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Banks Still in Big Trouble; Protect Your Portfolio

Stock-Markets / Credit Crisis 2009 Jul 21, 2009 - 03:34 AM GMT

By: Money_and_Markets


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleMartin Weiss writes: Since the debt crisis began with the eruption of the subprime mess in 2007, Wall Street pundits have declared “an end to the crisis” at least three times: in mid-2007, in early 2008, and now.

Each time, the government intervened with massive amounts of money to tamp down fear. Each time, investors rushed back to take risks. And each time, stocks rallied sharply.

But throughout these interludes, the big bets and bad debts that fueled the crisis continued to grow; the nation’s savings and capital needed for growth were depleted further; and investors, whose trust is absolutely necessary for a lasting recovery, were duped again.

This has been true throughout the crisis, and it’s especially true today.

Banks are a case in point. As I told Larry Kudlow on CNBC Thursday evening1

“Problem number one is the ROT — the toxic assets that just keep piling up behind the scenes at banks like Bank of America and Citigroup. …

“Problem number two is the RISK, especially at banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. These aren’t banking businesses; they’re gambling operations. JPMorgan has $81 trillion in derivatives. Goldman Sachs has $40 trillion.2

“And in terms of their credit exposure to defaults by their derivatives partners, it’s even worse: JP Morgan has over three times its capital at risk. Goldman Sachs has over TEN times its capital tied up in that kind of risk.”3

Goldman’s own numbers confirm the huge gambles it’s taken to achieve its recent profits: The bank’s value at risk (VAR) — the amount it stands to lose in a single trading day — is now $245 million. That’s more than double its risk level in the first quarter of 2007, back in the good ol’ days before subprime disasters, mortgage meltdowns, and debt collapses.4

Unfortunately, despite all of those episodes, most banks have still not learned the most fundamental lesson from this experience: Yes, large leverage and giant gambles can deliver plump profits — provided the stars are in alignment. But if your stars are crossed, fatal losses can strike down even the biggest and supposedly smartest players: Bear Stearns. Lehman Brothers. AIG. Merrill Lynch.

Nor have they stopped to consider these three irrefutable facts:

Fact #1. The official unemployment rate is going up. Even the most optimistic economists expect it will top 10 percent, and many expect it will go much higher.

Fact #2. The unemployment rate is closely correlated with all consumer debt delinquency rates — on home mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, student loans, and more.

Therefore …

Delinquency rates must go up almost across the board, piling up even more toxic assets on the books of America’s financial institutions.

That’s why lending giant CIT is hurling toward bankruptcy.

That’s why Citigroup and Bank of America are still hurting.

And that’s why, under Saturday’s print edition headline “Profits at Two Major Banks Mask Signs of More Trouble Ahead” (replaced by a less negative headline in the electronic edition), the New York Times reported …

“While both banks [Citi and BofA] said they were again turning handsome profits, the cheery headline figures masked a sober reality: the results were driven by one-time gains — bonanzas without which both banks would have lost billions.

“At the heart of the banks’ troubles are hard-pressed consumers. The question, analysts said, was whether the banks have braced themselves enough for the next wave of bad debts as people slog through a long, dreary recession.

“Both set aside billions of dollars to cover potential losses on consumer loans and warned that, given the tough economy, the road ahead could be rocky. … Neither has repaid the nearly $100 billion in government money they received, while rivals like JPMorgan and Goldman have.

“Yet with the economy still shaky — losses on consumer debt like mortgages and credit cards continue to rise — the biggest concern remains whether either bank has built up enough of a financial cushion to withstand further pain.”5

All this leads to a single, paramount question: How can you build an all-weather portfolio in this storm-prone world?

Recently, I had the privilege of joining my colleagues at Weiss Capital Management in an online video presentation that provides some of the best answers. Here’s an edited transcript of the event:

The Next Financial Storm and Your All-Weather Portfolio Edited and updated transcript of recent online event held by Weiss Capital Management, Inc.

Sebastian, Sherri and Mike

Sebastian Leburn, Sherri Parker-Daniels, Mike Burnick

Martin Weiss: Never before have we seen so many large companies come so close to the brink of bankruptcy! Never before have we seen the government spend or commit such huge amounts of money to bail them out! And yet, never before have we seen so much complacency regarding what we believe will be the next financial storm!

None of the key decision-makers in Washington or on Wall Street have ever experienced anything like this before in their lifetimes … and neither have we. But we do have one great advantage: the teachings and legacy of my father, J. Irving Weiss.

Based on Dad’s writings, it is clear that Dad not only advised investors during the Great Depression, he actually predicted it. Along with his friend, presidential advisor Bernard Baruch, he was among the few advisors in the 1930s who saw it coming.

That’s how, even as almost everyone else around him was losing fortunes, he was able to survive and thrive during the great bear market of 1929-32, during the great banking crisis of the early 1930s, and during the Great Depression that ensued.

That’s why, throughout his entire lifetime, Dad always sought all-weather investment approaches — why he always favored prudent strategies that could endure in both good times and bad, in the calmest of seas and in the worst of financial storms.

And that’s also why, a long time ago, while my wife Elisabeth and I were away in Japan for two years, Dad decided we should create an investment advisory company, Weiss Capital Management (formerly Weiss Money Management).

Weiss Capital Management is separate from its affiliate, Weiss Research, which publishes services like the Safe Money Report and the Million-Dollar Contrarian Portfolio. So before we talk about the next likely financial storm or about how to manage your all-weather portfolio, let me tell you why this company is separate and why it’s so important that you understand the differences.

Weiss Research is an investment publisher. Weiss Capital Management is an investment advisor.

Weiss Research, as an investment publisher, provides the same information to all of its subscribers to a particular publication. In contrast, Weiss Capital Management, as an advisor, manages investment portfolios on a discretionary basis tailored to your individual goals and circumstances.

The writers and editors at Weiss Research, like the author of a book or a newspaper article, have no information about your personal financial situation. So, when you read Weiss Research’s publications, only you can decide whether or not to act on the investment recommendations they contain, when or with how much money.

In contrast, an investment advisor like Weiss Capital Management not only can know more about you, but has to know more about you in order to make appropriate recommendations that fit your needs and goals.

This is why we take great care to keep these two companies — Weiss Research and Weiss Capital Management — separate and the information private. I am the owner and president of the parent company, the Weiss Group, LLC. But the two subsidiaries, Weiss Research and Weiss Capital Management, each have separate management, separate offices, and separate customer service.

We share a similar vision and similar philosophy — to help investors preserve and grow their money in both good times and bad. But don’t be surprised if you notice differences in the specific tactics and investment picks.

The professional money managers at Weiss Capital Management read and consider the opinions of many independent research providers and study many investment publications, including those offered by Weiss Research. They also perform their own independent, in-depth research and analysis. And then they make the final investment decisions on behalf of their clients.

They take into account your personal financial circumstances. This means the investment recommendations or decisions they make for you will inevitably differ from those that you read in Weiss Research publications. They are customized to your individual goals.

Sherri, would you explain that aspect?

Sherri Parker-Daniels: Sure. As soon as you contact us, you are assigned your own personal financial advisor. Our advisors are all licensed and experienced with the knowledge to work closely with you to understand your personal situation, then help guide you toward achieving your financial goals.

If you decide to become a client of Weiss Capital Management, your advisor will match your personal situation with a customized portfolio that we believe is best for you — one we believe is equipped to weather the ups and downs of the market without undue risk. We manage your money in individual, separate accounts. In other words, your assets are always segregated from other clients’ assets at the custodian brokerage firm we have chosen, Fidelity Investments.

We also handle all the paperwork for you. Most important, we handle all the investment decisions based on your circumstances. We decide what to invest in, how much and when — and we make all trades for you.

Plus, even for money that we don’t manage for you, we can provide you with valuable input, such as helping you find safer banks and insurance companies.

No matter what, we stay in close contact. Plus, you have online access to your account 24/7. The best part: You can leave the driving to us. That way, you can stay focused on your business, on your retirement, or even on your golf game. You can go on long vacations or cruise the world. We mind the store for you and stay on top of it all day, every trading day of the year.

Martin: Sherri, for the sake of those who do not know you, allow me to give you a better introduction.

Sherri Parker-Daniels is the President of Weiss Capital Management and has been with Weiss for 19 years, as well as an executive since 1994.

Dad is no longer with us, but early on, she worked closely with me and my father on a number of projects, publications, and services for investors. Overall, Sherri has 25 years of experience in the financial industry with an emphasis on investment program design, allocation, and analysis. At our investment advisory affiliate, she heads up a team of four portfolio managers and sub-advisors, plus 12 investment professionals and 11 operations and support staff.

You’ve been with the Weiss Group for nearly two decades …

Sherri: Yes, I have. When I joined, the Weiss Group was like a family. Your father, who was a senior consultant to the firm, was a mentor to me.

Martin: And to others as well.

Sherri: Of course. I remember my first day. While I was waiting in the conference room, I found a little boy lying under the table reading a pile of books.

Martin: My son, Anthony, who is now 27.

Sherri: Yes! Now, though, the company has grown far beyond a family organization, but your father’s spirit and the family feeling are still with us and, more important, we have built on his fundamental philosophy of all-weather investing …

Martin: … which is especially important in these tough times. I’m pleased by the personal, caring customer service you and your staff provide, and I’m pleased with the managed investment accounts you offer to investors — whether they be conservative or aggressive.

This is your event, Sherri. So, I’ll let you take it from here. I’ll leave it to you to introduce some of your team, discuss the next financial storm, and explain your all-weather approach. I trust you to run this company and to oversee the investment decisions. And to underscore the fact that I’m not involved in that aspect — to underscore my confidence in you — I will step aside now to let you and your Weiss Capital Management investment team share your outlook and advice with our viewers from here.

Sherri: Thank you, Martin. Joining me are two key members of the Weiss Capital Management Investment Committee:

Sebastian Leburn is a Chartered Financial Analyst and our Chief Investment Officer. He is the portfolio manager for two of our longest running and most successful managed account strategies — the Weiss Bear Strategy and the Weiss Balanced Program.

Also with me today is Mike Burnick, our Director of Research and Client Communications. Mike is a frequent guest on CNBC and Fox Business News, and the editor of our weekly investment e-letter, Weiss Advice.

Mike, we’re in the midst of the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression, yet we see another major storm on the horizon. We have warned repeatedly that recent optimism in the marketplace may be misplaced. Please walk our viewers through the sequence of events we see unfolding.

Mike Burnick

Mike Burnick:We’ve seen dramatic changes already — big changes in government policy, in the business landscape, even in consumer behavior. And we believe these dramatic changes will continue for many years.

Sherri: Turning points of this magnitude always carry great uncertainty, but great opportunity as well. Markets were plunging to new lows just a few months ago. They turned abruptly and stocks have rallied dramatically since early March. But now, the bond market is getting hit hard. For the benefit of our viewers, let’s explore the question on everyone’s minds: Where do we go from here?

Mike: There’s no question, this rebound has been a robust rally, but it is a counter-trend rally. And I must add that it is a rally we were expecting! Bear markets don’t go down in a straight line and their rallies are often powerful — so powerful that it’s easy to get fooled into thinking the worst is over.

That said, stocks could move higher still since rallies during secular bear markets are often powerful … 40, 50, even 60 percent rallies or more aren’t that uncommon. However, these temporary moves may only end in disappointment.

Sherri: We’re still in this secular bear market then.

Sebastian Leburn

Sebastian Leburn: Yes. And we still have major financial storms ahead.

Sherri: Explain the storms, please.

Mike: The first storm was centered on Wall Street — hundreds of billions in losses at major Wall Street investment banks like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and Merrill Lynch, plus billions more lost at banks like Citigroup, Bank of America, and now CIT — not only from the subprime crisis, but also from other debt markets.

Sherri: That storm reached a crescendo in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Personal Income

Mike: Correct. And then came the second major storm, when this crisis spread to Main Street. The formula was simple: No credit = No spending. And indeed, credit was suddenly unavailable for mortgages, auto loans, and businesses. Wages and salaries began to suffer as job losses mounted. So, personal income and spending plunged.

Sherri: As you show here in this chart on personal income.

Mike: Yes, this chart goes all the way back to 1950. And right now, as you can see, personal income is plunging faster than it has any time on record.6

Real Gross Domestic Product

Sebastian: This has impacted the entire economy.

Mike: Right. Same pattern, here in GDP. In the six months ending in March, GDP plunged at the fastest rate since the 1950s.7 You have personal income plunging. You have GDP plunging. So, in that environment, it should come as no surprise that corporate earnings also fell apart.

This next chart shows the earnings of S&P 500 companies, adjusted for inflation. Starting after World War II, these earnings have been trending mostly up, with only temporary setbacks.8

S&P 500 Earnings

Sherri: In other words, you’re talking 60 years or more without a true change in that uptrend.

Mike: Exactly, except for a minor break in the early 1990s, until now, we had never seen a significant break below prior lows. Now, just in the last 20 months, this measure of corporate earnings has crashed by 90 percent, its largest decline since the mid-1930s.9 This was what drove companies like Chrysler and General Motors into bankruptcy.

Sebastian: And that’s why stocks have plunged the most since 1931. This plunge in stocks is actually worse than it appears. If you measure the market in terms of your purchasing power — by adjusting for inflation — the S&P 500 has fallen nearly 60 percent from its peak in 2000.10

Sherri: Does that incorporate the recent rally?

Sebastian: No. But even with the recent rally, most stocks are still down nearly half from their 2007 highs.

Mike: And our fear now is that we may be headed for a third type of storm — not centered on Wall Street or Main Street, but in Washington.

The key point: This crisis has been so disruptive that investors just can’t trust what’s coming next, especially given how involved the government has become in the financial markets. The consequences for investors could be enormous.

Sherri: I assume you’re going to tells us how investors can deal with this situation.

Mike: Absolutely! But for now, let me show you how this is creating the next financial storm on the horizon. As you can see in this next graph, Washington has committed to spending, lending, and other guarantees to the tune of nearly $13 trillion, according to the latest tally.11

S&P 500

Sherri: They seem to think they have a blank check to spend all the money we have — and all the money we don’t have.

Mike: That’s what they think! But in the real world, we’re now beginning to see the unintended consequences — in the form of rising long-term interest rates. And those rising interest rates are threatening to undo everything Washington is trying to accomplish.

Sherri: Can you fast-forward a bit to give us a sense of where that could wind up?

Mike: We could see the worst of both worlds — massive federal deficits as far as the eye can see AND a stagnant economy that could remain stuck in a rut.

Sebastian: What Mike’s describing here is potentially a major secular bear market, not just in stocks but also long-term government bonds. The federal deficit this year is already projected to be a record $1.84 trillion.12

Sherri: That’s the official estimate.

Sebastian: Yes. The Obama administration’s official estimate of this year’s deficit is $1.84 trillion, or four times more than last year’s. Overall, Goldman Sachs says the Treasury may have to raise up to $3.25 trillion this fiscal year alone.13

Sherri: To cover the deficit …

Sebastian: To cover the deficit, the bailouts, refunding of maturing Treasuries, the works!

Sherri: That’s a huge supply of new Treasury bonds coming on the market. I’ve been watching bond markets for 25 years, including some of the most chaotic environments for bonds, and I’ve never seen this much supply before. It’s unprecedented.

Mike: The obvious consequence is falling bond prices and rising interest rates precisely when we have — like we showed you a moment ago — the worst plunge in personal income, the worst plunge in GDP, and the worst plunge in corporate profits in our lifetime. We believe that could bring us to the ultimate day of reckoning.

Sherri: For whom?

Mike: For all of us, for the entire country. Remember: Most U.S. Treasury securities are in the hands of foreign investors — the Central Bank of China, Japanese insurance companies, West European investors. Even Brazil is now a big investor in U.S. Treasuries.14

The big fear — and it’s a real one — is that, as the United States loses control over its fiscal balance, the value of these bonds will tumble and foreign investors could easily lose confidence and sell.15

Sebastian: They don’t even have to sell. All they have to do is start shifting from long term to short term, and that alone will have a huge impact on the bond market.16

Sherri: We’re seeing some evidence of this already.

Mike: The bottom line for all of us is that the cost of borrowing money goes substantially higher for virtually all American consumers and businesses. THIS is the third financial storm lurking just over the horizon: a bursting of the last bubble, the bubble of the U.S. Treasury bond market.

Sherri: Sebastian, you’re a portfolio manager making investment decisions every day. How do you invest with this third financial storm on the horizon?

Sebastian: You have to change the way you think about your savings and your investments — and dramatically change your expectations for the returns that traditional investment approaches can provide. Those approaches have not done a good job of handling the increased market uncertainty, and we think this uncertainty is likely to continue for many years.

Sherri: It’s pretty obvious that the so-called “tried and tested” investment approach has failed investors.

Sebastian: Unfortunately, too many portfolio managers have stubbornly stuck to the old buy-and-hold approach to investing. And obviously, this has not served investors well.

Sherri: What about diversification in the stock market? Explain to our viewers why that wasn’t enough to shelter investors from big losses.

Sebastian: Because true diversification requires going into other asset classes — not just stocks. Let me give you some factual examples here, based on this chart:17

2008 Calendar Year Performance

In 2008, investors who bought small-cap U.S. stocks suffered the worst losses in that sector since 1937.

Sherri: And large-cap stocks?

Sebastian: Investors who bought large-cap stocks suffered the worst losses since 1931.

Sherri: Looks like real estate stocks performed even worse!

Sebastian: The worst losses of all time! True diversification takes hard work and research. Plus, you need to look beyond the stock market. We believe your priority going forward should be to focus on preserving your wealth, and only then should one look for prudent opportunities to grow your money over time.

Sherri: Over time — not overnight! But you’re not advocating we cross all stocks off the list of opportunities for the next few years?

Sebastian: Absolutely not! The fact is that blindly buying and holding when stocks offered little long-term value was a big mistake. And in the future, ignoring major values and buying opportunities in stocks could be an equally big mistake. Even retired investors should still consider a mix of high-quality, dividend-paying stocks to enhance their total return potential. In fact, I see some unusual values in some sectors right now, always, of course, with a focus on quality and relatively low risk.

Sherri: Most people are living a lot longer. And with that, you risk depleting your wealth. I hope I live longer as well. If I do, I just can’t afford to sit in cash indefinitely and expect to maintain my purchasing power — not with cash yielding 1/10th of 1 percent.18

I’m 47. I’ve got a ways to go. But I’m already thinking about retirement. I want to make sure I keep what I have. Then, I want to protect the purchasing power of my money and look forward to a comfortable retirement that, hopefully, I can enjoy for a couple of decades, maybe three. This is what I want for myself. And this is what we aim to achieve for our clients. Now, please give us the steps.

Sebastian: Step one is to thoroughly stress-test your own portfolio. Go through each and every item to make absolutely sure you understand what you own and, more importantly, the risk associated with each investment.

Mike: This is especially important now, since we’ve seen the market rally sharply. In fact, there’s no better time than after a rally to completely review your holdings: every stock, bond, mutual fund, ETF, REIT, even your annuities. This is part of our standard portfolio evaluation process that we do every day for clients.

Sherri: What about insurance companies and banks? If an investor is concerned about his or her insurance or bank deposits versus the stocks, we will review those as well, correct?

Sebastian: That’s part of step two — to help ensure that your cash deposits are as safe as possible. Send us the full name of each bank or insurance company you do business with, along with the state of domicile, and we’ll not only look up its rating (originally formulated by our affiliate, Weiss Research) but also give you our view of what actions are merited based on the rating.

Whether you join our firm as a client or not, we’ll be glad to tell you what we think you should get rid of and what we think you should keep. We even review your investment and retirement accounts with other banks, brokers, and insurers to help you decide if it makes sense to move your money into safer hands.

Mike: Including annuities?

Sebastian: Yes, including annuities.

Sherri: All at no charge.

Sebastian: Right. Step three begins only after you join us as a client, of course. And that’s to build your all-weather investment account. For example, we use inverse mutual funds and ETFs to help hedge against market declines. Plus, we take it one step further by utilizing these same securities with the goal of profiting from stock or bond market declines.

Sherri: This is where we depart from what most portfolio managers do.

Sebastian: Yes, but I must stress that these kinds of hedging techniques involve a lot of analysis and careful monitoring. You need to re-adjust with the markets.

Sherri: Before we jump into the specifics of building this all-weather investment account, let’s talk about the all-weather philosophy behind this approach.

Sebastian: The key to stable long-term returns is to be flexible and take a pro-active approach to investing. You have to start with the fundamental basis of controlling risk; and the best way to do that is through diversification among truly different asset classes — including hard assets, like gold, silver, oil, and other commodities … foreign currencies, like the Swiss franc and Japanese yen.

Mike: Diversification doesn’t just mean owning 20 different mutual funds that are invested in stocks, sometimes with very similar holdings.

Sebastian: It also must not mean that you can “set it and forget it.” You’ve got to take a dynamic approach to rebalancing your portfolio. Most important, you don’t always have to be fully invested. There are times when you need to scale back and invest less!

There’s already enough volatility in the marketplace. If you compound that by using volatile investments and risky strategies, you’re just asking for trouble. Our goal is to manage your money to earn a reasonable rate of return without taking unreasonable risks.* For most investors, I don’t think quick, overnight home-runs are a suitable goal, and it’s not our goal either.

Sherri: Sebastian, you’re the portfolio manager of two of our longest standing and most successful programs at Weiss Capital Management: managed accounts based on our Weiss Bear Strategy model, and managed accounts based on our Balanced Portfolio model.

And Mike, you have put together some of the performance stats on these programs. Can we run through them briefly?

Mike: Let me give you the results for the Weiss Bear Strategy, which, as the name implies, aims primarily for profits in bear markets. We began that strategy at the end of 2000. And since inception, including both winning years AND losing years, it returned a total of +47.3 percent through March 2009.

Sherri: And the S&P 500 during that same period?

Mike: During that same period, the S&P 500 lost 29.6 percent.

Sherri: So, the difference between the Weiss Bear Strategy and the S&P 500 has been …

Mike: Nearly 77 percentage points in performance overall. Needless to say, however, past performance is no guarantee of future results …

Sherri: … which segues to my next question, and probably the question that most investors are asking: No matter how deep this bear market may be, sooner or later it will end, right?

Mike: That’s why we also have our Weiss Balanced Program, which invests mostly in conservative bonds and stocks, and which is more correlated to the stock and bond market in general. The performance there is a positive 20 percent since inception, during a period when markets generally declined.

Sebastian: And many of our clients have some of their money allocated to our Weiss Bear Strategy plus some of their money allocated to our Balanced approach. And the combination of these two programs is the all-weather approach that we are using as the basis for our new program.

Sherri: Sebastian, thank you. At this juncture, though, let me introduce this strategy to everyone. We have named this new program the Weiss All Weather Managed Account, combining what we consider to be the best of both worlds — both the bear approach and the balanced approach we have been using throughout most of this decade.

Please understand, however, that the past performances we’ve discussed are no guarantee of the future performance we’ll achieve in the new Weiss All Weather Managed Account.

Sebastian: Plus, going forward, I want this strategy to be even more flexible and proactive — to adjust to the new reality we’re seeing here.

Sherri: Please be more specific.

Sebastian: Well, first of all, we’re not tying ourselves down to a static 50/50 blend. It’s got to be more dynamic. Instead, we will change our blend percentages depending on market conditions. If we see markets improving, we’ll overweight the balanced side of the portfolio. If we see markets deteriorating, we’ll overweight the bear side.

Sherri: Any other adjustments?

Sebastian: Yes, an important one. I’ve set aside up to 15 percent of the program’s assets to be used for special situations. I call this our “best ideas” component of the account, where we make more targeted, tactical, shorter-term investments that our committee has a particularly strong conviction on.

Sherri: Sebastian, Mike, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished here. Let me quickly review some of the benefits of this managed account for our viewers:

First, this is a VIP service. We will only accept a limited number of clients so we can provide the top-notch, personal service you deserve. That’s one reason why our minimum account size is $500,000.

Second, our team of investment professionals will work with you to personally customize your investments to suit your own individual needs and goals.

Third, as we’ve stressed here today, we use BOTH a bear market strategy and a balanced program with reasonable growth expectations. Plus, we act on our best ideas for strategic shorter-term opportunities. But if your goal is to blow off the doors and make a big killing in a hurry, this is not the place for you.

Fourth, this is not a niche strategy for just a small portion of your money. It’s designed to be a core strategy for a larger portion of your money. No single program is for all of your money, of course. But whether we manage all your money or not, we are still more than glad to provide any help we can for the money we do not manage for you. For example, we can help you with your banks, insurance companies, annuities, and 401ks.

Fifth, we want this to be a hassle-free service for you. We always want to stay in close touch with you. But you can leave the heavy lifting — and the driving — to us.

Sixth, you get full transparency. You can check your account online any time. The custodian brokerage firm provides regular monthly statements. And our firm also provides regular quarterly reports.

Seventh, it’s easy to get started. There’s no account opening fee. And we handle all the paperwork for you.

Important note from Weiss Capital Management: The charter enrollment period for the All Weather Managed Account ends July 31, 2009. For an application, along with the All Weather Investor Kit, click this link or call 800-814-3045.

Plus, for important disclosures, be sure to click here.

1 Larry Kudlow Show, CNBC, 7/16/2009 7:15 PM ET.

2 OCC’s Quarterly Report on Bank Trading and Derivatives Activities

3 Ibid., pdf page 13.

4 “Goldman Sachs VaR Reaches Record on Risks Led by Equity Trading,” Bloomberg, 7/15/2009.

5Citigroup and BofA Profits Aided by Asset Sales,” New York Times, 7/18/09.

6 Northern Trust Daily Global Commentary, 4/30/09

7 Northern Trust Daily Global Commentary, 4/30/09

8, 5/15/09

9 Ibid.

10 The Bank Credit Analyst, April 2009

11 “Government Bond Yields Rise to Six-Month Highs; Metals Fall,” Bloomberg, 5/28/09

12 “Treasuries Fall on Concern Record Sales Will Overwhelm Demand,” Bloomberg, 5/27/09

13 Ibid.

14 Federal Reserve Board, FMRCo (MARE) as of 12/31/2008

15 Bloomberg, ibid.

16 Ibid.

17 Ibbotson, FMRCo (MARE) as of 12/31/2008

18 Ibbotson, FMRCo (MARE) as of 3/31/2009; Cash — 30 Day U.S. Treasury Bill

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