Were the Feeder Funds in on the Madoff Scam?

There’s a great scene in the movie “Casino” where Ace Rothstein (Robert DeNiro) has to fire a local young man named Don Ward, who is responsible for supervising a slot machine that pays out multiple times in a short span: Don Ward: You might regret this, Mr. Rothstein. Ace Rothstein: I’ll regret it even more…

Pandit's Bandits: a Memo to Citigroup's Sponsored Little League Team

Dear Pandit’s Bandits Players and Personnel,

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce my absence for the majority of the upcoming Spring Training season to you, my favorite mini-employees of Citigroup. Our sponsorship of the Pandit’s Bandits little league team has brought all of us here at Citi much joy in these dark times of accountability and prudence.

Happy 52 Week Low: Scholastic Corporation (SCHL)

CEO Richard Robinson, sold over $12 million worth of Scholastic stock last October alone (ya know, for estate planning purposes). The stock is down roughly 80% from where he liquidated just 3 months ago and surprisingly, he hasn’t bought back a single share. The name of the game seems to be award yourself stock options, exercise them and then dump your discounted shares at an instant profit, either through non-open market dispositions, automatic sale plans or outright market sell orders. Don’t worry shareholders, unless he is awarded more stock, he only has 4.7 million shares left to sell.

Good Bank, Bad Bank by Dr. Seuss

Good Bank             Bad Bank Wood Bank           Fad Bank Red Bank               Blue Bank Old Bank              New Bank

People I Can Do Without: Winter '09

The greatest stand-up comedian of all time*, George Carlin, had a bit in the late 80’s called “People I Can Do Without“.  While his version included people like “a dentist who has blood in his hair”, I will keep mine strictly investment-related. The Reformed Broker’s “People I Can Do Without” Magazine editors and advertising executives…

This Just In: Nadel Caught in Florida, AG Cuomo Investigating Thain Bonus

Today’s going to be a doozy… Art Nadel just surrendered to authorities in Tampa, Florida according to CNBC. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has subpoenaed ex-Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain and one of his henchmen regarding the bonus snafu according to Dealbreaker. Kind of like the final scene of The Godfather when the family takes…

Agape World: More Red Flags Than An Evening At Medieval Times

There’s a bull market in thieves and dirtbags…quick – create an ETF! They just unearthed yet another Ponzi scheme, this time it’s a construction bridge loan scam called Agape World in Hauppauge, New York. Nicholas Cosmo, an ex-broker with a boiler room past and a conviction for securities fraud, has spent the last 8 years…

Pigs at the Trough: Wall Street Takes a Bonus Anyway

In late December, ex-CEO John Thain snuck in $15 billion worth of Merrill Lynch bonus payments to executives and employees a month earlier than usual.  He did this while his merger partner to-be Bank of America was in Washington telling officials that a $20 billion rescue package was essential for survival. The fact that anyone…

What is a Piker?

One of the first slang terms I came across when I started in the business was “Piker”, as in “so-and-so is a total piker”.

Amongst the brokers, that was the worst name we could call one another, but it could also be used to describe anyone who is involved in or invests in the markets.

Essentially, by calling someone a piker, you were ridiculing them for the fact that they were either a small-time player or too afraid to bet big.

This got me curious enough to start asking about where the term “Piker” came from. Interestingly, those who seemed to use it most often had the least idea of what it truly meant.

Top 10 ETFs They Haven't Created Yet

With over 400 Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) on the market right now and new ones being issued each week, it would seem that we could be reaching the point of ETF overload. That said, it would be tough to say that we have too many ETF’s until we get to the point that we start seeing products like the ones listed below…