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05 Nov 2011

“Margin Call” and the Unreality of Wall Street

The 2008 financial crisis has assumed its role in economic and social history, and continues to get ongoing momentum from the severe recession it created, as well as the ongoing social protests.  Yet while there has been extensive analysis of the misdirected and Frankenstein financial engineering which precipitated the recession,

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03 Nov 2011

Alternative Investments Getting Popular…Again

First it was individual stock selection, than manager expertise, then investment styles (e.g., large-cap, small cap value), then asset allocation.  Now, a new study shows that the industry fashion is alternatives, which is a general term for both alternative strategies (long-short, leveraged, or absolute return) and the foray into different

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02 Nov 2011

Wall Street Adrift and the Scourge of Financial Engineering

Corporations vs. Their Own Employees “Wall Street sort of lost its way, in that investment banking has become a function not of allocating capital properly, but levering capital and levering the returns on capital as opposed to transferring capital to productive industries.”                                                                             –Bill Gross, CEO, PIMCO, as reported by

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01 Nov 2011

Are Florida Insurance Policy Holders Entitled to Rebates?

From the perspective of individual investors, revenue sharing is the Trojan Horse of the mutual fund industry. That means most investors have no idea that when they buy an actively-managed load fund, with its implied promise of above-average returns, they are also buying a package driven by 12b-1 fees and

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01 Nov 2011

Why Mutual Fund Companies Want You To Be Confused

Most of the discussions about the need for greater transparency in financial transactions has centered on the need to adopt greater fiduciary responsibilities. But there is also another reason: economic. Mutual funds benefit financially from the lack of transparency.  When fund companies make it difficult for investors to choose between

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01 Nov 2011

Keeping Your Broker Honest

The SEC has recommended that investment professionals providing personalized advice to retail customers follow a fiduciary standard of care, according to a SEC staff report sent to Congress on January 21. The long-awaited staff report recommends that the SEC commissioners write regulations to create a fiduciary standard for broker-dealers, which

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The Progressive Investor