04/23/2015

Museum Launches Book and Website Tracing the “Family Trees” of the 50 Largest US Banks

GoAF jacket_final_line_webThe Museum of American Finance and Columbia Business School Publishing today announced their collaboration on a new book featuring the genealogical “family trees” of the nation’s 50 largest banks alongside beautifully illustrated narrative histories of each bank. The book will officially be released on March 10, 2015.

Authored by renowned financial historians Dr. Robert E. Wright and Dr. Richard Sylla, Genealogy of American Finance explores how 50 financial companies came to dominate the US banking system and their impact on the nation’s political, social and economic growth. A story that spans more than two centuries of war, crisis and opportunity, it reminds readers that American banking was never a fixed enterprise but has evolved in tandem with the country.

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uCONN

04/22/2015

The Seven Challenges That Hold Back Great Stock Picking

By James Valentine, CFA

Imagine picking up your car after it’s been supposedly repaired and discovering it’s still not fixed. Then, after a second trip to the shop the problem is still not resolved. What if this issue was an industry-wide phenomena? How would you feel about auto mechanics?

According to the most recent SPIVA report, 60% of large-cap managers and 73% of small-cap managers in the U.S. under-performed their respective benchmarks for the prior 12 months. Furthermore, over 70% of domestic equity managers, across all capitalizations, failed to beat their benchmarks over a five-year period. 

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Four Ways to Follow up without Being a Nag!

No matter who you are and what you do, your success relies on your ability to effectively follow up with people. Do you dread having to follow up and make up excuses to avoid doing it? It’s time to stop!

If you are a salesperson in the midst of a deal – you have to follow up in order to close the deal. 

If you are looking for a new job you have to follow up to stay relevant and top of mind to the potential employers.

If your work requires you to collaborate with others in or outside your team – follow up is just part of the game.

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QC

Should We Outlaw Advertising?

Megan McArdle, a libertarian-oriented commentator on economics, recently recalled her reaction to a proposed class-action suit of the early-2000s dealing with fast-food companies’ impact on public health.[1] McArdle challenged an author involved in the anti-obesity cause to point to any research demonstrating that the restaurant chains’ advertising induced children to increase their consumption of fast food. 

The question confused the author, who simply assumed that corporations would not spend millions of dollars on advertising unless it increased sales.  McDonald’s does not, however, advertise with an eye toward convincing kids to eat more fast food.   The goal is rather to persuade them to eat it at McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) instead of Burger King or some other chain.  In general, advertising is better at stimulating specific demand (brand selection) as opposed to primary demand (the decision to consume).

This point was emphasized in the mid-20th century by critics of advertising, which at that time was mired in political controversy, much as the financial industry is today.  It became an article of faith among many economists that because advertising did nothing to increase overall consumption, it represented a waste of resources. 

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04/01/2015

Book Review: Inside the Crystal Ball

Crystal-Bal

This book is an invaluable resource for anyone striving for a command of the inner workings of the economy. The author details his impressively rigorous forecasting process, which draws on all major schools of macroeconomic thought. He also dives deep into the data to explain some of his expectations.

Beware of economic forecasters who achieve better-than-average accuracy in predicting extreme outcomes. They are less accurate than the average forecaster in predicting run-of-the-mill outcomes. Furthermore, it may not be by chance that certain prognosticators issue extreme forecasts with greater frequency than their peers. Those whose firms bear their own names depart from the consensus more often than other forecasters. Making a splash by “calling” a major setback can expand a forecaster’s following (and revenue base), even if the feat is achieved by acting as a “broken clock”—that is, predicting an economic decline year in and year out until it inevitably comes to pass as a function of the business cycle.

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NYSSA-TV

How Finance Can Help Save Our Planet

The following post was adapted from a chapter I wrote for John G. Taft’s new book, A Force for Good,  published just this past week by Palgrave Macmillan.  John is the CEO of RBC Wealth Management, and I am proud to be in the illustrious company of individuals like Mary Schapiro, Robert Shiller, Sheila Bair, Roger Martin, and Dominic Barton, who were invited by John to contribute to this book.  I think you will find A Force for Good a fascinating read as it explores, from a variety of experienced perspectives, how the financial industry can marshall, for the long-term public good, the creative energies and brainpower it has deployed in the past to develop derivatives, high-frequency-trading technologies, and other engineering complexities.  

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03/31/2015

Do Not Do This in Banking Interviews

Efinancial-logo

Now that internal promotions are all the rage, investment banks are slower to invite people to interviews. Why hire externally when you can promote a junior with far less hassle? When you’re invited to a finance interview, it’s therefore become all the more important that you don’t mess up.

Below, we have a selection of real life interview disasters provided to us anonymously by finance recruiters who work inside and outside investment banks. Read and learn. On no account commit the same mistakes yourself.

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03/25/2015

Insider Trading Law After the Newman Decision: What Does It Mean to Financial Industry Professionals?

In December 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued what has been described as a landmark decision in United States v. Newman.  In its decision, the Court vacated the insider trading convictions and sentences of Anthony Chiasson and Todd Newman, two hedge fund professionals convicted of insider trading after trial in federal court in Manhattan.  The decision has been greeted by the white collar defense bar as an important repudiation of the Government’s heavy handed pursuit of insider trading. 

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03/23/2015

What’s Next for Cuba?

The following is an excerpt from CNBC: Iwalter2

Now that the decision has been made in Washington to reset Cuban-American relations, it’s a good time for an outside perspective on where things may go from here. Bottom line: Cuba may well become a rising star in the region and an attractive economic partner for the U.S. if things are managed well. In financial terms, Cuba will be a “buy” when the time comes. A recent visit revealed some impressive strengths buried not far below the surface.

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03/18/2015

Should Your Investment Commentary Be Different?

“Should your investment commentary present a distinctive point of view?” That’s the great question posed by a participant in one of my presentations on “How To Write Investment Commentary People Will Read.”

My answer? It depends.

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03/17/2015

Book Review: A Risk Professional’s Survival Guide

Risk-professional-sruvival

This highly readable and informative book can serve the needs of a variety of individuals. The end-of-chapter problems make the book suitable for a classroom setting for those who plan to become practicing risk managers. Readers interested in gaining a general overview of risk management will also find the book valuable.

World events and new financial products have shown the importance of risk management to the finance industry. The numerous mathematical models customarily invoked in addressing risk management can make it difficult for students of the subject to learn to put into practice the tools of the trade. In many traditional texts on risk management and finance, theory and application are taught separately. The theory is usually presented first, and then the concepts are reinforced by examining a case involving a real or fictional firm, either in the main body of a chapter or as an end-of-chapter homework assignment. In most instances, different firms are used throughout the book to illustrate the various concepts.

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03/16/2015

From Fired to Hired

Losing Your Job Can Be Less Painful—and More Productive

While it’s true that the 21st century job market is loaded with opportunities—think of 60 million Baby Boomers retiring—it’s also fraught with peril.  Globalization, technology, and competition are impelling companies to do more with less money and fewer people.  Those powerful forces can propel you into unemployment, no matter how smart, hard working, or effective you are. 

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China: Ecological Civilization Rising?

Returning to China for the first time in a quarter century this month was equally awe inspiring and terrifying. The observation deck of the truly gorgeous Shanghai World Financial Center is breathtaking, a fitting testament to China’s rise. But it was the unexpected sense that we might be experiencing history at DeTao Group’s summit in Shanghai, “Future New Economy: Sustainable Model Toward an Ecological Economy,” that left an indelible mark on me.

I had the honor to address the DeTao Group summit on the topic of regenerative investing in natural capital. Inspired by the vision and leadership of DeTao Chairman George Lee, it was an extraordinary experience. The warm hospitality and genuine appreciation and respect extended to all the visiting “experts” was quite exceptional. As George told me, “in Chinese culture, we honor our teachers.”

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03/15/2015

Wall Street Bonuses Are Climbing, but Not Everyone Is Smiling

Efinancial-logo

Here’s a crazy fact, one that likely won’t sit well with Elizabeth Warren and other Wall Street detractors. The average bonus for employees in New York City’s securities industry actually increased in 2014 despite the fact that profit was down 4.5% from a year earlier, mostly due to embarrassing litigation costs. Though the narrative is a bit more complicated than what appears on the surface.

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03/11/2015

Book Review: The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing

Bogleheads

This book, which introduces novice investors to Vanguard Group founder John Bogle’s approach to passive investing, is one investment guide that does not intimidate readers into thinking that investing is so complicated they need professional help. On the contrary, it encourages laypeople to oversee their own investments.

Bogleheads—investors who have adopted Vanguard Group founder John Bogle’s investing philosophy—have morphed from a loose association into a formal group organized around a website that attracts more than 50,000 visits daily. This second edition of The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing introduces investors to the Boglehead approach to passive investing. Authors Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, and Michael LeBoeuf are all well over 70 years of age, are financially set, and have no hidden agenda. They do not work for Vanguard or any other company, nor do they earn commissions from selling investment products. Furthermore, they would be content if readers borrowed the book from a friend or the library instead of purchasing it.

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CFA® EXAM PREP

CFA® Level II Weekly Review – Session A Mondays
Midtown

Monday, January 5, 2015 – Monday May 11, 2015
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level III Weekly Review – Session A Tuesdays
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015 – Tuesday April 28, 2015
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level III Weekly Review – Session B Thursdays
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Thursday, January 15, 2015 – Thursday May 7, 2015
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level II Weekly Review – Session B Wednesdays
Midtown

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 – Wednesday May 13, 2015
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level III 6-Week Sunday Condensed Review
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Sunday March 15, 2015 – Sunday May 3, 2015
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CFA® Level II 6-Week Saturday Condensed Review
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Saturday March 21, 2015 – Saturday May 2, 2015
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level II 4-Day Boot Camp
Midtown

Thursday May 14, 2015 – Sunday May 17, 2015
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level I 4-Day Boot Camp
Midtown

Thursday May 14, 2015 – Sunday May 17, 2015
Instructor: Carl Crego, PhD, CFA

CFA® Level I Problem Solving Workshop
Midtown

Monday May 18, 2015 – Wednesday May 20, 2015
Instructor: Carl Crego, PhD, CFA

CFA® Level III Essay Writing Workshop
Midtown

Saturday, May 23, 2015
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level II Item Sets Workshop
Midtown

Sunday, May 24, 2015
Instructor: O. Nathan Ronen, CFA

CFA® Level I Test Taking Strategy & Sample Class
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Thursday May 28, 2015 – Wednesday May 20, 2015
Instructor: Carl Crego, PhD, CFA


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