Monday, March 02, 2015 10:05pm
North Adams, MA now: 21 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
The Independent Investor: Gordon Gekko Should Run for Congress
By: Bill Schmick On: 01:39AM / Saturday May 28, 2011
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0

Did you know that congressmen and senators consistently outperform the stock market year after year? On average, the lower house members beat the market by about 6 percent a year while those of the higher chamber wrack up a 10 percent level of outperformance annually. Now, if you believe that's purely coincidental, well, I have a bridge I can sell you cheap.

Don't take my word for it. Four university researchers from four different schools poured over 16,000 stock buys and sells of 300 congressmen over a 16-year period and found "significant positive abnormal returns." Five years ago, the same team uncovered even better results when investigating the personal stock transactions of Senators.

As a full-time portfolio manager myself, I know managing money is a 24/7 job that requires an enormous amount of research, experience and time. How can our politicians manage to pull out these startling returns year after year, while serving in Washington, running election campaigns and travelling back home to their constituents?

The university report speculates (without forming a conclusion) that the out performance may have something to do with the ability of members of both houses to trade on non-public information or worse, vote their own pocketbooks.

But wait, how can that be? Isn't trading on insider information illegal?

Well, it turns out that our lawmakers are excluded from the same insider trading rules that have nailed so many Wall Street traders, most recently in The Galleon Insider Trading Case.

Just think how much potential for abnormal profits resides in knowing what bills and appropriations will pass and those that won't. If, for example, a huge contract is awarded to one of our defense companies in a non-public appropriations bill, a member of either house could legally buy the stock ahead of time and even tip off friends, family and possibly their largest campaign contributors.

It may also explain how certain big financial institutions, over the last few years, seem to know exactly how bad or good the country's economic data will be prior to public release. That data has been capable of moving markets substantially either up or down over short periods of time.

Given the U.S. government’s massive intervention in the financial system since 2008, the ability to make piles of money from government actions is immense. Is it any wonder that politicians have adroitly avoided changing the rules that govern their own actions, until now?

A bill introduced by Reps. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., and Tim Walz, D-Minn., called the STOCK (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) act was reintroduced in March of this year. It was first introduced in 2006 and predictably went nowhere. The act would "prohibit Members of Congress and federal employees from profiting from nonpublic information they obtain via their official positions, and require greater oversight of the growing 'political intelligence' industry."

"As it stands today, neither members of Congress nor their staff can be held legally accountable for making personal investment decisions based on non-public information," explains Congresswomen Slaughter, "Even more troubling is that unregistered firms might be using Congressional non-public information to make financial transactions at the expense of the average investor. The bill places those individuals under insider trading rules and enhanced disclosure rules."

The act would prevent government employees from disclosing non-public information to anyone if they believe it will be used to buy or sell stocks, bonds or commodities futures. It would also require members of Congress and employees to report the purchase, sale or exchange of securities in excess of $1,000 within 30 days.

"This is a matter of equality under the law," said Congressman Walz, "The same standards we have established for Wall Street should apply to Congress. The potential for abuse is obvious and troubling and there is simply no good reason Congress should get to play by a separate set of rules in the stock market."

Readers may agree that there is something hypocritical about politicians and regulators probing hedge funds for suspicious trading while the very same government officials are able to trade on nonpublic information on current and upcoming congressional activity and give it to their friends as well as hedge funds if they choose.

While I applaud the efforts of Walz and Slaughter, I suspect the chances of STOCK's passage is about as remote as my growing hair again.

Bill Schmick is an independent investor with Berkshire Money Management. (See "About" for more information.) None of the information presented in any of these articles is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at (toll free) or e-mail him at wschmick@fairpoint.net. Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill's insights.



Tags: Congress, SEC, trading      
News Headlines
Taconic High School Project Estimated at $116M
St. Stanislaus Preschoolers Learn a Thing Or Two From Dr. Seuss
Berkshire Taconic President Leaving At End of 2015
BMC North Reopens Operating Rooms
McCann Tech Robotics Team Demonstrates for School Committee
Williamstown Economic Development Panel Hears from North Adams Planner
New Business Offers Organic Products From Berkshires & Beyond
Battalion Falls at Home, Needs Miracle to Finish Fourth
Commission on Status of Women, Groups, Share Concerns With Lawmakers
McCann Senior Praised For Her Achievements

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment advisor representative and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management (BMM), managing over $200 million for investors in the Berkshires. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of BMM. None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill’s insights.

 

 

 



Categories:
@theMarket (161)
Independent Investor (218)
Archives:
February 2015 (7)
January 2015 (9)
December 2014 (7)
November 2014 (4)
October 2014 (9)
September 2014 (5)
August 2014 (7)
July 2014 (2)
June 2014 (6)
May 2014 (9)
April 2014 (8)
March 2014 (5)
Tags:
Currency Deficit Recession Taxes Economy Europe Federal Reserve Pullback Fed Banks Interest Rates Congress Selloff Stocks Election Oil Energy Euro Stock Market Metals Debt Markets Fiscal Cliff Jobs Europe Crisis Housing Rally Commodities Retirement Debt Ceiling Greece Japan Stimulus Bailout
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
The Independent Investor: Understanding the Foreclosure Scandal
@theMarket: QE II Supports the Markets
The Independent Investor: Does Cash Mean Currencies?
@theMarket: Markets Are Going Higher
The Independent Investor: General Motors — Back to the Future
The Independent Investor: Will the Municipal Bond Massacre Continue?
The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?
@theMarket: Economy Sputters, Stocks Stutter
The Independent Investor: Why Are Interest Rates Rising?
Recent Entries:
@The Market: Full Steam Ahead
The Independent Investor: New Fiduciary Rule Would Benefit All of Us
The Independent Investor: How to Make the Most Out of Social Security
@theMarket: A Race to the Bottom
The Independent Investor: The Grecian Drama
@theMarket: The Labor Market Is on Fire
The Independent Investor: Joint Business Is Jumping
The Independent Investor: College Savings Accounts Are Not Risk-Free
@theMarket: More Stimuli Equal Higher Markets
The Independent Investor: The European Central Bank Delivers


View All
Girls BB: Middlesex @ PHS
The Generals rallied and rode an 18-point, 16-rebound...
Thunderbolt/Thunderfest 2015
The Thunderbolt Ski Race held its 80th anniversary run on...
Girls BB: Wahconah vs Hoosac...
No.1 Hoosac is heading back to the Cage as they beat No.9...
10X10 Art Party 2015
The 10X10 Festival's Real Art Party fundraiser, organized...
Berkshire Chamber Nite @...
Berkshire Chamber night on Wednesday at Mingo's in North...
Boys BB: Renaissance vs Drury
For Drury senior Justin Girard, the 63-61 quarter-final win...
Boys BB: Mount Greylock vs...
The Hoosac Valley boys basketball team got enough...
Boys BB: Quabbin vs...
Jerry McDonough scored 15 points, and Scott Steinman added...
Girls BB: Lee vs Mount...
Karli Retzel hit a 3-pointer and went 2-for-2 at the foul...
Boys Hockey: Wahconah vs...
The No. 5 Warriors won over No. 4 Belchertown 2-0 Tuesday...
Boys Hockey: Mt Everett vs...
Amherst No. 3 seed eliminated No. 6 Mount Everett 3-0...
Boys BB: Holyoke Catholic vs...
Monday evening, as the No. 5 Lenox basketball team was...
Congressman Neal Tours...
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal toured Unistress, Modern Mold & Tool...
Winterfest 2015
Chowder, wagon rides and ice sculptures attracted residents...
State Voc Semifinals
FINAL: Franklin Tech advances to State Voc Final with 63-44...
Berkshire County Bowling...
Lee won the Berkshire County Bowling Title over Drury 3...
Girls BB: Middlesex @ PHS
The Generals rallied and rode an 18-point, 16-rebound...
Thunderbolt/Thunderfest 2015
The Thunderbolt Ski Race held its 80th anniversary run on...
Girls BB: Wahconah vs Hoosac...
No.1 Hoosac is heading back to the Cage as they beat No.9...
10X10 Art Party 2015
The 10X10 Festival's Real Art Party fundraiser, organized...
Berkshire Chamber Nite @...
Berkshire Chamber night on Wednesday at Mingo's in North...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved