Market Insights

Trump Creates Task Force to Police Elder, Cyber Frauds

  • The Trump administration task force will build on the task force set up “in the wake of the financial crisis” under the Obama administration, “which is now a decade passed and [which] focused on specific financial crimes and frauds.” – Acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio

  • The task force “is a broader effort looking at other areas of consumer fraud and market integrity, such as elder fraud and the growing problem of cybercrime.” - Panuccio

  • Cyber threats “present some of the greatest risks confronting today’s financial markets,” with bad actors using “new technology to perpetrate old frauds, including securities offering frauds.” – SEC Chairman Jay Clayton

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SEC Fines Morgan Stanley $3.6M for Failing to Protect Client Funds

  • The SEC finds that they failed to have reasonably designed policies and procedures in place to prevent its advisory representatives from misusing or misappropriating funds from client accounts.

  • Approximately $7 million was misused or misappropriated out of 4 advisory clients’ accounts in approximately 110 unauthorized transactions occurring over a period of nearly a year.
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Wells Fargo Agrees to $5M SEC Settlement

  • The SEC found that Wells Fargo “generated large fees by improperly encouraging retail customers to actively trade the products.”

  • The SEC concluded that the bank’s representatives “did not reasonably investigate or understand the significant costs of the recommendations.”

  • “It is important that brokers do their homework before they recommend that their retail customers buy or sell complex structured products” – Daniel Michael, Chief of SEC Enforcement Division’s Complex Financial Instruments Unit


How the Social Security COLA Fails Seniors

  • According to The Senior Citizens League, Social Security benefits lost 34% of their buying power between 2000 and 2018

  • "When costs climb more rapidly than benefits, retirees must spend down retirement savings more quickly than expected and those without savings or other retirement income are either going into debt, or going without" – Johnson, Social Security policy analyst

  • “For every $100 worth of groceries a retiree household could afford in 2000 they can only buy $66 worth today.” - Johnson

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Now All Investors, Pre-Retirees and Retirees, Unfortunately, Will Be Taken to the Proverbial Woodshed by So-Called Advisors

  • 5th Circuit Issues Order to Kill DOL Fiduciary Rule

  • Is your wealth safe? CLICK HERE to learn more!

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Investment & Economic Strategy Update: June 20, 2018

June 20, 2018
  • Fed raised interest rates & is likely to do so 1 or 2 more times in 2018

  • Tariffs will eventually be worked out in America’s favor

  • European investments are experiencing slow growth stemming from economic policies and oversaturation

  • Emerging Markets are doing well with reasonable valuations

  • We plan to fine tune our portfolio in the near future to minimize risk from bond exposure

  • Expect normal volatility to continue, which can provide the opportunity to make a realistic return if invested properly

  • Economy appears strong with a healthy job market

  • We see a slight increase of recessionary risk, very slight, as always we continue to monitor

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Question: “Traded REITs . . . Good or Bad?”

June 20, 2018
  • Should not be owned at this time due to rising rates

  • Poor performance last year & are struggling in 2018

  • Could lose 10% – 30% of your investment if rates continue to rise

  • Don’t fall victim to yield chasing traps to stretch your returns

Merrill Hit With $15M SEC Penalty Over RMBS Infractions

  • Merrill Lynch agreed to pay SEC $15+ million to settle charges that employees misled customers into overpaying for securities

  • Merrill’s RMBS traders and salespeople “illegally profited from excessive, undisclosed commissions — called ‘markups’ — which in some cases were more than twice the amount the customers should have paid” – SEC

  • Merrill also failed to have compliance and surveillance procedures in place that were reasonably designed to prevent and detect the misconduct that increased the firm’s profits 

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Do You Have a Real Advisor or an Arsonist?

June 07, 2018

Learn the difference between a Fee-Only Fiduciary Money Manager and the other So-called Advisors

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Investment & Economic Strategy Update: June 6, 2018

June 07, 2018
  • Economy is improving & still experiencing normal volatility

  • Employment numbers were released - more jobs with not enough people to fill them

  • This distortion has resulted in us seeing some positive wage inflation, which we believe will grow the economy in 2018 and beyond

  • Our research on recession warning signs shows slightly elevated risk levels