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Apr 18, 2012

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It is not about price, it comes down to trust Tuesday, September 20th, 2011  |  Filed Under: Practice Management

“The demand in finances doesn’t respond to price,” Trott says. “Having a lower price doesn’t guarantee you more business. It’s not really about the price. It’s about the quality of service.”

There’s a great article in about pricing advisory services. It’s based upon a study conducted by PriceMetrix showing that advisors who didn’t lower their fees in the aftermath of 2008 market are much better off today than those who decided to reduce their fees.

This is more evidence that clients are seeking good advice from trustworthy advisors more than a deal on the management of their financial affairs. Take a look at the article

Clients Are Increasingly Using Multiple Financial Advisors Wednesday, August 17th, 2011  |  Filed Under: Practice ManagementUncategorized

This recent article (see link below) really caught my attention. It is a very enlighting that the statistics discussed indicate many investor clients have determined that they can fend off challenging markets and volatility by engaging more than one financial advisor to handle their financial affairs. Moreover, the more wealthy the client is, the more likely they are to utilize many advisors. Perhaps diversification is part of the driver, but this trend sure appears to be an opportunity for seasoned advisors who have the platform capabilities to efficiently organize the clients’ data, reports and recommendations. Few firms provide advisors with the right wealth manager tools to position themselves for this type of role, and it’s it fairly challenging for individual advisors to scale their operations to offer these kinds of capabilities. Advisors who position selves with a firm that supports a wealth manager role will have much greater success serving these types of the clients.

When “100% Payout” is Not What You Think. Wednesday, July 13th, 2011  |  Filed Under: Going IndependentPractice Management

One of my father’s favorite sayings was “there is no free lunch.” As much as I tried to prove this wrong over the years, I admittedly learned in business – - the hard way a few times – - that there’s typically a catch to just about everything that’s “free.”

Knowing that the brokerage industry is famous for the many ways it creatively generates revenue streams from products and services, I thought about the aforementioned truism with a recent industry news column about a brokerage firm announcing “100% payouts” on fee based business. Even among the least suspecting of industry participants, this type of a claim raises questions, if not a big red flag.

For anyone who has ever managed a broker-dealer, you know that 100% doesn’t add up to 100% in broker-dealer land. There all sorts of ways firms play games with their math to create the illusion of higher payouts. Marketing allowances, revenue sharing, mark-ups on administration, ticket charges, postage and handling are just a few ways brokerage firms generate extra income to cover their high payouts. When one adds it all up, you have to wonder why b/ds would go to such an extreme measures. Why not just charge a fair and competitive rate for the services provided? Well, the answer is as elusive as the word “transparency” tends to be in the broker-dealer world.

One of the most refreshing aspects of the RIA business model is that there’s an appreciation for, and reality to the costs of operating a business. Perhaps it’s the simplicity of a 1% fee annual fee and that there are fewer mouths to feed in the advice model that drive this thinking. Even the least sophisticated of fee advisors seem to have a greater appreciation for transparency that enables them to operate in complete alignment with their clients.

At Dynamic Wealth Advisors, we generate profits one way: with service fees received only when we service your fee based assets. There are no mark-ups, no marketing allowances or other “funny money” as I like to call it. Our interests are completely aligned with RIAs and IARs we serve. While the RIA business may not be a perfect model, from my view there seems to be much more understanding and appreciation for the value that industry participants like DWA are able to create for advisors and a lot fewer tempted by “the free lunch.”

Are IBD Reps the Next Wave for RIA Model? Monday, January 24th, 2011  |  Filed Under: CustodiansGoing IndependentPractice Management

A recent article in predicts that advisors moving to the RIA model will be coming in greater numbers from independent broker-dealers. The sources point to the fact that many advisors are reaching the magical $100 million of assets under management that many times creates the urge to make the switch to more capabilities and the opportunity for greater control as a business owner and advisor. 

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Posted: Apr 18, 2012 5:17pm
Apr 16, 2012

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the UAE Minister for Foreign Trade, unveiled CEO Middle East’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2012 list.

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the UAE Minister for Foreign Trade, on Wednesday paid tribute to women across the Arab world as she officially unveiled CEO Middle East’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2012 list.
In a gala event held at Dubai’s Emirates Towers, Sheikha Lubna highlighted the achievements of women in the region across a number of different fields, including business, art, science and sport.
Sheikha Lubna, who topped the power list, said it represented how women in the Arab world were successfully overcoming social barriers.
“The list shows that it isn’t just business where women are succeeding today. It is in science, in medicine, in the arts, in sports, in culture, in technology, in media. In fact, in so many different fields, Arab women have battled against the barriers the face, and risen to positions of great prominence,” Sheikha Lubna said in a speech on Wednesday.

“It is no longer strange to have an Arab women as the CEO of a big company. It is not unusual for Arab women to be heading large teams of people, both men and women, and to be responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars of expenditure,” Sheikha Lubna added.
The UAE’s minister for trade specifically pointed out the efforts of Arab women in the fields of culture and society, 43 of which were included on the list, and highlighted the role of 16 UAE nationals included.
Sheikha Lubna also thanked the region’s leaders for their role in creating an environment where women are able to thrive.
“Thanks to the wisdom of our leaders, they have provided the encouragement and the environment for women to succeed in. I know that I could not have reached the position I am in today without their support, and I would like to thank them for that,” she said.

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Posted: Apr 16, 2012 6:55pm
Apr 16, 2012

March 22 (Bloomberg) — Stocks and commodities dropped while Treasuries rose for a third day after manufacturing contracted in Europe and China and FedEx Corp. predicted slower growth, undermining confidence in the global economy.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.7 percent to 1,392.84 at 10:39 a.m. in New York and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell for a fourth straight day, tumbling 1.2 percent. The euro depreciated 0.4 percent to $1.3162. Ten-year Treasury yields declined four basis points to 2.26 percent, and the rate on the German bund decreased seven basis points to 1.91 percent. Copper and oil plunged more than 2 percent and nickel retreated to the lowest price this year.

A gauge of European manufacturing fell to 47.7 as factory output unexpectedly shrank in Germany and France, according to London-based Markit Economics. A preliminary measure of Chinese manufacturing slipped to 48.1 in March, the lowest level in four months, based on figures from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics. FedEx, operator of the world’s largest cargo airline, predicted “below-trend” growth in coming quarters.

“I am not confident on the macro outlook,” said Filippo Garbarino, Chiasso, Switzerland-based manager of the Frontwave Capital Ltd. fund. “Every small macro disappointment is an excuse to realize capital gains and become more defensive. My net exposure to Europe at the moment is zero.”

Three-Day Drop

The S&P 500 retreated for a third day as concern about global growth overshadowed a drop in jobless claims to a four- year low and better-than-forecast growth in an index of leading economic indicators. Initial applications for unemployment benefits decreased by 5,000 to 348,000 in the week ended March 17, the fewest since February 2008, Labor Department figures showed today. The median forecast of 46 economists in a Bloomberg News survey projected 350,000.

Energy, commodity and industrial companies led losses among all 10 groups in the S&P 500 today, dropping more than 1.3 percent. FedEx tumbled 3.8 percent for its biggest drop of the year. Chevron Corp., Caterpillar Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. slid at least 1.9 percent for the biggest declines in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The Conference Board’s gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months increased 0.7 percent after a revised 0.2 percent gain in January that was less than initially reported, the New York-based group said today. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 0.6 percent rise.

The Stoxx 600 declined to the lowest level since March 13 as mining and construction companies led losses. Randgold Resources Ltd., which operates three mines in Mali, plunged 8 percent as an army officer said the West African country’s government has been overthrown. Baloise Holding AG sank 6.3 percent as Switzerland’s third-largest insurer said profit dropped 86 percent last year.

Yields Retreat

Yields on 10-year and 30-year Treasuries retreated for a third straight day after reaching the highest levels in more than four months on March 19. The 30-year bond rate decreased two basis points to 3.37 percent.

The euro fell for a third day versus the dollar. The yen gained against all 16 of its major peers, advancing 1.1 percent versus the euro and 1.5 percent against Australia’s currency. Japan’s exports unexpectedly exceeded imports by 32.9 billion yen ($395 million) in February, the government said. The Dollar Index rose 0.3 percent.

The S&P GSCI gauge of commodities declined 1.4 percent as silver, natural gas and oil fell more than 2 percent to lead declines in 19 of 24 raw materials.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 0.7 percent, heading for its sixth straight decline. The Micex Index slid 1.5 percent in Moscow and the FTSE/JSE Africa All Shares Index retreated 0.8 percent in Johannesburg. The BSE India Sensitive Index fell 2.3 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost less than 0.1 percent, its seventh straight loss and its longest losing streak since June.

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Posted: Apr 16, 2012 6:08pm
Apr 16, 2012

Cybercriminals and hackers had a big year in 2011, taking on everyone from Sony and the authentication-token maker RSA to the CIA and even a notorious Mexican drug cartel. During the Arab Spring, the headline-hounding hackers in the LulzSec and Anonymous groups showed just how vulnerable anyone’s online presence is, even that of major governments.What can we expect in 2012? More of the same, or a dynamic shift in what crooks want? And how will they go about getting it?

It’s too early for the answers, but 2012 has already seen its share of cybercriminal incidents. Starting with the most recent targets, here’s a list of hackers’ most-daring exploits and the data breaches, compromises, data leaks, thefts, threats and privacy invasions that have made this a year to watch.
Free Web Security Scanner scans web application for 35,000 attacks, SQL & XSS injection.Ads by GoogleFeb. 27: Stratfor WikiLeaks began publishing more than 5 million emails it obtained from the Austin, Texas-based global consulting firm Stratfor. The emails, WikiLeaks said, highlight Stratfor’s dubious financial dealings, global cover-ups as well as coordinated campaigns to subvert WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. It’s not known exactly how WikiLeaks obtained the emails, but signs point to Anonymous, which hacked Stratfor’s servers late last year and made off with emails and credit card numbers.Feb. 14: Nortel Valentine’s Day proved anything but romantic for Nortel, the Canadian telecom company currently in bankruptcy. It turns out that hackers, believed to be operating from China, had been spying on Nortel for at least a decade, the Wall Street Journal reported. Using seven passwords stolen from top executives, the cybercriminals infiltrated Nortel’s servers and downloaded technical papers, research-and-development reports, employee emails, business plans and other confidential data.Feb. 14: Combined Systems Inc. Proudly hoisting the hacktivist flag, the ever-present Anonymous hacking network took credit for knocking Combined Systems Inc., a Jamestown, Pa., security company, offline and stealing personal information from its clients. As reported by the Associated Press, Anonymous said it went after Combined Systems, which sells tear gas and other crowd-control devices to law enforcement and military organizations, to protest “war profiteers” and to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the bloody citizen uprising in Bahrain.Feb. 14: A 17-year-old hacker said he tapped into an inactive forum run by the hard-core porn site Brazzers and used it to expose the personal information of more than 350,000 registered users. The site’s parent company, Luxembourg-based Manwin Holding SARL, said no credit-card data had been compromised. The hacker, based in Morocco, said he leaked the information not to embarrass the site’s customers or to make money, but simply to highlight how vulnerable popular websites are. Not surprisingly, the teen hacker said he had aligned himself with the Anonymous movement.Feb. 10: Central Intelligence Agency For the second time in less than a year, Anonymous launched a distributed denial-of-service attack that temporarily knocked the website of the Central Intelligence Agency offline. The CIA takedown capped a busy week for the hacktivist pranksters; in 10 days, the group went after Chinese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, American Nazi groups, anti-virus maker Symantec and the office of Syria’s president.Feb. 8: Office of the Syrian President During an especially active week of digital daring, Anonymous leaked a cache of emails from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s office, including one particularly candid email in which one of Assad’s media advisers preps him for an interview with Barbara Walters and tells him that the “American psyche can be easily manipulated.”Feb. 8: Foxconn With Apple facing worldwide scrutiny over the questionable working conditions at Foxconn, a Chinese company that assembles iPhones and iPads (as well as devices for Dell, Sony, IBM, Microsoft, Samsung and others), it was only a matter of time before hacktivists took up the cause. In this case, it wasn’t Anonymous but a group called Swagg Security (SwaggSec) that struck the first blow, making off with staff email logins and credentials that could allow an attacker to place a fraudulent order.Feb 7: Hamas The Israeli hacking group IDF Team launched an attack against a Hamas website,, knocking it offline to protest the site’s anti-Israeli stance. This was not an isolated incident; it was instead the latest strike in a calculated monthlong battle between Israeli and Arab hackers that began Jan. 3, when a Saudi Arabian hacker calling himself 0xOmar posted 15,000 Israeli credit-card numbers. 

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Posted: Apr 16, 2012 5:02pm


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Dagmar Irvine
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