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— Gene Feierstein

A Former Seattle Seahawk Will Lead 200 Merrill Lynch Reps In San Francisco

Kevin Casey/Getty ImagesFA Insights is a daily newsletter from Business Insider that delivers the top news and commentary for financial advisors. 
A Former Seattle Seahawk Will Head Merrill Lynch’s San Francisco Complex (Think Advisor) 
Former Seattle Seahawk Willie Thomas will be the director of Merrill Lynch’s San Francisco complex, reports Janet Levaux.
The firm has kept relatively quiet about the new complex, possibly “because Thomas played for the Seattle Seahawks, the current nemesis for the San Francisco 49ers and the team that handed the 49ers a 17-7 defeat on Sunday,” writes Levaux.
“People who were successful at professional sports are viewed by financial-service firms as hard-working, super-motivated individuals who are also strong team players, and management is about leading a team,” Mark Elzweig, an executive search consultant, told Think Advisor.
The Energy Sector Is Looking Like A Good Long-Term Investment (US Trust Investment) 
“With about a 50% fall in oil prices since June, the energy sector is significantly attractive for long-term investment. Many companies within the sector are trading at levels discounting oil prices some 20% below current levels. We believe the energy sector — specifically, the oil service, infrastructure equipment, and large integrated companies — is one of the most attractive investment opportunities for the next few years,” writes Christopher Hyzy, the chief investment officer of US Trust.
Overall, US Trust believes that equities will outperform fixed income in 2015, and specifically US equities will outperform relative to other asset classes. With respect to emerging-market equities, US Trust see selective opportunities in Mexico and South Korea but is cautious about Russia and Brazil, which are under immense pressure right now.
The Dollar’s Going Strong Into 2015 (Merrill Lynch)
“The US dollar has been one of the best-performing major currencies in 2014, with the Dollar Index (DXY) up roughly 10% at the end of November. We see further upside for the greenback going forward, especially against the euro and the yen,” writes Ashvin B. Chhabra, the chief investment officer of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
A big theme going into 2015 is that the world’s major economies will be diverging, and Merrill Lynch believes this will lead to continued support for the dollar’s strength. 
Additionally, the “improving fiscal health of the US and transformative changes such as the surge in US energy production,” will also contribute to the strength of the dollar, according to Merril Lynch.
A $300 Million Morgan Stanley Team Jumps Ship To Raymond James (Financial Planning) 
A Morgan Stanley team with $300 million under it just left the big firm for Raymond James.
One adviser from the team, Craig Houck, said “that they made the move because of a ‘desire to have more control over the structure of our practice,'” reports Andrew Welsch.
Raymond James Associates has picked up steam over the year, and has been heavily recruited. Last week the firm got a $900 million team from JPMorgan, and before that the firm got two teams from Wells Fargo.
SEC Chair Doesn’t Want To Shift Money To Increase Registered Investment Advisor Exams (Advisor Perspectives) 
SEC chairwoman Mary Jo White refused a request by two Republicans to shift money within the agency to increase registered investment adviser exams, reports Ted Knutson.
In November, the two GOP members demanded that White reallocated resources for these, but now White has refused. Instead, she wants to increase the exams with the same staff as in the past.


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