Some sports fans laughed when controversial former NFL Terrell (T.O.) Owens recently said he was broke. But it turns out it wasn’t all his fault. reports that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has banned Jeffrey Rubin, Owens’ financial advisor, from working in the securities industry anymore.

Owens and at least 30 other NFL players invested in an “Alabama casino project that went bankrupt,” the news site reports. This dubious deal lost $40 million of the players’ money, and Owens sued Rubin earlier in the year. Michael Simon, T.O.’s attorney, said that Rubin failed to tell Owens that the electronic bingo machines that were to be used at the casino were illegal in the state. “It should have never been promoted to any NFL player or any investor,” he said. “It was illegal.”

FINRA said that one of the advisor’s clients lost $3 million on it, although the agency did not specifically say who had invested in it. But says that Jevon Kearse, the ex-Philadelphia Eagles player known as “The Freak,” also invested in the project.

“This case demonstrates how broker misconduct can target high-income, inexperienced, and vulnerable investors,” Brad Bennett, who serves as FINRA’s enforcement chief, said in a statement on the issue. “Jeffrey Rubin took advantage of professional athletes who placed their trust in him.”

The article says that Rubin has agreed to the securities ban, but has not admitted to the allegations.

Written by Lisa Swan


According to a new survey, millionaires’ confidence in the economy dropped considerably in February. reports that the Spectrem Group, a research firm, revealed that millionaires who had $1 million or more in investable assets had their investment outlook drop 10 points in February, reaching the number 1, according to the Spectrem Affluent Investor Confidence Index. Those with $500,000 or more in investable assets dropped their investment outlook three points, going down to -7.

George Walper, Jr., president of the company, said that “The level of Millionaire investors who indicated they planned to stay on the sidelines and not invest was at its highest since September 2011.”

The company conducts 250 interviews a month “with financial decision-makers who have more than $500,000 of investable assets,” says. The interviews range from bullish to neutral to bearish. A rating of 11 to 51 is bullish, 10 to -10 neutral, and -11 to -51 bearish. says that what investors expected their household income to be in the future dropped to -9.51, the lowest in nearly four years. Faith in the economy also dropped, to -6.95.

Written by Lisa Swan


How do you give financial advice to clients that deals with their emotions, and not just dollars and cents? has some advice on how to do so, by using a Buddhist technique.

Kathleen Burns Kingsbury writes for the publication that The Wise Mind Theory explains that humans have two ways of thinking – “rational thought and emotional thought.”  She notes that rational thought is based on the intellect, while emotional thought is based on feelings. “The intersection of the two is called the Wise Mind,” she notes.

The idea behind the theory is that the best decisions are made when both ways of thinking are taken into account.  Kingsbury recommends that you tap into it with your clients this way:

“Draw two large, overlapping circles on a blank piece of paper,” she says. Name one “emotional mind” and the other “rational mind.”  Color the area that intersects with the circles and call it the Wise Mind. Then explain the Wise Mind theory to your clients, and ask them to explain their financial thinking, and how they would classify their thoughts.

Finally, come up with an analysis using this Wise Mind theory. “Ask how her current thinking
helps her deal with her financial dilemma and how it impedes her,” Kingsbury says, and then “ask your client what would need to change to tap into her Wise Mind.”  After doing so, they should be thinking more clearly.

Written by Lisa Swan


How to Build a Great Business Team

Posted by adaniels in Blog on February 19, 2013 - (0 Comments)

What makes a great team? Ken Haman looks into the subject for

He says that many business use personality tests and assessments to see whether possible team members will fit in with the rest of the group. However, the executive says that he disagrees with the assumption that team harmony is needed for team success, and that such harmony is built by having people with “complementary personality styles.”

He says that conflict actually usually comes from people thinking that there is unfairness in the team, which especially happens when times are tough. Harmony, he says comes from when teams are successful and distribute rewards on a fairer basis. Thus, he writes, “harmony is evidence of a satisfying experience among team members and within the team as a whole,” while “conflict is a symptom of unfairness.”

Haman says that he believes that “harmony doesn’t create success” but that “success tends to create harmony.” He notes that professional athletes are chosen for teams not for the way their personalities mesh with others, but for their skills. “The quarterback doesn’t care if the wide receiver is an introvert or an extrovert;” he says. “He just cares that the receiver can catch the ball.”

Instead, Haman recommends that executives find people who have the right skills for their team, instead of focusing on the personalities. This involves coming up with a business plan that works, defining what skills are needed, finding the staff that has those skills, and tracking how people fulfill the goals for the team.

Written by Lisa Swan


FINRA recently announced that it was backing off — for now — on its initiative to control U.S. registered investment advisors, reports. Richard Ketchum, the agency’s chairman said: “I’m not a big believer in beating a head against the wall,” and said that FINRA would “focus on things we can impact.”

This change in strategy was due to the U.S. Congress not planning on changing regulations regarding investment advisers. Right now, the Securities and Exchange Commission regulates the advisers, but because of budgetary constraints, they only get the chance to look at the advisers approximately once every 11 years.

However, FINRA did not permanently drop seeking the ability to take over reviewing registered investment advisers.  It called it a “critical investor protection,” but said that there was “clearly a lack of consensus about how best to address that problem.”

Congress has shown no interest in changing who reviews registered investment advisers. The agency said that “other issues are closer to the top of Congress’ agenda, so this one will likely not be resolved in the near term,” but it hoped that the legislative body would review the issue in the future.

Written by Lisa Swan


The next time you are looking for a financial advisor, why not consider a woman? says that a new study shows female hedge fund managers are outperforming their male counterparts.

According to Rothstein Kass, a business firm, women had an 8.95 ROI (return on investment) in 2012’s third quarter, as compared to an overall median of 2.69 for the men. The publication Refinery 29 says that “this basically means that companies with women at the helm brought in more money after taxes, and therefore reeled in more profit for their company.”

Yet fewer than 20 percent of hedge fund CEOs are women. The website claims that a “glass ceiling” is keeping women from going higher, even though they have been showing great numbers.

Rothstein Kass says that women are “more risk adverse, and therefore potentially better able to escape market downturns and volatility.” This is something to consider when looking for a financial advisor.

Refinery29 says that this proves that the numbers are in favor of the women. “Progress may be at a snail’s pace,” the article says, “but girl power is creeping up on the male dominated world.”

Written by Lisa Swan


President Barack Obama recently named former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission. takes a look as what the appointment means for financial advisors, especially how this will affect the reported establishment of a “uniform fiduciary standard for advisors and broker-dealers.”

White recently said that she plans on continuing to do what ex-SEC head Mary Schapiro did. That includes implementing that uniform fiduciary standard, which is required under the Dodd-Frank Congressional financial reform legislation.

Schapiro wanted to expand the present fiduciary standard, which means that advisors must recommend things which are in the best interest of their customers, to cover broker-dealers. With Schapiro’s resignation from the commission, the agency is currently deadlocked along partisan lines regarding expanding it, but White’s confirmation would add a vote to allow expansion of the standard.

When announcing the nomination, President Obama praised White’s experience. “Over a decade as a U.S. attorney in New York, she helped prosecute white-collar criminals and money launderers,” he noted, as well as prosecuting John Gotti and those who bombed the World Trade Center in 2003.

White said that if she is confirmed, she looks forward “to committing all of my energies to working with” the SEC “to fulfill the agency’s mission to protect investors and to ensure the strength efficiency and the transparency of our capital markets.”

Written by Lisa Swan


Did you know that there are some words you may use with clients when talking about retirement planning that are a turnoff? explains the words you should never use.

The business site covered a media roundtable last week, where Timothy Noonan of Russell Investments, whose company did a study of advisor markets, explained which phrases will get a negative reaction from your customers.

Noonan said to never use the phrases “financial planning” or “retirement income.” That’s because some think that “retirement income” means that they are going to get a sales pitch for some sort of insurance product. They also may be reminded of their own retirement “sins,” like not saving enough for it. In addition, “financial planning” is a phrase that comes across as boring, Noonan says.

So what phrase should be used instead? He suggests “lifestyle design.” Noonan told the gathering that “if you want a get a disengaged person to re-engage maybe you should try talking to them about what you can do to help them design a lifestyle that’s sustainable.”

Written by Lisa Swan


Laura Baron was one of the first female financial advisors in this country. She is still on the job at age 93, reports.

Baron was a secretary for Oppenheimer and Co. in the 1950s when her boss suggested she get her license to become a stockbroker. When she went to take the Series 1 test, the proctor had to check with his supervisors to see if it was okay for her to take the examination due to her gender.

Baron had a unique situation when she started out at Edwards and Hanley as a stockbroker in 1959. She worked as a secretary in the morning, and then made cold calls in the afternoons and evenings. Baron faced discrimination in the office – she said that “there were 11 men in my office and every one of them truly disliked me.” Potential clients were also confused by Baron, although it was a male client who finally gave her a big break because she was “a woman in a man’s world.”

But Baron persevered, working twice as hard as the men, she says, and eventually built up a big client base. In 1966, the New York Stock Exchange named her “Woman of the Year.”  In recent years, she has worked as a financial advisor to many widows, helping the women understand their portfolios. At 93, Baron still works two days a week.

However, as much progress as women have made over the years, they are still underrepresented in her field – there is still only one other female broker at her office.

Written by Lisa Swan


While the stock market did recently rise after Washington politicians made a fiscal cliff deal, financial advisors tell that there are still some big concerns about taxes and government spending, and clients are a little “frustrated” right now.

Seth Kaplan, who is a vice president with Baird’s, says “I work with a lot of business owners and a lot them are just kind of feeling like that government keeps getting deeper and deeper in their back pocket.” He also said that there are “still a lot of questions and/or unknowns for how the ultimate fiscal cliff issue will settle out.”  Tim Steffen of Baird’s said some fear that there could be some additional tax increases in the future.

Ken Meyers of Baird notes that those couples making $450,000 a year or more and singles making over $400,000 a year now face 39.6% federal taxes. He says that such high-income clients are going to delay hiring for their companies and may slow down spending due to the issue.

Kaplan said that his own clients are “frustrated” not by having to pay more taxes per se, but that they “don’t think this is will make a difference to address fundamental issues,” due to government spending still increasing.  Steffen noted that additional tax increases are “clearly on the President’s agenda.”

In all, Kaplan says that despite the fiscal cliff deal, “I still get this feeling from a lot of my clients that people are still waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

Written by Lisa Swan