The big news this morning is the Equifax hack. One of the handful of companies that compresses your financial life down into a single number got hacked, possibly exposing credit card numbers, social security numbers, names, and birth dates to unsavory characters. While credit card issuers can just issue new cards, some of the information has no expiration date. It’s not like you can just log in and change your date of birth or social security number.
There are two parts to this story that disturb me beyond the actual hack itself. First, it seems that Equifax was warned about possible weaknesses in its system and didn’t fix them. Second, some senior executives sold company stock after the breach, but before it was public knowledge. This just blows my mind. I can’t see how these guys avoid jail.
This video from CNBC is really informative. Antiterrorism advisor Morgan Wright has some great comments on the breach and steps you can take to protect yourself. I’m looking into the identity protection firm he mentioned. This stuff is not going away and it feels like hiring a company like that may just be another form of insurance that is necessary going forward. The Wall Street Journal also has a good article with 5 steps you can take right now.
Amazon is on the hunt for a location for a secondary headquarters. Might I suggest Cleveland, Ohio? Venturebeat actually makes a pretty great case for Columbus. The midwest makes a ton of sense. Ohio has a prime location and tons of universities mean a built in pipeline for talent – all at Ohio prices. Just sayin’.
Vanguard’s Blog for Advisors has a great piece on active/passive.
I am slowly coming around to the idea that the Fed Funds Rate doesn’t exist in a vacuum and the rate relative to other central banks’ policies is at least as important as the absolute number. While the Fed cut rates to emergency levels during the financial crisis, rates across the globe fell as well. Now, our rates are relatively high compared to countries like Switzerland, Japan, and Germany. Hell, Italy’s 10-year yields less than the US 10-year. Lots of wrinkles to this: the Fed is also unwinding its balance sheet, how much room do they really have to ease if there’s another crisis, and would the impact of easing be diminished at these levels?