Earnings, Goldman, Reform Bill, and Taxes: Editor's Choice for the Week of April 19, 2010

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from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • Meeting and Exceeding Clients and Regulators’ Expectations Although it can be difficult, there are ways for RIAs to meet or exceed client expectations, increase customer satisfaction, and help firms retain current clients and attract new ones.
  • 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.
The biggest market-moving news this week will likely be continued fallout from the SEC's securities fraud case against Goldman Sachs related to CDOs and Goldman's lack of disclosure on the role of John Paulson; SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro, in an exclusive interview with IA's Melanie Waddell, talked about the SEC's priorities.

One of those priorities has to do with making sure the financial services reform bill remains strong; Senator Chris Dodd said in an April 19 press conference that he plans on "moving forward this week with a bill" in the Senate. On "Meet the Press" on April 18, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he was very confident that "we're going to have the votes for a strong package of financial reforms." Another Administration official, the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christine Romer argued in an April 17 speech that the current high rate of unemployment was due to a drop in demand, not a "separate, structural problem."

This week's earnings include Citigroup on April 19, TD Ameritrade, and Bank of New York/Mellon on April 20, and Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo on April 21.

Economic reports include the Conference Board's leading indicators for March on April 19 (it was up 1.4% for the month), producer prices and existing home sales for March on April 22, and new-home sales and durable goods orders for March on April 23.

Congressional hearings include the Senate Finance Committee on taxing big banks under TARP and the House Financial Services Committee on the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy (featuring Mr. Geithner and Ben Bernanke) both on April 20, and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on the role of credit-ratings agencies in the financial crisis on April 23.

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