When it comes to wealth, there is no shortage of financial, investment, and tax "experts" hawking their advice and opinions. It seems like everyone has one.
Ironically, the scientific research shows that the less one knows about a subject, the more they think they know.
Your business, investment, and financial decisions are no better than the information. In an economy of “information” too much misinformation and questionable advice from "experts" goes unchallenged by busy investors and trusting business professionals.
Granted everyone makes mistakes and hindsight is 20 / 20. But in retrospect, it can be helpful as well as amusing to see what the "worldly wisdom of some of the "experts" had to say about stocks, investing, and the viability of future business opportunities that would have affected your net worth if you had heeded their advice.
The following material is provided, not to criticize, but only as food for thought, to stimulate an assessment of your information sources and a review of your investment, financial, and business decision making choices.
Just how wrong can the "experts" be?
`I kept (the company) on the buy rating'' to appease the company, said one credit-card analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity, ``but I told my favorite investors to sell'' to maintain credibility." an investment analyst admitting to providing different recommendations, one for large investors, than the one provided for the individual investors
."There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
“Tell your idiot subscribers about how great the stock is, and, like sheep, they will run out and buy it," riffed the message. "Dump the shares you bought...[on] all of these suckers...watch the stock steadily tank...and laugh all the way to the bank."
The migration of fraud from boiler rooms to the Internet is the most important new trend to hit U.S. markets in years," Richard H. Walker, top cop at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
When a new opportunity arises, are you the first person your investment advisor / stock broker calls? If not, how many other investors does he call before you?
According to Gomez Advisors, an online research firm, online investors trade three times more often than their offline peers. The problem with all of this churning? To put it bluntly: The more you trade the worse you do. Active traders suffer not only because they pay out more in commissions (even at discount rates) but also because they are not nearly as good at picking stocks as they think they are.
After studying the records of tens of thousands of customers at a discount brokerage firm, University of California at Davis assistant professor Terrance Odean discovered that active traders actually did significantly worse in the market than their less trade-happy peers. Even without taking commission charges into account, the stocks active traders bought under performed the ones they sold by more than 3% a year.
Research by two Cornell University Psychologists demonstrates that the less one knows about a particular subject – the more that person thinks he knows about the topic. Incompetent individuals dramatically overestimate their ability and performance.
How prevalent is broker fraud? In the mid 1990's Bankers Trust was the 2nd largest asset management firm. Tape recordings obtained in litigation discovery revealed:
• "Fraud was so pervasive and institutionalized that....employees used the acronym 'ROF'-short for rip-off factor, to describe one method of fleecing clients."
• "Funny business, you know? Lure people into that calm and then just totally f---'em."
• "Here's the positive side: I've buried my clients so much that it's going to take me four years to trade them out of this loss."
• "What Bankers Trust can do for Sony and IBM is get in the middle and rip them off."
If the largest and supposedly most reputable financial firms "rip-off" the largest and most sophisticated companies, what do you think your "rip-off factor is? What do you think they really think of you as individual investor?
Ripping - off clients is not isolated but rather endemic within the financial industry. Since 1992, many of the nation's most respected banks and brokerages including Salmon Brothers, Citicorp, Chemical, Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns and Dean Witter, Pain Webber Shearson Lehman Brothers, NationsSecurities (a subsidiary of NationsBank now Bank Of America) have been cited for abuses.
The SEC announced that their investigations had uncovered constant lying and phantom records as well as hyping and the creation of crib sheets so that when they lied, they lied consistently.
Although, while the rip-off may not result from intentional fraud or misrepresentation the result is still the same. As one Merrill Lynch broker admitted," We were selling this to people like a bond, I feel I wasn't adequately told the risks, and I didn't convey the risks to my clients.
"William Brady, managing director at Credit Suisse First Boston, acknowledges that some investment bankers unfairly reward institutional investors at the expense of small fry--but he insists CSFB doesn't.
An unbelievable 37% of IPO buy recommendations made by analysts were reversed within a year.
Less than one percent (1%) of the recommendations by security analysts are "sell" or "strong sell"
`Often there will be something you want to downgrade, and your firm will say it's not a good time,'' says a financial stock analyst for one East Coast investment bank. A ``handful'' of his favorite investors, though, will learn how he really feels. He keeps the group small to prevent his negative opinion from getting back to the company he's rating.
The hottest IPOs are usually the worst performers after the initial thrill is gone. The Journal of Finance, has reported that IPOs that appreciated by more than 60% on day one of trading subsequently performed even worse over the next year than IPO stocks that didn't rise at all that first day.
When you listen closely, what you hear from Merrill Lynch's analyst is that the main reason you should be buying stocks is because other people buy them. Which is to say, his analysis is itself part of the bubble.
Amazon.com? "It's something you have to take on faith," Merrill Lynch, Internet Analyst.
Risk, what risk? Using six different measures of risks for mutual funds, the fund monitor Morningstar analyzed the results of 2,340 diversified funds over a five year period and found that only three appeared on more than one list of the riskiest of funds.
IPOs spike up and down that way because some investors have the best information about the market while others have to guess. The most critical information --(about IPO pricing)--is a secret that only investment banks and favored clients are in on. What's worse, underwriters set artificially low offering prices even when they know investors would buy many more shares than are available. They do it to please institutional clients, who buy at the offering price and then sell into the initial run up.
"The underwriters are throwing money off a tall building to their best customers,'' says Dartmouth College business professor Kent L. Womack, who co-authored a Journal of Finance study.
A survey of CPA's cited neglect and inflation as the gravest threats to their clients' wealth. CPA's think their clients focused too much on return and too little on risk- when choosing money and fund managers.
The riskier the investment you can be talked into, the higher commission the broker/advisor collects. Typically, a bond sale earns about 1.5%, mutual funds 4-5% and a limited partnership commission runs 10% or more.
$100 million dollars is way too much to pay for Microsoft." IBM, 1982
Forrester Research predicts online shopping will remain dominated by males who are technology-oriented. While online shopping will continue to grow, the report predicts that it will not become a mainstream retailing medium. Source: Interactive Week, May 6, 1996
Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.
"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper”. Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With The Wind."
A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make." Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies.
"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, President, Royal Society, 1895.
"Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." 1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work.
"You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your muscles? It can't be done. It's just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training." Response to Arthur Jones, who solved the "unsolvable" problem by inventing Nautilus.
"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.
"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.
"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.
"Everything that can be invented has been invented." Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.
"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction". Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872
"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon". Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.
"640K ought to be enough for anybody." Bill Gates, 1981
"X rays are a hoax." -- Lord Kelvin, physicist, c. 1900
MARTIANS BUILD TWO IMMENSE CANALS IN TWO YEARS -- New York Times headline, 27 Aug 1911
"The radio craze … will die out in time." -- Thomas Edison, 1922
"While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility." Lee DeForest, inventor of the audio tube,1926
[By 1940] the relativity theory will be considered a joke." -- George Francis Gillette, American engineer, 1929
"50 years hence … [we] shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium." Winston Churchill, 1932
"The Bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives." -- Admiral William Daniel Leahy, advising President Truman on the U.S. atom-bomb project, 1945.
"The cloning of mammals … is biologically impossible." -- James McGrath and Davor Solter, writing in Science, 14 Dec 1984.
"But what ... is it good for?" Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." Western Union internal memo, 1876
ISDN will be ubiquitous by 1985. Irwin Dorros VP ATT 1981
"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)
"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this." Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M "Post-It" Notepads.
"So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'" Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." T he editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
1 Corinthians 1: 18 - 31
The Wisdom of God.
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE."
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
24 but to those who are the called , both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world
to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
28 and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
29 so that no man may boast before God.
30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
31 so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD."