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Posts Tagged ‘risk vs. reward’

Simon Johnson: Enormous Risk on Economic Horizon

Posted by Larry Doyle on June 25th, 2012 7:56 AM |

What is my risk?

In the throes of evaluating any and all proposals or investment opportunities,  I always want to understand where the risks lie and just how great those risks may be. From there, I try to evaluate if the projected return on invested capital is attractive relative to the risks undertaken.

What are the risks investors face? Interest rate risk, credit (i.e default) risk, volatility risk, structure risk, counterparty credit risk, prepayment risk, general market risk, liquidity risk, extension risk, transparency risk, political risk, and currency risk. Well, if that were not enough to consider, there is another very real risk lurking on our economic horizon.  What might that be?  (more…)

Is Your Broker Working For You?

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 13th, 2009 3:01 PM |

The biggest secret in the money game is the manner in which people are compensated. Why is this compensation process such a secret? Very simply, if the general public understood the compensation process they could then understand the motivations of those managing their money. 

At the institutional level, Wall Street typically pays people on a salary plus bonus format. The salary often would represent only 20% of the overall compensation. The bonus would be tied to individual, group, division, and company performance. The bonus would typically be paid 2/3rds in cash and 1/3rd in stock. That stock component would typically be paid out over a three to five year time frame, thus tying the individual to the firm. That lockup is known as “the golden handcuffs.”

Under this format, people are motivated to maximize profits in order to maximize compensation. In maximizing profits, however, inordinate residual risks have often been left on the banks’ books. Thus, the risk/reward model has been skewed. Expect the Wall Street compensation model to change to address this issue going forward. (more…)

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