Attain’s 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2012

As the year comes to a close, we’re left reflecting on everything that’s transpired over the past 12 months. From scandal to struggle, from innovation to investor education, it certainly hasn’t been a dull period. As we sifted through the blog posts of the year, there were ten that shone through, and may be worth another look. Happy New Year to all!

1. Vote of No Confidence: A Call to Investigate the National Futures Association
Far and away the most popular post of the year was our call to investigate the NFA. As the self-regulatory body of the futures industry, the NFA caught massive (and deserved) heat earlier this year upon the exposure of 20 years of fraud at PFGBest. The frustration and pain of the scandal were punctuated by revelations about the efficacy of the group in other regulatory areas, and while some of the issues we take with the organization are being addressed, there’s still a fair amount of work to do. It was this deficit that ultimately prompted Attain CEO Jeff Malec to run for a spot on the NFA Board of Directors.

2. Damning Evidence in the MFGlobal Case
While the PFGBest scandal was world rocking, its impact was compounded by the fact that the MFGlobal fiasco had occurred less than one year prior. This year, however, the big revelation about MFGlobal came from a monster of a report from the MFGlobal trustee. In 275 pages, the trustee broke down culpability in a way we’d only speculated about before, raising significant questions about why criminal charges were not being pursued.

3. Attain Presents Why Alternatives: Global Debt Panel at CFA
Over the past year, we expanded our coverage of a variety of financial conferences across the country, breaking down the chattering class’ perspective on a variety of economic trends, and what that meant for the savvy managed futures investor. The most popular of these posts was easily the Global Debt Panel from the CFA conference in Chicago, where juggernauts Barry Ritholtz, John Mauldin, David Rosenberg and Anatole Kaletsky broke down the investing climate in terms of politics, debt, and regulatory regimes.

4. Attain’s Top 13 Investing Movies
Now and then, we all need a laugh… and that is exactly what the point of this post was. List posts are common place, and financial movie lists can be a dime a dozen, but being the nerds we are, we decided to give it a shot on our own… and we’ll stand by our picks. Looking for a good movie for the weekend? Try these on for size.

5. Intro to Spread Trading: The Common Spreads
In our experience, one of the more poorly understood aspects of futures trading is the spread- or the idea of buying and selling economically similar contracts in an attempt to turn a profit off of the price differences increasing or decreasing. Here, we broke down the most common types of spreads you’ll see referenced in the space.

6. Six Takeaways from the Fast Money Interview of Winton’s Harding
The most recognized name in managed futures is easily Winton Capital, but in a CNBC interview earlier this year, Winton’s fearless leader, David Harding, made a series of comments that provided insight into their program, the evolution of their firm, and mainstream media’s understanding of the investment.

7. An Open Letter to Congressional Speculation Ban Proponents
Every year, one or two fools decide it makes sense to make a lot of noise about reigning in the speculators, but this year, the rabble rousers were calling for an out and out ban in the oil markets. This reactionary proposal was enough to get our blood boiling, so we decided to make a mockery of the arguments presented.

8. The Finance Meme Geek Out
2012 was, in many ways, the year of the meme. Terrible, awful, horrible memes. From McKayla being unimpressed and beyond, we noticed that there weren’t a whole lot of financial memes. Obviously, someone had to fill the gap, and that’s when we stepped up to the plate.

9. So, What Do We Do Next?
Following the PFGBest bankruptcy, the number one question on most investors’ minds was what they could do to keep their money safe moving forward. While some of the protections needed must be implemented on a regulatory level, we broke down different factors that investors can take into consideration in their future FCM selections.

10. The Risk in Hedge Funds as a Portfolio Hedge
We sometimes feel like a broken record when we go off about the differences between hedge funds and managed futures programs, but earlier this year, one of our favorite bloggers, Josh Brown at The Reformed Broker, made a good point about asking the wrong questions of hedge funds. It should be about how you use them, and what role they play in the portfolio. But what does that mean for you? We broke it down here.

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Disclaimer
The performance data displayed herein is compiled from various sources, including BarclayHedge, RCM's own estimates of performance based on account managed by advisors on its books, and reports directly from the advisors. These performance figures should not be relied on independent of the individual advisor's disclosure document, which has important information regarding the method of calculation used, whether or not the performance includes proprietary results, and other important footnotes on the advisor's track record.

Benchmark index performance is for the constituents of that index only, and does not represent the entire universe of possible investments within that asset class. And further, that there can be limitations and biases to indices such as survivorship, self reporting, and instant history.

Managed futures accounts can subject to substantial charges for management and advisory fees. The numbers within this website include all such fees, but it may be necessary for those accounts that are subject to these charges to make substantial trading profits in the future to avoid depletion or exhaustion of their assets.

Investors interested in investing with a managed futures program (excepting those programs which are offered exclusively to qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7) will be required to receive and sign off on a disclosure document in compliance with certain CFT rules The disclosure documents contains a complete description of the principal risk factors and each fee to be charged to your account by the CTA, as well as the composite performance of accounts under the CTA's management over at least the most recent five years. Investor interested in investing in any of the programs on this website are urged to carefully read these disclosure documents, including, but not limited to the performance information, before investing in any such programs.

Those investors who are qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7 and interested in investing in a program exempt from having to provide a disclosure document and considered by the regulations to be sophisticated enough to understand the risks and be able to interpret the accuracy and completeness of any performance information on their own.

RCM receives a portion of the commodity brokerage commissions you pay in connection with your futures trading and/or a portion of the interest income (if any) earned on an account's assets. The listed manager may also pay RCM a portion of the fees they receive from accounts introduced to them by RCM.

See the full terms of use and risk disclaimer here.

Disclaimer
The performance data displayed herein is compiled from various sources, including BarclayHedge, RCM's own estimates of performance based on account managed by advisors on its books, and reports directly from the advisors. These performance figures should not be relied on independent of the individual advisor's disclosure document, which has important information regarding the method of calculation used, whether or not the performance includes proprietary results, and other important footnotes on the advisor's track record.

Benchmark index performance is for the constituents of that index only, and does not represent the entire universe of possible investments within that asset class. And further, that there can be limitations and biases to indices such as survivorship, self reporting, and instant history.

Managed futures accounts can subject to substantial charges for management and advisory fees. The numbers within this website include all such fees, but it may be necessary for those accounts that are subject to these charges to make substantial trading profits in the future to avoid depletion or exhaustion of their assets.

Investors interested in investing with a managed futures program (excepting those programs which are offered exclusively to qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7) will be required to receive and sign off on a disclosure document in compliance with certain CFT rules The disclosure documents contains a complete description of the principal risk factors and each fee to be charged to your account by the CTA, as well as the composite performance of accounts under the CTA's management over at least the most recent five years. Investor interested in investing in any of the programs on this website are urged to carefully read these disclosure documents, including, but not limited to the performance information, before investing in any such programs.

Those investors who are qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7 and interested in investing in a program exempt from having to provide a disclosure document and considered by the regulations to be sophisticated enough to understand the risks and be able to interpret the accuracy and completeness of any performance information on their own.

RCM receives a portion of the commodity brokerage commissions you pay in connection with your futures trading and/or a portion of the interest income (if any) earned on an account's assets. The listed manager may also pay RCM a portion of the fees they receive from accounts introduced to them by RCM.

See the full terms of use and risk disclaimer here.