19 Feb 2019

Bad News: Some Advisors Only Want You If You Have a $100,000 Portfolio

        Saving for retirement is hard enough, but now the big guys in the financial services industry continue to add more barriers to make it harder for average Americans to implement a successful retirement strategy. The latest examples come in the form of more lawsuits, regulatory challenges

28 Feb 2016

Re-examining Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is the Republican mantra today, but it has a long history of failure, especially in the financial services industry. As events have shown, price manipulations and outright fraud have been part of the daily business practices at some of the world’s largest banks and investment firms. This helps explain

28 Dec 2015

“The Big Short” Gives the GOP Another Reason to Hate Hollywood

One of this holiday season’s biggest and most timely movie hits is “The Big Short,” an unusual film about one of the most esoteric financial topics ever to be presented to a mass audience on the big screen. There are no car chases, shots of cleavage or explosions in the

27 Aug 2015

When Politicians Become Made Men

When politicians are in office, they see the huge money luring them to vote in a certain direction. When they leave office, they are free to more openly pursue that huge money. All they need to do is shed the veneer of respectability. When they openly take the money and

12 Jun 2015

What’s the Connection Between TBTF Bank Arrogance and the TPP?

At first glance, the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was drafted by corporate lawyers and lobbyists, and the arrogance of the too-big-to-fail (TBTF) banks may seem like unrelated events. But what if this arrogance hinted at a building confidence that average people worldwide would now be more accountable to corporations

09 Jun 2015

Financial Journalism’s Objectivity Problem

Objectivity in the media has always been a very debatable and contested issue even among the most experienced professional journalists and academics, but so far those discussions have centered on everyday beat and political reporting, and not financial journalism. That’s a mistake because financial journalism today, especially as it is

29 Aug 2014

The False Premise of Retirement Planning

The financial media is replete with articles about why more Americans are failing to accumulate enough wealth for retirement.  There are many seemingly viable answers, but the problem is that they all come from the monolithic perspective of the financial services industry: investment firms, banks, financial planners, investment counselors and

23 May 2014

Barclays Finally Cited for Being Rogue

Today marked a black day for Barclays Plc. as it was cited twice by British financial regulators for manipulating the price of gold on June 28, 2012 and a day after the bank was fined a record £290 million for manipulating the London inter-bank offered rate (LIBOR). Barclays, which dates back to

06 May 2014

Should You Pay for Fund Underperformance?

 “While 85% of the equity managers studied underperformed the market in nearly all relevant time periods, the amount of fees extracted globally for this and other financial-intermediation services is in the range of $1.5 trillion annually.” –Suzanne Duncan, global head of research for State Street’s Center for Applied Research

03 Apr 2014

Lewis Argument is Half Right: Financial Markets Are Rigged, But More From the Top-Down Than the Bottom-Up

The recent heated discussion about whether the equity markets are rigged should be a major concern to all investors, especially those in retirement, since it fundamentally affects their quality of life and collective financial futures. Any society which has its fundamental retirement system under constant attack by conservatives concerned about