Window Dressing

By |2019-06-21T11:13:19-05:00June 21st, 2019|Global Market Update|

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_text columns="" column_min_width="" column_spacing="" rule_style="default" rule_size="" rule_color="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id=""] It’s almost quarter-end. Do you know where your sales are? Photo: Birgit Böllinger . Source: [...]

Comments Off on Window Dressing

The Right Investments

By |2018-08-14T07:14:08-05:00August 14th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Should investors have a “Bill of Rights”? US Bill of Rights. Source: Wikimedia We ought to. After all, it’s our money. But the financial industry is filled with fast-talking rascals who take advantage of our good-hearted tendency to trust other people. Ponzi schemes and outright fraud are just the tip of the iceberg. There are all sorts of ways for advisors to abuse their position that aren’t illegal. So we should think about what we have a right to expect. First, investors have a [...]

Comments Off on The Right Investments

Competitive Drive, Competitive Pressures

By |2018-05-29T07:48:03-05:00May 29th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Is competition always good? Photo: David Iliff. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0. Source: Wikimedia Competition has been touted as “good for what ails us.” Competitive markets spur innovation, lower prices, and better customer service. Upset with your cell phone provider? Encourage competition: another provider that wants to win your business by providing better cell coverage, better customer service, or charging lower prices. The economist Milton Friedman attributed many of our social problems to a lack of competition in the public sphere: in schools, roads, on the [...]

Comments Off on Competitive Drive, Competitive Pressures

Avoiding the Sting

By |2018-02-16T06:43:17-05:00February 16th, 2018|Global Market Update|

How do we avoid getting stung by an investment scam? Photo: Csaba Szily. Source: Wikimedia Investment scams are everywhere. From Ponzi schemes to obscure bank instruments to fraudulent crypto-operations, today’s financial landscape seems designed to encourage crooks and criminals to try to bilk us out of our savings. What are some of the signs that someone is trying to swindle you? First, check the pitch. To what are they appealing? Is it fear? Greed? Envy? Scam artists usually play to our lowest impulses. Get-rich-quick [...]

Comments Off on Avoiding the Sting

Getting Swapped Out

By |2018-02-14T07:00:03-05:00February 14th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is “swapping”? Photo: Ryan McGuire. Source: Gratisography When I was growing up, swapping was a term of art that the big kids used when they cheated the little kids out of their stuff. I remember going to birthday parties where we swapped pieces of cake. Somehow, my big brother always ended up with the biggest slice. In banking, swaps are a way for the big broker-dealer banks to “help” smaller institutions manage their interest rate risk, currency risk, credit risk, and almost everything [...]

Comments Off on Getting Swapped Out

The Zip-Line Network

By |2017-09-19T07:29:09-05:00September 19th, 2017|Global Market Update|

What good is Facebook? Photo: Anthony7051. Source: Wikipedia Facebook is over 10 years old and claims more than 2 billion active users, posting pictures and updates about their activities and interests. It was originally based on a student directory, known as a facebook, because it combined personal photos with basic information for new students at college. Now people use it to connect with friends and family over time and distance. We love sharing our Facebook updates! But sharing got a New Jersey man in [...]

Comments Off on The Zip-Line Network

The Fickle Finger of Fraud

By |2017-07-17T12:21:27-05:00March 28th, 2017|Global Market Update|

How do you smell a rat? Charles Ponzi, author of the first Ponzi scheme. Source: Boston Public Library Detecting financial fraud can be challenging. We know there are lots of people who want our money. It takes decades, sometimes a lifetime, to build a nest egg. It’s important to safeguard it. But in the real world people lie, cheat, and steal. Financial products are especially prone to distortion and deception, with complex legal provisions and mind-bending mathematical formulas. How can we protect ourselves? First, [...]

Comments Off on The Fickle Finger of Fraud

Lies and the Lying Liars with Fake Financials

By |2017-07-17T12:21:28-05:00March 9th, 2017|Global Market Update|

Can we find financial fraud in advance? Enron Logo. Source: Wikipedia Not always. But published financials can give us clues when managers might be cooking their books. Published financial statements are supposed to reflect reality: they’re supposed to give let us know how the business is doing in its day-to-day operations. But we live in a world where investors – and computer trading systems – often fixate on just one number: earnings per share (EPS). That number is supposed to the single best indicator [...]

Comments Off on Lies and the Lying Liars with Fake Financials

What’s Cooking?

By |2017-07-17T12:22:06-05:00March 16th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Are corporate accountants imitating each other? Photo: PP. Source: Pixabay A group of accounting professors from the US and Singapore looked at accounting errors that came to light over the course of 12 years. In all, they examined over 2300 restatements, and found a curious pattern. When a prominent firm in an industry admits it has mismanaged its books, many of its competitors will start to overstate their own earnings in the same way—usually for about two years, until they get caught. These episodes [...]

Comments Off on What’s Cooking?

Hacking, Crime, and Fraud

By |2017-07-17T12:22:21-05:00November 12th, 2015|Global Market Update|

What does the latest hacking prosecution say about online security? Photo: Victor Hanacek. Source: Picjumbo The US Attorney for New York just disclosed the biggest hacking prosecution ever. In a news conference, Breet Bharara described it as securities fraud on cyber-steroids. A gang of criminal hackers from the US, Russia, and Israel broke into Scottrade, Dow Jones, and JP Morgan. They obtained the personal data and email addresses of over 100 million people. But rather than steal money directly, they used this information to [...]

Comments Off on Hacking, Crime, and Fraud