Investors today are being fed lies and distortions, are being exploited and neglected. In the wake of the last decade’s rush to invest by millions of households and Wall Street’s obsession with short-term performance, a culture of gamesmanship has grown among corporate management, financial analysts, brokers, and fund managers, making it hard to tell financial fantasy from reality, salesmanship from honest advice.
In Take on the Street, Arthur Levitt—former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission—shows how you can take matters into your own hands. At once anecdotal (names are named), informative, and prescriptive, Take on the Street expounds on, among other subjects: the relationship between broker compensation and your trading account; the conflicts of interest inherent in buy-hold-or-sell recommendations of analysts; what exactly happens—and who gets a piece of the action—when you place an order; the “seven deadly sins” of mutual funds; the vagaries and vicissitudes of 401(k) investments; how accountants engage in sleight of hand to fake impressive company performance; how to find the truth in a company’s financial statements; the real reason for the Street’s hostility to full disclosure; the crisis in corporate governance, and, given these shenanigans and double-dealings, what specific steps you can take to safeguard your financial future.
With integrity and authority, Levitt gives us a bracing primer on the collapse of the system for overseeing our capital markets, and sage, essential advice on a discipline we often ignore to our peril—how not to lose money.
First appointed in 1993, Arthur Levitt was the longest-serving SEC chairman. He was also chairman of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the American Stock Exchange. He co-founded the brokerage firm that eventually became Citigroup. He lives in Connecticut.