Some extended thoughts:
1) Preface - I have generally been a fan of Mr. Ferri and his postings on this site (Bogleheads). I have browsed the new site briefly, but not really in-depth.
2) The site design, visually, doesn't seem very crisp or modern. Feels a bit low budget.
3) Mr. Ferri clearly has at least some ambitions of turning this into a significant commercial enterprise. It may get there, it may not. But "BECOME AN AFFILIATED ADVISER" and discussion of ""THE CORE-4 ADVISER ALLIANCE" suggests Ferri's potential ambitions are well beyond a few web ads defraying a few hundred bucks in hosting costs.
4) Mr. Ferri aims to educate and encourage investors to use the (supposedly) simple approach he advocates. But he drapes the name in trademark registrations. He wants to own this concept. It's a marketing pitch. AFAIK, Taylor does not assert that others using his recommended 3 fund portfolio (EDIT - even, perhaps, for commercial purposes) are violating his trademark or must be part of an alliance with him.
5) Fundamentally, it's a weird implementation, seemingly at cross purposes with itself. Called Core-4 (TM, of course), it would suggest simplicity and something close to the 3 and 4 and sometimes 2 fund portfolios that have been commonly discussed on BH for years. And yet, there are 6 flavors, using about 15 basic ingredients. Ferri is the advisor - what does HE think is best? Why not pick what HE thinks is best, and have 1 flavor, plus perhaps a variant for those with ESG concerns?
6) Doesn't seem to be very tax-aware. One of the strongest reasons why investors might logically choose to vary their portfolio from a simple standard vanilla flavor (whatever combination of ingredients goes into vanilla) is to address their specific tax concerns. But Core-4 (TM) often uses global equity funds (presumably to free up one slot in the 4 slot system, consolidating domestic and international equity), even though, if I understand correctly, global equity funds are less favorable than a 2 fund (separate domestic and international equity) for investors who can use the foreign tax credit. Similarly, no apparent inclusion of munis (as someone upthread mentions). EDIT - Also, should probably discuss some of the basics of tax-deferred accounts and investing when one has some taxable and some tax-deferred space. Perhaps this was deeper in the site/text than I ventured, and maybe it's not quite in-line with the overall push of the site, but still important, even for relatively less sophisticated/experienced investors.
7) Fundamentally, which things does Ferri consider good?
Domestic and International equity - yeah, clearly.
Bonds - yes (but not munis, apparently)
REITs - yes, he likes these, but drops them from some flavors, again, presumably because of pressure on the 4 available slots
TIPS - sometimes
Small value (equity) - sometimes
Etc - lots of ingredients in his recipes, but his guiding paradigm limits him to only 4 ingredients in any single recipe
I think Ferri has the wrong approach, or at least a muddled one. Simplicity can be good, especially for addressing some of the behavioral aspects of investing. But to take a basic idea of simplicity, then muddle it like this defeats the purpose.
Last edited by psteinx
on Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.