Wednesday’s Word: Robo-Adviser

By Qudsia Shafiq, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

Robo-what? Robo-advisers generally refers to algorithm-driven digital tools that provide investment advisory services to consumers often without any – or limited – human interaction via some electronic platform (whether it’s a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone). Think: part-robot, part-adviser.

Imagine answering a short questionnaire, all through an app on your phone or online on your personal computer, within the comfort of your home, without the hassle of waiting on the phone or pre-scheduling any appointments to speak to a financial adviser and being matched to an investment product and type nearly instantly? Better yet, imagine these services providing you with benefits you may not otherwise find or qualify for: lower fees, lower minimum initial investment requirements using algorithms that haven’t failed yet?! Continue reading

Investor Alert – SEC Adjusts Crowdfunding Rates

By Abigail Warren, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

FINRA issued a report alerting investors that the SEC adjusted crowdfunding rates.  Crowdfunding sparks interest in investors hoping for big returns, but beware, the risk is real.  The SEC warns investors of the high risk in investing in new start-up businesses through crowdfunding.  FINRA voices concerns on the liquidity risk, warning investors that the ability to resell in the first year is extremely limited.

What is crowdfunding? Continue reading

‘Flipping the Classroom’ Enriches Clinical Seminar Courses, Lester Says

Tameka E. Lester, clinical assistant professor and associate director of the Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, took a unique approach to maximize clinic lectures and further engage students. She and her colleague in the clinic “flipped the classroom” by taking the lecture component online – for review before class.

“When we talk about the traditional clinical experience, an integral part of the discussion is the clinical seminar course,” Lester said. “The learning curve is steep and students have to master material very quickly and apply it to actual client situations – often while simultaneously learning the material. We recognized a need to present course information in a meaningful way that would have the biggest and most profound impact on students.” Continue reading

Investor Alert: Improving Your Shareholder Literacy

By Lynn M. Mckeel, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

Now that you have invested in mutual funds, you should expect two important documents to arrive in the mail. The first is a semi-annual report expressing the first 6 months of the fiscal year. The second is an end of year report, documenting the returns for the entire fiscal year. These reports are created by the mutual fund and are sent to the SEC before distribution to the fund holders. It is important to remember these reports are not created by the SEC, rather they are created by the mutual fund. It helps to think of these reports as “report cards” on the fund’s progress and returns.

If you have never reviewed a mutual fund shareholder report, take a few minutes to review the SEC Investor Bulletin entitled How to Read a Mutual Fund Shareholder Report. The SEC has numerous explanations for interpreting the reports, as well as resources for spotting red flags in your report. Continue reading

Equifax Breach: A Lifelong Threat

By Alisa Radut, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

I live in Atlanta, the capital of Equifax.  In light of the recent data breach, I have growing concerns about the safety of my personal information and identity, as might you.  Fortunately, our friends at the Federal Trade Commission have provided a useful and practical blog with advice on what to do in the event your information is compromised, as was that of 143 million U.S. consumers, as well as people in the Canada and the UK (that’s equivalent to almost half of the American population!).  As one of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax exposed millions of Americans’ social security numbers, birthdates, and addresses to the cyberattack. If you are one of the millions of people affected by the breach, or are just concerned about the safety of your personal information, the FTC recommends some steps you should take to help prevent the misuse of your sensitive data.  First, start by finding out if your information was compromised by visiting the Equifax website.  Next, obtain free credit reports from all three reporting agencies (Equifax, Transunion, and Experian), and report any activity you do not recognize.  It is important you continue to monitor your existing accounts closely and frequently. Increasingly worrisome is the rate and frequency at which big companies are experiencing these types of data breaches, which could create life-long identity theft threats.  A security analyst on USA Today advises consumers to monitor their financial activity weekly, as data obtained is likely to be used for years.  Also troubling is the fact that major executives of Equifax sold their stock a month before the press release reporting the breach.

Experiential Course Fair Today

We look forward to having you join us for the Experiential Course Fair today.  This is an excellent way to learn more about what opportunities are available to you, including how to join one of our three in-house clinics: the HeLP Clinic, Investor Advocacy Clinic, and Tax Clinic.  Come ask questions of students who are currently enrolled in the clinics and learn about other experiential offerings at the College of Law.

There will be two sessions for the fair, the first at noon and the second at 5:00 pm.