These past 2 weeks we’ve periodically gotten a huge number of worldwide referrals from what appears to be a pornographic website, based on the verbage contained the referring URL. Running the link through a Whois search reveals it is in reality a Forex scam site. As is my custom I checked the wiki entries to see if the explaining could be made easy for me and sure enough the two wiki entries had a wealth of great information. (Those wondering about the Forex proper can click here.) For the balance of this post we’re going to concentrate on the scam I linked first and the implications therein so is there we now visit:
A forex (or foreign exchange) scam is any trading scheme used to defraud traders by convincing them that they can expect to gain a high profit by trading in the foreign exchange market. Currency trading “has become the fraud du jour” as of early 2008, according to Michael Dunn of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. But “the market has long been plagued by swindlers preying on the gullible,” according to the New York Times. “The average individual foreign-exchange-trading victim loses about $15,000, according to CFTC records” according to The Wall Street Journal. The North American Securities Administrators Association says that “off-exchange forex trading by retail investors is at best extremely risky, and at worst, outright fraud.”
With the scam set let’s visit with the assertion it is possible to beat the Forex. I’ll note these same concepts apply to the stock markets too in varying degrees:
The forex market is a zero-sum game, meaning that whatever one trader gains, another loses, except that brokerage commissions and other transaction costs are subtracted from the results of all traders, technically making forex a “negative-sum” game.
…………..there are many experienced well-capitalized professional traders (e.g. working for banks) who can devote their attention full time to trading. An inexperienced retail trader will have a significant information disadvantage compared to these traders.
Retail traders are – almost by definition – undercapitalized. Thus they are subject to the problem of gambler’s ruin. In a “Fair Game” (one with no information advantages) between two players that continues until one trader goes bankrupt, the player with the lower amount of capital has a higher probability of going bankrupt first. Since the retail speculator is effectively playing against the market as a whole – which has nearly infinite capital – he will almost certainly go bankrupt. The retail trader always pays the bid/ask spread which makes his odds of winning less than those of a fair game. Additional costs may include margin interest, or if a spot position is kept open for more than one day the trade may be “resettled” each day, each time costing the full bid/ask spread.
Although it is possible for a few experts to successfully arbitrage the market for an unusually large return, this does not mean that a larger number could earn the same returns even given the same tools, techniques and data sources. This is because the arbitrages are essentially drawn from a pool of finite size; although information about how to capture arbitrages is a nonrival good, the arbitrages themselves are a rival good. (To draw an analogy, the total amount of buried treasure on an island is the same, regardless of how many treasure hunters have bought copies of the treasure map.)
So it is the middle men who always make the money. Often the middle men also are taking a trade position too so the game truly is rigged. I mention this because the entry properly mentions information advantages. Indeed in my closest circle of stock trading friends we often discuss price/volume movements in issues we own in terms of buyers/sellers “with superior knowledge” or “access to information” the retail investor simply does not have. Properly analyzed the data can confirm previous buys or signal that it’s time to sell. These concepts also underpin the business of insurance where “information advantages” has a more proper name: Information asymmetry. Continue reading “A peek inside Slabbed as we set up some important financial concepts and introduce the ol’ Forex Scam. Anyone else remember Russell Erxleben?”
I’ve always said the consumer bar could do a better job educating the public about the good the profession does for society, especially after years of being demonized by big business and their lackeys at the US Chamber of Commerce and various special interest trade groups such as the III.
Speaking of the III and Head Shill Robert Hartwig, here is a perfect example of the ol’ fallback line of demonizing trial lawyers after Allstate was literally caught with its hand in the NFIP cookie jar. Sadly the vast majority of the media is not equipped to tell the kind of in depth story on a complex subject as insurance and how it interfaces with the world of high finance and the legal system.
Instead, helped by lazy reporters happy to uncritically repeat big business talking points, cases such as the McDonald’s coffee case become caricatures with no basis in reality except to the extent the illusions were bought by an equally uncritical public, who generally believe most of what they are told. The same mechanics are in play today in the Palins, who once were only seen on TV shows like Jerry Springer but are now able to gain a wider public acceptance. Continue reading “A World Without Lawyers. The California consumer bar takes a step in the right direction.”
To some Robert Hartwig is a “man of integrity”, others (like me) think he is a sociopath. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely solves the mystery for us all on his blog. Thanks teach!
Many of my retail corporate clients and their general counsel have told me that if they advertised and then performed in the manner of their insurer, the federal and state trade commissions would be holding “bait and switch” hearings. But, this is exactly the type of treatment insurance executives are calling for when they support the propaganda against their own customers through spokespersons such as Hartwig.
I am not the only one to have noticed this…The editors of Slabbed were pretty blunt about what they think about Hartwig.
Chip linked two recent SLABBED posts – Bam Bam’s The Push Back on Corban – “You’re gonna pay for this” and Sop’s Da Corban spin continues: AIA prefers denial while the National Underwriter carries III press release calling it news – and added his thoughts as he raised the question Why Is the Property Insurance Industry Against Its Own Customers?
The response by Robert Hartwig of the Insurance Information Institute to the landmark Corban decision typifies how executives at many insurance companies feel about their customers. If not, Hartwick would be out of a job. Here is his quote taken from Anita Lee’s article: Continue reading “Chip Merlin asks Why is the property insurance industry against its own customers?”
THE PUSH BACK ON CORBAN – “YOU’RE GONNA PAY FOR THIS!“
A few days ago Slabbed carried a Bam Bam post on State Farm’s new 45% rate increase, and the process of “whipsawing.” It explained how State Farm uses the media and purchased politicians to manipulate and scare homeowners in depleted Cat markets, who are compelled by lenders to buy adhesion insurance contracts, and pay ever escalating premiums.
The ink was still wet on that post when 2 days ago the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the ACC clause as interpreted by the notorious, corporation loving 5th Circuit ain’t the law in Mississippi. The tragedy is that hundreds of thousands of claims were illegally mishandled for 4 years before we got word. Anyway, State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide and USAA got bitch slapped, and they’re some kinda pissed. I knew there’d be press statements coming, all calculated to terrorize homeowners as soon as the shills got their poison pens loaded. We all know who they are: Robert Hartwig being foremost among them. So here’s what he comes out with after Corban:
“What this basically suggests is that the cost of claims is going to be higher than insurers anticipated,” Hartwig said, “so there are direct consequences for the price of insurance in Mississippi, and potentially for the availability as well. Continue reading “The Push Back on Corban”
Dr Ed Duett of Mississippi State has all the finest insurance crooks coming to speak at MSU’s annual insurance day set for April 23, 2009. Our readers may recall he brought in Rossie for I day 2008. This year’s list of crooks and charlatans is very impressive and includes a record number of participants with ties to companies under current federal investigation and/or hogs at the taxpayer TARP trough. The complete speaker list is here but I thought I’d summarize the various sessions for our reader’s convenience:
The Revolving Door Panel:
Mike Chaney, MS DOI
Jim Ridling, AL DOI
Scott Richardson, SC DOI
George Dale, Adams and Reese
Walter Bell, Chairman of Swiss Re America
What happened to Robert Wooley?
The White Collar Crime Panel:
Walter Bell, Chairman of Swiss Re America
Jay Barbour, Carroll, Warren & Parker
Lorrie Brouse, Regional Counsel, Allstate
Steve Iler, President, AIG Claims
Wade Sweat, Copeland, Cook, Taylor & Bush
The Policyholders, what policyholders? You mean those schmucks? Panel:
George Dale, Adams and Reese Continue reading “Be Sure to Mark Your Calendars….”
I saw this on the RSS feed from the National Underwriter. IMHO Mr Hartwig (a long time industry shill) has about zero credability with the public and about that much with the new policymakers coming to DC in January. Let’s sample some of the after effects of drinking too much psyclobin mushroom laced kool aid:
“Insurers can definitely make the case that they’re much more stable [than banks] in terms of insolvencies,” said Robert P. Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, during a speech at the 20th annual Executive Conference for the Property-Casualty Industry, presented by The National Underwriter Company, with sponsors Ernst & Young and Dewey & LeBoeuf.
Mr. Hartwig pointed out that few insurers become insolvent, Continue reading “Hartwig Drinks A big Glass of ‘Shroom Juice Kool Aid and Makes us Laugh”