Fee or Free?

I recently met with a client who let me know that he was suggesting to his brother that he too might wish to become a client of Sigma’s. The client noted to me, though, that, “He is also looking at a major brokerage institution, and they don’t charge fees.” I said to him, “You mean … Continued

Facebook – Buyer Beware!

On Friday, May 18th, Facebook began its life as one of the most anticipated and celebrated initial public offerings (IPO) in history. Due to unprecedented demand and limited shares offered in this initial offering, the stock was priced at the high end of inflated expectations. There is much to like in the Facebook story. From … Continued

Adding Fuel to the Fire

Last week, JPM Chase reported a $2 billion loss on a bad bet it made from its proprietary trading desk. Moreover, the bank conceded that the company was still unwinding the trade and that this loss could double over the next several quarters. In addition, the company may be fined and incur other legal expenses related to … Continued

Cost and Value of a College Education

As a father of three high school and/or college-aged children, I am much attuned to the high cost of a college education and I have some deep rooted opinions regarding its value.  As a starting point, I think the experience can be extraordinarily rewarding for those who take full advantage of the complete experience.  This … Continued

Kwame Kilpatrick in More Hot Water

Last week, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in an influence-peddling scheme involving the Detroit Police and Fire pension fund and one of their investment advisers.  The SEC alleges, Kilpatrick solicited and received $125,000 worth of undisclosed perks paid for by the investment adviser.  While this … Continued

What is Our Alternative?

Many investment professionals (myself included) consider core investments to be cash equivalents (US Treasury Bills or money market funds), bonds and common stocks.  In simple terms, the combination of these asset classes will impact the daily or monthly variation in the value of the investment portfolio. On occasion, a client, or a financial services marketer … Continued

How Do You Value a Painting like The Scream?

Edvar Munch’s The Scream achieved the highest price ever for a painting at auction this week when the bidding closed at nearly $120 million.  It is one of the most famous paintings in the world, featured on posters hanging in college dorm rooms around the world (I had one in mine) and featured in movies such as … Continued

Ford Lump Sum Pension Payment

This week, Ford Motor Co. announced they will be offering a voluntary lump-sum defined benefit pension plan payment to about 90,000 US salaried retirees and former employees.  Ford did not provide detail on the payout amounts or formula.  The plan will be rolled out in stages starting July 1 and they have already begun notifying … Continued