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NASDAQ: Volatility?

What Volatility?

"Market volatility in recent years has not been unusually large compared to historical norms," attested Eric Noll, executive vice president, transaction services at NASDAQ.

Noll was addressing the Investment Company Institute's 2011 ICI Equity Markets Conference in New York Tuesday.

That is not to say that the speed of trading has not become exponentially fast, Noll said.

"I think of it in terms of Gamma, or the rate of change, rather than volatility," said Noll, who attributed it to the "24-hour news cycle and super-fast trading systems that permit markets to instantaneously react to politics, even though politics itself is slow-moving."

However, Harold Bradley, chief investment officer for the $1.7 billion Kauffman Foundation, vehemently disagreed.

"We are now trading volatility, and we think it is undermining price discovery. The whole market is trading like it is the same thing," Bradley said. "On Oct. 4, the iShares Russell 2000 ETF rallied 700 basis points in 20 minutes. I have never seen anything like it in my 30 years in the business.

"There is a high-frequency sub-class of electronic trading in front of institutional orders, taking advantage of the buy side because of too much transparency," Bradley added.

Lincoln Launches $20M Advertising Campaign

Lincoln Financial Group has launched a $20 million advertising campaign created by Gyro of New York.

The campaign, themed "You're In Charge," asks investors to become their own "Chief Life Officers." The scenes work off of everyday events, such as a backyard picnic, and dovetail into more sentimental thoughts, like "Chief Leave Behind More Than Memories Officer" and "Chief Laughs Till it Hurts Officer."

The ads replace Lincoln's previous, four-year "Hello Future" ads, created by 22Squared.

Expect Miracles Seeking Awards Nominations

The Expect Miracles Foundation -Financial Services Against Cancer has announced its 2012 Expect Miracles Awards, sponsored by American Century Investments. Entries are being accepted through March 5.

The awards recognize individuals and firms in the financial services industry that have supported and shown commitment to the fight against cancer. The four categories are:

Corporate Commitment Award, recognizing a financial services company that has demonstrated organizational commitment to the fight against cancer.

Company for a Cure Award, recognizing a firm for an innovative initiative or event in 2011 that helped to further cancer awareness and raise funds for cancer-related programs.

Miracle Maker Leadership Award, recognizing an individual at an executive or board level who has demonstrated longstanding personal leadership in cancer advocacy.

Inspiration Contributor Award, recognizing an individual whose personal efforts have helped to ensure the success of a cancer-related project, event or fundraising initiative during the previous year.