Recent court papers allege that Flynn Family Office, a Manhattan-based financial firm with a number of celebrity clients, fostered an environment of racism and sexism, according to the New York Post. In a complaint filed as part of a suit for wrongful termination, Robert Solomon, a former executive, claims that he was fired from the firm because he objected to the constant sexist banter. The documents offer a number of alleged examples of this behavior, many of which are attributed to partner Alan Kufeld. However, the quote eliciting the most attention is about pop-star Rihanna, whom Kufeld allegedly deemed attractive because she was “not too dark” and then offered a “monologue on what Caribbean nationalities were the most attractive based on skin tone.” FFO’s other notable female clients include Kelly Ripa, Katie Holmes and Ellen Barkin.
It seems regulators are done just warning firms about the importance of adequate cybersecurity policies and procedures. On Tuesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission censured and fined a St. Louis-based registered investment advisor $75,000 for failing to have safeguards and proper systems in place. R.T. Jones Capital Equities Management’s web server was attacked in July 2013 and the private information of over 100,000 people was made vulnerable to theft. But despite the fact that no one suffered financial harm and the firm promptly hired a cybersecurity consultant and notified every individual at risk, the SEC found the RIA at fault. Why? It failed to have any written policies and procedures to ensure its clients’ security and confidentiality for at least a four-year period.
Truth in Accounting, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago, has completed its sixth annual comprehensive review of the financial reports of all 50 states, and determined that states still have almost $1.3 trillion in unfunded debt. The research also identified $628 billion of unfunded retirement debt, and $956 billion of undisclosed retirement liabilities. TIA also identified states with the highest and lowest taxpayer burdens, with New Jersey coming in as the worst in that category ahead of Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky and Massachusetts. "Te lack of truthful, timely, and transparent financial information is increasing cynicism and mistrust and it is a risk for our representative form of government, said Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO of TIA. "Citizens do not have the information needed to hold their politicians accountable, much less cast an informed vote." According to the study, 39 states have dug financial holes creating taxpayer burdens. Topping the list of states with a surplus were Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and South Dakota.
Russell Investments has launched a new online game that takes advisors through the real-life, day-to-day challenges of working with clients and managing a firm. Scenarios include a tax-sensitive client wanting to chase yield, or a lowest revenue client taking too much time and resources to manage. The results place the advisor into one of five categories, and Russell Investments shows the strengths, opportunities and risks associated with each style, as well as the firm’s best practices for handling each situation. "The goal is to provide real-time information and practical advice to help advisors better tackle common concerns, such as how to construct a more tax-efficient portfolio, more effectively manage time and build business scale, as well as work through challenging situations presented by clients and the markets,” said Kevin Bishopp, a director in Russell Investment’s U.S. advisor-sold business.