Friday, May 29, 2015

Officer Turned Criminal, Discover Financial's Anti-Money Laundering Woes & The Fed Awards $65b In Term Deposits

Fraud charges against William Quigley 
Enforcement action against Discover Financial Services (DFS)
Two penny stock promoters charged in Canada
Fed awards $65 billion in 7-day term deposit offering
OFC publishes a paper that aims to predict stock market crashes
  • The SEC announced fraud charges against William Quigley of Long Island for "fleecing investors and stealing money from a brokerage firm" -- Quigley was the Director of Compliance at the firm. “We allege a classic situation of the fox guarding the henhouse as William Quigley subverted his position of trust as compliance director and stole money from investors and his own firm,” said Andrew M. Calamari, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office.
  • The Federal Reserve brought an enforcement action against the credit card issuer Discover Financial Services (DFS). The company has agreed to improve anti-money laundering policies through a series of plans that must be submitted to the Fed within 90 days. It is unclear what penalties have occurred or will occur if Discover fails to provide adequate improvements. This also suggests we may be seeing charges brought against Discover in the near future from other regulatory agencies such as the Department of Justice through the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or the Federal Trade Commission.
  • The SEC charged two penny stock promoters in Canada, Mike Taxon and Itamar Cohen, with manipulating the stock of Raven Gold Corporation (RVNG) and natural gas production company Kentucky USA Energy (KYUS). “Taxon and Cohen lured investors to these stocks by depicting the illusion of an active market and positive market trends,” said Andrew M. Calamari, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office.
  • On May 28, 2015, the Federal Reserve offered a seven-day floating-rate term deposit with the rate set equal to the sum of the interest rate paid on excess reserves (IOER) plus a fixed spread of 1 basis point. The offering awarded 42 participants a total of $65 billion, $15 billion less than the offering held last week on the same terms.
  • The OFC published a paper that provides readers with a framework that can predict stock market crashes like the 2008 financial crisis. The framework is designed to predict a system-wide collapse with the use of  market liquidity indicators.

If you like what you're reading, please join my mailing list to receive blog posts and updates as they occur. If you're an investor with all of your assets tied up in the stock market and cash, you might want to consider a few diversification strategies. Gold is the oldest asset in the world and it's inflation proof. Bitcoin is the gold standard for the cryptocurrency world, which is the fastest growing asset class in the world. Diversifying your portfolio into one or both of these assets can help to insure your portfolio against a stock market crash or inflation. Most importantly, it can help to safeguard the gains you've made over the last 10 years.

Please note that there are other companies that sell gold and Bitcoin on the market, and you should always do your research when making decisions about your portfolio. Just like your personal health, if you're planning on having major surgery, you need to get a second, and sometimes a third, opinion. You want to make sure your surgeon is good and has performed the procedure many, many times.  In the same way, you need to trust your broker and you need to make sure they are reputable. This is the process I used when looking for a broker to recommend.

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