Milevsky’s new book a must-read for financial advisors

Moshe Milevsky, finance professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, has just published a book any serious financial advisor should read, wrote a National Post reviewer April 10. The Calculus of Retirement Income (Cambridge University Press, 2006) may not be as accessible as his Money Logic but is a volume mathematically inclined financial advisors should be aware of. Milevsky admits in his opening chapter that the book’s ideal audience is himself. The second key audience he envisages is “the growing legion of financial planners and investment advisors who possess a quantitative background or at least a numerical inclination.” I have my doubts, says the reviewer, how many advisors will be able to wade through this textbook, subtitled Financial Models for Pension Annuities and Life Insurance – a title unlikely to threaten novelists Dan Brown or J.K. Rowling.

Milevsky concedes his calculus is “far beyond the existing curriculum of the CSC or CFP exams, as presently structured.” But he’s hopeful the book will better prepare the next generation of advisors in school right now. If nothing else, this book should make the average financial professional feel humble. In contrast to the knee-jerk platitudes so many industry members dispense to clients, Milevsky delivers page after page of solid financial analysis. 

Praise for Teleky’s latest novel

York professor Richard Teleky‘s Winter in Hollywood begins with a woman named Irene Dunne unlocking the door to her deceased daughter’s West Hollywood apartment, wrote a reviewer for The Globe and Mail April 8. Although she shares a name with the star who appeared opposite the likes of Cary Grant and Charles Boyer, this Irene Dunne is anything but a movie star. She is a widow from Cleveland whose daughter, Holly, has been recently killed in an auto accident, and she now faces the grim task of closing up her daughter’s life.This is the kind of dynamic that Teleky, who teaches in the humanities department at York University, has written on before, most forcefully in Hungarian Rhapsodies, a very fine collection of essays on ethnicity. What is notable about Teleky’s work elsewhere is his focus on the circumstance of the third-generation immigrant, the problem of understanding how someone like Holly, who has no real connection to Hungary, can understand herself as Hungarian.

The answer Teleky provides in Hungarian Rhapsodies is that there’s something arbitrary about ethnicity for the third generation: Holly might know nothing about the country where her grandfather lived, and not speak his language, but there remains nonetheless a connection with her ethnic past whether she explores it or not. The striking originality of Winter in Hollywood is that it inverts the old story about ethnic identity: In this novel, it is the third-generation immigrant who is extinct and possesses all the mystery. This is no cliffhanger and in the hands of a novelist less talented than Teleky it might have been gruelling. But it remains very readable throughout.

Toronto would be run more effectively with smaller borough councils, says Fowler

City council is trying to find ways to make itself more efficient at making decisions and formulating broad-scale policy for Toronto, wrote Terry Fowler, professor emeritus of political science at Glendon, in the Toronto Star April 10. At the centre of discussion has been the city’s advisory panel’s report, “The City We Want – The Government We Need”, released in November 2005 and given tentative approval by council shortly afterward. Each of the city’s four community councils heard citizens weighing in on the report last Tuesday. Edmund P. Fowler is author of Cities, Culture, and Granite.

Schulich team places fourth in National Post investment competition

A team from York’s Schulich School of Business finished fourth in the inaugural Financial Post MBA Portfolio Management Competition, reported the National Post April 10. The competition began in October, when each school team was given $1 million in pretend money to invest for six months. Rather than letting the teams invest the money in any way they saw fit, said the Post, we made the contest resemble a real-life investing challenge. The money came from a hypothetical investor named Mr. Oldmoney, who was interested in avoiding volatility. Team Schulich began the competition with an all-cash position, which helped them tremendously in October when the stock market swooned. They also ended the competition well – with a 13.9 per cent return that edged out the S&P/TSX composite index by 2.8 percentage points. Toward the end of the competition, they reduced their holdings down to nine from 27 previously, in the hope of capturing a strong tailwind. It worked, to some extent: Their portfolio soared 9.5 per cent in March, but the volatility over the past six months kept their Sharpe ratio at 1.63.

Celebrity trainer studied at York

According to former York student Derek Noble (formerly Nobles), you can get a sexy, sculpted look by squeezing in a few exercises or stretches – just like some of his star clients do, reported the Toronto Sun April 6. Noble is a good ol’ Canadian boy turned celebrity trainer in LA – he has personally trained Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Maria Shriver, John McEnroe, Tatum O’Neil, Michael J. Fox and John Cusack. And he was in Toronto recently to flog his book The Body Noble – 20 Minutes To A Hot Body With Hollywood’s Coolest Trainer (Wiley) and to demonstrate some squeezing, heavy breathing and pumping – all part of his “recipe for getting a beautiful, toned and healthy body.

“There are certain ingredients and tools you need – just like making a recipe but in the low-fat, low-carb way,” says Noble, 40, a lean workout machine himself who got his first big break as trainer and sports therapist for McEnroe. “Hollywood is a magical place and training celebrities is a lot of hard work – you basically have to live with them, travel with them and be available for them at all times,” adds Noble, who often gets hired to get someone into shape for a movie or special project.

So what’s the attraction to Noble when personal trainers are a dime a dozen? “I walk the talk. My program is a hip and innovative lifestyle program, very holistic and organic, that provides the most out of a workout in the least amount of time,” says Noble, who spent two years studying in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science from 1985 to 1987.

Alumna Adriana Benzaquen studies phenomenon of wild child research

Today’s wild child goes on Ritalin, or the TV show Supernanny. Children literally raised in the wild, however, perplexed scientists for centuries, reported The Daily News (Halifax) April 10. A York alumna who is now a professor at Halifax’s Mount St. Vincent University is interested in how studying wild children impacted today’s society. In Adriana Benzaquen‘s new book Encounters with Wild Children: Temptation and Disappointment in the Study of Human Nature, she looks at reports of isolated children found in history. “It’s almost as if the children had a secret you had to unravel – that you would find out by studying them,” said the history professor. “On the other hand, you had these children who were going through something quite severe and who were in need of a lot of care and attention.” Benzaquen (PhD ‘99, MA ‘94, BA ‘93), who was raised in Argentina, wrote the book because she wanted to know when scientists began to study children.

Young criticizes separate justice for the rich

The lawyer for shooting victim Louise Russo wants a formal inquiry into the leak of details surrounding an alleged $2.5 million plea-bargain deal, and comments by former solicitor general Bob Runciman that he says “may interfere with the prosecution” of the case, reported the Toronto Star April 8. Alan Young, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, equated the proposed settlement to “buying justice”. “I strongly worry about creating a different system of justice for the rich – for people who have $2.5 million to pay,” Young told the Star. “The reality is that 95 per cent of accused people are in the lower social bracket and will never have the opportunity to purchase justice.”

Copenhagen trio jazzed about tour

Normally, libraries would seem to be the last place that would encourage conversations. That, however, will not be the case Thursday night, when the Danish jazz trio PET Douglas stops by to play, reported The Kingston Whig-Standard April 8. “In regular conversations with people, unless you’re a poet, words can really get in the way,” says Graig Earle (BFA ‘01), the band’s bass player, about playing the group’s original compositions, “but having a very abstract medium like music to communicate with people, we’ve developed our own musical language that’s totally unique, and then [we] share it with other people. That depth of conversation never ceases to amaze me.” The 27-year-old Earle is no stranger to the Canadian jazz scene. He studied at York University, where he had a chance to exchange notes with jazz legend Oscar Peterson, among others.

Physicians examine benefits of family health teams

The provincial government claims family health teams will help ease the doctor shortage through extended hours and telephone advice and allowing patients to see other providers, like nurse practitioners for certain conditions, reported the Stoney Creek News April 7. But not everyone’s convinced. Pat Armstrong is a professor of sociology and women’s studies at York University in Toronto. She says there should be more discussion about the plan, rather than an assumption it’s going to work. “They speak as though it’s going to solve our woes, as though you’re going to be signed up and people will know you,” she said. “They assert you will see the same doctor, but you may see someone else in that team.” She also says nurse practitioners need to be able to do more than the jobs doctors don’t have time for or want to do. “It has to be a genuine team. Will it work as a team or a doctor delegating? There’s a very important difference.”

York’s Plaskett winner gives show in Toronto

I saw a couple of York student Jennifer Lefort‘s paintings in a group show last year and they blew everything else away, wrote a reviewer for The Globe and Mail April 8. Now she has a solo show, called Spots & Fabulisms, and it’s a knockout. Things seem to be happening pretty quickly for Lefort, a graduate student in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts. This current exhibition, a muster of loopy, non-representational forms in wonderfully assured hues, is actually her York University thesis show. Last year she won the $25,000 Joseph Plaskett Foundation Award – Plaskett jury member and veteran painter Takeo Tanabe noted then that she demonstrated “a mastery of colour” and offered “a quirky sense of form.” Both true. And attractive, too, in a painter so young. Where will she head now? Who can say? It might be time that she looked long and hard at the easy attractiveness of her work and started to give more thought to painterly meaning. Or maybe I should just lighten up.

Innocence Project investigates case of Island killer teen

Toronto law-school researchers specializing in helping free Canada’s wrongfully convicted are now working on the case of one of BC’s most notorious murderers – a man who as a teen helped to brutally kill the mother and grandmother of a school chum for financial gain, reported the Times Colonist (Victoria) April 10. The Innocence Project at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School has agreed to investigate the case of Derik Lord, now 33. Lord remains in jail for his role in the 1990 grisly double murder of Sharon Huenemann, 47, and Doris Leatherbarrow, 69.

The Innocence Project, founded in 1997 and run by law students for credit toward their degree, accepts only a fraction of the hundreds of applications they receive every year from those claiming to have been railroaded into jail. Their most famous success was getting Romeo Phillion released in 2003 after he spent 32 years in jail for an Ottawa murder he didn’t commit.

Derik Lord’s father, David Lord, who lives in Chilliwack and insists his son and the two others were framed, said the Innocence Project took on Derik’s case four years ago and travelled to BC two years ago to visit him in jail, read files and hire a private detective to chase leads. But he said the project’s funds are limited and the Lords, who David said have spent $550,000 on legal fees and other costs to try to prove Derik’s innocence, paid the thousands of dollars for ads running in Vancouver and Victoria papers requesting information about Derik’s conviction.