Fintech… Welcome to the world of tomorrow!

By G. Kevin Mathis, Fall 2018 IAC Student Intern

First, what is Fintech? Defining Fintech is difficult because currently a consensus definition of Fintech is nonexistent.  Patrick Schueffel, a professor of Finance with the Institute of Finance, School of Management Fribourg in Fribourg Switzerland wrote an article, Taming the Beast: A Scientific Definition of Fintech, in which he aimed to define Fintech. Continue reading

Wednesday’s Word: Viatical Settlements

Ben Dell’Orto Fall 2018 IAC Student Intern

Even in the cutthroat world of investing, it doesn’t get much more morbid than “betting on death.”

A viatical settlement, also called a life settlement, is an investment where the purchaser buys a person’s life insurance policy. The insured individual needs money, frequently for a medical treatment, and accepts a sum less than the value of the policy from the investor. The investor also doesn’t necessarily have to purchase the whole policy, as brokers often split the policy among multiple investors, allowing investors to minimize risk by purchasing a smaller portion of several policies. Continue reading

Wednesday’s Word: Bull Market

By W. Dowdy White, Fall 2018 IAC Student Intern

Have you ever been bullfighting? Odds are that you probably have not. Well, if you’re like most people, you probably haven’t jumped into a dangerous ring with a 2,000-pound bull and flashed a bright red muleta. If you have, whoa! I can’t believe that you’re reading this right now! This segment of our Wednesday’s Word series is about bull markets. Don’t worry, this term doesn’t describe a market in which you buy your stocks while fighting a bull. On the contrary, according to Investor.gov, a bull market exists at a time when “stock prices are rising and market sentiment is optimistic.” To put it in simpler words, a bull market is a market in which prices rise during prolonged period of time. Continue reading

Wednesday’s Word: Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

By Edward Greenblat, Fall 2018 Investor Advocacy Clinic Student Attorney

Nobody likes writing out an IOU. But, if investors aren’t careful with their ICOs, they could end up writing a bunch of IOUs.

ICOs or Initial Coin Offerings have become a popular way for people and businesses to raise money or start investing. But what are ICOs? An ICO is a form of cryptocurrency, which is a “digital representation of value that can be digitally traded and functions as a medium of exchange, unit of account, or store of value.” In layman’s terms, an ICO is electronic money that can be traded online. Continue reading

Wednesday’s Word: Securitization

By Eric Peters, Spring 2018 IAC Student Intern

Securitization is a process that has been developed, essentially, to take various types of debt instruments that were rarely traded and turn them into tradable securities, resulting in greater liquidity.  As such, the goal of the securitization is threefold: 1.) increase the liquidity of debt instruments, 2.) lower the cost of capital to borrowers, and 3.) increase the efficiency of financial markets. Continue reading

Wednesday’s Word: Boiler Room

By Ben Dell’Orto, Spring 2018 IAC Student Intern

In addition to inspiring a Hollywood movie, Boiler Rooms are a common scheme to pressure investors into purchasing an investment that most likely is not a good one for them. The scheme involves a large group of “salesmen” trying to attract as many investors as possible to the scam. The most common method is through cold calling, where the schemers use high-pressure sales tactics to encourage the potential investor on the other end of the phone call to take advantage of an investment that will yield “high returns” and “no risk” but is only available for a short time. FINRA notes that the caller will often attempt to explain the miracle investment by suggesting that it is founded in an emerging industry or will “play off recent events” to lend legitimacy to the lie. One recently-busted scam in England took advantage of the rising wine industry, and this blog reported on a recent FINRA report of scams increasing on this side of the pond.

While previously usually conducted over the phone, the SEC adds that boiler rooms now may use “emails, text messages, social media, and other means.” These methods lack the pressure created by a persuasive voice speaking directly over the phone, but can still be effective by suggesting that the time to buy is limited, or by pestering with frequent messages.

The most important thing to remember to avoid falling victim to a Boiler Room scheme is to

Take.

Your.

Time.

The fraudsters behind this kind of scheme are relying on a quick decision, so taking a moment to run a broker check and an internet search of the investment before buying will save you from taking a big loss.

Wednesday’s Word: Unit Investment Trust

By Esmat Hanano, Spring 2018 IAC Student Intern

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has released its annual Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter. One of the biggest priorities for FINRA in 2018 is monitoring the use of Unit Investment Trusts, or UITs. What exactly is a UIT you may ask? Continue reading