St. Louis resident James Giacin has over 25 years of experience in structured finance and corporate leadership, especially in insurance and asset liability management. As managing director of a financial firm, James Giacin of St. Louis leads asset management solutions provider for insurance companies and tailors beneficial products that adhere to several regulations, including those set by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Consumer protection comes in many forms. The primary approach involves safeguarding the insurance sector, educating consumers, undertaking financial assessments, and licensing. Founded in 1871, NAIC protects consumers and stabilizes markets by providing expert analysis and data.
NAIC also empowers regulators and provides avenues for collaboration, networking, and learning for the best interest of the individual state residents. Additionally, it offers learning and accreditation programs to regulators regardless of education level and experience. NAIC also recognizes excellence in service through honors such as the Robert Dineen Award. NAIC established the award to recognize any staff member who has made an outstanding contribution to insurance regulation in a state and has also shown zeal and purpose in promoting the advancement of the insurance regulatory profession.
Missouri is a burgeoning hockey community with more than 6,200 USA Hockey members and is home to the St. Louis Blues National Hockey League (NHL) franchise. Many players from the state have gone on to play college and professional hockey. Wanting to honor players, coaches, executives, and officials who have contributed to the game’s growth in the state, Scott Rupp launched the St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008. The inaugural class featured David Bates, Bud Stege, Eddie Olsen, Herman Kriegshauser, Tom K. Hurster, and Charlie Busenhart.
There are now 90 people in the St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame in the following categories: player, coach, administrator, builder, and referee. There was no induction ceremony in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ralph Taylor (builder), Yan Stastny (player), Tom Shinabargar (player), Tony Sansone (builder), Wayne Neis (player), Joe Lunny (player), and Jamie Husgen (player) were inducted as part of the Class of 2020.
Taylor, inducted posthumously, was born in Canada in 1905 and played for the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL. He also played for teams in the International Hockey League (IHL) and American Hockey League (AHL). Taylor last played for the AHL’s St. Louis Flyers and later served the team as a color commentator. He spent his retirement in St. Louis and was highly involved in youth athletics until he died in 1976. Most notably, he co-founded the Missouri Amateur Hockey Association.
Yan Stastny was also born in Canada but relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, when he was 10 years old after his father, Peter, signed with the St. Louis Blues. Yan played for the Junior B St. Louis Jr. Blues and Junior A St. Louis Sting in his youth and won the Clark Cup and Gold Cup National Championship with the Junior A Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League (USHL). He later played two seasons at the University of Notre Dame and was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Yan played 91 games in the NHL, including 50 with the Blues, and represented the United States in the IIHF World Championships in 2005, 2006, and 2011.
Shinabarger, meanwhile, took an interest in hockey after watching the Blues and went on to play in the USHL and for Division-III Bemidji State University. The defenseman concluded his three-year stint at the school with 80 points in 103 games. He was named one of the team’s 50 greatest players in 2006.
Sansone played hockey at the high school level but was inducted as a builder for creating the Blues Special Hockey program, formerly known as Gateway Locomotives, in 1994. The program was the first in the United States to offer organized hockey instruction for individuals with developmental disabilities.
In his childhood, Neis played sports with the Boys Club of St. Louis and was a talented floor hockey player during the 1980s and early 1990s. Lunny, who relocated to St. Louis with his parents in the early 1960s, played youth hockey in the city and later played alongside fellow St. Louis Hall of Fame inductee Mike Robben at the College of the Holy Cross where he remains the school’s all-time leading scorer. He later played in the IHL and East Coast Hockey League. Husgen, a 12th-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets in 1983, signed a contract with the team in 1987 and spent two seasons with the Moncton Hawks in the AHL.
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While most prominent investment firms only hire professionals with post-secondary degrees, graduating from college isn’t a requirement to becoming a stockbroker. Prospective stockbrokers do, however, need to pass the Series 7 exam, also known as the General Securities Representative Qualification Examination, in order to qualify to legally purchase or sell securities products such as municipal fund securities, corporate securities, options, and variable contracts. Series 7 exam candidates need to be sponsored by a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm.
As of October 1, 2018, exam candidates also need to complete the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. This is an introductory-level exam that covers a variety of securities topics and was designed to measure each candidate’s knowledge of fundamental concepts, securities products and their risks, and prohibited practices, among other topics. The SIE is a 75-question exam with questions in the following four sections: Knowledge of Capital Market; Understanding Products and Their Risks; Understanding Trading, Customer Accounts, and Prohibited Activities; and Overview of Regulatory Framework.
While Series 7 exam candidates need to be sponsored by a FINRA member firm to take the test, there are no requirements for individuals to take the SIE. Once a person completes the SIE, they have four years to complete the Series 7 exam or other top-off exams like the Series 6 (Investment Company Representative), Series 57 (Securities Trader), or Series 82 (Private Securities Offerings Representative).
Before FINRA introduced the SIE, the Series 7 exam was composed of 250 questions spanning five major job functions. Candidates had to pay $305 to take the exam and had six hours to complete it. Now, the exam contains 125 multiple choice questions and has a time limit of 3 hours and 45 minutes. Exam registration is $245 and the passing score is 72 percent.
The 150 multiple choice questions are broken down into the following sections: 91 questions in Provides Customers with Information about Investments, Makes Suitable Recommendations, Transfers Assets, and Maintains Appropriate Records; 14 questions in Obtains and Verifies Customers’ Purchase and Sales Instructions and Agreements; Processes, Completes, and Confirms Transactions; 11 questions in Opens Accounts after Obtaining and Evaluating Customers’ Financial Profile and Investment Objectives; and nine questions in Seeks Business for the Broker-Dealer from Customers and Potential Customers.
Once a candidate passes the Series 7 exam, they are permitted to sell covered products and activities such as mutual funds, stocks and bonds, exchange-traded funds, direct participation programs, municipal securities, and real estate investment trusts. They are not, however, authorized to sell real estate or life insurance products.
Some states also require stockbrokers and investment professionals to complete the Series 63 exam, in addition to the Series 7, to sell securities. Also known as the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam, the 65 multiple choice question test covers specific state laws and regulations and is developed by the North American Securities Administrators Association. FINRA administers the exam.
Those looking to earn their Series 7 license can complete the exam online by filling out and submitting the FINRA Online Exam Administration Request Form. In-person tests are also offered at select locations. There is no physical documentation for proof of exam completion. Instead, employers can access a current or prospective worker’s credentials via FINRA’s Central Registration Depository.
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The National Hockey League (NHL) teams hold training camps annually to prepare for the coming season. Typically beginning in mid-September, these camps provide players with a chance to hone their skills and achieve match fitness. For fans, NHL training camp can also offer the opportunity to get the first glimpse of a new signing or see a fan-favorite player make their preparations.
Coaches use training camps to analyze new players. The camps allow recent draft picks to showcase their skills and prove they can measure up to the established professionals who are already playing. To maximize training camps, a new draft pick or camp invite must enter the camp with some knowledge of what to expect.
Before getting on the ice, players will take part in off-ice testing. Usually lasting for about 60 minutes, this session consists of a battery of exercises that test the player’s physical endurance. Exercises include timed sprints and a vertical jump test, which help determine the player’s leg strength and endurance. Many camps also use a single-leg squat test for the same purpose. This exercise involves squatting the largest weight you can carry on a single leg for five repetitions. Players complete these reps on each leg.
You may undertake maximum pullup and pushup tests during this period too. Both involve completing the exercise to the rhythm of a metronome. The player keeps going until they cannot complete the pullup or pushup in time.
Finally, the off-ice session ends with some machine-based tests. Players may take a treadmill VO2 test, in which they make repeated sprints with constantly decreasing recovery times. Like the pullup and pushup tests, this treadmill exercise repeats until the player can’t go anymore. The coaches may also ask the player to take part in a Wingate Test, a 30-second sprint using a custom-designed bike set to maximum tension.
With this battery of off-ice tests completed, on-ice tests begin. Usually starting at approximately 9:30 am, these exercises allow players to demonstrate their capabilities on the ice. Again, the specific tests vary depending on the team. However, they typically involve engaging in various sprints. These include -sprints from the goal line to the blue sprint line and a test to see how many sprints you can complete to the center red line and back before stopping. Your endurance also gets tested with a multi-lap endurance exercise.
The on-ice session concludes at 11 am, with the player allowed to recover for the rest of the day. Recovery exercises include ice water baths, cool-down exercises, massages, and foam rolling. All recovery exercises relieve the muscles and prevent injury. Players should always participate in these recovery sessions as the activities prepare their bodies for the challenges they’ll face later in the camp.
The first day of an NHL training camp pushes your body to its limits. It’s also a competitive day, as coaches will compare your results to other players’ results to see who can give the most on game days. Understanding the types of tests, you will take part in allows you to prepare appropriately.
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Mike Modano is, undoubtedly, one of America’s finest hockey players of all time. For over 20 years, he led American hockey to some of its most remarkable achievements. He established unbreakable records in the National Hockey League(NHL).
Michael Thomas Modano Jr. was born on June 7, 1970, to Michael Sr. and Karen Modano in Livonia, Michigan. He grew up in Highland township, and because of his rebellious behavior at school, a friend of his father advised placing Modano in a team sport to help him gain control. Michael, Sr., a hockey enthusiast, chose to teach ice skating to Modano, who was seven years old at the time and quickly mastered the game and succeeded.
His early success led his family to relocate to Westland as a kid, and as a compliment to Ted Williams, a hero of his Boston Red Sox fan father, and the Red Wings’ own Gordie Howe, he chose the number nine for his jersey. When Modano turned 18, he was picked by the Minnesota North Stars as their #1 choice in the NHL entry draft. Mike was the second American player to be selected #1, Brain Lawson’s first in 1983.
Modano had to grind his way up in hockey before becoming an American great. He spent five years with Minnesota before the team relocated to Dallas soon before the 1993-94 season. He guided the stars in their pursuit for the most coveted prize in professional sports, the Stanley Cup, after only six years in Dallas. From 2002 until 2011, they made the playoffs every year. Modano was elected captain of the Dallas Stars in 2003 due to his leadership on and off the ice.
Modano scored his 502nd and 503rd regular-season goals in his career against the Nashville Predators in March 2007, breaking Joe Mullins’ NHL record for most goals scored by an American-born player. In November 2007, he tried to tie and break the record by scoring two goals in the opening five minutes of a game against the San Jose Sharks, with the record-breaker coming on a scoreless breakaway.
In addition to the two crucial NHL records, he has all of the offensive Dallas Stars franchise marks, including career points, goals, assists, and games played. His playoff record is equally outstanding, as he owns the marks for most playoff points, playoff goals, playoff assists, and most playoff games played.
Mike Modano is also a seven-time NHL All-Star. In 1996, 2004, 2005, he was a key player of Team USA in international competitions, winning a gold medal in the opening World Cup game in 1996. He was chosen to compete in the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and the 2002 games in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he guided the squad to a silver medal victory. His most recent participation was as captain of the USA Hockey Team in Tornio, Italy, in 2004.
In 2013, Modano married pro golfer Allison Micheletti, the daughter and niece of former NHL players Joe and Pat Micheletti; they have twins and a daughter and a son. After a spectacular 21-year career, his jersey was retired by the stars in 2014. He was voted one of the NHL’s best players in 2017.
Modano resigned from hockey and began a new chapter in his life, focusing on the Mike Modano Foundation. Modano left an indelible imprint on the league. And he also influenced an entire country. Modano, dubbed “Superman on Ice,” astounded many who witnessed him and inspired a new generation of American talent. Off the ice, he carries on that heritage with his charity efforts. Modano, a shining example of a real professional, inspired hockey, succeeded in the game and utilized his success to serve others.
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Economics is a field of study that focuses on how people, organizations, and governments allocate resources to meet their requirements. Economics is further divided into two types: microeconomics and macroeconomics. Generally, microeconomics studies the economic decision of businesses and individuals, while macroeconomics covers a much larger scale, examining decisions on regional, national, continental levels.
Microeconomics uses a bottom-up technique, studying supply and demand and how prices affect consumer behavior. It explores how companies and individuals allocate their resources and price their goods and services while accounting for regulations and taxes. At a fundamental level, microeconomics seeks to understand what drives human decision-making. It asks the question of why economic changes happen and not what determines the changes.
For example, companies and individuals can use microeconomics to see how they can maximize capacity and production to provide efficient, competitive prices. Investors can also use it as a tool for better investment choices.
At its core, microeconomics aims to understand the theory of production, supply, demand, equilibrium, and labor economics. The theory of production explains how the cost of the resources needed to make a product or service determines its price. The law of demand and supply is essential for economic equilibrium. It determines prices because suppliers must succumb to the prices that consumers demand. Lastly, labor economics is a concept that examines employees and employers to understand income, employment, and wage trends.
Conversely, macroeconomics studies the economy as a whole. This discipline of economics adopts a top-down perspective and is mainly concerned about how large-scale factors affect the economy. These factors include the influence of a state’s fiscal policy, inflation, international commerce, and employment rates. Macroeconomics helps us understand indicators like what the GDP is about other large-scale economic factors.
Governments use macroeconomics to establish fiscal policy. And investors who work very closely with interest rates and inflation may utilize the tenets of macroeconomics to monitor fiscal and monetary policies closely. However, macroeconomics doesn’t delve very much into specific investments.
Famous businessmen like Warren Buffet have dismissed macro forecasts as mostly useless to the investors. Warren Buffet has called macroeconomics literature “the funny papers.” A Forbes interview with John Templeton revealed that this successful value investor doesn’t bother forecasting the market. He values stock by looking at its price and comparing it against what he believes it is worth.
The first modern academic work for macroeconomics has been credited to John Maynard Keynes; he used monetary aggregates as a tool for economic study. Therefore, many people have named him the father of macroeconomics.
Consequently, microeconomics is substantially limited in scope when compared to macroeconomics. It concentrates on particular areas and tiny units in the economic chain. Further, while microeconomics seeks to address employee income and the price of goods, macroeconomics evaluates aggregates such as general price levels, national output, and general revenue.
However, the two disciplines are still essentially interdependent. This is especially true for inflation, which affects the economy at both a micro and macro level. Inflation, a macroeconomics phenomenon, causes consumers and companies to adjust with the rise of goods and services.
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Since the Middle Ages, historical evidence implies that games similar to hockey, including a stick and ball and proceeding toward a goal or target, have been played somewhere in the world. The Dutch game of kolven and many forms of field hockey may have spawned modern-day ice hockey. The word hockey was first referenced in 1363 when England’s King Edward III included it in forbidden games.
The name is derived from the French word hoquet, which means “shepherd’s staff.” However, the Micmac (Mi’kmaq) Indians of Nova Scotia were the first to introduce what is now known as ice hockey, one of the most popular and well-known games in the twenty-first century. These Indians’ sports appear to have been influenced by the Irish game of hurling, from which the stick’s naming was adopted and dubbed “hurley.” According to popular belief, the sport spread across Canada thanks to European immigrants and the British Army.
According to historical documents, a rudimentary game variant was played in Egypt 4,000 years ago and in Ethiopia about 1,000 BC. At the same time, an old form of the game was also played in Iran around 2,000 BC. Several museums prove that the Romans, Greeks, and Aztecs played a variation of the game several centuries before Columbus arrived in the New World. The current hockey game was born in England in the mid-eighteenth century, thanks to the rise of public institutions like Eton.
In 1876, the first Hockey Association was created in the United Kingdom, and the first codified set of rules was drafted. The initial association only lasted six years before being recreated in 1886 by nine founding member clubs.
Ice hockey as we know it today was created in Canada during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Hockey originated in the late 1800s in the Halifax region, founded under the Halifax rules. In 1875, two teams of McGill University students played the first public indoor ice hockey game, using rules primarily drawn from field hockey, at Montreal’s Victoria Skating Rink.
In London in 1908, the first Olympic Hockey Competition for men was staged, with England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales competing individually. The competition included six teams, with the arrival of Germany and France. After debuting in the London Games, hockey was excluded from the Stockholm Games in 1912 after host countries were given authority over alternative games. After lobbying from Belgian hockey supporters, it resurfaced in Antwerp in 1920, only to be dropped again in Paris in 1924.
The International Hockey Federation was founded in 1924, just in time for the Paris Olympics, although it did allow hockey to return to the Olympics in Amsterdam in 1928. Since then, hockey has been a part of the schedule, with women’s hockey being added for the first time in Moscow in 1980.
Montreal would be at the core of expanding hockey to the rest of the globe, hosting the first tournaments and participating in the early leagues. In 1917, the NHL was founded in a Montreal hotel. In addition, Montreal clubs have won the most Stanley Cups in the game’s history.
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As the nation grappled with the direct and indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the economy experienced some recovery as the stock market climbed, a new president was elected, and the international markets experienced a comeback. The year began in the middle of an economic recession, with many locally-owned businesses remaining closed or offering limited business hours. As the economy continues with its recovery, many are stepping into the tepid investment market.
Today’s consumers have many pathways to invest, but coming out of the pandemic and all of its impacts, investors looked at both risky and risk-averse ways to build wealth. For example, various bonds, more specifically government bonds, offered investors some measure of value. Considered one of the safest ways to invest, these bonds are investments in debt securities such as treasury bills, treasury notes, and mortgage-backed securities from government issuers such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
This investment tool is safe because the government backs the bonds. Because they are mutual funds, they are subject to rate fluctuations and inflation. Interest rates are proportional to the price of bonds, so when the rates rise, the price of bonds drops, and when the rates drop, the price of bonds rises.
While this type of investment works for risk-averse investors, the returns are small, with many gaining returns of 1.5 percent compared to an inflation rate of two percent. On treasury inflation-protected securities, investors get 2.3 percent on the average return for a 30-year bond, which is not very remarkable but is one of the safest ways to protect against inflation.
The real estate investment trust (REIT) is another investment tool that has done pretty well in 2021 is the real estate investment trust (REIT). The REIT has been long touted as one way to invest in real estate without dealing with the responsibility of managing a property.
This investment tool allows consumers to purchase shares in a real estate portfolio of several properties across the country. Consumers can invest in apartments, commercial, retail, hospitals, hotels, and commercial REITs.
REIT is an investment tool that provides individual investors with access to commercial real estate and multi-family complexes, typically out-of-reach for this group. Furthermore, real estate is often a good choice of investment during stock market downturns.
For investors who are not risk-averse, cryptocurrencies have been an investment tool that has become very popular in the last few years. If a particular cryptocurrency takes off, the gains can be very lucrative. For example, in 2020, Bitcoin began at below $10,000 a coin and increased to $30,000 at the beginning of 2021. While the returns are high, this investment tool is highly volatile, with some falling sharply in a short time. They run the risk of becoming completely zeroed out and outlawed.
Finally, high-yield online savings accounts were another investment vehicle that allowed consumers to earn more interest. This investment tool was not only a safe way to save money, but it also provided investors with easy access to their cash.
James Giacin - St. Louis Finance Executive and Former Hockey Player.