Articles Posted in Investment

In July 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission made a proposal to vastly change the reporting requirements of hedge funds. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposal would permit hedge funds with less than $3.5 billion in assets to stop reporting their holdings in quarterly reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  At this time, the Securities and Exchange Commission requires quarterly disclosure of stock positions held by hedge funds that have more than $100 million in assets under management.

According to the Financial Times, during the ‘consultation period’ when the Securities and Exchange Commission considers comments made about their proposed changes, 2.262 letters were submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the proposed change to the disclosure rules.  Of these 2,262 comment letters, 99% were against the proposed rule, according to Financial Times. The result of such a large number of letters opposing the rule change is that the Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to withdraw its proposal and keep the current disclosure threshold of $100 million.

The $100 million threshold has been in place since 1975 and it requires hedge funds to file a “13-F” report each quarter to disclose their holdings.  The Securities and Exchange Commission looked at the fact that the US equity market capitalization has grown from $1 trillion to an $35 trillion and decided that it was time to raise the disclosure limit.  The Securities and Exchange commission also claimed that the disclosure requirements at $100 million were a burden to the smaller hedge funds. This reasoning leaves out the impact that its actions would have on the transparency of the markets. The Financial Times reports that hedge fund managers were skeptical of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s reasoning.  The smaller hedge fund managers and even the CFA Institute noted that the costs to file the 13F are negligible and the process was mostly automated by today’s portfolio accounting software programs.

The Wall Street Journal published an article by Jason Zweig and Andrea Fuller on August 31, 2020 explaining their analysis of how financial advisers fell short in meeting their obligations to disclose important information to individual investors like you.[1] The Wall Street Journal analyzed the filings made by investment advisers on the SEC Form CRS.  The article and analysis revealed what seems to be disturbing lack of candor by investment advisers.

It is fundamental to full and fair disclosure that if an individual investor wants to know whether their financial adviser, or a financial adviser they want to hire, has any legal or regulatory problems, that this information is easy for an investor to obtain.  To that end, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) sought to simplify the process by which an individual investor can access this information.  The result of the SEC’s efforts was the “Form CRS.”  “CRS” stands for customer (or client) relationship summary.

This information has been available.  However, for the average “Main Street” individual investor, the information was not easy to find.  And when the customer complaint and regulatory history was found, the disclosures were difficult to understand.  The Form CRS[2] was intended to address this complexity and difficulty through simplification.  Thus, the SEC created what SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in November 2018 would be a “clear and concise” document.  I think they succeeded.  Wall Street, however, failed.

When it comes to investments, all that glitters is not gold. While you can never invest without risk, some investment schemes are outright fraudulent and set you straight for failure.

But how can you avoid investments that are too good to be true? Even most importantly, how can you tell if you are a victim of an investment scam? Read on to find out!

1. It’s a Unique or Time-Sensitive Opportunity

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Investing in international assets is a great way to diversify and strengthen your portfolio. A healthy assortment of international security assets can set you up for long term success and aid your investments in weathering market volatility. Investing in internationally-based assets is made possible through the use of American Depositary Receipts (ADRs).

An ADR is a security that represents shares of non-U.S. companies that are held by a U.S. depositary bank outside the United States. They allow you to invest in non-U.S. companies as well as provide non-U.S. companies easier access to the U.S. capital markets. Currently, there are more than 2,000 ADRs available which represent shares of companies in more than 70 countries.

While ADRs present new avenues and opportunities available to you, they – as with any security – are not without risks. As an investor, you need to perform the necessary research and due diligence on an ADR-represented security prior to investing.

This year has seen some major ups-and-downs in the stock market. While fluctuations have been relatively small, their repetitive nature is significant.

For instance: you may not have noticed on the average day if the S&P 500 ended 1% below its intraday high or 1% above its intraday high, but now consider that it has fluctuated between the two over 70 times in 2018, and those minor shifts start to take on a lot more weight (this intraday fluctuation was recorded six times in 2017).

While the stock market maintains a seemingly placid overall performance on the surface, growing uncertainty over external and domestic economic factors are causing unease among investors, and exposing underlying volatility in the marketplace.

The stock market is much older than many people realize: its roots come from Venice in the 1300s. Over the centuries, this early form of stock trading gradually developed into the investment options we’re familiar with today.

And ever since its inception, trading stocks has carried a certain level of risk. Most of the time, the risks pay off — sometimes in a big way. But investment is never a guarantee, and you can lose money in stocks just as well as you can make money.

Have you lost money in the stock market? Don’t panic. Now is the perfect time to plan your next move so you can recover and finish even stronger than you were before. Keep reading for our top tips to help you navigate stock market losses!

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Do you have big dreams of retiring in paradise? Or maybe you have your eye on a luxury car or a bigger house.

Achieving these goals may seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. You’ve probably heard the famous cliche that you need to “make your money work for you”, and it’s true! Letting your money sit in a bank won’t get you very far.

That’s why many people have decided to trade stocks in hopes of getting a nice side income. But navigating the stock market can be tricky. With every big win, there also seems to be a loss.

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When you consider the financial toll of a hurricane or other natural disaster, losses due to investment fraud is most likely not something you would factor in. However investment fraud following a catastrophic natural event is quite prevalent.

Many investors have found themselves in hot water after getting involved in investment opportunities related to hurricanes or other natural disasters. Scammers love using natural disasters to leverage investment fraud, as they are able to prey on vulnerabilities of both those directly affected by the event as well as those who want to help disaster victims.

In the wake of Hurricane Michael, you may receive unsolicited investment offers purporting to provide some type of opportunity for returns. These offerings may be related to disaster relief, clean-up, or even storm prevention. While it’s possible some of these offerings may be legitimate, chances are high that they are either too good to be true or a flat-out scam.

Understanding Index Funds

There’s a lot of ways you can get involved in securities investing. Some of the most popular methods are through the use of what are called index funds. An index fund is a type of mutual fund that tracks the performance and returns of a market index.

You are probably familiar with stock and security market indexes like the S&P 500 or Russell 2000 index. Because a market index essentially acts as a barometer to track and project returns for a collection of similar securities, you are not able to directly invest in them. However, since index funds seek to track the returns of market indexes, you are able to use them as a sort of indirect investment channel.

You know that the factors affecting an investment’s valuation go behind standard data and metrics. Often, an investment’s value can hinge largely on highly subjective factors, like public perception. The “reputation” of an asset or security can either signal an attractive investment opportunity or drive away investors.

You’ve probably heard of pump and dump schemes; a form of stock manipulation wherein essential information about an asset may be misrepresented or misreported in order to artificially drive-up its value before the scammer dumps their shares. In these types of schemes, fraudsters create a buy frenzy by promoting a stock as a desirable investment.

Well there’s also an inverse to this type of investment fraud and it’s called a short and distort scam.

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