Monthly Archives: March 2010

Scam Meter- Is that Investment Opportunity Too Good to be True?

We’ve all heard the timeless warning “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” It’s great advice, but the trick is figuring out when “good” becomes “too good.” And if you have a good salesperson—or worse, a dishonest one—it gets really hard. While there’s no clear way to know, in just four questions the FINRA Foundation’s Scam Meter will help you tell if an investment you are thinking about might be a scam. For a more detailed discussion FINRA Investor Education has issued an Alert to warn investors about classic types of investment fraud and to help investors spot and avoid the types of persuasion tactics fraudsters use. The Alert also describes key red flags and provide tools to help you avoid fraud at http://www.finra.org/Investors/ProtectYourself/InvestorAlerts/FraudsAndScams/P118010
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Advisors Roles in Times of Crisis- Part 2

The 2009 Fidelity Millionaire Outlook survey reveals three critical roles that advisors played during the recent financial crisis. According to their clients, advisors acted as: Counselors. (role #2)

In addition to minimizing asset losses, advisors influenced their clients’ psychological well-being. Almost 9 in 10 millionaires (85%) stated that contact with their financial advisors helped them feel more comfortable that they could cope with the crisis. In addition, millionaires who work with advisors are less likely to worry about managing their investments than are millionaires without advisors (50% vs. 55%). Similarly, millionaires with advisors are less likely to worry about tax planning than are millionaires without advisors (28% vs. 32%). Millionaires with advisors also benefit from a perception of a simpler financial life: fewer than half (49%) of millionaires with advisors seek to simplify their financial life, compared with 54% of millionaires without  advisors. Overall, millionaires who work with advisors tend to share a more optimistic outlook (62%) than their peers who do not have financial advisors (56%).

EBRI 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey Results

The 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey results show Confidence is Stabilizing, But Preparations Continue to Erode By Ruth Helman, Mathew Greenwald and Associates, and Craig Copeland and Jack VanDerhei, Employee Benefit Research Institute

20TH ANNUAL RCS: The 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey—the 20th annual wave of this survey—finds that the record-low confidence levels measured during the past two years of economic decline appear to have bottomed out. The percentage of workers very confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement has stabilized at 16 percent, which is statistically equivalent to the 20-year low of 13 percent measured in 2009. Retiree confidence about having a financially secure retirement has also stabilized, with 19 percent saying now they are very  confident (statistically equivalent to the 20 percent measured in 2009) . Worker confidence about paying for basic expenses in retirement has rebounded slightly, with 29 percent now saying they are very confident about having enough money to pay for basic expenses during retirement (up from 25 percent in 2009, but still down from 34 percent in 2008).

PREPARATIONS STILL ERODING: Fewer workers report that they and/or their spouse have saved for retirement (69 percent, down from 75 percent in 2009 but statistically equivalent to 72 percent in 2008).
Moreover, fewer workers say that they and/or their spouse are currently saving for retirement (60 percent, down from 65 percent in 2009 but statistically equivalent to percentages measured in other years) .

MORE PEOPLE HAVE NO SAVINGS AT ALL: An increased percentage of workers report they have virtually no savings and investments. Among RCS workers providing this type of information, 27 percent say they have less than $1,000 in savings (up from 20 percent in 2009). In total, more than half of workers (54 percent) report that the total value of their household’s savings and investments, excluding the value of their primary home and any defined benefit plans, is less than $25,000 .

CLUELESS ABOUT SAVINGS GOALS: Many workers continue to be unaware of how much they need to save for retirement. Less than half of workers (46 percent) report they and/or their spouse have tried to calculate how much money they will need to have saved for a comfortable retirement by the time they retire.

AMERICANS EXPECTING TO WORK LONGER: Although the age at which workers report they expect to retire shows little change from 2009, a longer-term look finds significant change. In particular, the percentage of workers who expect to retire after age 65 has increased over time, from 11 percent in 1991 to 14 percent in 1995, 19 percent in 2000, 24 percent in 2005, and 33 percent in 2010.

INSTITUTIONAL CONFIDENCE LAGGING: Americans continue to lack confidence in institutions. They are most likely to express confidence in private employers (23 percent of workers and 27 percent of retirees very confident) and least likely to feel confidence in the federal government (11 percent of workers and 8 percent of retirees) .Just 19 percent of workers and 22 percent of retirees report they are very confident about banks, while 12 percent of workers and 13 percent of retirees say they are very confident about insurance companies
Full report at: http://www.ebri.org/surveys/rcs/2010/

Weekly Update 3-5-10

The Big Picture column in Investors Business Daily last week called the market in “confirmed uptrend” after a few months of being “in correction”. Also today marks the one year anniversary of the markets turn around .
Attached is the Weekly Market Update prepared by SEI Investments and in it you can easily see that many of the investment asset classes are back into positive territory for the year to date. Reports of improving economic conditions created a more positive tone for the week, in line with the view that the economy should continue its recovery, albeit at a slow and uneven pace.

SCOTT J. NANCE JOINS COMPASS SECURITIES CORPORATION

Braintree, Massachusetts, March 2, 2010 – Compass Securities Corporation announced today that Scott J. Nance, a highly-regarded institutional investment executive with more than 20 years’ industry experience, has joined the firm as an independent affiliate through his practice, West-NW Capital, LLC.

“I chose to affiliate my practice with Compass primarily because they share my vision to introduce suitable investors to the unique diversification opportunities offered by alternative investment strategies,” said Scott. “They fully appreciate and understand that clients’ interests come first, and successful long-term relationships are built only through trust and integrity.”
“We are pleased to have Scott join our growing network of distinguished institutional investment executives,” said John R. Ahern, President of Compass Securities Corporation. “His demonstrated commitment to excellence and extensive experience in institutional sales make Scott an ideal match, and he will be invaluable to Compass as we continue to grow our organization.”

Prior to joining Compass as a Registered Representative, Mr. Nance was a Managing Director at Equinox Fund Management, sponsor of The Frontier Fund. He has worked in the investment management industry since 1987 and is experienced in educating institutional and individual clients on equity, fixed income, and alternative investment strategies.

Before joining Equinox in 2005, Mr. Nance was a principal and institutional salesperson at Robeco Investment Management, whose U.S.-based asset management subsidiaries include Weiss, Peck & Greer Investments and Boston Partners. He also previously served as an institutional director of business development at Banc of America Capital Management, the asset management arm of Bank of America. Mr. Nance has substantial experience in the managed futures industry, including seven years at John W. Henry & Company, Inc. He earned a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of Arizona and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Located in Tucson, Arizona, West-NW Capital is an institutional division of Compass Securities Corporation. Compass Securities Corporation (member FINRA, SIPC) is an institutionally focused broker/dealer specialized in debt and equity private placements of tax credit syndications, venture capital and alternative investments, as well as third party long only, and hedge investment manager representation. Compass was established in 1985 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Compass Capital Corporation.