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What Does it Mean to have a "Duty of Best Execution"?

To have a “duty of best execution” means that a broker or entity fulfilling a trade request has to do so at the best possible execution for their client. The ‘duty of best execution’ is more than just a guideline - it’s an SEC law. Broker-dealers must report quarterly to the SEC on how they route customers' orders, to ensure compliance. "Best execution” refers to both timing and price. What is the Fiduciary Standard? What is the Suitability Standard? How do Advisors Charge and How Much Should I Pay? Continue reading...

What is the foreign corrupt practices act?

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act attempts to reduce the possibility that a corporation with American affiliations will engage in the bribery of foreign officials. The act was created in 1977 and has since been amended and expanded several times. The SEC and the Department of Justice are both responsible for enforcing the FCPA, which is a law designed to prevent US-based companies from engaging in corrupt practices abroad. Continue reading...

What is a foreign fund?

A foreign fund is a mutual fund that invests solely in companies abroad and does not invest in corporations owned in the US. Owning foreign companies can be a very good diversification strategy and is considered a core holding in the portfolio of most investors. Foreign exposure means that if the US economy hits a rough patch, you may have a hedge in the foreign fund if the companies or markets in other parts of the world are not entirely correlated. Continue reading...

What Is PCI Compliance?

Payment card industry (PCI) compliance is a set of standards and regulations established by credit card companies to safeguard credit card transactions within the payments industry. It revolves around the technical and operational requirements that businesses must adhere to in order to secure and protect credit card data transmitted during card processing. These standards are developed and overseen by the PCI Security Standards Council, an organization dedicated to maintaining the security of credit card information. Companies that conform to these standards are considered PCI compliant. Continue reading...

If I Want to Establish a Self-Employed 401(k), Do I Have to Establish One for All Owners of My Business?

This may be something you have to ask a CPA or tax attorney, but generally the answer will be yes. Some institutions will not allow you to open a self-employed 401(k) if you have more than one owner in the business, but by statutory definition these plans can be set up for partnerships. If you are part of a partnership and this is where your self-employed income is made, you will be getting on thin ice if you attempt to form an LLC for yourself as a conduit for the money, just so you can have a self-employed 401(k), because, while that is not recommended, it will be about your best chance of setting up a Solo K that does not include your partners. Continue reading...

What are the Contribution Limits for My Keogh Plan?

The contribution limit for a Keogh Plan depends on what type of Keogh Plan you set up. There are Defined Contribution and Defined Benefit Keoghs. Defined Contribution plans could be profit-sharing or money-purchase plans. As of 2013, a Defined Contribution Keogh Plan allows the employer to contribute up to 25% of your income, or $53,000, whichever is less, and this will constitute the profit-sharing or money-purchase aspect of the plan. Continue reading...

What is GAAP?

Freddie Mac is a government-sponsored company which purchases mortgages from banks and securitizes them for sales to investment banks or individuals. Freddie Mac is not a government organization, but was established by a congressional mandate in the 1970’s. It’s proper name is the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC). The company’s purpose is to make mortgage debts into marketable securities by purchasing the mortgage risk and cash flow from banks and dividing into tranches which are sold to or through investment banking institutions. The securitized mortgages are known as Collateralized Mortgage Obligations, or CMO’s. Continue reading...

What are the FinCEN Guidelines Surrounding Cryptocurrency?

FinCEN is an agency of the Treasury Department responsible for preventing financial crimes, and they have taken a few steps toward creative effective regulations for cryptocurrency transactions. FinCEN is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an office of the Treasury Department, primarily concerned with money laundering and other forms of financial fraud domestically and internationally. It is because of FinCEN’s far=reaching authority that major cryptocurrency exchanges who do business with US citizens will generally require identity and bank account verification, and will impose limits on transaction amounts. In 2013, FinCEN issued guidance that anyone engaged in the transmission or exchange of cryptocurrencies may fall under their jurisdiction to regulate Money Service Businesses (MSBs), meaning you may potentially have to register as a Money Transmitter on the Federal and state level if you frequently engage in cryptocurrency transactions. Continue reading...

What are Accounting Policies?

Accounting policies are the internal controls of a company which stipulate the methods by which the books will be kept. Accounting policies are the agreed-upon accounting methods, conventions, and practices of an accounting cycle. A business must establish guidelines and training to ensure that accounts are kept in ways that satisfy their needs for documentation, security, liquidity, management, and the observation of applicable laws. Continue reading...

What is a Settlement Date?

The length of time after a trade is executed that the securities are due delivered and the payment is due paid varies for different types of transactions, but the date on which this occurs is the settlement date. Most exchange-traded corporate securities in the United States are required to be settled three days after the trade order is entered, which is called T+3. That date is the settlement date, and is the final date on which the transaction must be finalized by both parties involved. Continue reading...

What Are the Contribution Limits for My SEP IRA?

SEPs contain only employer contributions, and they must contribute the same percentage of every employee’s compensation. As of 2016, an employer may contribute the lesser of either 25% of an employee’s compensation or $53,000 annually. An important thing to note is that the employer decides whether to contribute to the employees’ SEP IRA each year; the employer is not required to make continuous yearly contributions. The equal treatment of all employees with respect to the retirement plans is a fundamental principle of all employer-sponsored retirement programs. Continue reading...

Revolutionizing Fintech: The Potent Potential of Artificial Intelligence

Discover how the fusion of AI and fintech is revolutionizing the financial sector. From enhancing security to improving customer interactions, automating processes, and democratizing access to sophisticated investment tools, the potent potential of AI in fintech is reshaping the future of finance. Dive in to explore the transformative power of AI in fintech! Continue reading...

What is the Investment Advisor Registration Depository (IARD)?

The IARD system is maintained by FINRA, and keeps track of all adviser registrations, which states they are licensed to work in, all licenses they hold, and any customer complaints. It simplified the registration requirements of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) was established in 2001 to streamline the registration requirements of the Investment Advisors Act of 1940. The act required that all advisers register with the SEC and the states in which they practice. Continue reading...

What is FINRA?

FINRA stands for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and they regulate securities firms in the United States. FINRA has no political affiliation and is charged with governing all business dealings conducted between dealers, brokers and all public investors. In other words, the rules that dictate how your financial advisor interacts with you are set forth by FINRA. In all, FINRA oversees more than 4,500 brokerage firms, approximately 160,000 branch offices and more than half a million registered securities representatives, as of 2016. Continue reading...

How Do Reverse Mergers Offer a Shortcut to Going Public?

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Who Establishes a 401(k)?

Employers make the decision to establish a 40(k), but it has to be good enough for employees to want to participate. An employer is responsible for establishing a 401(k) and for overseeing it as the sponsor and fiduciary. A self-employed individual can also establish an Individual 401(k), which has the same contribution limits and requires none of the testing or auditing of a regular plan. Other options for work-site retirement plans are SIMPLE IRAs, SEP IRAs, and various kinds of profit-sharing and deferred compensation arrangements. Continue reading...

What is Publication 504, Divorced and Separated individuals?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Divorce can be a hard thing on a personal level, and the tax returns can become more difficult to sort through as well. Publication 504 walks through the various choices available to those who are divorced or separated and who may need to adjust how their dependents are claimed, how property is divided up or sold, and who pays the taxes due at the time of divorce. Publication 504 gives detailed instructions concerning how to correctly report and file the proceeds of divorce. Continue reading...

How Much Does it Cost to Prepare a Will?

A simple will can be created for free if a person uses an online template from a trusted source and/or creates the document themselves. Having an attorney create a will may cost a few hundred dollars, depending on the complexity of the estate. If you opt for an online will, the cost will be extremely cheap compared to hiring a professional (possibly a few hundred dollars or even significantly less). Continue reading...

How Can I Establish a Keogh Plan?

A Keogh plan will primarily need a plan document and a way to invest. A Keogh plan can be established by any self-employed individual of a sole proprietorship, partnership, and Limited Liability Company (LLC). A plan document must be put together by the sponsor, or the standard plan document from a prototype plan at a broker-dealer or trustee institution can be used. It is not necessary to submit the document to the IRS, but if you have any employees, it is required that you use this document and any other printed information necessary to fully explain and disclose their rights in regards to the plan. Continue reading...

Who is a Bond Trustee?

A bond trustee is an institution which has the fiduciary responsibility of administering and enforcing the terms of the bond indenture. A bond indenture is the contract between the bond issuer and the bondholder. A trustee has the resources to manage the distribution of the funds to the bondholders, to keep up with and distribute the required bookkeeping and statement information to the interested parties as well as regulators like the SEC. If there is a violation of the contract, the trustee must report it and act in the best interest of the wronged party. Continue reading...