Excluding the players in the World Series, there are many contenders for a baseball list that no one wants to be a part of…..

The toughest question for the general manager of any baseball team is whether to pull the trigger and offer a player coming off a big year a huge contract. No matter what fans think there’s no way to tell for sure if a player will continue at the top of his game after re-signing. The World Series features two teams, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, who eschewed off-season splurges and relied on smaller contracts and young, untested, players — particularly the Royals.

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Advisory firms and recruiters weigh in on their 10 best interview questions and answers when hiring advisors.

What can you tell me about yourself?

Mickey Wasserman, founder and president of Michael Wasserman & Associates, Agoura Hills, Calif.

“Perhaps the oldest job interview question, but it’s still the most powerful. While prior measured accomplishments are the best predictor for future success, this open-ended question separates the great FA from the merely good FA. A good response gives me a glimpse of the candidate’s poise and communication skills. I want to learn about their work ethic, vision, passion, family, humility, community involvement, goals, stability, etc. The best response includes language about serving clients. The worst response is non-communication, uncomfortable silence, folded-arms, and defensiveness.”

 

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OnWallStreet.com took a look at how much top firms pay their $1 million producers. The businesses generally reward such financial advisors with a combination of cash and deferred awards.

 At No. 11 is Wells Fargo Advisors, with a total of $467,180. $459,680 is part of the cash grid, while $7,500 is deferred compensation.

 No. 10 is Morgan Stanley, with $440,000 in cash, and $40,000 in deferred money, for a total of $480,000.

 Merrill Lynch is No. 9, with $495,000 in compensation. Of that, $430,000 is the cash grid, and $65,000 is deferred.

 At No. 8 is Janney, with $450,000 in the cash grid, and $50,000 in deferred money, for a total of $500,000.

 No. 7 is RBC. Producers there get $501,800 in compensation, with $460,000 in cash grid, and $41,800 in deferred money.

 Ameriprise Financial is No. 6, with a total of $505,000. Of that, $460,000 is cash grid money, and $45,000 is deferred compensation.

 Two companies tie for No. 4 with $510,000 in compensation – Wedbush, with $500,000 in cash and $10,000 in deferred money, and Stifel, with $470,000 in cash, and $40,000 in deferred money.

 At No. 3 is Hilliard Lyons, at $512,750. Of that money, $467,750 is cash, and $45,000 is deferred compensation.

 No. 2 is Raymond James, with $522,500 in money. Of that, $455,000 is cash grid money, and $67,500 is deferred funds.

 At the top of the list is UBS, with $526,750 in compensation. That breaks down to $437,500 for the cash grid, and $89,250 in deferred money for the No. 1 company.

Written by Lisa Swan

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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. OnWallStreet.com 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 OnWallStreet.com 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

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According to a new survey, millionaires’ confidence in the economy dropped considerably in February. OnWallStreet.com 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,” OnWallStreet.com 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.

OnWallStreet.com 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

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How do you give financial advice to clients that deals with their emotions, and not just dollars and cents? OnWallStreet.com 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

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The next time you are looking for a financial advisor, why not consider a woman? Refinery29.com 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

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While the stock market did recently rise after Washington politicians made a fiscal cliff deal, financial advisors tell OnWallStreet.com 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

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The deal Congress made to avert the pending fiscal cliff could have been “much worse” for people in high-income brackets, Financial Advisor Magazine reports. While the deal raises taxes on high earners, it did not extend as harshly on wealthy people as expected. The deal also kept the tax code’s exemptions for estates and gifts, something some had feared would be eliminated.

The fiscal cliff deal passed by Congress last week has $600 billion in increased taxes, as well as spending cuts. The top tax bracket, which covers couples who make over $450,000 a year, or singles that make over $400,000 a year, now face a tax bracket of 39.6%.

Christopher Zander of Evercore Partners told the magazine that “the increases in taxes and limits to deductions are more favorable than expected.” He said that the fiscal cliff deal could have been much worse for wealthy people.

However, the deal raise taxes on those making between $250,000 to $450,000 a year, even if those who make over $450,000 a year didn’t get as bad a tax hit as they expected. In addition, capital gains and dividends went up from 15 percent to 20 percent. There will also be a 3.8 percent surtax on investments by high-income people, to pay for President Obama’s health care law.

There were concerns about the complexity of the deal. “There were hopes that there would be more simplicity to the tax code,” Zander said. “It has now become even more complex.”

Written by Lisa Swan

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According to a new survey, wealthy people in America say that the economy matters more than the federal government cutting spending.

OnWallStreet.com says that the survey of 1,700 people by Northern Trust revealed that 44 percent of rich Americans say that President Barack Obama’s first priority should be economic growth, with 19 percent saying deficit reduction is most important and 15 percent say political gridlock should be the first priority.

According to the article, “tax increases and spending cuts” are supposed to begin in January 2013 unless the president and Congress can negotiate an end to the fiscal cliff. And 31 percent of the wealthy with at least $5 million to invest are planning to make changes in their lives to deal with possible changes in tax laws.

Suzanne Shier of Northern Trusts said that the “results show that high-net-worth Americans are taking active steps to adapt to a changing tax environment.”

Written by Lisa Swan

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