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Recent Research: Highlights from May 2011

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The Clash of the Cultures.” The Journal of Portfolio Management (Spring 2011). John C. Bogle.

During the recent era, the culture of short-term speculation has come to overwhelm the culture of long-term investment. The volume of transaction activity in the secondary financial markets has dwarfed the activity in the primary market where capital formation—once considered to be the principal economic mission of Wall Street—takes place. This change has been driven by many forces, including the institutionalization of stock ownership; the self-interested behavior of the financial agents who now hold 70% of all shares of U.S. stocks; the virtual disappearance of frictional trading costs (largely commissions and taxes); and the focus on the momentary illusion of stock prices rather than the eternal reality of intrinsic corporate values. The shift in the balance of mutual fund culture—from stewardship toward salesmanship—illustrates these trends and their negative impact on investors and on participation in corporate governance. Drawing on the timeless wisdom of Benjamin Graham, John Maynard Keynes, and Henry Kaufman, Bogle provides a range of recommendations that could likely foster the return to a financial system where the culture of speculation plays only a supporting role, with the starring role again played by the culture of investment.

Perspectives from the Literature of Private Wealth Management.” The Journal of Wealth Management (Summer 2011). William W. Jennings, Stephen M. Horan, William Reichenstein, Jean L. P. Brunel.

Private wealth management is the investment management specialization focused on high-net-worth individuals and families. Portfolio design and investment solutions in private wealth management are customized to reflect the complexities of the investor’s unique circumstances. This literature review reflects the current best thinking on private wealth management.

A Challenge for the Future: Issuing ABCP in the New Regulatory Environment.” The Journal of Structured Finance (Spring 2011). James J. Croke, Peter C. Manbeck, Timothy P. Mohan, and Sharad A. Samy.

Asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) programs fully supported by bank sponsors have been used to finance a myriad of asset classes. In recent years, offerings of many different types of partially supported structured short-term notes also have come to be considered ABCP. The rapidly changing regulatory landscape for asset-backed securities, including ABCP, poses a threat to even the most traditional multiseller ABCP conduits. This article explains the most significant issues facing the traditional ABCP market, including accounting consolidation, enhanced capital requirements, removal of rating requirements from regulations, proposed liquidity coverage requirements, FDIC assessments, changes in money market fund regulation, proposed changes in disclosure requirements (Regulation AB II and repurchase activity), disclosure of due diligence reports, the Volcker Rule, changes to the Federal Reserve Act, risk retention rules, conflicts of interest, investment adviser registration, and other regulatory changes.

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