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US financial adviser spots opportunities in market chaos

US financial adviser spots opportunities in market chaos

Wall Street traders may be sweating but steely-nerved US adviser Diahann Lassus sees this as the perfect time to invest.  

Shares in profitable companies have hit ‘senseless’ lows as panicked investors sell, now Lassus plans to buy as part of her firm's long-term asset allocation strategy. Lassus said she was confident the mutual funds and exchange traded funds her clients were invested in would ride out the turmoil and deliver positive returns over time. 

‘Right now we are getting some really good buying opportunities,’ said Lassus, president of New Jersey-based Lassus Wherly and chairwoman of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. ‘The important thing is to take the emotion out it – which is hard to do at the moment,’ she said. ‘This is the ideal time to be focused on the long term.’ 

The collapse of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch could shake up the financial advice landscape in the US, said Lassus, whose firm has $350 million of funds under advice. Lassus said the sales culture among Merrill Lynch’s broker representatives would cause friction within the banking culture of its acquirer Bank of America.   

The merger could lead Merrill Lynch’s broker reps (equivalents of multi-tied advisers in the UK) shifting from sales to advice over time, said Lassus. Lehman Brother’s equally successful brokerage and asset managers Neuberger Berman would be a good deal for UK bank Barclays, said Lassus. Barclays announced today it agreed to buy Lehman’s investment banking arm, while Neuberger Berman was not part of the deal and was unaffected by Lehman’s bankruptcy.

Calming her 250 clients was also a priority for Lassus, who was about to email them with her views on the past week’s turmoil. 

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