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Update - August 2018
August 10, 2018

President's Perspective

So here’s what I was thinking.

Our annual conference should have a mix of topics that included issues its members confront routinely as well as an array of subjects of a somewhat broader and more contemporaneous appeal to add a bit of a spark. I believe we accomplished that.

Further, since the conference was in Washington, D.C., it should not only have had a healthy representation of member/expert presenters, but should draw upon the vast resources of eminent lawyers, regulators and especially former prosecutors and regulators who would freely speak their minds. And I think we did that too.

And finally, the conference needed to convey to its members not only that SER is a valuable source of knowledge, networks and friendship, but is a dynamic organization that will be what the preponderance of its members want it to be. And while the results of the survey are not complete, I believe we began that process as well..

In short, if you didn’t attend the conference, here’s what you missed. 

Rick Berry, FINRA’s Executive Vice President and Director of Dispute Resolution joined SER’s own George Friedman, FINRA’s former Executive Vice President and Director of Dispute Resolution to discuss the progress of existing and new FINRA initiatives. This is a conference staple that traditionally was co-chaired by Rick Ryder who has passed his torch to George.

Jordan Maglich, Esq., creator of the PonziTracker blog and a contributor to Forbes, joined SER’s Stuart Ober on a panel discussion of Ponzi schemes and the obligations of brokers and investment advisors to conduct reasonable due diligence.

In a comprehensive and compelling presentation, Professor Arthur Laby, the Co-Director of the Rutgers Center for Corporate Law and Governance, traced the history of fiduciary standards and provided a comprehensive analysis of the newly proposed SEC regulation that will require brokers to act in their clients’ best interests and the proposed interpretation for investment advisors. These proposals are already under attack.

Steve Crimmins, recognized as the 2017 Securities Regulation Lawyer of the Year for New York City was joined by Paul Kisslinger, Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel for the Enforcement Division of the SEC, to discuss not only what makes a good expert, but spent much of their time addressing specific questions about difficult situations faced by experts.

SER’s Ross Tulman, Peter Bulgar and Stan Meyerson provided a concise and thorough overview of damage calculations in a variety of circumstances.  Member comments were highly favorable.

Historically, one of the most popular sessions is on best practices where SER panelists provide their views on practical business and practice issues facing experts. This year’s panel, included Jerry DeNigris, Alan Besnoff and Bob Lawson who ably led the give and take and provided sound advice.

Paul Pelletier, the former Deputy Chief of the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and Robertson Park, who also worked in the Criminal Division of DOJ, traced the evolution of anti-money laundering laws and their application.

Pelletier was also the keynote speaker at our Friday dinner.  With vast experience prosecuting drug lords, leading health-care fraud strike teams, investigating AIG and prosecuting Stanford Financial Group, Pelletier gave a gripping account of his frustration at the reluctance of the DOJ during of the Obama administration to prosecute major bank executives for financial crimes.  

And that wasn’t all. David Keough, Carrie Wisniewski, Jerry DiNigris, Elizabeth Falk and Craig Murray rolled out the Public Relations Committee plan to begin advertising SER and its website in the Securities Arbitration Commentator and discussed the use of advertising and direct participation at industry and legal group functions to raise our visibility in the securities industry.

Early results from our survey indicate that approximately 90 percent of our members believed the conference program was either extremely or very helpful and those percentages included members who did not attend this year. Approximately 95 percent of members rated the conference as excellent or very good and believed the value for money was excellent or very good.

Since I last served on the Board three years ago, some nine of the twelve Board members have turned over to allow new leadership.The new Board has fresh ideas and innovative approaches on how to connect with its members to make SER a better resource. If there is a direction you would like to take the organization or a conference idea, call or e-mail me, David Keough, the President-Elect, or any Board member.

And finally, this year four of the five new SER members attended the conference and their experience was enhanced by Jack Herrmann who graciously took it upon himself to host a dinner and who with Richie Leisner, hosted a breakfast for our new colleagues. SER could not have better mentors.

And with your help, next year can be even better!

Respectfully, Gordon Yale, President

 

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Event Guide and photos can be accessed from the Past Conferences tab. Conference materials can be accessed in the Library section (upper right hand corner) once you are logged in. To responds to our Post Conference Survey, click here.

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Next year's Annual Meeting & Conference August 2nd & 3rd, 2019 Saint Paul Hotel, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

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SER Comments on FINRA RN 18-13
June 25, 2018

After seeking and receiving input from the membership, SER's Board of Directors submitted comment on FINRA's RN 18-13 (link to full notice and comments). SER takes an ongoing interest in the continual improvement of the securities dispute resolution process. As a claimant/respondent neutral organization, we aim to comment on issues where our collective opinion can be applied. In the past, SER has had an impact on changes to FINRA's pre-hearing script and arbitrator instructions involving phantom retentions and electronic eavesdropping. In 2004 our founding member, Mary Calhoun, co-authored work on the non-sequestration of experts in the hearing room. (For more details, see Leadership section on our homepage.) As an SER member, if you come across areas you feel we can improve, please contact a member of the board.
 


26th Annual Conference and Membership Meeting Update
June 15, 2018

The 26th Annual Conference and Membership meeting is only six weeks away! Register before June 26 to take advantage of early registration and the room block at the University Club of D.C.

Agenda SpotlightWith the industry increasingly adopting registered investment advisory service models, this year’s conference will emphasize the obligations of fiduciaries. Professor Arthur Laby, a nationally recognized fiduciary expert and co-director of the Rutgers Center for Corporate Law and Governance, will provide two sessions on the duties of a fiduciary to put his clients’ interests before his own as well as due care with respect investment recommendations. Professor Laby, a former assistant general Counsel for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is a magna cum laude graduate of the Boston University School of Law where he was an editor of the Law Review and a former Fulbright scholar.

Event Spotlight: This year's Guest/Spouse tour, hosted by Debby Krasner and Eunice Salton, will visit the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery to view the Presidents in a private docent tour at 11:00a.m. Saturday. As the nation's only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House, the "America's Presidents" exhibition lies at the heart of the Portrait Gallery's mission to tell the country's history through the individuals who have shaped it. The National Portrait Gallery was authorized and founded by Congress in 1962 with the mission to acquire and display portraits of "men and women who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the people of the United States." Today, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery continues to narrate the multi-faceted and ever-changing story of America. The tour will be followed by lunch at The Smith!

We hope you will join us!


 
Update - November/December 2017
December 21, 2017

President's Perspective

Happy holidays!  It sure looks like this will be another great year for the market. But not all portfolios perform as expected. Most of the suitability cases in our office this year have focused on risk-adjusted performance; i.e., did the portfolio perform in line with the stated risk tolerance indicated by the client? Recently, a member inquired about the definition of concentration. At what level does a specific security become concentrated, and thus too risky? Some say 5%, some say 10% - in my view, there is no single number that is reliable because each security adds or subtracts risk to a portfolio in different ways.

The best way to analyze the problem is to track the performance of the portfolio compared to the performance of an appropriate benchmark, and then track the risk of the portfolio at issue compared to the risk of the same benchmark. The monthly performance of a portfolio is calculated as follows:

(End of Month Market Value - .5 x Net Contributions or Withdrawals divided by Beginning of Month Market Value + .5 x Net Contributions or Withdrawals) - 1

Perform this calculation for each month covered by the analysis, then chain link each result to get the total return for the period at issue. You can calculate the risk by using the MS Excel Standard Deviation formula as applied to the complete set of monthly returns. That will provide you with the monthly standard deviation, which you can then annualize using the following formula:

Monthly Standard Deviation x SQRT (12)

You can use this analysis to safely offer an opinion as to whether the portfolio was risk-appropriate for the claimant. Alternatively, you can perform the analysis to reflect that the claimant’s expert opinion is simplistic and invalid because the expert failed to empirically measure risk. Let the hard numbers tell the story as opposed to some general narrative that is unlikely to survive serious scrutiny.

Another question I think about a lot is whether experts should use past results in cases to market their services. One of the founders of SER reminded me many years ago that the cases do not belong to the expert. We are not advocates. Therefore, we cannot win or lose cases. The wins and losses belong to the attorneys and their clients. Using past results can be treacherous anyway. With experience, eventually all of us become involved in case “outliers;” i.e. expected wins that wind up as devastating losses. If you decide to use a favorable case outcome to present yourself as a great expert, you should expect to be asked about one (or all) of the “clunkers” during a future cross-examination. In my view, it’s better to cede that ground to the lawyers.

Your Board of Directors will be meeting in Dallas at the end of January.  If there are any topics you would like us to consider, please lets us know!

Respectfully, Ross Tulman, President

 

Save the Date

2018 Annual Meeting & Conference July 27th & 28th, 2018 University Club of Washington, D.C.

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Website Statistics

  • October 2017: Unique Visitors – 1,723; Number of Visits – 2,819
  • November 2017: Unique Visitors – 1,453; Number of Visits – 2,592

 


 
Update - October 2017
October 31, 2017

President's Perspective

Dear Members,

We have set the date for the 2018 Annual Meeting and Conference for 2018. The Conference will once again be held at the University Club of Washington, D.C. This happens to be my personal favorite location. Thanks to Southwest Airlines, the air fares to BWI are typically low – and I have noticed that other airlines are now matching the fare for flights to DCA.Gordon Yale will be in charge of the conference agenda and I am sure would welcome ideas for relevant topics and speakers.

Your Board of Directors will meet for the winter meeting in Dallas on January 20, 2018. If you have issues or concerns that you would like us to address, please forward them to me (rpt@tiagroup.com) or any of our Board members.

I know that the case load is still low and is likely to stay that way if the market keeps going up. But markets don’t go up forever. Once the market does correct, there will be an avalanche of new work. This is a great time to improve your skills – which can really give you a competitive advantage. For those of you who don’t have a Series 65 or 66, you should seriously think about taking the test. Most of the new work in my firm is related to advisory matters and I suspect the next wave of cases will be dominated by that case genre.

The memorial service for Howard Berg will held at the Roger Sherman Inn in New Canaan on November 19 from 2-5PM. If you plan to go, please send an e-mail to Gretchen Berg (e-mail address: gglindem@vt.edu) and advise her that you will attend.

Respectfully, Ross Tulman, President

 

Save the Date

2018 Annual Meeting & Conference July 27th & 28th, 2018 University Club of Washington, D.C.

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Our LinkedIN page is now up to 102 followers.  If you have not done so already, please login to LinkedIN, find “Securities Experts Roundtable” and click the Follow button.

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Website Statistics

  • September 2017: Unique Visitors – 1,430; Number of Visits – 2,200

 
Update - September 2017
September 28, 2017

President's Perspective

Dear Members,

As we head into fall, I want to acknowledge several of our members who were affected, directly or indirectly, by the recent devastating hurricanes. We hope that everyone and their families and loved ones are safe.

One hallmark of qualitative corporate governance is Board turnover. The idea is to consistently bring on new members who bring fresh ideas. This avoids entrenchment. At the summer board meeting, the following Directors concluded terms: Hugh Cohen, Gerry Guild (Treasurer), Jack Hermann (FinCom Chair, Membership Chair), Richie Leisner (Past President, Membership Chair), and Bruce Foerster (Past President, FinCom Chair). We thank them for their dedication and numerous unpaid hours of service and look forward to their continued participation as members.

We also welcome new Directors Gordon Yale, Alan J. Besnoff, Paul Carroll, Jerry DeNigris, Carrie Wisniewski, and Bob Lawson to the Board. Gordon will also serve as President-Elect. In that capacity, Gordon will be responsible for planning the 2018 conference agenda – so if you have topics you would like to see addressed, or if you would like to participate, please contact Gordon (or me).

While every one of our members is truly a subject matter expert, it takes a while to become an “expert at being an expert.” As I can attest, most of my “expert” education came from lessons learned from my own mistakes or errors in judgment. In the last month we have had several inquiries concerning best practices. We have many experienced experts ready to offer help. Please feel free to inquire.

Social media sites can be a great tool. They also make everyone an instant publisher. A single post or even a comment or "like" on someone else's post can quickly spread, reflecting not just on a single individual but on affiliated individuals and organizations. We see this daily now from celebrities and elected officials: digital communication carries great promise and risk. This is something most of you are probably already very conscious of, but just something to keep in mind.

Just a reminder to anyone who does not already follow the SER page on LinkedIn. We post news and photos from SER events such as the annual meeting here; linking to it broadens the reach and awareness of the organization. 

Respectfully, Ross Tulman, President

 

Post Conference Survey

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Our LinkedIN page is now up to 97 followers, half are non-member.  If you have not done so already, please login to LinkedIN, find “Securities Experts Roundtable” and click the Follow button.

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Website Statistics

  • August 2017: Unique Visitors – 1,300; Number of Visits – 2,280