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The City Council steps up, gives itself a finance team
Chicago Tribune
Bad and worse. Those could well be the choices facing Chicago aldermen when it comes time to pass the 2015 city budget. With no legislative remedy in sight, the city will have to pony up an extra $600 million to its police and fire pension funds. To make ends meet, aldermen will have to decide whether to raise property taxes, slash services — or cross their fingers and hope for some magical mayoral remedy. Something like, you know, a 75-year lease of a lucrative public asset. One very encouraging sign: By voting to establish their own Office of Financial Analysis, aldermen signaled that they want to play an active role in those discussions.
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What does The Financial Times' 'guru of the future' anticipate for 2014?
CFA Chicago
Following the financial crisis, monetary policy and politics have significantly shaped the investment environment. In early 2014, a new chair will take the helm at the Federal Reserve. What opportunities might the investment landscape offer in 2014? What should investors consider in developing their 2014 investment strategies? How might higher interest rates impact investment choices? Join us for our forecast event where keynote speaker, Austan Goolsbee and our panel of leading strategists in economics, equities, and fixed income will share their insights and outlook for 2014.
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Private equity investments — Take Bon's word for it
CFA Chicago
T. Bondurant "Bon" French, CFA, is responsible for the management of Adams Street Partners and actively participates as an investment professional. French has been with Adams Street Partners and its predecessor organizations since 1980 and has been instrumental in the development of its private equity investment strategies, fund management and client service. Join CFA Chicago on Feb. 25 for the T. Bondurant "Bon" French Distinguished Speaker Series.
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Diversification or diworsifcation?
CFA Institute's Enterprising Investor
During the financial crisis one mangled term to gain widespread use was “diworsification,” the counterintuitive idea that carrying all your investment eggs in one basket might be a better idea than old-fashioned diversification. In recent years, tactical asset allocation and trading out of trouble seemed to protect capital better than traditional approaches. One recent study even suggested that concentrated portfolios may be completely rational for those investors with little financial wealth relative to income.
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Analysis: Investment risks of fast-tracking biotech drugs become apparent
Reuters via Chicago Tribune
With biotech's bull run nearing its third year, some savvy investors believe it is time to seek safety in size. The promise of drugs reaching the market at a faster pace has overshadowed rising risk in the sector. But signs in the past few months that a booming IPO market may be peaking and reversals for some fast-tracked drugs are starting to give investors second thoughts about expensive smaller-cap biotechs.
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Advisors: What the 'new rich' clients need
Financial Planning
It’s not just the top 1 percent anymore. Around 20 percent of U.S. adults now fall into what is being called the “new rich,” according to new research. This label, which denotes households with annual income of $250,000 or more at some point in their working lives, tends to be made up of mostly older professionals, working married couples and more educated singles. To serve this market, the most important things financial advisors can do are to make sure clients establish automated investing programs, max out their 401(k)s, make sure they have appropriate life insurance policies and make monthly contributions to 529 college savings plans if they have children, says David Edwards, president of Heron Financial Group/Wealth Advisors in New York City.
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Beware low-volatility ETFs
Barron's
After blowout gains in 2013 that are unlikely to be repeated in 2014, investors looking for a less risky approach to stocks have the right idea. But low-volatility exchange-traded funds aren't the way to go. The lower-volatility, more staid stocks these ETFs invest in can get downright sluggish — or, worse, excitable — if too many investors pile in. Low stock valuations are part of the secret behind the "low-volatility anomaly," the long-term outperformance of stocks with less volatility than average. But these days, investors are in on the secret.
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JPMorgan Chase sues FDIC for more than $1billion
The Associated Press via Chicago Sun-Times
JPMorgan is suing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to recover more than $1 billion tied to its purchase of Washington Mutual when that bank failed in 2008. In a federal court complaint, the New York bank said that the FDIC failed to honor obligations under the Washington Mutual agreement, and that has subjected JP Morgan to massive liability. JPMorgan said in a court filing on Dec. 17 that the FDIC then declined to acknowledge that claims against JPMorgan for Washington Mutual’s conduct should have been claims against the receivership.
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Vendors unpaid as pitfalls impeded Illinois' path to stability
Bloomberg
Ron Ford knows that Illinois, the state with the worst credit rating in the U.S., will have returned to financial health when he and about 19,000 other vendors get paid the combined $8.8 billion owed them. That day won’t come soon. Legislators this month approved a $160 billion pension restructuring bill that has investors looking less critically at the nation’s fifth-most-populous state. Still, Illinois’s path to financial recovery resembles the board game “Chutes and Ladders,” strewn with pitfalls that could undo progress.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    J.B. Pritzker: Chicago is tech hub but needs capital, young talent (Chicago Sun-Times)
Why this pension deal is good for Illinois taxpayers (Crain's Chicago Business)
Seeking 'Bon' — recommendations on private equity (CFA Chicago)
Federal Reserve in no rush to halt bond buying (The Boston Globe)
Investment considerations in equities and fixed income (CFA Chicago)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


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The City Council steps up, gives itself a finance team
Chicago Tribune
Bad and worse. Those could well be the choices facing Chicago aldermen when it comes time to pass the 2015 city budget. With no legislative remedy in sight, the city will have to pony up an extra $600 million to its police and fire pension funds. To make ends meet, aldermen will have to decide whether to raise property taxes, slash services — or cross their fingers and hope for some magical mayoral remedy.

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J.B. Pritzker: Chicago is tech hub but needs capital, young talent
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago has transformed from being a technological desert to birthing tech startups that have achieved more than $50 billion in collective market value — but it’s still a challenge to attract startup capital and to keep young talent from fleeing to Silicon Valley, venture capitalist and billionaire J.B. Pritzker said recently.

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Why this pension deal is good for Illinois taxpayers
Crain's Chicago Business
Decades of dire warnings and several years of legislative negotiations culminated with the passage of comprehensive state pension reform legislation in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly. Gov. Pat Quinn has indicated that he will sign the bill into law, setting up an inevitable legal challenge before the Illinois Supreme Court.

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Private equity firm Ares rejects pitches to do IPO soon
Reuters via Chicago Tribune
Ares Management LLC has been pitched on the idea of an initial public offering for the past year, but the firm that had been widely expected to be the next among major private equity firms to go public has no plans to pull the trigger just yet. Sources familiar with Ares, which has about $70 billion in assets under management, said major Wall Street banks have been calling on the firm to discuss the merits of an IPO. The success of the listing by private equity heavyweight Carlyle Group LP last year, and a rally in the shares of alternative asset managers this year, provide an attractive backdrop.
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Chicago Bitcoin kiosk to be up by spring, local entrepreneur hopes
DNAinfo Chicago
South Loop resident Rich Gatz thinks Chicagoans are ready to start using the digital, unregulated currency known as Bitcoin — and hopes to soon open the first ATM-like kiosk in the Midwest that allows users to trade them for cash. "I want us to be the Midwestern center of crypto-currency — to create a community around bitcoins here," said Gatz. Gatz, a self-proclaimed geek who became fascinated with bitcoins in April, said he loves the concept and the community, which draws technology enthusiasts, investors looking to capitalize on a new and rapidly growing market, and libertarians who "feel that no government should have control over currency; we should control it ourselves," he said.
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