I just returned from an advanced investment management conference in Las Vegas sponsored by the AICPA. They do a good job with these conferences. Nicely arranged, except they could have used some tables and chairs at the continental breakfasts. People my age (and there were plenty of those in attendance) like to sit down first thing in the morning. I mean, we get out of bed, stand in the shower, and walk to the buffet. Then, we like to sit.

Also, the AICPA knows what it takes to keep people indoors. It was 106 degrees outside. In fact, the hotel even had to add cold water to the pool to keep it from bubbling.

The conference wasn't bad. Lots of interesting speakers and the subject matter was enticing enough. There were 300 CPAs learning about how to deal with high-net worth people--you know, those who have at least (I stress "at least") five million dollars in liquid assets. Of course, I really wonder how many of those 300 CPAs actually have clients in that category. I probably would be surprised at the number. Might be higher than I imagine.

So, for two days, I leaned about implementing separately managed accounts, dealing with a client's unfulfilled expectations, alternative investments (both diversified and applied), single stock risk management and Web sites for investment advisors, to name a few. Kind of grabs you, don't it?

All of these 300 CPAs had cell phones attached to their bodies and at breaks the hallway was abuzz with activity. Guess they're checking on the whereabouts of a specific client's five million.

They took notes, they asked questions, and they read the materials. They were really into it and I imagined that anyone of them could handle any estate with ease. They were watching over every dollar, every cent, as if it were their own. Kind of refreshing, I thought.

But then the sessions for the day ended and what do you think happened? You know it. A beeline for the casino. Now, I am not saying all 300 scooted there but there were plenty including yours truly who dropped three quarters in three machines, heard the drawer fill with quarters, hesitated for a brief second as to whether to cash out or apply to credit, opted for the former, and walked away with a crisp twenty and an equally crisp ten. I went upstairs and watched television--the last of the big bettors.

Now, there is one thing that is kind of tricky here. These financial investment advisors really understood what was involved in investment opportunities for their clients, how to construct the proper portfolio, and what were the strategies involved between active and passive investing. So, you put your money with them and you’d be pretty safe, I would think.

I therefore ask you, did any of them check the odds in the casino? I did. I called a friend who is a big shot lawyer in Vegas and who represents some of the high-flying hotels. You want to know the return on investment? In other words, what's the percentage of money going back to the bettor? On average, he says, between two to three percent.

Anyone interested in joining me at the nickel slots?

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