I believe that I have seen a lot of change during my 39 years in Financial Services. After the Army, I earned a BA in Economics from The Ohio State University and, then, an MBA from Rutgers-Newark, in my home state of New Jersey. The Financial Services Arena was quite different when I entered it, since we still had the Glass-Steagall Act in place. “Glass” separated Commercial Banking (FDIC-Insured Deposits and Loans to Consumers and Businesses) from Investment Banking (High-End Finance and Investments).
Also, most brokerage firms were partnerships at the time. That meant that, when they took un-due risks, they were gambling with the partners’ money, not bank deposits, or the equity of ownership the public shareholders.
The separation of the two areas of Finance was created after the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Over the past 25 years or so, however, the divergence of Commercial Banking from Investment Banking was relaxed. Many wonder nowadays if that partially led to some of the problems, which caused the Melt-Down in the Financial Services Sector, back in 4Q07-1Q09. I certainly believe that to be the case! Obviously, the US Economy, and that of much of the World, still hasn’t recovered completely yet.
Over the years, I had had to reinvent myself on numerous occasions, to keep-up with changes in the Financial Arena. I have seen a lot, and hopefully learned from–the Watergate Crisis in the Early 70s, several Oil Embargoes, The “Volcker-Created Recession” of 1981 (which I believe saved our Economy), the Stock Market Crash (falling some 21% in ONE day) of ’87, the Dot-Coms, and then on to the Tragic Events of 2001, with two more Wars and, then, what I call “The Great Recession” (4Q07-1Q09), more recently.
During my career, I have always regarded the securities markets with two things in mind:
- Since only 23% of the World’s Economic Activity (GDP or Gross Domestic Product) is produced in the US, I have always stressed a Global Approach to Investing. Currently, however, I do shy away from Europe, actually the Euro.
- We never know what the next hot stock will be or why some of the great companies of the past (i.e. Eastman Kodak, Sears, NCR, have fizzled. So, rather than trying to be a stock-picker, I have tried to focus somewhat on trends that will have more broad-based implications on the Economy, as well as the Financial Markets. Also, since the Financial Markets do not exist in a vacuum, it is important to consider everything in the broader contextual world around us!.
After four years in Manhattan, I spent the rest of my career in South Florida. All the while, however, I have had a multitude of Overseas Clients. I have always found it interesting that people who live in other countries often know quite a lot about the US, while many Americans seem to know very little about the world around us. Now, I realize that there are some reasons for that; however, I believe that a lack of global curiosity, on our part, might be a contributing factor.
I retired in early 2012 and my Daughter decided that I needed to find something to do–hence, this Blog. Although my professional background is financial, I also have always had strong views on Politics, Education, Foreign Affairs and a wide range of other topics. So, if you see a post that doesn’t strike your fancy, just scroll-on to the next Post.
But, if you do like the content, please pass the Blog Address on to Your Friends.