Posts belonging to Category Smart Investing Tools



Promissory Note Award Hits Broker-Dealer Hard

 

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Arbitration Panel has ordered MML Investors Services LLC to pay $1,137,923 to a California investor in connection with the sale of an unregistered security (a promissory note) issued by Diversity Lending Group, Inc. (“DLG”).  The award includes compensatory damages plus reimbursement for expert witness fees, deposition costs, and the [...]

Alternative Investments – Are They All They Are Cracked Up To Be?

 

Rising interest rates may be death to traditional bonds and bond funds, but a number of alternative investment strategies allegedly designed to protect principal in a rising interest rate environment are springing up to take their place.  It remains to be seen whether they will provide ballast when bond prices fall. For decades, bond investors [...]

CDOs Haunt UBS

 

Swiss banking giant UBS AG is reported to be engaged in settlement discussions with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regarding its structuring and underwriting of an allegedly fraudulent mortgage bond deal.  The SEC has alleged that UBS defrauded clients that invested over $748 million in notes linked to a CDO known as ACA ABS [...]

Hedge Fund Scams Harm Investors

 

Anastasios “Tommy” Belesis, owner of John Thomas Financial, a brokerage firm, and George R. Jarkesy Jr., a hedge fund manager, worked together to defraud investors in the John Thomas Bridge and Opportunity Fund LP I and John Thomas Bridge and Opportunity Fund LP II, according to a recently filed SEC complaint.  The funds reportedly invested [...]

Investment Policy Statements Are Important

 

A decided majority (61%) of financial advisers do not provide their clients with a written investment policy statements.  Such policy statements should, at a minimum, be based upon a number of suitability factors developed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Those factors include, but are not limited to, the client’s age, other investments, financial [...]

Be Careful When Considering Municipal Bonds

 

A recent Wall Street Journal column advises money managers not to put more client money in municipal bonds. The column sets forth a number of risks and problems that it urged money managers to consider before placing clients’ money in these investments. First, municipal bonds’ tax-exempt status may be in political jeopardy (“Morning Call: Advisers [...]

The Games That Mutual Funds Play

 

OppenheimerFunds  Inc. has agreed to pay more than $35,000,000 to settle SEC charges that it  made misleading statements about two of its mutual funds during the credit crisis.  The payments include a penalty of $24,000,000, disgorgement of $9,879,706, and prejudgment interest of $1,487,190. According to the SEC, Oppenheimer used total return swaps (a type of [...]

Financial Advisers Face Growing Risks from Aging Population

 

As the population ages and investors’ financial acumen decline, financial advisers will be forced to assume additional duties and responsibilities in order to avoid liability exposure. For example, Alzheimer’s disease will raise legal and ethical challenges for investment advisers over the next 40 years as the incidence of that dread disease is expected to nearly [...]

Bond Warning Issued by FINRA

 

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has finally joined the crowd in warning investors about the risks of bonds and bond funds in the current environment. If FINRA is worried about bonds, the end may be near. FINRA may be late in warning investors about bond and bond fund risks say financial advisers, but investors [...]

Hedge Fund Investments – Look Before You Leap

 

InvestmentNews recently published a lengthy excerpt from Simon Lack’s book entitled “The Hedge Fund Mirage: The illusion of Big Money and Why It’s Too Good to be True” (“Hedge funds benefit insiders only”).  Mr. Lack studied the matter and concluded that the appeal of hedge funds has no sensible basis.  While there are occasional shooting [...]

ETFs Encourage Speculation – Bogle

 

The biggest problem with exchange traded funds is the fact that they can be traded, according to Vanguard Funds Founder and index fund proponent John Bogle.  The ability to trade ETFs plays into one of the top ten mistakes made by investors. That mistake – trying to time the market.  Market timing is speculation, not [...]

Is a Stock Market Correction Imminent?

 

Individual investors who sold and fled the stock market are starting to buy stocks again as stock prices have risen significantly off their lows in March 2009.  According to contrarian philosophy, the return of panic sellers to the market is a sign of a market top and an imminent correction. If so, retail investors will [...]

Bubbles are Plentiful in the Investment Markets

 

Experts are seeing signs of bubbles in stocks, bonds and farmland.  This froth is basically the result of the Federal Reserve’s policy of credit easing – implemented primarily by its purchase of Treasuries and mortgage securities, which lowers interest rates and drives investors into riskier assets. The Fed’s primary reason for doing this is to [...]

Hedge Funds Under Regulatory Scrutiny

 

The SEC has hired hedge fund industry professionals to assist in its investigation of problems and abuses in the hedge fund industry. Three SEC enforcement units are involved in the investigations: the Asset Management unit headed by Bruce Karpati, the Market Abuse unit, and the Structured and New Products unit. The SEC has brought over [...]

Approach Actively Traded ETFs with Caution

 

A recent change in policy by the SEC could have a significant impact on the risk profile of some ETFs. In response to pressure from the industry, the SEC has lifted its moratorium on the use of derivatives by certain exchange traded funds. This move is expected to result in an increase in the number [...]