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Asian ashrams: a banker’s recommendations for worn out professionals
Lifestyle
One banker who wished to remain anonymous shares his tips for taking a truly restful break from the fast-paced and often stressful world of financial institutions. Do you check Facebook and your email as soon as you wake up? Do you take your gadgets everywhere with you? Is the first thing you do upon arriving at a restaurant to ask…
Billionaire gives $177M to fight dementia
Lifestyle
Billionaire co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers, Chuck Feeney, wants to take on dementia. Feeney's philanthropic organization, The Atlantic Philanthropies, anonymously gives tens of millions of dollars to charities world wide, reports Forbes. The group publicly announced Monday it is giving $177 million in a multi-year grant to the University of California at San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin to focus…
Video: Bernanke the civilian talks post-Fed life
Lifestyle
"I sleep pretty well," says Ben Bernanke, former Federal Reserve chairman, on this week's Wall Street Week. Bernanke says retirement from public office is treating him well. As far as his Fed legacy, Bernanke says he would like to be remembered for the transparency he brought to the Federal Reserve, including regular press conferences and communication to the public.  
Paris attack: Victims' stories emerge
Lifestyle
As the magnitude of Friday’s terror attacks in Paris sinks in, the victims' stories are starting to emerge. The attacks, claimed by extremist group Daesh, or Islamic State, killed 129 and wounded 352 across seven attacks. The French authorities have almost finished the task of identifying the victims. Of the dead, at least 25 were foreign nationals from Spain, Belgium,…
GOP nomination race to be a nail biter right down to the wire, says political veteran
Lifestyle
<p>The U.S. is just less than 365 days away from the next presidential election, and the race resembles a motley fight club more than a meeting of America’s greatest minds.</p> <p>The Republicans, with more than a dozen candidates fighting on the national level, are leading the fracas. Mark Halperin, managing editor of Bloomberg Politics, gave his take on the election at a recent event hosted by Walkers law firm.</p> <p>“I think there’re seven people that could be the Republican nominee right now,” says Halperin. “The Republican nomination fight could go all the way to the convention.”</p> <p>That’s right; an actual convention just like the good old days.</p> <p>Halperin has been reporting on presidential elections for nearly 30 years, and can confidently say he’s correctly predicted the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees months in advance of conventions during past election cycles. But not this time.</p> <p>Republican have done little to reach an electorate broader than old white men in recent years, says Halperin. Marco Rubio is the GOP establishment favorite, but Republican voters have been pushing back against the old guard’s choices. And, “there is extreme Bush fatigue in this country,” says Halperin of other classic pick Jeb Bush.</p> <p>Donald Trump is “a phenomenal salesman,” says Halperin. While his appeal is somewhat issue-based, Trump is really playing into his image of being an Average Joe. Sure he has large buildings named after him across the U.S., but Trump has an uncouth, non-politically correct way of speaking that Americans want to identify with, while sharing a beer.</p> <p>Less entertaining, but still prevalent, are the Democrats. The U.S. is suffering as strong a case of Clinton fatigue as Bush fatigue, says Halperin, and Hillary Clinton “can be beat” by Republicans. She’s not the most skilled candidate, and while a good public servant, Clinton is a lackluster politician. Republicans need to put forth a strong candidate to take Clinton down though. They’ve relied too heavily on the hope that scandals would mar her public image, but it hasn’t worked, says Halperin. If Bernie Sanders is able to grab an early primary victory it may shake Clinton within her own party, but she’s likely to still come out on top for the Democrats, he says.<br /> Photo: Donkeyhotey </p>
Financial lingo, according to Jason Zweig
Lifestyle
<p>Jason Zweig – in his new book “The Devil's Financial Dictionary” – took on the Brobdingnagian task of defining Wall Street jargon for the masses and apparently, the noted author did a mighty, mighty fine job at it.</p> <p>Here are five terms plucked from his book, via Business Insider:<br /> Proprietary algorithms (n.) Mathematical formulas ostensibly used to manage money that instead etherize the minds of prospective and current clients. The formulas often resemble something like this:</p> <p>[([e*R2]/∑i=n0)2] * P/b = e(R)</p> <p>When such algorithms are algebraically reduced, they result in the simpler equation:</p> <p>A * f = p</p> <p>where A represents the assets of the firm's clients, f equals the fees they pay, and p is the gross profitability of the money management firm (although not its clients.) The other terms in the original algorithms are extraneous, although attempting to solve them does give the firm's employees something to do all day while they watch the fees piling up.</p> <p>Research (n.) The art of making financial guesswork seem like a science — at a cost to investors of approximately 1% of their total assets annually.</p> <p>"Fundamental research" consists of pretending to study the underlying forces of supply and demand that should determine the long-term futility profitability of an asset while, instead, spending most of your time fixating on short-term fluctuations in market price. "Technical research" consists of looking at squiggly lines all day long.</p> <p>Thrift (n.) The obsolete practice of spending less money than you earn; once believed to be a virtue, now regarded as a disturbing form of deviant behavior.</p> <p>Regulator (n.) A bureaucrat who attempts to stop rampaging elephants by bradishing feather-dusters at them. Also, a future employee of a bank, hedge fund, brokerage, investment-management firm, or financial lobbying organization.</p> <p>Irrational (adj.) A word you use to describe any investor other than yourself.<br /> Photo: Ghozt Tramp</p>
What we’re reading: the secretive ‘scouts’ of Silicon Valley and Valeant’s fall from grace
Lifestyle
<p>From George Magnus’ views on China’s “economic transition” to a riveting tale of one man’s search for a Jeep Comanche, here are some great reads for you this weekend.</p> <p>Four points about how China’s ‘economic transition’ will shape and shake the world economy. George Magnus is probably one of the better China watchers currently in action, and here is his take on the nation’s push to become a consumer driven-economy, and all the problems it might bring. George Magnus</p> <p>Secretive, sprawling network of “scouts” spreads money through Silicon Valley. As investors scramble to get in earlier and earlier in the business process, lauded venture capital firms such as Sequoia have turned to startup entrepreneurs – dubbed “scouts” – to gain an edge against their competition. Wall Street Journal (paywall)</p> <p>Checkmate or stalemate? Valeant's fall from investing grace. As the media circus around Valeant surges to a fever pitch, 10-Q crunchers of all shapes and sizes seem to have been turning in their two centavos about it. Here’s another one, from Aswath Damodaran. Musings on Markets</p> <p>Nice guys finish in the middle of the pack. Did Ben Bernanke – once one of the most aggressive, forward-thinking zero bound policy thinkers – succumb to group think while at the Fed? His actions following a pivotal meeting in 2003 seem to denote so. The Money Illusion</p> <p>Comanche quest. This may be as old as the hills, but if this blow-by-blow of one man’s quest to buy a Jeep Comanche doesn’t make you laugh, I don’t know what will. Warning – colorful language may be prevalent. Don’t Even Reply<br /> Photo: Denis Messie</p>
Live in New York’s most exclusive building – for $10 million less
Lifestyle
Always wanted to live like a financial master of the universe? Well, now’s your chance. According to the Real Deal, an apartment in 740 Park Avenue – considered by some to be the ne plus ultra of New York apartment buildings – is now available with a third off its original asking price: “Elizabeth, daughter of real estate bigwig Harry