7 Apr 2016

Welcome, Broker-Dealers. Seriously.

In 1981, IBM unveiled their first personal computer and in response, Apple, who had created their first personal computer in 1977 and mass produced a second version the next year, published an ad in the Wall Street Journal welcoming Big Blue to the personal computer business with the headline, ‘Welcome, IBM.  Seriously.’ IBM had previously scoffed at computers for the masses and was the undisputed king of corporate computing at… Read More

2 Jul 2015

Doing Well by Doing Good

The end of the second quarter is always a relief for me because for the past six years, it has meant that we are finally through getting our CEFEX certification. As you probably already know, we serve our clients in a fiduciary capacity, which means that we are required to act in the best interest of our clients.  You may think that everyone in the financial services industry has to… Read More

10 Jun 2015

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Last week, I wrote that the recent changes in bond yields were nothing more than volatility.  That’s true, but the increase in volatility has been unusually high in Europe. To help visualize the volatility, I charted the rolling five day volatility of the 10-year note in the US and the Eurozone (which is 100 percent correlated to the German 10-year bond). The blue, and most dramatic line, reflects the yield… Read More

12 Jan 2015

Finally, A Regulation You Can Opt-Out Of

In the December 2012 issue of ALM Insights, I wrote an article titled Basel III’s AFS Provision. At the time of the article, the provision detailing the effects of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (AOCI) on regulatory capital had been delayed due to a “wide range of views”, and the final outcome was still very much up in the air. Few in the banking industry thought that forcing banks of all… Read More

28 Jul 2014

Money Market Reform

Cash may seem like the least interesting asset class at this point with interest rates hovering near or at zero for the past several years, but there was a major shift in policy last Thursday. For the most part, investors forget that most cash is actually parked in money market mutual funds.  The money market funds invest in short-term government bills from around the world and debt issued by corporations… Read More

14 Jul 2014

Penny Stock Scams

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about a company with no assets, no revenue and only one employee that has a market value of more than $6 billion! I immediately had three thoughts. First, I was reminded of a story that I read in 2000 (I found it online here) during the technology bubble.  One of my favorite authors, Michael Lewis, wrote a column about NetJ.com that… Read More