"The Plateau Effect: Getting From Stuck to Success" explores what causes people to "get used" to things and quit striving to max their potential and happiness. » Read More
GUEST AUTHOR BLOG by Kerry Hannon, author of "Great Jobs for Everyone 50 : Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy ... And Pays the Bills."
GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: A Simple Way to Liberate Organizational Creativity by Bryan Mattimore author of "Idea Stormers: How to Lead and Inspire Creative Breakthroughs."
GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: by Robert Pozen author of, "Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours."
GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: The Test of Time: Ben Graham in 2012 by Joe Carlen, author of "The Einstein of Money: The Life and Timeless Financial Wisdom of Benjamin Graham."
It was 1914, nearly one hundred years ago, when a twenty-year old Benjamin Graham began working on Wall Street. Within a few years, his views on the market were already being circulated in the financial press of that era.
By 1932/1933, wizened by his experiences during the Roaring Twenties and The Great Depression and six years of teaching security analysis, his views had crystallized into a comprehensive system of bond and common stock selection.
During that time, Graham, along with his assistant course instructor David Dodd, codified that system in a 600 page volume drawn mainly from Graham's already legendary security analysis classes at Columbia University.
GUEST AUTHOR BLOG : by Norb Vonnegut author of of "The Trust."
When I worked at Morgan Stanley, my team managed $2 billion in assets. I observed all the glitz of big money. But more importantly, I witnessed behavior across a broad range of Wall Street's different businesses—from guys trading derivatives to investment bankers cooking up the toxic securities we read about in the financial press.
My fiction dances close to the truth at times, probably because I use it to ponder big-picture questions born from my experience in the trenches of private wealth management.
There's one question, in particular, that keeps me up at night:
Why don't wealth management firms do more to protect families from financial predators? » Read More
Think about your experience with money managers. I'm willing to bet your accounts require Byzantine eight-digit passwords—an unwieldy mix of small and capital letters, numbers, and symbols that prevent both computer hackers and you from accessing your financial information. As we learned from Bernie Madoff, however, password machinations don't shield you from every kind of crook.
What would you do if a drug lord tried to infiltrate your family's finances?
Yikes. You might be asking yourself, Where did that come from? Well, actually, the question traces back to something that happened during my time at Morgan Stanley. A man called one of my partners and said he wanted to open a $50 million account. "More to follow if you do a good job."
Nobody in the brokerage business ever gets a call like that from a legitimate source. Stockbrokers chase money. Not the other way around. The prospect was roughly the same age as one of my partners, and they went to the same business school a few years apart. Promising! But the two didn't know anyone in common. Something didn't smell right.
We submitted the man's name to our legal department—in those days I regarded Morgan Stanley as a law firm with a very large financial subsidiary—and sure enough our $50 million prospect was on the bad guy's list. He was Pablo Escobar's first cousin, knee-deep in the family's drug business. Needless to say, we cut off all contact.
Fine, my team avoided a problem because Morgan Stanley had a ready line of defense. As a rule, however, families don't employ legions of lawyers to shut down the bad guys—and the more sophisticated the criminal, the better they are at eluding Google and the other tools of amateur sleuths. It stands to reason that financial predators will identify and attack more vulnerable targets.
I explore this issue in "The Trust." My novel is about a fictitious organization based in Charleston, SC, the Palmetto Foundation. It's similar to the large family foundations that some of my former clients maintained, which did plenty of good work but always ran on shoestring budgets. No lawyers. No compliance departments. No lists of bad guys. Family foundations, I thought, might be the perfect vehicles for laundering money.
I'm sure "The Trust" will alarm many who work in the not-for-profit sector or have close ties to philanthropic organizations. But you don't need to be charitable to be a target. All you need are money and weak defenses.
What can HNW families do to protect themselves from financial predators?
GUEST AUTHOR BLOG BY: David Denby author of "Do the Movies Have a Future?"
Ive been writing movie criticism for a long time, but I still have the same thirst for movies, for sitting in a big dark room with strangers (yes, Im a romantic about the primal experience of going to a theater) that I had when I was a teenager.
Im also lucky to live in New York, where theres a constant flood of independent movies, foreign films, documentaries and everything else playing all the time. Theres always something interesting to see, something to write about.
My book, "Do the Movies have a Future?", is a record of the last dozen years or so, a mix of critical judgment, business analysis, celebration of good movies, writing about such genres as chick flicks and romantic comedies, and occasional expressions of misery.
In truth, Im depressed (really, all the veteran critics are depressed) by the way the business is going now.
None of what Im about to say is new, of course. Its been true for twenty-five years, ever since the conglomerates tightened their grip on the studios.
But it gets worse each year.
GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: Why the worst and best leaders have more in Common than you think by Gautam Mukunda author of "Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter."
Would you want your CEO to be someone who lied constantly? Who humiliated his employees?
Whose obsession with the paint colors in a factory had helped produce significant cost overruns on a major project?
No one would want a leader with such a record. He would surely be a disaster.
But the CEO Im describing, of course, is Steve Jobs, who built Apple into the most valuable company in history.
Anyone would want that result. But would you have hired the person who produced it?
GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: The Neglected Elements of CEO Succession Planning by: Dr. Thomas J. Saporito and Dr. Paul Winum authors of "Inside CEO Succession: The Essential Guide to Leadership Transition ."
Corporate succession practices have changed dramatically since the decades from the 1950s through 70s, when a more straightforward business environment prevailed.
At that time, a successor was often handpicked by the departing chief executive.
The role of the board of directors was limited to reviewing the CEOs choice and casually giving the candidate their rubber stamp of approval.
Here in the present, the lackadaisical practices of yesterday are hopelessly and dangerously outdated.