, but we’ll also get the chance to look at issues beyond that and into our own lives. Longtime readers may remember my column on gratitudes, where I talked about a Chairman’s presentation by psychologist Shawn Achor on how simply writing down three gratitudes a day could change your life for the better. I tried it, and it worked. I have now written down my gratitudes every day for several years, and there is no doubt it has made a very positive difference.

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What Can Investors Do in a Down Market?

May 13, 2022

Much of the discussion around the market decline so far this year has been, first, why is it happening and, second, how far will it go? Most people are looking at the market as an independent entity, trying to second-guess how it will act in the future. Most people will, inevitably, be wrong.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: May 2022

May 12, 2022

My colleague Sam Millette, manager, fixed income on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Market Risk Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

Markets dropped in April, reversing the gains from March. The S&P 500 lost 8.72 percent during the month, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped 4.82 percent. The Nasdaq Composite saw the largest decline during the month, as the technology-heavy index fell 13.24 percent in April. The sell-off in April is a reminder that risks remain, and they should be monitored going forward.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: May 2022

May 11, 2022

My colleague Sam Millette, manager, fixed income on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Economic Risk Factor Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

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Worries Rise as Markets Drop

May 10, 2022

Yesterday was another bad down day in the markets. Not only that, but other assets are getting hit as well, with bitcoin getting hit even more than the general financial markets. As worries rise, when will the bleeding stop? 

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Stock Market Continues to Slide

May 6, 2022

Yesterday saw another significant drop in stock markets, more than reversing the bounce we saw the prior day. Up, down, up, down, but largely down—it looks like the market is headed down indefinitely.

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What You Need to Know: Is Renewed Growth Ahead?

May 5, 2022

One of the key things I do as an analyst is figure out what can be safely ignored. In today’s environment, with so many “different this time” events going on—the pandemic, the Ukraine war, and the 40-year high in inflation—what can we safely disregard? Finding the right answer is not as simple as it was a couple of years ago.

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