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Brokerage Accounts Are The New Big Target For Scammers (Wall Street Journal)
According to WSJ’s Michael Wursthorn, customers at brokerages and investment-advisory firms become special targets for scammers because of the six to seven-figure amounts they often hold. Because of this, security risks and criminal attempts have increased over the past two years.
To address the issue, firms are requiring a double-check or telephone confirmation for any wire requests from customers. The customers also need to be on their guard for fraudulent activity. This includes avoiding putting sensitive information in emails, destroying old paper records of personal information, and being familiar with their firm’s processes.
How To Navigate Splitting Business Assets In A Divorce (InvestmentNews)
For Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Arnall, dividing assets in their divorce got much messier when considering Continental Resources and the role that Hamm’s wife played in the business. Although Arnall cashed a $US975 million check from Hamm, she still believes she is entitled to more.
“The big issue in their case, and in many others, is to what extent did the increase in the value of the business relate to normal market forces versus the husband’s effort from working in the business,” said Pacific Divorce Management’s Justin Reckers told Investment News.
According to InvestmentNews, the best way to avoid a similar situation is in a pre-nuptial agreement, drafted early and revisited from time to time. Reckers said this would also keep all dealings private, unlike the Hamm and Arnall case.
The Energy Sector Could Be Even Riskier Than Most Think (Richard Bernstein Advisors)
According to Richard Bernstein from Richard Bernstein Advisors, investors are overlooking several considerations in risks regarding Greece and oil prices. Although investors are preparing for Greece to leave the Euro and for oil prices to continue to drop, Bernstein recommends considering all alternatives.
“An oddity during 2015 could be that Germany actually convinces Greece to remain in the Euro, and Europe benefits from a weaker Euro,” Bernstein wrote. “Another oddity during 2015 could be that the energy sector turns out to be much riskier than investors expect despite the well-known drop in oil prices.”
These Are The Biggest Benefactors Of Cheap Oil (Advisor Perspectives)
“Although we do not know when oil prices will bottom, when they do, it does not necessarily mean that the good performance for these areas of the stock market will come to an abrupt end,” Burt White wrote. “Along with the energy sector, companies in these groups will be the ones to watch this earnings season.”
The two main benefactors are industries in which consumers spend disposable income, and transport industries. Because consumers will have more money to spend (an extra week’s paycheck for someone who makes median income in the U.S.), traditional retailers, discount retailers, travel and leisure, restaurants, and U.S. auto companies will stand to gain from this trend. In transports, airlines, railroads and shipping companies will benefit.
In an interview with Axel Merk from Merk Investments, Merk told ThinkAdvisor about his concerns in the economic forecast. He believes the Fed will be late in raising rates, The ECB shouldn’t get involved in quantitative easing and that investors are mistaken in considering the U.S. dollar a safe bet.
“In recent months, the dollar has been rising when people have felt good; but in a risk-off environment, when the market has been plunging, the dollar has plunged,” Merk said. “Foreigners are the new retail [class] pushing markets to new highs. The flip side is that when there’s a correction in the market, don’t count on the dollar being a quote-unquote safe haven.”
He said that today many investors are holding risky portfolios. Instead, Merk recommends a diversified strategy that does not rely solely on stocks, bonds or cash.
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