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The HEDGE-FUND Fee “Haircut”

Understanding the 2% & 20% Rule

By D. Muthukrishnan

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Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

 

What is Hedege Fund “Carried Interest”?

What it is – How it works?

[By staff reporters]

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Carried interest or carry, in finance, specifically in alternative investments (i.e., private equity and hedge funds), is a share of the profits of an investment or investment fund that is paid to the investment manager in excess of the amount that the manager contributes to the partnership.
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As a practical matter, it is a form of performance fee that rewards the manager for enhancing performance.
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Tax Status

Carried interest, income flowing to the general partner of a private investment fund, often is treated as capital gains for the purposes of taxation.

Some view this tax preference as an unfair, market-distorting loophole.

Others argue that it is consistent with the tax treatment of other entrepreneurial income.

MORE: News about Carried Interest Tax Break

Assessment

Your thoughts are appreciated.

Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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Options, Hurricanes and Hedging

Options, Hurricanes and Hedging

By Vitaliy Katsenelson CFA

We always look at our investment process and ask ourselves, “What can we do better?” How can we increase returns and lower risk? We think we have found a new, sensible way to do both.

We can hedge a portion of our market exposure with put options. Put options are contracts that trade on an exchange that give buyer (us) a right, not an obligation, to sell stock (or in our case Exchanged Traded Fund, ETF that mimics a market index) at a specific price for a certain period of time. Put options are cash settled, so when we exercise it or it expires we get cash in lieu of its value. Buying put options is very similar to buying hurricane insurance. We pay a premium, and that is the only cost we bear. Let’s restate this: The only risk we take is that the hurricane doesn’t hit or, in our case, that the stock market doesn’t decline, in which case our premium was “wasted.”

When you buy hurricane insurance you don’t suddenly start wishing for a hurricane, but you do get peace of mind from knowing that if Richard or Betty (we name hurricane like we name pets – makes TV watching so much more exciting, especially if your name is Richard or Betty) pays you a visit, the insurance company will restore your house to its original state.

We look at options “insurance” the same way we look at any asset: It can make sense at one price but make no sense at another. As you will see, at today’s price they make a lot of sense.

For the sake of simplicity let’s make a few assumptions: First, your portfolio is 100% correlated to the stock market. Second, your portfolio is 100% invested. And finally, let’s assume we’d be buying put options to insure your whole portfolio. These assumptions will simplify our example – we’ll modify them later.

Based on our assumptions, we’d buy put options on ETFs that track a particular stock market index – let’s say the S&P 500. As of January 2018, if we were to buy options on the S&P 500 ETF, SPY, that expire in one year and that are 5% out of the money (they don’t start paying us until the S&P declines 5% or more – think of this 5% as our deductible), the cost of insuring the entire portfolio would be about 4% of its total value. For a $1 million portfolio it would be $40,000.

If the stock market decline is greater than 5%, the insurance kicks in. After a 5% decline the value of our stock options starts going up proportionally to the decline in the portfolio. If stock market falls 20%, the $1 million portfolio declines to $800,000, but this $200,000 loss is offset by the appreciation of our put options, which go up by roughly $150,000. Thus the value of the portfolio is now $950,000 (remember our 5% deductible). Actually that number will most likely be less – somewhere between $910,000 and $950,000, because we paid $40,000 for the put options.

Without getting too deep into the weeds, the price of an option is driven by two additional factors: time (options are not good wine; they get cheaper with age) and expected volatility, which we’ll discuss next.

Let’s say you are insuring a home somewhere on the Florida coast. The general formula to calculate the cost of insurance is probability of loss times severity of loss. According to a study by Colorado State University, the climatological probability that the coast of Florida will get hit by a major hurricane in any particular year is 21%, so once every five years or so.

A 21% probability doesn’t mean that a hurricane will pay a visit every fifth year; no, it actually means that over a 100-year period there will on average be 20 hurricanes hitting the Florida coast. Hurricanes may, however, decide to pay a visit two or three years in a row and then take eight or ten years off.

21% is the number an insurance company uses to figure out the intrinsic cost of the insurance. But this is where we have to draw a distinction between climatological probability of loss (intrinsic or true cost) and expected probability of loss.

There are other factors that go into the total cost of the insurance contract, including the size of the policy, its duration, and the deductible. But if you hold all these factors constant, the only number that fluctuates due to supply and demand in insurance market is the expected probability of loss.

A year after a hurricane, homeowners are still licking their wounds from last year’s Richard or Betty. The pain is so recent that those who were hit expect that hurricanes will happen a lot more often and thus the expected probability (in the eyes of these consumers) rises to … pick a number; let’s say 50% (a hurricane every two years). (The insurance industry may have had its capital depleted by recent hurricanes, which will also drive prices higher, but we’ll ignore this factor in our discussion.)

However, if there is no hurricane for a while, let’s say for eight years, the memory and the pain of the last hurricane fade away. A new wave of homeowners moves in, who have seen hurricanes only from the comfort of their leather couches on the Weather Channel. Now the expectation of another hurricane drops to, let’s say, 10% (a storm every ten years).

Thus, though expected probability and thus insurance cost has fluctuated dramatically from 50% to 10%, intrinsic value has not changed; it is still 21%. This example is extremely oversimplified, but the key point is still the same: A rational homeowner would want to buy insurance when no one expected a hurricane to visit Florida and lock in that price for as long as possible. If you are an insurance company you want to write as much insurance as you can when hurricanes are priced at 50% expected probability, and you want to be out of the market when they are priced at a 10% probability.

In the options market, expected probability of loss is expressed in terms of the volatility that is priced into options. Ten years of bull market have eroded even the most unpleasant memories of the 2008 decline. Fear has been replaced by euphoria that has been further amplified by the steady daily appreciation of stocks. The mindset that markets will never decline ever again has gradually seeped into the collective stock market psyche. This is why volatility is cheap! How cheap? Average volatility priced into options since 2004 was about 18%; today it is at 10%. In 2008 it reached 80%, and it has reached 40% a few times since 2008.

Volatility is quickly becoming one of the most interesting assets in the otherwise not very interesting stock market. But the situation in the stock market is even more interesting than in the hurricane insurance market.

Stock markets are fueled by two often contradictory forces: human emotions and movement towards fair value. Human emotions may divorce stocks from their fair value for a considerable period of time, but movement towards fair value can only be postponed but not suspended. During bull markets greed begets greed and stock market valuations go from cheap to average to high to super-high to extra-super-high – we are running out of superlatives, but we hope you get the point: Valuations march ever higher … until the music stops.

It is hard to know what will trigger the “stops” part, but in the late stage of the bull market, stock market behavior is driven less and less by fundamental factors and more and more resembles a Ponzi scheme (though market commentators come up with plenty of rational explanations to wrap around their “this time is different” narrative).

Stocks march higher until the market runs out of buyers and collapses under its own weight. This is how movement towards fair value takes place – except that, historically, markets have rarely stopped at fair value; they have fallen to levels well below fair value. (Vitaliy wrote two books on this subject – we’d be happy to send you copies.)

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We are not meteorologists, but we believe there is an important difference between hurricanes and stocks. Just as when you flip a coin each flip is an independent event and completely unconnected to the previous flip, hurricanes are independent events – just because Richard paid a visit to Florida last year does not change the probability of Betty’s appearance next year. Betty is not aware of Richard’s past misdeeds.

In contrast, the probability of a significant market decline is not constant; it is dependent on past movements of stocks. As markets stretch higher and higher, bulk of the appreciation was driven by expansion of price to earnings. Market valuation which was already high went higher. The gap between the price and intrinsic value creates a rubber band-like tension. The wider the gap the greater the tension and risk of eventually embarking on the return trip towards fair value.

Thus, in the case of the hurricane the climatological probability of 21% of loss remains constant no matter whether Richard or Betty appears, but in the stock market the probability of a sharp decline (an equities hurricane) increases as the gap between price and fair value widens.

In other words, today the value of volatility has increased while its price is making new lows. This is why we believe volatility is one of the most interesting assets we see now.

We are not market timers. We have no idea what the stock market will do in 2018, but we look at buying put options as an opportunity to hedge our portfolios with what we believe is significantly undervalued insurance.

Let’s delve into the practicality of our hedging strategy and modify some assumptions we made in the oversimplified example above. First, our portfolios are not 100% correlated to market indices. Considering that we own high-quality companies that are significantly undervalued, we believe our stocks will (temporarily) decline less than the market if there is a significant correction. Second, we have a lot of cash, which doesn’t require hedging.

Let’s say your account is 60% invested. We only need to worry about hedging that 60%. And considering that our stocks will decline less than the market, we need to buy puts to protect less than 60%. How much less? Historically our stocks have declined a lot less than the market during significant sell-offs. Our average portfolio was down 17-18% in 2008 when markets were down 35-45%. Our guestimate, therefore, is that we need to hedge about half of 60% or 30% of the total portfolio. So the total cost of insuring the portfolio against a decline of 5% or greater for a year would be 1.2% (4% – the cost of “insuring” the total portfolio – times 30%).

You can see how this strategy can reduce risk, but can it increase returns? The answer is a bit more complex and has two parts: First, if the market takes a deep dive, our appreciated put options together with cash will have increased buying power, since everything around us will be cheaper. And second, depending of when it happens – how much time value is left in the option – the value of the option may jump dramatically, as the market will be pricing in not 10% volatility but a much higher number – 30%, 40%? – your guess is as good as ours.

IMA’s ultimate goal is produce good risk-adjusted returns while keeping volatility of our clients’ blood pressure level to a minimum. We try to achieve this through our conservative stock selection, our transparent (sometimes overly long) communication, and now through buying inexpensive insurance on the portion of your portfolio.

Assessment

Our view on what true risk is has not changed. To value investors, true risk is not volatility (a stock temporarily declining in price), but a permanent loss of capital (the stock price decline is permanent). Our hedging strategy goal is to take advantage of an undervalued asset – volatility – and to decrease your (future) blood pressure just a little.

Conclusion

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements.

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HEDGE FUNDS – A History Rooted in Medicine?

HEDGE FUNDS – Really Rooted in Medicine?

By Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA CMP™

http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

The investment profession has come a long way since the door-to-door stock salesmen of the 1920s sold a willing public on worthless stock certificates. The stock market crash of 1929 and ensuing Great Depression of the 1930s forever changed the way investment operations are run. A bewildering array of laws and regulations sprung up, all geared to protecting the individual investor from fraud. These laws also set out specific guidelines on what types of investment can be marketed to the general public – and allowed for the creation of a set of investment products specifically not marketed to the general public.

These early-mid 20th century lawmakers specifically exempted from the definition of “general public,” for all practical purposes, those investors that meet certain minimum net worth guidelines. The lawmakers decided that wealth brings the sophistication required to evaluate, either independently or together with wise counsel, investment options that fall outside the mainstream.

Not surprisingly, an investment industry catering to such wealthy individuals, such as doctors and healthcare professionals, and qualifying institutions has sprung up.

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READ MORE HERE

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hedge-funds-history-rooted-medicine-mbbs-dpm-mba-m-ed-cmp-

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Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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Hurdle Rates V. Highwater Marks V. Claw Back Provisions

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More on Hedge Funds – Oh My!

dem-2

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP®

Many physicians and other investors — even those that meet net worth guidelines — are surprised to learn that there exists a $500 – 999 billion, or more, alternative investment industry that is not generally marketed to the public. Such alternative investments have also been known as hedge funds or private investment funds.

Unlike mutual funds, these alternative investments can be structured in a wide variety of ways. Because of the very same regulations discussed above, these funds cannot be advertised, but they are far from illegal or illicit.

http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

cmp

History

In fact, physicians were among the most significant early investors in one of the last century’s most successful hedge funds. Mr. Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. and a legendary investor got his start in 1957 running the Buffett Partnership, an alternative investment fund not open to the general public. Mr. Buffett’s first public appearance as a money manager was before a group of physicians in Omaha, Nebraska. Eleven decided to put some money with him. A few of these original investors followed him into Berkshire Hathaway, now among the most highly valued companies in the world.

The alternative investment, or hedge, funds of today are similar to the original Buffett Partnership in many ways. So, we will discuss several unique terms which potential investors should be aware.

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hds

Hurdle Rate

Hedge funds may feature a hurdle rate as part of the calculation of the fund manager’s performance incentive compensation. Also known as a “benchmark,” the hurdle rate is the amount, expressed in percentage points, an investor’s capital account must appreciate before the account becomes subject to a performance incentive fee. Potential medical investors should view the hurdle rate as a form of protection in context with other features of the fee arrangement.

The hurdle rate, which benchmarks a single year’s performance, may be considered mutually exclusive of any other year, or the hurdle rate may compound each year. The former case is more common. In the latter case, a portfolio manager failing to attain a hurdle rate in the first year will find the effective hurdle rate considerably higher during the second year.

Once a fund manager attains the hurdle rate for an investor, the medical investor’s capital account may be charged a performance incentive fee only on the performance above and beyond the hurdle rate. Alternatively, the account may be charged a performance fee for the entire level of performance, including the performance required to attain the hurdle rate. Other variations on the use of the hurdle rate exist, and are limited only by the contract signed between the fund manager and the investor. The hurdle rate is not generally a negotiating point, however.

Example:

A fund charges a performance fee with a 6 percent hurdle rate, calculated in mutually exclusive manner. Dr. Lanouette, a radiologist investor places $100,000 with the fund. The first year’s performance is 5 percent. The investor therefore owes no performance fee during the first year because the portfolio manager did not attain the hurdle rate. During year two, the portfolio manager guides the fund to a 7 percent return. Because the hurdle rate is mutually exclusive of any other year, the portfolio manager has attained the 6 percent hurdle rate and is entitled to a performance fee.

Highwater Mark

Some funds feature a highwater mark provision, also known as a ”loss-carryforward” provision. As with the hurdle rate, potential investors should consider the highwater mark a form of protection. A high water mark is an amount equal to the greatest value of an investor’s capital account, adjusted for contributions and withdrawals. The high water mark ensures that the hedge fund manager charges a performance incentive fee only on the amount of appreciation over and above the highwater mark set at the time the performance fee was last charged. The current trend is for newer funds to feature this highwater mark, while older, larger funds may not feature it.

Example:

A fund charges a 20 percent performance fee with a highwater mark but no hurdle rate. Dr. Butala, a dentist investor contributes $100,000 to the fund. During the first year, the hedge fund manager grows that capital account to $110,000 and charges a 20 percent performance fee, or $2,000. The ending capital account balance and highwater mark is therefore $108,000. During year two, the account falls back to $100,000, but the highwater mark remains $108,000. During year three, in order for the manager to charge a performance fee, the manager must grow the capital account to a level above $108,000.

Clawback Provision

Rarely, a fund may provide investors with a clawback provision. This term, borrowed from the venture capital fund world, such provisions result in a refund to the investor of all or part of a previously charged performance fee if a certain level of performance is not attained in subsequent years. Such refunds in the face of poor or inadequate performance may not be legal in some states or under certain authorities.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

 Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™  Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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The Massacre of Hedge Fund Business

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By Michael Zhuang

Michael Zhuang

The Massacre of Hedge Fund Business

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I took the sensationalist title from a CNBC article I read recently. The articles talks about,  and I quote,
” … hedge funds, as a category, is experiencing the worst quarter of outflows since the bottom of the financial crisis … there were an avalanche of stories about the industry’s nearly systematic underperforming.”
Readers of my newsletter and blog, The Investment Scientist,  can thank me later for warning them years ago.
Examples
On April 28, 2011, I published “A Balanced Portfolio to Avoid (II): Hedge Funds Don’t Deliver Outstanding Returns.” Let me quote my former self:
“Hedge funds are often peddled as an unique asset class that are uncorrelated with the market. In reality, hedge funds are as much an asset class as Las Vegas is.”
The unspoken message is: you should expect to lose money.
On August 15, 2012, I published “Why You should Avoid Hedge Funds.
” I wrote that article after I read the book by former hedge fund industry insider Simon Lack, “The Hedge Fund Mirage.”  I summarized the book in one sentence for my readers: “Between 1998 and 2010, hedge fund fees totaled $440 billion vs. $9 billion profits for investors.”
Note: Hedge fund performance reporting is voluntary – unprofitable hedge funds need not report – so even the $9 billion profit figure should be taken with a grain of salt.
On June 13, 2013, I was aghast at SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White’s proposal to allow hedge funds to market to the public. That day, I wrote a sarcastic piece “Why Allowing Hedge Funds to Market to The Public is Such A Good Idea.”
In the concluding paragraph I wrote:
“What’s unfair about the existing hedge fund rule is that only the top 1% get that bragging right. The rest of us don’t even know such a wonderful opportunity exists to transfer our puny wealth to the hedge fund managers who are really the top 0.1%.”
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dollar-1029742_640
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Assessment
I hope somewhere out there a reader or two did not buy into the hedge fund hype because of my writings. That would make all the midnight oil I have burned worth it!

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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What is a Hedge Fund and I’m Here to Help?

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What is a Hedge Fund? – You’re a Moron and I’m Here to Help.

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investmentcenter5

More:

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners(TM)

Front Matter with Foreword by Jason Dyken MD MBA

logos

“BY DOCTORS – FOR DOCTORS – PEER REVIEWED – FIDUCIARY FOCUSED”

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The 20 Largest Private Companies in the US

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A look at the 20 largest private companies in the US

Interesting how many of them (8 of the 20) are in some way highly involved in food — Cargill, MARS, Publix, C&S Wholesale Grocers, US Foods, H-E-B, Meijer and Reyes Holdings.

And, although not grouped as such below, you could arguably add Love’s Travel Stops, Pilot Travel Centers and Aramark to that group – bringing it to 11 of the 20.

Assessment

Think any of these will go pubic; besides Facebook?

Conclusion

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Merrill Lynch Investigated for CDO Deal Involving Magnetar

Hedge Fund Probed

By Marian Wang

ProPublica, June 15, 2011, 3:10 pm

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The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether Merrill Lynch short-changed investors and gave undue influence to the hedge fund Magnetar in the creation of a $1.5-billion mortgage-backed security deal.

The investigation, which was first reported [1] by the Financial Times ($), appears to be the agency’s first probe of Merrill Lynch’s CDO business since the financial crisis. (Check our bank investigations cheat sheet [2] for which other firms are being probed.) Here’s the FT:

The investigation is one of several SEC probes into banks that helped underwrite billions of dollars of collateralised debt obligations, securities comprised of mortgages or derivatives linked to them.

It also marks a broadening of the SEC’s investigation into the role of collateral managers, institutions that help select the assets included in CDOs.

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The deal that the SEC is investigating—a collateralized debt obligation, or CDO, called Norma—was detailed both in our reporting last year [3] and in a report [4] by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission released in January. Norma was one of more than two dozen CDO deals [5] done by Magnetar, whose bets against a number of CDOs earned it billions in the waning days of the housing boom.

As the FCIC detailed, Magnetar helped select the assets that went into Norma even though it had a $600 million bet that would pay off substantially if the CDO failed. As we reported [6], Magnetar often invested in the portion of the CDO that was riskiest and hardest for the banks to sell. Banks typically gave such investors—equity investors—more say in how the deal was structured. (Magnetar isn’t named as a target of the investigation and had no responsibility to investors. It has also maintained that it did not have a strategy to bet against the housing market.)

In the offering documents for Norma, there’s no mention of Magnetar’s role in asset selection, according to the FCIC. Investors were told that an independent collateral manager, NIR Capital Management, would be selecting the assets with their best interest in mind. The report concluded: “NIR abdicated its asset selection duties… with Merrill’s knowledge.”

Bank of America

Bank of America, which took over Merrill Lynch in 2008, declined our request for comment. The firm’s general counsel told [4] the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that it was “common industry practice” for equity investors to have input during the asset selection process, though the collateral manager had final say.

NIR Capital Management

NIR Capital Management is also being investigated by the SEC, according to the FT. The firm did not immediately respond to our request for comment. (The Wall Street Journal did an impressively detailed story in 2007 on how NIR came to be manager [7] of the Norma deal.)

Magnetar declined our earlier requests for comment on Norma, but FT reports it has denied claims [1] that it selected the assets for Norma.

Assessment

As we reported, the SEC had launched a probe of Merrill’s CDO business 2007, but that investigation petered out without resulting in any charges.

Conclusion

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Keep your Investing Options Open – Doctor

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Or – Hedge your Bets

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™

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[Publisher-in-Chief]

As a physician executive or investor, if you don’t ordinarily deal in options or other financial derivatives, you may need to brush up on puts and calls, straddles, strangles (or combinations), forwards, futures, swaps, spreads, and non-equity options such as stock index options. Options and other financial derivatives can be used by astute physicians, financial advisors and investment managers not only as a tool to better manage the investment risks potentially affecting portfolio returns, but to craft truly value-added investment strategies customized to meet investors’ needs. The three main types of risk of equity securities (individual company, industry, and market) can be mitigated with options.

Individual Company Risk

Individual company risk can be addressed with equity options in that company’s stock. Industry risk can be reduced through the use of narrow-based index options, while market risk can be mitigated with broad-based index options. Sophisticated hedging and risk management strategies can be designed using both equity and stock index options.

Exotic Stock Options?

Some doctors feel that options have been generally thought of as too risky or exotic or requiring too much capital, resulting in a general lack of comfort. A decade ago, these opinions have no doubt been shaped by the collapse of Bearings and the resulting bitter litigation by Proctor & Gamble and Gibson Greetings against Bankers Trust. More recently it has been Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Lehman Brothers, AIG, BA, Fannie, Freddie and all those involved in the “flash-crash” of 2008-09; etc.

Assessment

Generally, premiums paid in buying puts or calls are nondeductible capital expenditures and may produce a capital gain or loss depending upon whether the option is sold prior to exercise, the call expires unexercised, or, if the option is exercised, it is added to the basis of the stock (call) or deducted from it (put). Premiums received for writing puts or calls are not included in income upon receipt but are deferred until the option expires, is exercised, or a closing transaction is entered into. Non-equity options (index options) are marked to market at year end (same as for futures) with 60% considered long-term capital gain and 40% considered short-term.

Note: “An Introduction to Options and Other Financial Derivative Strategies,” by Thomas J. Boczar, Trust & Estates, February 1997, pp. 43–68, INTERTEC/K-III Publishing.

The primary objectives in using derivatives are:

1. Risk management and hedging (reducing or eliminating downside risk, monetizing a position, deferring and possibly avoiding capital gains taxes)

2. Leveraging investment capital

3. Enhancing after-tax returns

4. Creating customized risk/return profiles

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Conclusion

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How to Monitor Hedge Funds

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Four Ways to Monitor after Purchase

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA, CMP™

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[Publisher-in-Chief]

Hedge funds (broadly defined as private investment vehicles that trade a variety of long and short equities, derivatives, futures contracts, and options in a variety of capital markets) have grown in size and importance in client portfolios because of superior performance, until of late [2008-09], and readily available investor capital.

Risk Factors

Physicians and clients often ask us to assess certain risk factors and a variety of investment entity structural characteristics associated with hedge funds. Accordingly, we must often be involved in discussing clients’ specific risk/return desires and expectations as they consider such investments.

Four Key Post-Investment Issues:

  1. A change in core investment strategies or risk postures from those which are documented in the investment policy statement—Among these are the specific markets to be traded, the degree of financial leverage to be employed or allowable, the underlying instruments or contracts to be used, and the investment strategies to be pursued under various conditions. Hence, there is no substitute for careful and regular assessment by the planner of changes in how and what an investment manager is trading and communication of such to the client.
  2. Use of financial leverage can dramatically increase returns just as poor performance can be accentuated—The key issue for the planner is whether a given investment manager’s use of leverage changes over the life of the hedge-fund investment, thereby possibly affecting the client’s initial desired risk/return profile.
  3. The composition of the performance return, particularly with respect to the long-term capital gain component.
  4. Asset growth—Regularly monitor and evaluate whether it is detrimental to performance and capable of causing an erosion of performance over a long-term horizon.

Assessment

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Often, after a hedge-fund investment has been made, if performance over time is good (or even adequate), both the doctor client and the financial advisors or planner may assume that there has been no material changes in investment strategy or structural characteristics that warrant attention or concern. Such changes often occur subtly over time and, if performance erodes, and the client may feel that the planner did not adequately monitor the investment. Hence the necessity for the above warning post

Note: “Post investment Issues Regarding Hedge Funds,” by Richard L. Fisher, Personal Financial Planning, November/December 1996, pp. 14–19, Warren, Gorham & Lamont, 1-800-950-1205.)

Conclusion

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Identifying Suspicious Short Selling

But Not Who’s Behind the Trades

By Karen Weise
ProPublica, July 8, 2010

Last weekend, The Wall Street Journal highlighted new academic research [1] showing that investors may be trading on insider information after companies approach hedge funds for loans.

Researchers found that on average, in the five days before companies announce a loan from a hedge fund, the volume of short sales increases by 75 percent as compared with the 60 days before a deal is announced. There was no comparable uptick in betting against companies that borrowed money from commercial banks instead.

Short Selling

With short selling, hedge funds and other investors make money by wagering that a stock’s price will fall. Borrowing from hedge funds rather than commercial banks can be seen as a sign of distress, as hedge funds tend to charge higher interest rates.

One of the researchers, Debarshi Nandy of the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, told ProPublica that the findings pose an important question of whether hedge funds are using insider information inappropriately.

Working Draft

Here’s a PDF of a working draft of the paper [2]; the final version is not yet published. When companies ask hedge funds to consider giving them a loan, they typically require that the funds sign nondisclosure agreements. That’s because the borrowers divulge confidential financial information in the process of trying to get a loan — information that can provide insight into a company’s future performance. That, in turn, can be valuable to investors.

Examining Changes

In looking at instances when companies made changes to existing loans, researchers found that the short sales on companies amending loans from hedge funds were profitable, whereas similar short sales on companies amending loans from banks resulted in losses. But, the researchers stop short of saying that hedge funds definitely make insider trades. It’s all a little bit hazy because there is little disclosure required for hedge funds and short selling. While the paper identifies “abnormal” shorting activity, the identity of the investors making the trades is a mystery. “If it is truly insider trading by the fund or a ‘tip-ee’ of the fund, it would really be good to get some further data on who is actually doing the trading,” said Anita Krug, an expert in the laws governing hedge funds.

Assessment

Investors are required to notify the  Securities and Exchange Commission when taking large long positions, but there is no equivalent requirement for short bets. During the week that Lehman Brothers collapsed in the fall of 2008, the SEC issued a temporary order [3] requiring investors to report large short positions, but it did not renew that requirement last summer when the order lapsed [4]. The pending financial reform bill also would not require disclosure.

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Conclusion

Short sellers say more regulations would discourage their trading, which they argue helps moderate market bubbles and contributes to market efficiency, says Mark Perlow, an attorney at K&L Gates who represents hedge funds.

Link: http://www.propublica.org/article/identifying-suspicious-short-selling-but-not-whos-behind-the-trades

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Understanding Absolute Investment Returns

Exploiting Market Inefficiencies

By J. Wayne Firebaugh CPA, CFP® CMP™

By Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA, CMP™

Source: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

This class of investments seeks to exploit market inefficiencies and generate positive returns regardless of broader market performance. Often, investments in this class are made through the use of hedge funds. Hedge funds will often employ leverage, short-selling, and arbitrage to take advantage of pricing distortions in their targeted strategy area.

Relation to Healthcare Endowments

When investing an endowment’s assets in this category, the physician director or money manager should be aware of fee structures that commonly include performance-related incentive fees, hurdle rates, and claw-back clauses. The endowment managers should also remember that these types of investments generally have much less transparency than other asset classes with which they may be more familiar.

Assessment

Finally, since many of these investments are offered only to accredited investors, the physician or investment manager is often free to pursue much more aggressive strategies than would otherwise be pursued for retail or lay customers.

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Conclusion

But, can we [anyone] exploit market inefficiencies? Is the market efficient or inefficient? What about Modern Portfolio Theory [MPT] or the Arbitrage Pricing Model? Did we really learn anything from the market crash of 2008?

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Treasury Officials and Investment Firms Cozy Up for Business

The State of Oregon

By Marian Wang, ProPublica – April 12, 2010 4:13 pm EDT

Over the weekend, several stories about troubled state and local pension funds were published. In Seattle, officials are chasing down information about $20 million the city invested in a now-insolvent hedge fund [1]. And, in California, cities’ investments have not paid off as expected [2], forcing some local governments to cut other programs to pay for pensions. Across the country, the downturn has put a strain on many states’ fiscal health, and has caused extreme losses in higher-risk investments like pension funds. But, not so in Oregon, where investments are doing well, and state investment officers are doing even better.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=hedge+fund&iid=6715184″ src=”2/0/7/9/Swiss_Village_Becomes_85fc.jpg?adImageId=12469045&imageId=6715184″ width=”380″ height=”262″ /]

Why Oregon?

The Oregonian reports that state investment officers are being wined and dined by the private investment firms [3] whose services to the state they oversee. State Treasury officers, paid on average “just shy of $200,000 last year,” were treated to resort hotels, first-class airfare and high-end dinners—“all in the name of public service.”

The cozy relationship, reports the Oregonian, raises questions about whether the first-class treatment skews officers’ ability to oversee the investment firms that treat them so lavishly. For their part, the firms stand to gain quite a bit if they stay in the good graces of state Treasury officers:

Public investors such as Oregon are lucrative customers. Besides the cash to invest, investment firms collect huge fees for their day-to-day work. Oregon’s pension system alone paid $335 million in investment fees and expenses last year … The concept is much like an individual investor figuring out how to put spare cash to work in profitable ways. Except Oregon has billions in cash. Profits from investments cover state retiree pensions and care for Oregon’s injured and disabled workers.

Assessment

Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler announced last week that he was reviewing travel protocols, though Oregon Treaury’s chief investment officer Ron Schmitz has said high-end travel is “necessary normal business practice.” “We consider none of it luxurious,” he told the newspaper. But that’s not what it sounds like from communications between investment officers and the investment firms.

“I’m only packing my swimsuit, Tevas, and sun tan lotion and you guys will just have to find me on the beach or surfing the waves,” one Treasury employee wrote to a firm representative. The firm ended up paying for his stay in a Four Seasons Resort in Mexico.

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How One Hedge Fund Helped Keep the Bubble Going

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On the Magnetar Trade

By Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein, ProPublica – April 9, 2010 1:00 pm EDT

In late 2005, the booming U.S. housing market seemed to be slowing. The Federal Reserve had begun raising interest rates. Subprime mortgage company shares were falling. Investors began to balk at buying complex mortgage securities. The housing bubble, which had propelled a historic growth in home prices, seemed poised to deflate. And if it had, the great financial crisis of 2008, which produced the Great Recession of 2008-09, might have come sooner and been less severe.

Precise Timing

At just that moment, a few savvy financial engineers at a suburban Chicago hedge fund [1] helped revive the Wall Street money machine, spawning billions of dollars of securities ultimately backed by home mortgages.

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When the crash came, nearly all of these securities became worthless, a loss of an estimated $40 billion paid by investors, the investment banks who helped bring them into the world, and, eventually, American taxpayers.

Yet the hedge fund, named Magnetar for the super-magnetic field created by the last moments of a dying star, earned outsized returns in the year the financial crisis began.

The Magnetar Trade

How Magnetar pulled this off is one of the untold stories of the meltdown. Only a small group of Wall Street insiders was privy to what became known as the Magnetar Trade [2]. Nearly all of those approached by ProPublica declined to talk on the record, fearing their careers would be hurt if they spoke publicly. But interviews with participants, e-mails [3], thousands of pages of documents and details about the securities that until now have not been publicly disclosed shed light on an arcane, secretive corner of Wall Street.

According to bankers and others involved, the Magnetar Trade worked this way: The hedge fund bought the riskiest portion of a kind of securities known as collateralized debt obligations — CDOs. If housing prices kept rising, this would provide a solid return for many years. But that’s not what hedge funds are after. They want outsized gains, the sooner the better, and Magnetar set itself up for a huge win: It placed bets that portions of its own deals would fail.

Chance Enhancement

Along the way, it did something to enhance the chances of that happening, according to several people with direct knowledge of the deals. They say Magnetar pressed to include riskier assets in their CDOs that would make the investments more vulnerable to failure. The hedge fund acknowledges it bet against its own deals but says the majority of its short positions, as they are known on Wall Street, involved similar CDOs that it did not own. Magnetar says it never selected the assets that went into its CDOs.

Magnetar says it was “market neutral,” meaning it would make money whether housing rose or fell. (Read their full statement. [4]) Dozens of Wall Street professionals, including many who had direct dealings with Magnetar, are skeptical of that assertion. They understood the Magnetar Trade as a bet against the subprime mortgage securities market. Why else, they ask, would a hedge fund sponsor tens of billions of dollars of new CDOs at a time of rising uncertainty about housing?

Key details of the Magnetar Trade remain shrouded in secrecy and the fund declined to respond to most of our questions. Magnetar invested in 30 CDOs from the spring of 2006 to the summer of 2007, though it declined to name them. ProPublica has identified 26 [5].

Independent Analysis

An independent analysis [6] commissioned by ProPublica shows that these deals defaulted faster and at a higher rate compared to other similar CDOs. According to the analysis, 96 percent of the Magnetar deals were in default by the end of 2008, compared with 68 percent for comparable CDOs. The study [6] was conducted by PF2 Securities Evaluations, a CDO valuation firm. (Magnetar says defaults don’t necessarily indicate the quality of the underlying CDO assets.)

From what we’ve learned, there was nothing illegal in what Magnetar did; it was playing by the rules in place at the time. And the hedge fund didn’t cause the housing bubble or the financial crisis. But the Magnetar Trade does illustrate the perverse incentives and reckless behavior that characterized the last days of the boom.

Major Players

Magnetar worked with major banks, including Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, and UBS. At least nine banks helped Magnetar hatch deals. Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and UBS all did multiple deals with Magnetar. JPMorgan Chase, often lauded for having avoided the worst of the CDO craze, actually ended up doing one of the riskiest deals with Magnetar, in May 2007, nearly a year after housing prices started to decline. According to marketing material and prospectuses [5], the banks didn’t disclose to CDO investors the role Magnetar played.

Many of the bankers who worked on these deals personally benefited, earning millions in annual bonuses. The banks booked profits at the outset. But those gains were fleeting. As it turned out, the banks that assembled and marketed the Magnetar CDOs had trouble selling them. And when the crash came, they were among the biggest losers.

Assessment

Of course, some bankers involved in the Magnetar Trade now regret what they did. We showed one of the many people fired as a result of the CDO collapse a list of unusually risky mortgage bonds included in a Magnetar deal he had worked on. The deal was a disaster. He shook his head at being reminded of the details and said: “After looking at this, I deserved to lose my job.”

Magnetar wasn’t the only market player to come up with clever ways to bet against housing. Many articles and books, including a bestseller by Michael Lewis [7], have recounted how a few investors saw trouble coming and bet big. Such short bets can be helpful; they can serve as a counterweight to manias and keep bubbles from expanding.

Magnetar’s approach had the opposite effect — by helping create investments it also bet against, the hedge fund was actually fueling the market. Magnetar wasn’t alone in that: A few other hedge funds also created CDOs they bet against. And, as the New York Times has reported, Goldman Sachs did too. But Magnetar industrialized the process, creating more and bigger CDOs.

Conclusion

Several journalists have alluded to the Magnetar Trade in recent years, but until now none has assembled a full narrative. Yves Smith, a prominent financial blogger who has reported on aspects of the Magnetar Trade, writes in her new book, “Econned,” [8] that “Magnetar went into the business of creating subprime CDOs on an unheard of scale. If the world had been spared their cunning, the insanity of 2006-2007 would have been less extreme and the unwinding milder.”

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A Due-Diligence ‘Condom’ for Physician Investors

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Using Financial Advisors with Increased Safety

[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™]dr-david-marcinko8

Following the Bernie Madoff investment scheme, and related financial industry scandals, here are seven “red-flags” that should have alerted physician-investors to proceed with extreme caution. Always consider them before making an investment with any financial advisor [FA], registered representative [RR] or financial advisory firm, regardless of reputation, size, referral recommendation or so-called industry certifications and designations. In other words, according to Robert James Cimasi; MHA, AVA, and a Certified Medical Planner™ from Health Capital Consultants LLC, of St. Louis, MO;” trust no one and paddle your own canoe.”

Red Flags of Cautious Investing

As a former insurance agent, financial advisor, registered representative, investment advisor and Certified Financial Planner™ for more than a decade, the existence of any one of the following items may be a “red-flag” of caution to any investor:

  • Acting as its’ own custodian, clearance firm or broker-dealer, etc.
  • Lack of a well-known accounting firm review with regular reporting.
  • Unreliable or sporadic written performance reports.
  • Rates-of-return that don’t seem to track industry benchmarks.
  • Seeming avoidance of regulatory oversight, transparency or review.
  • Lack of recognized written fiduciary accountability in favor of lower brokerage “sales suitability” standards.
  • No Investment Policy Statement [IPS]. 

Assessment

Let a word to the wise be sufficient going forward. But, in hindsight, a healthy dose of skepticism might have prevented this situation in the first place. As is the usual case, fear and greed often seem to rule the day. Just as there is no such thing as safe sex – just safer sex – there is no thing as safe intermediary investing. But, exercising some common sense will surely make investing with any financial advisor much safer. It’s like a condom for your money. 

For more information on the topic of fiduciary standards – which we have championed for the last ten years in our books, texts, white-papers, journal and online educational Certified Medical Planner™ program for FAs – watch out for our exclusive Medical Executive-Post interview with Bennett Aikin AIF®, Communications Coordinator of www.fi360.com coming in March. Ben, an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® did a great job with the tough questions submitted by our own Ann Miller; RN, MHA and Hope Hetico; RN, MHA, CMP™. Don’t miss it!

Disclaimer

I am the Managing Partner for http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org and I agree with this message.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

Product Details

***

About National Compliance Services, Inc.

Want, Need or Risk Reduction Mechanism?
Staff Reporters

cmp-logo6

As readers and subscribers to the Medical Executive Post, and our related print periodicals, dictionaries and books are aware, choosing the right financial consulting firm, or consultant, is always a challenging task www.HealthCareFinancials.com Today, this is true more than ever, given the financial meltdown and the all too obvious shenanigans of Wall Street www.HealthDictionarySeries.com Lay and physician investors alike are affected; along with related financial advisors of all stripes, degrees and designations [spurious or more credible] www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com

National Compliance Services

According to the National Compliance Services, Inc. [NCS] website, an experienced team of customer-oriented professionals is in place that strives to meet personal and corporate compliance needs so that clients can focus on areas of expertise www.NCSonline.com

A Protean Focus

NCS operates in the financial compliance and regulatory services industry. Its strength may be in providing efficient, and reasonably priced products and services for many different sub-arenas, such as: investment and financial advisors, hedge and mutual funds, stock-brokers and broker-dealers. Their customized services are designed to structure a compliance program that is appropriate for any individual, or firm’s unique regulatory needs. NCS works to ensure compliance with applicable federal and/or state rules and regulations.

Range of Products and Services

NCS has offered its personalized services to more than 6,000 clients, both domestically and internationally. Their consultants include former regulatory examiners, accountants, attorneys, and other individuals with extensive hands-on industry experience.

Verification Services

NCS also offers a standard or customized line of verification services to Mutual Funds, Hedge Funds, Custodians, Broker-Dealers, Investment Advisers, and Third-Party Vendors. Verification services can be customized to include any or all of the following:

  • Firm Registration/Notice Filing with the Proper Jurisdiction(s)
  • Adviser Representative Registration(s)
  • Adviser Representative Degree(s) or Professional Designation(s)
  • Firm Reported Disciplinary History
  • Adviser Representative Reported Disciplinary History
  • Proper Registration of Solicitors
  • Proper Registration of Wholesalers and Third-Party Vendors
  • Bank Background and Activity Reports, and
  • OFAC Checks, etc.

Assessment

Moreover, claims of verification for over 15,000 Registered Investment Advisers, and Investment Adviser Representatives, seem plausible. For example, NCS recently contacted www.CertifiMedicalPlanner.com to verify the good-standing of a member and charter-holder.

Contact Info:

For further information, please contact:

Alex Aghyarian
National Compliance Services, Inc
Verification Technician
Phone: 561.330.7645 ext 302 and Fax: 561.330.7044
aaghyarian@ncsonline.com

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Verification in most any space is worthwhile of course; but is membership in a vague or nebulous organization helpful or harmful to the uninitiated?

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com  or Bio: www.stpub.com/pubs/authors/MARCINKO.htm

Our Other Print Books and Related Information Sources:

Practice Management: http://www.springerpub.com/prod.aspx?prod_id=23759

Physician Financial Planning: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763745790

Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

Subscribe Now: Did you like this Medical Executive-Post, or find it helpful, interesting and informative? Want to get the latest E-Ps delivered to your email box each morning? Just subscribe using the link below. You can unsubscribe at any time. Security is assured.

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The Next Financial Crisis?

Your Opinion Counts

Staff Reporterslifeguard-warning

The effects of the current financial meltdown are well-known to all citizenry. And, the next economic crisis is still wholly unforeseen. However, research conducted by the Institute of Medical Business Advisors Inc, suggests it may come from one, or more, of the following sectors:

  • Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation
  • Home/Commercial Real-Estate Mortgages
  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Hedge Fund Collapse
  • Social Security Administration
  • Autos, Airlines, Manufacturing, etc
  • Global Financial Catastrophe
  • Terrorist Attack
  • Something else?

Assessment

For more info: www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com

Conclusion

What do you think? Let us know what’s on your mind with a post, opinion or comment.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com  or Bio: www.stpub.com/pubs/authors/MARCINKO.htm

Our Other Print Books and Related Information Sources:

Practice Management: http://www.springerpub.com/prod.aspx?prod_id=23759

Physician Financial Planning: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763745790

Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

Subscribe Now: Did you like this Medical Executive-Post, or find it helpful, interesting and informative? Want to get the latest E-Ps delivered to your email box each morning? Just subscribe using the link below. You can unsubscribe at any time. Security is assured.

Link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/HealthcareFinancialsthePostForcxos

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