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Good Risk Governance Pays

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Category Archives: Investment Management

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Trading Ahead Of Investment Policies and Procedures

Posted in Compliance, Fiduciary Liability, Governance, Investment Management, Non-Profits, Risk Management, Trading
In response to a recent request by a reporter, I examined some public documents relating to what appears to be unauthorized trading. As is the situation when only some information is available, it’s hard to tell whether said trades can be characterized as rogue, mistaken or deemed to fall within a broader, albeit ill-communicated, mandate. Should this matter proceed further, obviously… Continue Reading

Fake News, Plagiarism and Business Ethics

Posted in Disclosure and Transparency, Ethics, Investment Management, Non-Profits, Risk Management, Trading
If you are a consumer of factual information, your head is probably spinning from the fast-paced discussions about what constitutes real news versus fake news. Not being a journalist, I’ll leave questions about a reporter’s obligations to the media industry’s standard-setters. That said, I can and do vote with my dollars. If I sense that an article or broadcast reflects shoddy… Continue Reading

Investment Management Delegation Challenges

Posted in Compliance, Fiduciary Liability, Investment Consultants, Investment Management, Risk Management
Chief Investment Officer describes the surge in delegated management activity as “staggering,” noting a nearly nine hundred percent rise in discretionary assets in recent times. Of the 188 asset owners that were questioned as part of a 2016 survey, many cited “better performance as being either ‘critical’ or ‘important’ to their decision to outsource…” Other findings suggest a willingness to authorize third… Continue Reading

Fiduciary Rule Panel to Discuss Implementation

Posted in ERISA, Investment Management, Regulation, Susan Mangiero
Dr. Susan Mangiero will join a panel of esteemed experts to talk about the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule on June 21, 2016. Sponsored by the Financial Women’s Association, New Jersey chapter, CPE credit is available (CLE credit is pending). Meeting at the Seton Hall School of Law in Newark, this timely event features the following speakers:… Continue Reading

Victoria’s Secret and Financial Benchmarking

Posted in Disclosure and Transparency, Investment Management, Risk Management
Its iconic fashion show won’t occur until this fall but Victoria’s Secret is in the headlines for another reason. Owner L. Brands, Inc. (“LB” ticker) will no longer mail about 300 million catalogs each year. The goal is to save between $125 to $150 million and be more eco-friendly. Shoppers can still purchase online or visit… Continue Reading

Reputation and the Investment Management Bottom Line

Posted in Customer Service, Disclosure and Transparency, Governance, Investment Consultants, Investment Management, Key Person, Risk Management
Those in the know understand that both qualitative and quantitative factors must be evaluated when estimating enterprise value. The list of appraisal considerations is too long to address in any one discussion. Suffice it to say that one should understand, measure and benchmark multiple facets of an organization’s business such as production processes, distribution channels, sales infrastructure and customer service. A clarity… Continue Reading

Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons Showcase Math Genius in New Film

Posted in Fun, Investment Management
If you get a chance to view “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” go for it. Award-winning actors abound in this tale of math wits at Cambridge University who contributed dozens of important ideas that are still being used in business and science. Dev Patel, stars as the self-taught math genius, Srinivasa Ramanujan, who rose from poverty to team with… Continue Reading

Investment Benchmarking “Must Do” Tasks

Posted in Disclosure and Transparency, Financial Reporting, Governance, Investment Management, Regulation, Risk Management
Whenever the topic of performance measurement comes up in conversation, I think back to a story someone told me about a woman who took the number two spot in a race. Proud of her accomplishment, she telephoned friends and family with the news. Here’s the catch. Only one other runner competed. Technically, her statement was… Continue Reading

It’s Heeeere – The Fiduciary Rule Has Arrived – Now What?

Posted in Compliance, Disclosure and Transparency, ERISA, Fees, Fiduciary Liability, Governance, Investment Management, Mutual Funds, Regulation
Like most people who work in the financial services arena, I hastily downloaded the long anticipated “Fiduciary Rule” when it was released by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) on April 6, 2016 and am busy tackling this final version. With more than two hundred pages, it’s going to take longer than a lunch break but is nevertheless vital reading. DOL’s Fact… Continue Reading

Increased Regulation of Derivatives by Registered Funds

Posted in Derivatives, Disclosure and Transparency, International Investing, Investment Management, Mutual Funds, Regulation, Risk Management, Susan Mangiero, Trading
On December 11, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) took steps to more actively regulate how derivative instruments are used by registered investment companies such as mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”), closed-end funds and business development companies. According to its Fact Sheet, a portfolio manager would have to either limit leverage via the use of derivatives to… Continue Reading

Investment Risk Is Here To Stay

Posted in Investment Management, Risk Management
Even if you did not celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14, it was hard to miss the many bags of conversation candies, in between the chocolates and bouquets of flowers. According to the website for the New England Confectionery Company (“NECCO”), Sweethearts® have been around since 1902. “Each year, NECCO manufactures about two billion hearts… Continue Reading

Breach of Fiduciary Duty Tops FINRA Disputes Again

Posted in Compliance, Fiduciary Liability, FINRA, Investment Management
According to dispute resolution statistics, published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), breach of fiduciary duty continues to lead the list of “controversy types in customer arbitrations.” Negligence, failure to supervise, misrepresentation, breach of contract, suitability and omission of facts follow. That breach of fiduciary duty allegations feature so prominently in FINRA customer disputes… Continue Reading

Investment Advisors, Monitoring and Compliance

Posted in Fiduciary Liability, Governance, Investment Management, Regulation, Risk Management
I talked last week about the intricacies of investment monitoring as part of a Bloomberg BNA webinar entitled “Life After Tibble: Investment Monitoring and Litigation Defense Considerations for ERISA Fiduciaries.” One of the points I made, repeatedly I might add, is that it is critical to evaluate the facts and circumstances related to a specific situation.… Continue Reading

Puerto Rico and Its Bondholders

Posted in Credit Risk, Hedge Fund, Investment Management, Litigation, Municipal Bonds, Susan Mangiero
After a round of holiday hellos during dinner with a group of friends, the conversation turned to Puerto Rico and its financial distress. One gentleman at the table has a lot of his 401(k) account invested in municipal bonds, including a hefty allocation to Puerto Rico. Naturally he is nervously watching events and hoping for the best. From his… Continue Reading

Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (“GRC”) and Nasty Colleagues

Posted in Compliance, Investment Management, Regulation, Risk Management
Effective Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (“GRC”) critically depends on the hiring, retention and oversight of talented and ethical professionals. These individuals don’t need to be best friends. To the contrary, a risk manager must be tough and able to say no to traders and deal-makers if their individual or collective activity jeopardizes enterprise value.… Continue Reading

Investment Managers and the Creativity Factor

Posted in Investment Management
According to yesterday’s New York Post, adults can’t get enough of coloring books for themselves. In the last two years alone, this genre has seen more than 2,000 publications. The two most popular have sold nearly 14 million copies in fifty countries. A trip down memory lane is one factor. Others declare that coloring relieves stress… Continue Reading

Effective Business Communications – Is Squeaky Clean Better?

Posted in Banking, Derivatives, Ethics, Financial Reporting, Investment Management, Trading
During a recent conversation with colleagues about effective business communication, the topic arose as to whether it is okay to use a swear word or two in conversations with colleagues and clients. Having worked on several tradings desks at different banks, my experience likely reflects two extremes. At one financial institution, I traded foreign exchange… Continue Reading

Unicorns, Valuation and the Search for Investment Returns

Posted in Investment Management, Liquidity, Pension, Private Equity, Valuation, Venture Capital
Thanks to Matthew Crow, President of Mercer Capital, for an interesting analysis of regional venture capital trends. In his blog post entitled “Are VC trends the canary in the RIA coal mine?” he points out that valuations in New York, Silicon Valley and Boston are deemed by many as “too high.” As a result, venture… Continue Reading

The Perils of “Sort Of” Investment Risk Management

Posted in Compliance, Disclosure and Transparency, Governance, Investment Management, Risk Management
As someone who writes all the time, I respect words. I acknowledge that being able to communicate clearly is a time-consuming labor and requires care. For those who strive for excellence in this area, keep up the great work. For those who have fallen under the spell of soundbite gimmickry, may I suggest that you… Continue Reading