Friday, September 28, 2007

Finding the Best Broker for Forex Trading

When we talk of any money transactions like those pertaining to the stock exchange, one hears a lot about brokers. FOREX traders are known to use brokers to carry out their transactions for them. So how would one define a broker? In the true sense of the word, a broker is a person or a company that a prospective investor trusts to buy and sell as per his decisions. He then pays the broker a commission which is how the brokers earn their money. A fund for margin trading necessitates the FOREX broker to be connected with big financial institution like banks. As protection against fraud and abusive trade practices a broker should be registered as a Futures Commission Merchant or FCM with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission or CFTC.

An account would need to be set up with a FOREX broker before trading FOREX. There are a lot of brokers available on the Internet and one need to go through all that they are offering as part of their services before making an informed decision and ensure that you are apprised of the fees and other charges involved. As with all businesses the best way to advertise is the kind that goes by word of mouth and this applies to FOREX trading as well. Get information from friends and associates who have been dealing with brokers and find out the pitfalls in any that you need to be aware of and if they had any problems with their particular broker.

Everyone who has something to sell will have excellent pre-sales services and these may differ from the actual service they provide once you are registered with them. Look out for this aspect especially if you are looking at online FOREX brokers. Brokers need to be quick with buying and selling and ideally an online broker should ensure automatic execution with clearly stated policies on slippage and what percentage of slippage to expect in normal and fast moving markets. You would need to know what spread the broker is talking about, whether it is fixed or variable as per type of account, do mini accounts attract wider spreads and the charges for this, if any. More profit is accrued by the trader for smaller spreads but it may lead to a trade off between service and spread so go into the nitty gritty of the deal before signing up with any broker.

It is essential to understand the broker's margin terms before you take on a contract with any broker as the life blood of the FOREX trading is these margin accounts. You would need information on things like the calculation of margins, requirements of the margin, whether the margin changes are based on the currency that is being traded and whether the broker has different margins for different accounts like mini accounts and standard accounts.

Fast moving markets need that you have reliability and an ability to perform and since trading software is very essential for online FOREX traders, see that you pan the options available, maybe try a demo or two and then make your decision. Ideally the software should have auto trading, trailing stops and chart trading as some of its special features. They may be charged extra so check what you need and go through the charges with the broker as well. Minimum account balances, interest account balances, currency trading and if non-standard sized lots are traded as well as clients' funds insurance and to what extent are some things for which the broker would have certain policies and one must get all the information on them.

For more helpful information to Learn Forex Trading visit at

What To Expect When You Place An Order For Promotional Products

The date of your trade show is quickly approaching, so how much time will be necessary to order that promotional product? Every manufacturer's lead time (production time) is different - some items can be produced in as little as 24 hours, and some items take up to 30 days. As soon as you make your decision on what product you would like to order, you need to get the process rolling, even if it's just to plan out the timing. If you are within 30 days of your "event," time will be of the essence.

Here's what will happen when you place your order. You and your promotional products professional will agree on a price (usually in writing via a contract or order form that you sign) that includes all applicable charges - cost of the item, imprint charges, setup charges, proof charges, shipping costs and any applicable taxes. You agree on the form of payment (we'll discuss this in more detail later), and the dealer accepts your order for production. You submit your artwork and you sit back and wait for the item to be delivered. Time covered so far - 24 to 48 hours.

Then, your dealer will submit the order to the appropriate factory or wholesale distributor. There are many methods of doing this - each factory has it's own preferable way - and they vary from good old snail mail to form completion on a website. Most will use the tried and true fax machine for order acceptance. And don't forget the artwork - most factories will accept artwork submitted by electronic methods (email or website submission), but there is the occasional factory that still accepts artwork only by mail (I ran into one of those last week). This process should also take 24 to 48 hours, or up to 5 days if art is submitted by mail. On average, the time it takes for your order to get to the factory is around 3 days.

OK, the factory has your order - what happens next? Since most promotional products are imprinted using a silkscreen methos, I'll describe the steps involved in that process (I'm not a silkscreen factory, so if I'm not 100% accurate in my descriptions, please forgive me). I won't get into the materials involved, since there are hundreds of options. I'll assume the artwork was submitted by email, and requires a one-color imprint.

The factory will open your art file, and check it to make sure it meets their requirements as "camera-ready." They will check the size to make sure it will fit properly on the item, and they will check the detail of the art to make sure it won't fill in or run together when the print is made. Next, they will print out the art on clear acetate, or "film." They will use this film to produce the screen. The screen is painted with a light sensitive emulsion, similar to what's on photographic film stock. The acetate print of your art is laid over the top of the screen, and then they expose the screen to light, which sensitizes the part of the emulsion that's not a part of your art, so that only that part that is your art washes away when the screen is rinsed. This leaves an opening where ink can be forced through the screen and onto the item that's being printed. That description is probably an over-simplification, but for our purposes, it will be sufficient. Anyway, from artwork opening to packing and boxing will take 7 to 10 days on average. Let's say 9 days, so our example order has taken 12 days so far.

Now the factory places your order in the hands of their favorite freight carrier. It leaves the dock, and is on the way to you. The most cost-effective method of shipment is via ground carrier, either UPS or Fedex, and those are the most common methods of shipment. Don't forget to take into consideration the location of the factory - if you're in California and the factory is in upstate New York, it's going to take at least five days for your shipment to arrive. Average ship time is about 3 days, so we've gone 15 days so far.

So it's the 8th of January, and my tradeshow starts on the 23rd, so there should be no problem, right? Wrong - the 15 days we've discussed so far are working days, Monday through Friday. Weekends don't count. So by 15 days, we're talking 3 weeks. If you placed your order on January 8th, your order (using our example above) probably won't be delivered until close to February.

All this is to get you to think about your order and the time involved to produce it. There are ways to speed up the process (factory rushes, expedited shipping), but it will cost you extra to utilize them. Other options such as production samples and additional colors/locations of your imprint will lengthen the process. Make sure you get started early enough to where you don't have to worry. 30 days in advance of your event date will usually be a comfortable lead time for all involved.

Payment Considerations

I'll keep this part short. If you're an established company with a good credit rating, a government agency, or an institution of higher learning, you can usually get Net 30 terms on promotional product purchases. Everybody else pays in advance, via credit card or check. As far as returns, unless the factory screwed up the imprint or sent the wrong item, it's not likely you'll be able to return them. Remember, you ain't buying a VCR at Best Buys. These items are custom produced - it's like buying a tailored suit, they just won't fit anybody else. However, if the factory agrees to ship the item prior to a specific date, and they miss it, you won't be held responsible for that.

One other item to cover, and you may have seen this in the "terms and conditions" section on websites or catalogs, is over-runs and under-runs. The imprinting business is not an exact science. Factories plan to screw up a certain percentage of the items that they imprint, so when they pull the blank items out for your order, they will start with a certain percentage over the amount you ordered (usually 5%), and then they'll turn the machine on and let 'em rip. They print the whole batch and then cull out the ones that are messed up, hoping they print exactly the right amount. Unfortunately, they don't usually come out right on the money, so you end up with an over-run or under-run on your order. You'll only pay for the amount you receive, so as long as you understand this process up front, you won't be startled when you're billed for 212 koozies (but I only ordered 200!).

I hope you understand the process of buying promotional products a little better now.

Phillip Baker, CAS, is a 29 year veteran of advertising and marketing and is an expert in promotional products, integrated marketing and advertising consulting. He can be reached at 850 995 9557. Visit to enter to win $1,000 in promotional products or subscribe to the free Marketing Magik newsletter and podcast.

Best Investment You'll Ever Make - And It Costs You Nothing

When you write for an investing site, you see them all the time. You hear from the subscribers who are looking for that one stock pick they can invest their $500 in that is going to make them rich. Or ones who say they have a foolproof investing system, only to find that their method only works when the market is bullish. Notice there aren't as many day trading or investing systems as there were back in the late 1990's?

What you never see enough of though are investors who have an investment plan. A clear set of rules dictating when they will buy, how long they will hold, and where their stop loss is. This is what separates the successful investors from the rest. The cost of this investment strategy? A few minutes!

Its not difficult to get caught up in the emotion of investing in the stock market. The joys of when our research pays off with a profit, and the anguish and despair when we have to go against our own logic, and place that sell order. We've all been there. Unfortunately, we've done that a lot.

Its key to remember that the best investing strategy is capital preservation. While it makes sense when you read it, how many times have you watched a $200 loss turn into a $500 loss just because you thought for sure it would move higher? How many times have you turned that $500 loss into something worse?

A 50% loss means you need to make a 100% gain just to break even. While the world of investing in penny stocks provides opportunities, not many of them will give you a 100%. In the world of medium to large caps, it takes a long time with a successful company to get that 100% return.

QUit turning your small losses into larger losses.

Lets look at what you should include in your investment plan:

a) Starting capital. Its key to know how much capital you are putting at risk today. Its possible that you may invest in a company, only to learn later on that day that its shares are being delisted. Just because you invest $10 000 at the start of the day, doesn't mean you will go home with that same amount. You need to set an amount that you are comfortable with. Capital preservation.

b) How much money are you prepared to lose per trade. Good traders ask themselves this question before they trade. If you are prepared to lose $500 today, establishing where to set your stop loss becomes easier.

c) Where is your stop loss? Are you basing your stop loss on share price? Are you basing your stop loss on the amount you are prepared to lose today? Are you basing your stop loss on a percentage of the trade or a percentage of your trading capital? What is your plan for a trailing stop loss?

d) Entry - where are you entering the trade? Is it based on a price? Are you trying to time the bottom? Are you placing a stop buy to take advantage of momentum? Was there news this morning?

d) How'd you sleep last night? If you are having one of those days where you wish you just stayed at home, then you should turn off the computer. Emotions will be running high, and you will make trading decisions based strictly on emotion, not your investment plan.

e) Duration of the trade. How long are you willing to stay in? If you are making a day trade, make it a day trade. Don't justify holding a position for the long term if the stock doesnt move in the direction you want it to.

There's the best investment advice that anyone can offer you. And it didnt cost you anything, but may save you thousands of dollars.

penny stocks - learn about the hottest penny stocks that will make the difference in your investment portfolio

Financial Security in an Unstable Economy

Few families pass on actual knowledge about wealth building to their children. Negative feelings of poverty and scarcity can last for generations.

Accountant and financial advisor, Dr. Joseph Simini says, "Most people are illiterate about finance. Finance isn't all that tough. If you want to become financially independent, you can't depend on someone else to do that for you. You have to do it yourself with knowledge."

Dr. Simini started out in life in a poor immigrant family and learned the basics of creating personal wealth from his father's teachings and the school of hard knocks. He manages family owned investments and advises people on the subject of financial independence.

He offers practical advice on how to become financially literate and financially independent:

1. Buy Your Own Home: It is important to buy your own home because with a small amount of money, and a lot of someone else's money, you can get started. Instead of paying rent and making your landlord wealthy, you will be paying into your own mortgage. Eventually, you are going to own the building, leading to tax benefits.

2. Deduct Property Taxes and Mortgage Interest: These items can be deducted from your regular income and that is a big savings. Most people just use their standard deduction, but by adding the property tax deduction and the mortgage interest deduction, you can increase your deduction by thousands of dollars.

3. Save 10 Percent of Your Income: Fill out a budget categorizing all your bills and when they should be paid. At the top of the list of bills to be paid, put your own name. Pay yourself first. Nobody can help you, but you.

4. Make a List of Necessities: Make a list of the necessities that you need to live: rent, mortgage, clothes, food, etc. After this, make a list of the discretionary things. Decide if you really need all the things you are spending your money on. Are they necessary? Can you cut back? These are the financial questions you need to answer.

5. Take Advantage of Compound Interest: One of the most important fundamentals of wealth building is compound interest. Instead of giving you a nice return, compound interest will give you a sensational return.

Compound interest is the interest added to the principle, and then the interest rate is on the new amount of money. Each year it becomes a little more. After years of compounding interest, it becomes a tremendously larger amount of money than if it were only simple interest.

All of these wealth building strategies require awareness and a change in habits. Change your attitude about money. Change your financial habits. Read financial magazines, the business section of the paper, and financial magazines. Know what money can do for you.

Look beyond just employment income. Put your skills and talents to work for you. Create additional streams of income teaching or selling the hobbies you are already interested in. This additional income will give more opportunities for saving and paying the bills. You have to go out and build income of your own.

Avoid putting your money into cash. That includes: a bank account, notes, and bonds. These will only give back a small amount of interest. They are the worst things to invest in.

The stock market has the potential for incredible wealth building if you learn the rules of the game. Do your homework, researching all the information available about investing in stocks. Become stock literate to protect your investment in the stock market. Find advisors and take responsibility for your own choices about your own money.

Do not get caught up in limited thinking. Expand a little bit and take some different actions to benefit yourself financially. This is the foundation of building financial independence. Get yourself started onto the road of financial success by becoming financially literate.

Once you learn the financial principles and practices pass them on to your children. Get your children involved in the basic skills of finances and building wealth. Knowing about money is as important as knowing the ABC's in today's world.

Financial literacy will lead you to additional wealth building techniques. You will be able to come up with a plan that will take you from paying someone else, to becoming the person who other people are paying.

Dr. Proactive, Randy Gilbert enjoys producing the "Inside Wealth Success Show". He presents his insightful interview with Joseph Simini based upon the tips from his book. Hear the entire interview for free by going to:

What Next for Japan

After a strong performance in 2003, 2004 and 2005, the Japanese stock market was essentially flat during 2006 until a strong December rally brought the most widely traded Japan ETF (EWJ) up just over 5% for the year.

What lies ahead for Japan as the worlds second largest economy and stock market? Will the Japanese yen finally begin to appreciate and benefit foreign investors? Is Japan still an excellent play on the overall Asian growth story? When will the Japanese consumer begin spending again? Why is Japan one of the few countries in the world to have a trade surplus with China and why is Japan able to hold on to its industrial base so much better than America? Are Japanese large multinationals the place to invest or should investors target the smaller and more innovative companies?

In 2006, small and mid cap ETFs led the way in Japan and these ETFs could also do well in 2007. The best performing ETFs tracking Japanese markets were WisdomTrees Japan Small Cap ETF (DFJ) and its Japan High-Yielding Equity ETF (DNL). Both ETFs were introduced on June 16th. Other key questions for long-term ETF investors are how will the Japanese - America alliance evolve and could Japan be moving towards excessive nationalism? What is likely to be the impact of Japans demographics on investment opportunities and returns?

These are all important questions. Why dont you get to the bottom of these questions yourself by joining me in May 2007 as I lead a ten day investment tour of Japan

This will be a trip of a lifetime and will be a fascinating immersion into Japans stock market, economics, politics, culture and history as well as provide you with the opportunity to learn more about specific Japanese companies. Join me to find out what place Japan should have in your global ETF portfolio.

Carl T. Delfeld President & Publisher Chartwell Partners

Carl has over twenty years of experience in the global investment business with a strong background in Asia.

Author of global investor primer "The New Global Investor"

President of the global investment advisory firm Chartwell Partners

Publisher of the Chartwell Advisor ETF Report and Asia-Pacific Growth

Columnist on global investing with Forbes Asia: "Global Gambits"

Former U.S. Representative to the Executive Board of Asian Development Bank

Chairman of the global economic strategy think tank ChartwellAmerica

Asian specialist with the U.S. Joint Economic Committee and the U.S. Treasury

Former member of the U.S. Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Committee

Former investment executive with Robert Baird & Company and UBS

Graduate of the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy with economics scholarship from U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission

Corporate Compliance

Corporate Compliance

With the globalization of integral business and corporation expansion, has come the increased focus on corporate compliance. Companies cannot do as they please; there are regulatory factors that balance ethics with rationality. For example, simply because a company can make a product cheaper by polluting the environment, does not give it the right to do so. Compliance simply means following the law. The law for corporations comes in many forms: federal laws, state laws, agency law, and industry standards. Breaking any of these regulations could have disastrous consequences for a company. According to Gentiva The initial purpose of compliance was to act as a mitigating factor to reduce liability under the law. Over the years, compliance has evolved into a more integral business component with its focus on maintaining the companys status as a good corporate citizen. This emphasis and new standard has caused many companies to create a corporate compliance officer position where the sole duty of this individual is to maintain and monitor the companys state of compliance. Some of the main concerns with corporate compliance are ethics, financial statements, equal opportunity / fair hiring practices, sexual harassment, and environmental preservation. Companys that maintain vigilance on these fronts are normally safe when it comes to compliance issues. Maintaining a good record of compliance is not only beneficial, but more times than not will make or destroy a company. The main point is that non-compliance can affect a companys bottom line. Sexual Harassment: Civil Rights Act of 1964

Sexual Harassment is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and applies to companies with 15 or more associates. It is defined as Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment ( circumstances include but are not limited to:

The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome. ( Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Passed in 2002, Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) was enacted to help win back the public trust in companies after the disasters of such companies as Enron and WorldCom. The first part of the act was to create the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which is charged with overseeing, regulating, inspecting, and disciplining accounting firms in their roles as auditors of public companies (

EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)

The EPA comprises 18,000 people in headquarters program offices, 10 regional offices, and 17 laboratories across the country. The EPA employs a highly educated, technically trained staff, more than half of whom are engineers, scientists, and environmental protection specialists. A large number of employees are legal, public affairs, financial, and computer specialists. The EPA provides leadership in the nation's environmental science, research, education, and assessment efforts. The EPA works closely with other federal agencies, state and local governments, and Native American tribes to develop and enforce regulations under existing environmental laws. The EPA is responsible for researching and setting national standards for a variety of environmental programs and delegates to states and tribes responsibility for issuing permits, and monitoring and enforcing compliance. Where national standards are not met, the EPA can issue sanctions and take other steps to assist the states and tribes in reaching the desired levels of environmental quality. The Agency also works with industries and all levels of government in a wide variety of voluntary pollution prevention programs and energy conservation efforts. In July of 1970, the law that established the EPA was passed in response to the growing public demand for cleaner water, air and land, spurred by such scandals as the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire. Prior to the establishment of the EPA, the federal government was not structured to make a coordinated attack on the pollutants which harm human health and degrade the environment. The EPA was assigned the task of repairing the damage already done to the natural environment and to establish new criteria to guide Americans in making a cleaner environment a reality Compare Companys Researched

Toyota North America Inc and Dennys Inc.

Both companys, Toyota Motor North America Corporation and Dennys Inc. were cited in a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment against a female employee. Involvement by the EEOC helping both employees with their claim helped with changing the mindsets of both company and employees. The size of the company did not play a fact in the lawsuits but showed that any type of discrimination or sexual harassment will not be tolerated.

According to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII, it states: Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).

Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and/or age. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.

Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of illegality. To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.

Both companys tried to silence the acquisations by either terminating the employee as in the lawsuit against Dennys, Inc. or relocating the employee to a different department then termination as in the lawsuite against Toyota North America Corporation. In either lawsuit, the person in charge was in the wrong.

Apple Computers

The first company looked at in violation of the SOX was Apple Computers in which an internal investigation showed that there was backdating of stock options. The results for Apple Computers were developing a special committee to investigate the allegations. Though the investigation found no fault on the part of Apple Computers there were some serious concerns raised. The end results for Apple Computers would proactively report to the SEC as well as providing non-cash charges for compensation relating to past stock option grants.

Wind River Systems

Next were Wind River Systems the international software company was found itself non-compliance with the regulations of the Sarbanes-Oxley with managing financial risk. The problem was solved Wind River streamlining its fragmented accounting teams in to three regional teams as well as closing unnecessary bank accounts. This reduced the risk of fraud as well as saving Wind River Systems thousands of dollars in unnecessary banking fees.


Another phase of protection that the SOX offer corporations as well as their customers and investors is requiring internal security. With the age of computer the latest form of communication known as IM raises new security issues. A great deal of corporations in the corporate world is finding that they are more reliant on these sorts of technological advances. Two major providers MSN and AOL rely heavily on their corporate partners as well as staying compliant with the SOX. Therefore they partnered up with a software provider known as Akonix that provides the real-time requirements and internal controls required by the SOX for these IM services.


The importance of a compliance program in avoiding anti-competitive conduct under the Act, and in detecting and dealing with such behavior, should not be underestimated. The procedures put in place as the result of a compliance program serve not only to identify unlawful or questionable conduct, but also to promote awareness that will result in ethical standards of conduct. Implementing an effective compliance program which addresses both criminal behavior and civil reviewable conduct is good business. It can help a company avoid the adverse publicity and financial costs associated with contraventions of the Act. A compliance program will also enhance understanding of what is acceptable behavior so that legitimate competitive practices can be vigorously pursued without unwarranted concerns of contravening the Act.

Steven Brown, MBA is a loving husband and father of two boys. He enjoys his time with his family by providing a strong family foundation of Christian Faith. After completing his Bachelors degree, Steven wanted to further his ability to teach and share to others his mindset that they can do anything if they would believe in themselves.