Do you have questions for Wall Street’s watchdog, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission? He’s speaking in Philadelphia this week at an event that’s open to the public.
On May 2, SEC Chairman Walter “Jay” Clayton will speak on the agency’s proposed “best-interest” standard, which comes on the heels of the failed fiduciary rule. That regulation would have forced brokers and advisers to disclose conflicts of interest, how they’re compensated, and whether those choices were in the best interest of us, the client.
As a corporate lawyer who represented big banks, Clayton is proposing something between “suitability” and “fiduciary” for Wall Street. He’ll deliver a speech on the topic at 2 p.m. at an event sponsored by the deans of Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and Fox School of Business, at the Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad St., Philadelphia.
A native of Palmyra, Pa., just northeast of Hershey, Clayton later moved to Wallingford and attended Strath Haven High School. He was the student rep to Delaware County School Board before graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988 with an engineering degree and getting his J.D. from Penn Law School in 1993. Clayton later clerked for Marvin Katz, a federal judge in Philadelphia.
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Socially responsible investing has gotten a face-lift and new name: ESG investing (environmental-social-governance), and is also sometimes referred to as sustainable or impact investing, where you put money in companies or funds with a “double bottom line,” making money while also doing good.
“Portfolio managers are now looking at all kinds of ESG metrics,” including public companies disclosing carbon emissions, diversity of corporate boards, sustainability and hiring practices, said David Alt, who heads up responsible investing strategies for PNC Financial Services. For example, AllianceBernstein sold Facebook from some portfolios last November, based partly on concerns about consumer data privacy, said Dan Roarty, chief investment officer of thematic and sustainable equities at AllianceBernstein. Roarty spoke at ImpactPHL last week at the inaugural Philadelphia conference.
Other bold-faced names who spoke at ImpactPHL were David Robinson, U.S. Naval Academy grad and NBA Hall-of-Famer, who founded Admiral Capital Group; Catherine Griffin of Good Company Ventures; Don Hinkle Brown of the Reinvestment Fund; and Pedro Ramos, president of the Philadelphia Foundation.
Vanguard U.S. Growth Fund selling some Uber
For those who own the popular Vanguard U.S. Growth Fund (VWUSX), it has been selling off its shares in Uber, the ride-sharing company, which has yet to go public.
Uber’s valuation has been slipping, especially when compared to its Chinese competitor. China-based ride-hailing rival Didi Chuxing Technology is in talks to do an IPO in 2018 at a price of up to $80 billion, while Uber does not expect an IPO before 2019. San Francisco-based Uber had a valuation of $68 billion in June 2016, before a SoftBank-led consortium late last year bought more shares in the company at a $48 billion valuation.
Vanguard bought Uber shares in the private market in 2014, along with mutual funds such as Fidelity’s Blue Chip Growth and BlackRock’s U.S. Opportunities Portfolio.
By year-end 2017, Vanguard U.S. Growth’s holding of 1.4 million Uber shares had a value at just over $49 million. Vanguard U.S. Growth cut its Uber holdings by about one-third in the first two months of 2018, and it now represents just 0.38 percent of the fund as of Feb. 28, down from 0.58 percent at year-end 2017.
It’s an extremely small percentage of the fund, made public through their fund filings. But it provides a window into how mutual funds value private companies; other private holdings in Vanguard U.S. Growth include Pinterest, Airbnb, and WeWork shares.
Women cede investment decisions
Ladies, are we ceding investment decisions to spouses? In the case of Boomer women, yes, and surprisingly, same goes for Millennial women. That’s according to a new report from UBS that notes many women make day-to-day financial decisions but still leave investing to their spouses, a decision that can boomerang once their partners aren’t around.
“Women who were unexpectedly divorced or widowed wished they had done this sooner,” said Julie Fox, market head, Mid-Atlantic private wealth management at UBS.
Steps to fix that? Talk to your partner about going to the next meeting with your financial planner, and make sure they direct questions to you and consider your worries and goals. Take the time to add up your assets and liabilities, like loans, credit, and other debts, and ask for full transparency from your spouse.
Another avenue for women as investors is through a gender lens.
“Most financial advisers are men, so we built products to serve as a bridge for them” to speak with their female clients, said Kelly Coyne, vice president of Global Women’s Strategies for Impax Asset Management, formerly Pax World Management. “Advisers come to us when they’re about to be fired, or because they don’t know anything about impact investing,” she said at the ImpactPHL conference Thursday. “These vehicles are a bridge for male advisers to use with women clients, widows, and daughters.”
Millennial investors, under 36 years old, stand to inherit $30 trillion over the next decade, Coyne added.
“They distrust Wall Street and they like technology, and they want to co-create with you on their portfolios, such as divesting from fossil fuels or screening for companies that consider climate change,” Coyne added.