Newsroom


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.

LinkedIN

Our LinkedIN page is now up to 105 followers.  If you have not done so already, please login to LinkedIN, find “Securities Experts Roundtable” and click the Follow button.

·         Click here to visit our page on LinkedIN, and to read all of our postings thusfar.

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.

LinkedIN

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.

·         Click here to visit our page on LinkedIN, and to read all of our postings thusfar.

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

LinkedIN

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.

·         Click here to visit our page on LinkedIN, and to read all of our postings thusfar.

Website Statistics

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

 
Update - July/August 2017
August 29, 2017

President's Perspective

Dear Members,

What a terrific way to mark the silver anniversary of the Securities Experts Roundtable at the end of July. The conference was fun and productive and the Chicago weather was nearly perfect! Special thanks are owed to Richie Leisner, Rick Ryder, Patti Koetting, Bruce Foerster, Gordon Yale, Jerry DeNigris, Gerry Guild, Geraldine Genco, Sander Ressler, and Stan Meyerson for participating on panels. In addition to being one of our speakers, Patti Koetting did her usual superb job of planning and executing the meeting so all went smoothly.

Some highlights from our special guests included keynote speeches by Lauri Scoran, Chief Compliance Officer of Jeffries LLC and Mark Maddox, senior partner at Maddox Hargett & Caruso PC. They also both participated in our second annual SER testifying contest, won by Paul Carroll. Congratulations and thanks to all who participated in this popular and instructive event.

Founding member Rick Ryder wrote an excellent summary of the meeting in the Securities Arbitration Commentator. Click here to read. Most of you are already subscribers; if you’re not, you should be!

We have been exploring ways to expand the SER library. One issue that we must confront concerns our obligation to honor intellectual property laws. Recently, a member submitted a relevant and timely article that should be of interest to the rest of our membership. After some discussion, we have decided that the best way to accomplish this worthy goal is to create a space in the library that will contain online links. This is an effective way to share without violating copyright laws.

We had quite of few new members attend the conference. Many bring special skill sets that will be in demand in the next round of cases. If you are in a case, or become aware of a case that needs special expertise, please consider sending an e-mail to the entire membership. It’s a wonderful method of helping your clients service their needs, while building relationships within our organization.

Most of you who know me understand that I am not big on commercial marketing. I firmly believe that the best way to market yourself is to sharpen your skills. Every time you testify or submit a report, you have an opportunity to display how good you are at your craft. During the coming year, as an organization, let’s work on helping each other improve as experts. The cases will come. There is an avalanche of business out there just waiting for the next market event to occur.

Respectfully, Ross Tulman, President

 

Post Conference Followup

  • Whether or not you attended, please take a few minutes to answer 10 quick question on our FEEDBACK SURVEY.
  • You can see the Event Guide and photos from the conference under the Conference-Past Conference tab.
  • You can access the conference materials in our Library section under Past Conferences & Annual Meeting Materials. You need to be logged in for access.

LinkedIN

You may have noticed our real-time posts during the conference. Every time you share a post with your network, you help raise SER's profile. 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.

·         Click here to visit our page on LinkedIN, and to read all of our postings thusfar.

Website Statistics

  • June 2017: Unique Visitors – 1,236; Number of Visits – 2,196
  • ​July 2017: Unique Visitors – 1,367; Number of Visits – 2,514

 
Update - June 2017
June 30, 2017

President's Perspective

Just weeks down my calendar lies a milestone: the 25th annual conference and meeting of the Securities Experts Roundtable. At twenty-five years, our conference is celebrating its Silver Jubilee. I have been active with SER since just after its incorporation in 2005, and heard many stories of SER’s founding over the years. Curious to find greater details about those early years, I contacted a number of our original founders for a history lesson. 

As SER’s first President Mary Calhoun explains, the seed for the Securities Expert Roundtable was planted in 1992 with a meeting at a “roundish” table in Bob Conner’s office. In attendance, were Mary Calhoun, Rick Ryder, Ed Horwitz and Bob Conner. The next year was the first official meeting of the Securities Experts Roundtable. That meeting was held at the Chicago O’Hare Hilton, with no sightseeing tours, no spouses, no agenda and no leaving the hotel. Most of the 10-12 experts there did not even know each other when they arrived, but left with a sense of camaraderie and vowed to do it again. 

Our 1994 conference was held in Palm Springs; then off to Boston in 1995. Our meetings have grown since the earlier years, as has our organization. One foundational truth continues. The tradition of an annual conference persists as the single largest benefit of SER membership. In a sense, it is the primary reason to become a member of SER. 

If you have not yet added the SER conference to your calendar, I encourage you to do so today. It is to be held at the Union League Club of Chicago on July 28-29. We have an agenda, packed with interesting speakers and topics. We invite spouses, who may enjoy sightseeing tours while the members convene. The Testifying Contest is back by popular demand. But, most of all, attendees will benefit from the camaraderie that our organization has engendered through twenty-five straight conferences. 

Happy Silver Anniversary, SER!

Respectfully, Jeffery Schaff, President

 

2017 Annual Member Meeting & Conference: July 28 & 29 in Chicago

Early registration end July 7th! Visit the Conference tab or click here for more details and to register.

LinkedIN

Our LinkedIN page is now up to 90 followers.  If you have not done so already, please log in to

·         Click here to visit our page on LinkedIN, and to read all of our postings thusfar.

Website Statistics

  • ​May 2017: Unique Visitors – 1,222; Number of Visits – 2,288

 
Update - May 2017
June 1, 2017

President's Perspective

This month, I write with concern about an issue that I expected to never see or hear of again. One of our members discovered that an attorney had listed him as an in an upcoming case. This would not be newsworthy, but for the fact that the expert was entirely unaware of the case. This is what is referred to as a “Phantom Retention.” It is an unethical practice, and expressly opposed by FINRA.

The reason that I expected to never again see or hear of a Phantom Retention, is that it is an unethical practice that has been expressly opposed by FINRA. Back in 2014, SER Past President Stuart Ober canvassed our membership and found repeated instances in which attorneys had listed our members as experts on their cases without those experts’ permission or knowledge. This led to a letter to FINRA, asking for FINRA to expressly prohibit Phantom Retentions (for more details see our Advocacy section). FINRA placed this topic in front of its Task Force, which included it in its first set of recommendations. Consequently, FINRA updated the Initial Prehearing Conference script and sent several letters to parties to address this issue. FINRA also published an article on this topic, written by Ryan Bakhtiari and Greg Curley, in The Neutral Corner. Here is a link to the article

That Phantom Retentions continue, despite FINRA’s admonitions, informs me that it is time to once again canvass the membership to find out if anyone else has become aware of being listed in a Phantom Retention since 2014. If so, please contact Stuart Ober at ober@stuartober.com or (845) 679-2300.

I am also interested in potential solutions. Since FINRA has segued to the electronic portal, it seems reasonable to require that experts’ contact information be given to FINRA with the witness list. FINRA could then automatically generate a verification e-mail to the experts listed in each upcoming hearing. This could prevent Phantom Retentions, particularly since experts would report them directly to FINRA. If you have any other ideas or potential solutions, please send them to Stuart as well.

The Securities Experts Roundtable has a long and consistent record of working with FINRA to improve its arbitration process. I firmly believe that FINRA is committed to prohibiting and preventing abuses and unethical practices, and will be open to hearing and acting on our continued input on these matters.  

Respectfully, Jeffery Schaff, President

 

2017 Annual Member Meeting & Conference: July 28 & 29 in Chicago

Registration is now open! Visit the Conference tab or click here for more details and to register.

LinkedIN

Our LinkedIN page is now up to 90 followers.  If you have not done so already, please log in to LinkedIN, find “Securities Experts Roundtable” and click the Follow button.

·         Click here to visit our page on LinkedIN, and to read all of our postings thusfar.

Website Statistics

  • ​April 2017: Unique Visitors – 1,174; Number of Visits – 2,410