You’ve Raised the Money, Now How Do You Keep It?

By on March 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

Daily News
By Mel and Pearl Shaw

Editor’s note: Part one of a two-part interview with Leland Faust. Financial management and investing is critical to the sustainability of nonprofits. As a board member or trustee you have a fiduciary responsibility. But how do you fulfill that responsibility? What do you need to know as it relates to financial management and investment?

To get some perspective we talked with Leland Faust, the founder of CSI Capital Management. In addition to degrees from the University of California (economics) and Harvard Law School, Faust managed over $1.5 billion in assets from 1978 through 2011. Barron’s has named him four times to its annual list of top 100 independent investment advisers in the country.

FUNdraising Good Times: Five Guidelines For Managing Nonprofit Funds

By on March 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

Insight News
By Mel and Pearl Shaw

Part two of a two part series: An interview with Leland Faust

What would you do if you were responsible for reviewing financial management policies for your nonprofit?

What would you do if asked to vote on a change of investment firms? What questions would you ask?

These are issues nonprofits grapple with all the time. Some of us have experience in the realm of investment selection and fund management. Most of us do not. One person who is experienced as both a nonprofit board member and an investment advisor is Leland Faust. Faust has been nationally recognized four times by Barron’s as one of the country’s top 100 independent advisors. He is also the author of the forthcoming book “A Capitalist’s Lament: How Wall Street Is Fleecing You and Ruining America.”

Believe it or not, professional athletes are actually underpaid

By on October 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

Sports Illustrated
Written by Leland Faust

In June, Forbes published its annual list of the world’s highest paid athletes. Of the top 25, nine are Americans employed by teams in the NBA or NFL. At first glance, $77 million in total income for LeBron James — he of the World Champion Cleveland Cavaliers and arguably the greatest basketball player on the planet — seems like a lot of money for someone who “plays” a game for a living. But as is often the case, things are not what they appear. In reality, James and many other athletes are actually wildly underpaid — specifically when it comes to their on-field salaries.

Please let that sink in for a moment.

James, who recently signed the first ever lifetime contract doled out by Nike — a deal that reportedly could pay him as much as $1 billion if certain shoe and apparel sales metrics are met — makes most of his money off the court. He made about $23 million to play about 100 games last season in Cleveland.

And he will be underpaid this season at about $31 million because that’s the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement. Crazy, right? Not necessarily. I have provided investment advice and legal counsel to well over 500 professional athletes over the course of my career (over 100 All-Stars), and I have given this a lot of thought, so let’s explore some of the reasons why he’s underpaid.

Wells Fargo’s fraud and why big banks keep getting away with bad behavior

By on October 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

Daily News
Written by Leland Faust

Not long ago, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau exacted its largest fine ever — $185 million — from Wells Fargo Bank for defrauding over 1 million customers. Sounds like a lot of money. But as President Nixon might have said on his secret audiotapes, revealed during the Watergate investigation, “Big f—ing deal.” Paying such a fine is viewed by too many major financial institutions in much the same way — not as a painful punishment but rather as a routine cost of doing business. Life goes on uninterrupted.

Uncharacteristically in this escapade, 5,300 employees were fired. (Hey, they systematically defrauded customers.) But with one exception, no one in the upper echelons at Wells has suffered any real consequences that I can see.

And then there is the fine itself. Does $185 million sound big? Maybe if it were paid by the individual wrongdoers, but it’s a pittance when paid by an institution as large as Wells. Last year Wells’ profits were about $21 billion from about $86 billion in revenue.

You’ve raised the money, now how do you keep it?

By on August 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

In Saad&Shaw
Written by saadshaw

Part one of a two part series: An interview with Leland Faust

Financial management and investing is critical to the sustainability of nonprofits. As a board member or trustee you have a fiduciary responsibility. But how do you fulfill that responsibility? What do you need to know as it relates to financial management and investment?

To get some perspective we talked with Leland Faust, the founder of CSI Capital Management. In addition to degrees from the University of California (economics) and Harvard Law School, Faust managed over $1.5 billion in assets from 1978 through 2011. Barron’s has named him four times to its annual list of top 100 independent investment advisors in the country.

If that’s not enough, Faust also has a long history of engagement with nonprofits, having served on the boards of diverse organizations. These include Maccabi USA and Planet Hope. We met Faust years ago when all three of us were involved with another nonprofit, Alive and Free, then known as Omega Boys Club.

The first question we asked Faust was about the impact Wall Street can have on the financial health and viability of nonprofits. Here’s his response.

How To Lose a Fortune – Listen to Wall Street Superstars

By on May 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

In the Huffington Post
Written by Leland Faust

If you would like to see your wealth float out the window, take the recommendations of Wall Street’s superstars. Barron’s features an annual article providing its readers the opportunity to get sage advice from some of Wall Street’s most revered advisors at the Sohn Investment Conference held in Manhattan for the last 20 years. Barron’s dutifully reported on the most recent proceedings in its May 9, 2016 issue.

My question: why should we care? Last year Barron’s annual article carried the title: “Wall Street’s Superstars Share Their Best Bets.” Sure, it’s my hang-up to be offended when a respected publication uses the term “bets” when dealing with investments. But then maybe that term is accurate when describing the stock or bond tips it gives.

Barron’s Plays Politics

By on May 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

Written by Leland Faust

As those who follow me know, I am a regular reader of Barron’s who tries to hold it accountable for predictions about movements in stock market indexes, individual securities, interest rates, economic conditions, and many other metrics pertaining to business and investing. The record is spotty to say the least. So what happens when Barron’s ventures into the world of predicting political outcomes?

LelandFaustPredictionsS

In its June 8, 2015 cover story, Barron’s decided to weigh in on the Republican presidential campaign.  It certainly got one thing right – the race was not going to be about substance. The cover story made that perfectly clear with its title: “It’s Showtime!” There were 19 candidates which Barron’s considered, and it said seven would still be in the running after a majority of the GOP delegates had been selected. Who were the anointed seven? Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich. Notice anyone missing from that list? Barron’s observed that Donald Trump was then polling 4% and had “little chance of making it to the final heat.”

In June 2015 Barron’s said it was too early to declare the winner, but the real race was “Jeb versus Kasich.”

I suggest Barron’s stick to its knitting and feature articles on its area of expertise in business and finance. It’s hard enough to get that right, let alone trying to venture into uncharted territory in the political sphere. We should leave the predictions of political outcomes to the professional political pundits, knowing full well that they will get it wrong too.  Let’s remember what Yogi Berra said: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Getting Away with Murder?

By on February 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

In the Huffington Post
Written by Leland Faust

Far too often the Wall Street press has amnesia when reporting its own prior advice. The cover story of the February 8, 2016 issue of Barron’s demonstrates this all too well. A picture of a red oil drum emblazoned with “Here Comes $20 Oil” appears with the prediction: “Why oil should move back to around $55 late this year.” When readers turns to the table of contents they are greeted with a description of the cover story that reads: “A supply glut is setting the stage for oil prices to dip to $20 a barrel, before they rebound in the second half of the year. Our spot – on predictions since 2014.”

In These Scary Times, We Can’t Lose Sight of the Real Threats

By on January 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

In the San Francisco Chronicle
Written by Leland Faust

Americans don’t know how to assess risk, especially when it comes to radical Islamist terrorism at home. We should be outraged by the December mass shootings in San Bernardino, but what is really fear-worthy? Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, fewer than 50 people have died in the United States at the hands of jihadists. It is thus unlikely that you or I will end up splattered on a sidewalk, compliments of a suicide bomber.

What’s really scary is that we are not scared of the right things.

Harvard Research on Social Progress — An Embarrassment?

By on January 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

In Medium
Written by Leland Faust

Even at Harvard University, one of the most respected research universities in the world, faculty can put out drivel. I was appalled after reading the article “Putting Social Progress on Par with Prosperity[1]” in a recent issue of Harvard Magazine. A Harvard Business School professor had issued his Social Progress Index which included a ranking of 133 countries on health and wellness. Do people live long and healthy lives? The United States ranked 68th on that list trailing, among others, Peru (1), Ethiopia (30), Cambodia (40), and Ghana (60). How does the average person in poor countries like Ethiopia, Cambodia, and Ghana live longer and healthier than the average American?