Editor's Choice for the Week of November 16, 2009: Retail Sales, Trade, Jobs

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from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • Pay-to-Play Rule Violating the pay-to-play rule can result in serious consequences, and RIAs should adopt robust policies and procedures to prevent and detect contributions made to influence the selection of the firm by a government entity.
  • Client Commission Practices and Soft Dollars RIAs should always evaluate whether the products and services they receive from broker-dealers are appropriate. The SEC suggested that an RIA’s failure to stay within the scope of the Section 28(e) safe harbor may violate the advisor’s fiduciary duty to clients, so RIAs must evaluate their soft dollar relationships on a regular basis to ensure they are disclosed properly and that they do not negatively impact the best execution of clients’ transactions.
Last week we learned how bad the budget deficit is and how optimistic consumer sentiment is. This week we get a preview of the strength of the economy as measured by consumer spending: retail sales for October were up 1.4%, the Census Bureau reported on Monday morning, November 16. Three important measures of economic health, and inflation are released this week: producer prices on November 17; consumer prices on November 18, and leading economic indicators on November 19.

Concurrent with release last week of the latest international trade numbers President Obama met with Asian leaders on the economy before traveling to China for a town hall meeting and other economic talks, while in Zurich on the 17th, the new head of UBS's wealth management unit, former Merrill honcho Robert McCann, kicks off a day of presentations on how the Swiss bank's turnaround plan. Meanwhile, an analysis by Thomson Reuters reported in the Wall Street Journal found that the latest round of corporate earnings was a good news/bad news conclusion: earnings were up, but only because of cost cutting, not revenue growth.

In the wake of the poor jobs report of two weeks ago, President Obama announced he will hold a "jobs summit" at the White House in December; Princeton's Alan Blinder makes some suggestions on what the government could do to reduce the 10%-plus unemployment rate in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed.

In matters Washington, Ben Bernanke speaks on November 16 at the Economic Club of New York, Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on November 17, and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds hearings on Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch on November 17.

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