Hottest links for Tuesday October 2nd, 2013 the semi late edition (see prior edition of hottest links here). Sign up for our free daily newsletter and never miss a single edition here.

Top stories for today include; The pension debate continues in the US but in Ireland it will soon be over (for the most part); Is there anyway to pick the right fund manager? Probably not, but here is some good advice on that topic; A good post on how to be financially independent in 10 years (hint involves value investing); The latest edition of the mutual fund observer is out; Osama Bin Laden customs have been yanked from Wal-Mart; Bill Miller says that buying Apple stock is a no brainer, but what happened last time that Bill Miller used those same words? Distressed debt investing in Puerto Rico, a new post from the always superb ‘Huntr’; J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) is sorta an Ackman victory, here is why; That and much more below.

Hottest Links

Hottest Links: Stories

Almost 25% of Irish DB Funds Will Be Gone

Defined benefit (DB) pension funds are becoming a rare breed in Ireland, with around a quarter expected to have closed in the next year. The Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) has estimated that 10% have already closed entirely, with a further 14% planning to shut in the next 12 months. [Charlie Thomas, aiCIO]

How to Pick the Right Fund Managers

Analysis carried out by the consultancy of outperforming and underperforming fund managers across the world showed the idea of mean reversion to be factually correct, meaning what performs well today won’t necessarily perform well tomorrow. [Charlie Thomas, aiCIO]

Financially Independent In 10 Years: A Plan

The plan is to be financially independent in a decade. I can see now that it can be done. And I can see how it will be done. The thought of it is making me tingle. This will be the biggest and most rewarding challenge of my life. [The Accumulator, Monevator]

Allocating Fund Assets Is Still a Tricky Balancing Act

Seeking to harvest the benefits of diversification and provide an attractive long-term return, balanced funds are likely to remain a popular choice for many individuals and institutions looking for a long-term home for their savings. In Ireland, the so-called managed fund offered by a range of domestic and international investment managers has traditionally fulfilled this role. [John Looby, The Irish Times]

Activist Investors Go Big

Big companies sitting on piles of cash or shelling it out to their executives better beware: activist investors are targeting you. Earlier this year, Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) said billionaire Carl Icahn‘s failed effort to shake up its board and acquire control of the specialty-vehicle maker cost the company more than $16.3 million, or 11 cents a share. Time, too, is money. Activists “can just suck the living daylights out of management,” said Michael Smiley, chief financial officer of Zebra Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ:ZBRA) and a director of Twin Disc, Incorporated (NASDAQ:TWIN), a power-transmission equipment maker. [Maxwell Murphy and Emily Chasan, The Wall Street Journal]

Covered Call Funds?

The practice of selling call options on your stock holdings to harvest a little extra money is about as seasoned a strategy as you get in the options market. There are now a bunch of mutual funds and ETFs that do the labor of trading options, so you don’t have to. Gateway Fund Class A Shares (MUTF:GATEX) is a well known example; the ETFs include PowerShares S&P 500 BuyWrite Portfolio ETF (NYSEARCA:PBP). [Brendan Conway, Barron’s]

361 Capital Weekly Research Briefing

S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) has delivered a 2013 total return of 21% with realized volatility of 9.8%. The resulting Sharpe Ratio ranks in the 98th percentile since 1962. U.S. stocks have beat 10-year Treasuries by 27 percentage points YTD (21% vs. -6%) with only modestly higher realized volatility (9.8% vs. 6.1%). The S&P 500 Information Ratio is tracking at its highest level since 1996. The S&P 500 information ratio considers both relative returns and the standard deviation of excess returns. [Blaine Rollins, The Reformed Broker]

Cambria Files For Active & Self-Indexed ETFs

Cambria ETF Trust filed regulatory paperwork to bring four more ETFs to market, adding to the So. Calif.-based issuer’s first solo effort launched earlier this year, the Cambria Shareholder Yield ETF (NYSEARCA:SYLD). [Hannah Tool, IndexUniverse]

October, The Time Of Pumpkins

It’s the month of golden leaves, apple cider, backyard fires and weekend football. Russel holds out the LKCM funds as examples of off-the-radar families, which would be more credible if LKCM Small Capital Equity Fund Class Institutional (MUTF:LKSCX) didn’t already have $1.1 billion in assets. The MFO recommendation: if you like Eric and Steve’s work, invest in FPA Perennial Fund (MUTF:FPPFX) which is a fund they actually run, using the strategy that Mr. Kinnel celebrates. [David Snowball, Mutual Fund Observer]

This ETF Family is Ready

If the dollar enjoys a strong decade and the euro or yen slump, you can bet investors will notice. Like they’ve done this year as they’ve plowed billions into WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEARCA:DXJ), a currency-hedged beneficiary of both the sagging yen and surging Japanese stocks. DBX ETF Trust (NYSEARCA:DBJP) and DBX ETF Trust (NYSEARCA:DBEF) are already over the $100 million mark in assets under management many advisers view as a minimum before they buy in. [Brendan Conway, Focus on Funds]

Steve Cohen’s Connecticut Mansion

We’ve heard a rumor based on a source who claims to have seen it that billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen, who runs SAC Capital Advisors, keeps a live and very large pig with a tattoo in his 35,000 square-foot Connecticut mansion. [Julia La Roche, Business Insider]

CFOs Think Their Shares Are Overvalued

The Duke CFO survey is conducted quarterly. This latest survey is based on a poll of 530 CFOs in the days leading up to Sept. 6. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) -0.46%  on that day, it is interesting to note, closed just below the 15,000 level — about 200 points below where it trades today. So, even taking into account the market’s pullback over the last week, the decline that many of the CFOs were then anticipating has yet to materialize. [Mark Hulbert, MarketWatch]

Til Death Do Us Part

Before you sell a fund remind yourself why you bought it in the first place. [Humble Student]

The 10 Best Quotes From Financial Insiders

Two years ago this banking blog offered financial insiders “openness in return for anonymity”. The response was overwhelming, and now that the blog comes to an end, I want to express immense gratitude for all those hundreds of banking staff and financial workers, as well as to the insiders who enriched the comment threads. So this is adieu for now, as I go off to write a book. Let me leave you with the banking blog in 10 quotes. [Joris Luyendijk, The Guardian]

15 Biases That Make You A Dumb Investor

I am off to Toronto, where I am presenting at the annual CFA forecasting dinner. (I am the counter-programming, which means I get to explain why you humans are so bad at forecasting. From Morgan Housel, here are several cognitive biases that cause you to do dumb things with your money. Be sure to check out