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Singapore's got some big retirement issues

Jun 3, 2014
Social security fears in one of the world's most rigorously-controlled economies.
Posted In: singapore, Social Security

What the heck does ETF stand for? An explainer

May 27, 2014
Why investing in ETFs can be like playing with fire.
Posted In: ETFs, explainer

Opportunity cost and the home

May 20, 2014
Opportunity cost isn't just for economists; it's for real people, too!
Posted In: DIY

Harvard's Kennedy School denies 'privilege class' story

May 14, 2014
They say the media has been disseminating false information.
Posted In: harvard, privilege

Harvard's Kennedy School denies 'privilege' class story

The Harvard Kennedy School responded to reports that it has created an orientation class on "power and privilege" with a flat denial.

Doug Gavel, the school's Associate Director for Media Relations, told Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman that there is "false information in the media" about a class that administrators at the school were reported to have committed to scheduling for first-year students. Several media outlets picked up the story, first reported in New York Magazine's "The Cut" that, "In response to growing demand from student activists, administrators committed Friday to adding a class in power and privilege to its orientation program for incoming first-year students."

The story comes in the wake of a controversial essay on privilege written by a student at Princeton earlier this month. 

Here's the text of Gavel's email to Mitchell:

There appears to be false information in the media being conveyed by reporters who have not contacted Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) officials to verify the accuracy of the information.  Contrary to one article that has been picked up by others, the school is not planning to offer classes, coursework, or sessions devoted specifically to "power and privilege."  The school currently offers a number of opportunities for students to discuss and learn about issues of diversity.  Learning to have constructive conversations in the context of differences in race, gender, cultural background, political viewpoints and many other perspectives is important in any graduate school, particularly one dedicated to preparing its students to be effective leaders and policymakers. HKS examines opportunities offered to students to engage in these discussions, regularly assessing their effectiveness and value.  We look forward to continuing to work with our faculty and students to provide the most valuable learning opportunities in this area. 


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May 14, 2014

Explainer: Why dollar cost averaging is stupid smart

May 13, 2014
When it comes to investing: keep it simple, stupid.
Posted In: dollar cost averaging

Collateralization is not a bad word

May 6, 2014
Regulators and some reporters seem to think that all securitizations are created equal. They're not.

Drowning in debt? Consider a restructuring

Apr 28, 2014
Restructuring sounds scary because it's often associated with bankruptcy.
Posted In: paddy hirsch, bankruptcy

When a company gives 'guidance': An explainer

Apr 17, 2014
Google's profit dropped 11 percent and the company's stock jumped. How does that work?
Posted In: guidance, Earnings, whiteboard

Dark pools come out of the shadows

Dark pools are once again in the headlines, thanks to Michael Lewis' new book "Flash Boys," and there's also reports this week that Goldman Sachs may be considering shutting down its dark pool, which has the admittedly rather thrilling name Sigma X. Dark pools are mysterious, and names like Sigma X only make them more so. That's pretty cool when you're trying to persuade a client to trade in your dark pool: Dude, It's totally secret! No one will know you're in there! No one will ever know what you buy or sell. Total anonymity! But it's not so cool when the press and the public and regulators and lawmakers and basically everyone else is obsessed with greed in the financial markets, and start making a fetish out of transparency.

To the outsider, dark pools look shadowy and suspect, even sleazy. The question goes: Why do bankers need to go to these places to trade? And why do they need to be dark? Suspicion ensues: Are they using these places so that they can just rip us off, quickly and quietly, so that we never know about it and they can run off, laughing all the way to the bank (as it were)?

The fact is that a dark pool isn't an offshoot of the black arts. It's simply a privately-owned exchange, in which buyers and sellers can trade confidentially and in private. And they’re not new: they've been around for years. Creatures from the Black Lagoon, they ain’t. Here’s a short video explainer:


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Apr 10, 2014

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