Editor's Choice for the Week of January 19, 2010: Corporate Earnings and House Hearings on Reform and Fees

More On Legal & Compliance

from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • 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.
  • 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.

Last week began the corporate earnings season, particularly for Wall Street, with JPMorgan Chase reporting record high earnings of $11.3 billion for the year (to listen to Jamie Dimon, et al., discuss the results, click here.

Among the other financial services companies due to report during this holiday-shortened week are:

? Tuesday, January 19--Citigroup, TD Ameritrade

? Wednesday, January 20--Bank of New York/Mellon, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, State Street, Wells Fargo, and Raymond James

? Thursday, January 21--American Express, Goldman Sachs, and Charles Schwab Corp.

Speaking of banks, President Obama floated a plan to impose a fee on banks that received TARP funds; SIFMA expressed its unhappiness, and moved toward opposing it on several levels.

Congress comes back to work this week with a number of hearings planned in the House. Specifically, Barney Frank's House Financial Services Committee will be holding hearings on executive compensation and housing, while the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee holds a hearing on January 20 on the nomination of Joshua Gotbaum as the new director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp (PBGC).

While debate continues on forging a healthcare bill that both Senate and House conferees can agree on, you may want to read this interesting story on why healthcare costs keep rising.

On the housing front, there is a report on housing starts on January 20, the same day that the PPI is released. On Thursday the 21st, the Conference Board releases its Leading Indicators report.

If you're worried about the emergence of China, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Tom Friedman has a different take.

And while many financial services firms are stepping up aid efforts in Haiti, an article in New Scientist warns that the Caribbean faces even more risk of deadly earthquakes.

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