Debate

12/02/2013

Will the Fed Need a Bailout? Nonsense!

“As stimulus tab rises for Fed, worries grow it may require a bailout” is the title of an article published in Los Angeles Times and blogged in CFA Institute's "Future of Finance."

I'll say it bluntly: This is nonsense. The logic goes that as interest rates rise, the value of the bonds on the Fed's balance sheet lose value and the central bank will be bankrupt—requiring the taxpayers to bail it out. This is wrong on many different levels.

Continue reading "Will the Fed Need a Bailout? Nonsense!" »

08/08/2012

Podcast: How Your Memories Cost You Money

Speaker Series: How Memories Cost You Money

If history repeats itself, why not change our actions? Surely this would prevent us from making the same mistakes over and over again—right?

Ken Fisher, author of Markets Never Forget (But People Do) and the "Portfolio Strategy" column in Forbes, says that our bad memories are to blame. Citing events and patterns from the not-so-distant past, Fisher believes the answer to America's latest financial woes can be found if we just look at our history.

What we forget:

  • Our memories fail to recognize the repetitive patterns of events we live through.
  • The 1990 recession, which strongly compares to the 2008 financial crisis, is rarely analyzed in public commentary.
  • In Republican presidential election years, returns are great; but in inaugural years, they are negative. Returns are negative in Democratic election years, but great in inaugural years.
  • Republicans and Democrats never look at their own weaknesses in terms of cycle history.

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06/20/2012

Educating the Educated: More Requirements for the CFA Charter?

If you are a CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst) charterholder, congratulations on your hard work. To become a charterholder, you have earned a university degree, worked as a professional for at least four years, and spent at least three years taking each of the three required levels of the CFA exam—which only a minority of test-takers usually can pass each year (in 2011, 43% of June [all levels] and 38% of December [level I] candidates passed).

However, while just earning your CFA charter is a major undertaking, it’s what happens after the exam that you should consider. At a previous NYSSA panel, an attendee asked whether CFA Institute should require charterholders to pursue continuing education (CE). This discussion reflects a perennial debate among CFA Institute members regarding the importance of CE standards for ensuring high professional conduct.

Continue reading "Educating the Educated: More Requirements for the CFA Charter?" »

06/06/2012

Flawed, Ignorant, and Dangerous: A Bain Capital Partner’s Worldview

“At base, having a small elite with vast wealth is good for the poor and the middle class.”

This is how Adam Davidson’s piece in the New York Times Magazine summarized the frustrated former Bain Capital partner Edward Conard’s worldview, as expressed in his forthcoming book, Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong.

The article reveals the logic of what we might call the “extreme compete” elite investment class, as expressed by one of its highly “successful” participants—Conard ran the New York office for Bain Capital.

Continue reading "Flawed, Ignorant, and Dangerous: A Bain Capital Partner’s Worldview" »

02/06/2012

What's Wrong with the Debt Debate

This former banker, and now sustainability investor and humble blogger, will not offer grand predictions for 2012. Forecasting in a world of rising uncertainty suggests a lack of understanding about uncertainty. Instead, inspired by my holiday reading, Debt: The First 5,000 Years, by anthropologist David Graeber, I will take up the debate about the debt, and offer an uncomfortable third view: jubilee (in some form) is inevitable.

Continue reading "What's Wrong with the Debt Debate" »

09/13/2011

Debate: Does Having your CFA Demonstrate Academic Ability?

Debate

The answer for many of you, especially CFA charterholders, will unequivocally be yes. Yes, it’s a grueling process; those who don’t have academic skill couldn’t do it. Yes, many don’t pass the first time around; (remember, the 10-year average pass rates for Level I, II, and III are 39%, 44%, and 59%) those without persistence, skill, and some degree of intelligence wouldn’t make it. Yes, many professors of finance and related fields have CFAs, so CFAs are clearly represented in the academic field. But, does that really mean that having your CFA is a demonstration of your academic ability?

Continue reading "Debate: Does Having your CFA Demonstrate Academic Ability?" »

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