Wednesday’s Word: Alternative Dispute Resolution

By: Brook Ptacek, Spring 2019 IAC Student Intern

Alternative dispute resolution or “ADR” is where parties agree, by contractual agreement or otherwise, to resolve their dispute outside of the court system.  It is another forum to get your matter quickly and efficiently resolved…and most importantly, a way to save extra money spent on attorney fees and court costs to reach a resolution.

There are two main forms of ADR: arbitration and mediation.  In the Investor Advocacy Clinic, you will hear us refer to arbitration a lot.  The main difference between the two is that the rulings in arbitration are binding, while mediation voluntary. Click here for FINRA’s break-down comparison. Continue reading

Accounting for Your Lifestyle in “Retirement”

By Caleb L. Swiney, Spring 2019 IAC Student Intern

This Wednesday’s word may seem simple, but there really is no universal definition for “retirement.” The choices that you make throughout your life, as both an investor and as an individual, will have a profound impact on how secure you are in retirement. Recently, FINRA published an article titled, “Kids Will Turn Your Hair Gray,” noting that 66% of people with dependent children are worried about running out of money in retirements, but that only 54% of people without dependent are worried about running out of money in retirement.

On its face, this article would seem to be about managing retirement income in relation to childcare expenses. What this article discusses, however, are general retirement guidelines that will help any investor feel secure in retirement. Continue reading

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, 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