storm clouds

Broker who fired financial advisor ordered to pay

March 12, 2018

Broker Who Fired Financial Advisor Ordered to Pay $4 Million Broker fired financial advisor to keep him from moving to another firm with his huge book of business. My friends who are financial advisors, it could happen to you.

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Starbucks cups

I’ll have some Ether with my latte – will Starbucks put tokens on the menu?

March 2, 2018

Business Insider reports that Starbucks could dive into the cryptocurrency space. Another significant challenge to the Wall Street model for raising capital? Could it be as easy as ordering a latte? Business Insider posted an interview with Patrick Byrne, CEO of and crypto/blockchain enthusiast. Overstock reports that it passed the $100 million mark in its tZERO ICO. While this is basically a promotional piece for tZERO, it is interesting nonetheless. Note how many times Bryne points out that tZERO and other tokens are speculative investments. 

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Wells Fargo stagecoach

Shocking news! Investigation of customer abuse by Wells Fargo broker/advisory unit

March 1, 2018

If you think that today’s Wells Fargo is different from the old Wells Fargo, think again. Emily Glaser of the WSJ reports that Wells Fargo’s brokerage/investment advisory practice — its Wealth Management Unit — is being investigated by DOJ for improper sales practices. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

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woman wagging finger no no

Not so fast, says court to bank that put arbitration clause in account agreement in middle of litigation

February 19, 2018

Banks and other financial institutions ordinarily include an arbitration clause in their account agreements that forces their customers to resolve all disputes through mandatory arbitration. Haven’t all of us gotten those mailings from banks with tiny print stating the new terms and conditions to which we “consent.” If we do not object, or close our accounts, we are generally deemed to accept those revised terms and conditions.

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How did the Equifax hack happen?

February 9, 2018

The SciShow guys have a nice video explaining how the Equifax hack happened. Equifax is in the business of collecting, storing, and disseminating sensitive consumer information — like credit card numbers, social security numbers, and bank account numbers. You don’t voluntarily give Equifax your sensitive data — Equifax gets that data whether you want it to or not.

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Peter DInklage and Morgan Freeman

Persuasion behind those super expensive Super Bowl commercials

February 5, 2018

What is the thinking behind those super expensive Super Bowl commercials? I love the creativity that goes into these commercials, but let’s not forget that no company would use them if they were not effective persuasion. So how are the companies trying to persuade us? I like to read books on the science of persuasion and behavioral economics, but not everyone is a nerd like me. One of my favorite authors, Robert Cialdini, has this awesome video that explains the factors that persuade us to do the things that advertisers want us to do. This is a really interesting and easy way to learn about how commercials and other persuasive techniques get us to do something we otherwise would not do.

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Uncle Sam

Securities Law in the Trump Administration – Has Anything Changed?

January 26, 2018

Please join the Chicago Bar Association Securities Law Committee on February 27, 2018 from 3-6 p.m. for three great panel discussions of what in securities law has changed and what has not during the first year of the Trump Administration while getting continuing legal education credits.

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padlocked door

That noncompete clause can lock you into your job

January 25, 2018

Most of us do not look closely at the language in a proposed employment contract. We are just too excited to be starting a new job. Fewer than 10% of new employees will try to negotiate their noncompete clauses, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury. But those noncompete clauses in employment agreements are designed to interfere with our future employment options.

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pipe leaking excessive fees

Excessive fees in small/medium employer retirement plans

January 22, 2018

Would you fix a pipe if you thought it might be leaking? Just like pipes in your home, your retirement accounts can be leaking excessive fees — which is money you could use in retirement. If you have a retirement account — like a 401(k) or 403(b) account — with a small or medium sized employer, your hard-earned money may be leaking. According to Barron’s, “the industry’s priciest funds are in accounts that are too small to get much attention. Sometimes they’re in the 401(k) plans of small businesses. Sometimes they’re in target-date funds. Sometimes they’re simply in portfolios with less than the $1 million needed to command the attention of advisors.”

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thief lifting wallet from man's back pocket

Discount brokers steer customers to higher fee investments

January 15, 2018

Think your discount broker is giving you unbiased investment advice? Think again. A recent WSJ article reports that Fidelity, Schwab and TD Ameritrade employees received monetary and other incentives to get customers to invest in products that made more money for the broker.

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