Fun Friday stories...

With the advent of fall here are some less-sunny stories from around the web.

Fun Friday stories...
As the brokerage industry in the United States works to derail the adoption of a fiduciary status for advisors, others are fighting back. The Institute for the Fiduciary Standard,, is a non-profit formed in 2011 to advocate on the vital role of the fiduciary standard for investors and the capital markets. The group has declared this month “Fiduciary September.” Intended “to highlight the indispensable role fiduciary principles serve in preserving trust and confidence in our capital markets,” the progam the organization has developed for September is interesting.  A Conference call on Monday September 8th will see a panel (including John Taft, RBC Wealth Management) debate the lofty subject: "Restoring Investor Trust in Wall Street, with Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers,”  A launch of a new Podcast, "Best Interest Investing," will feature an interview with Vanguard Founder John C. Bogle, on  September 11, at 2:00 pm. TD Ameritrade Institutional, which offers brokerage and custody services to nearly 4,500 fee-based, independent RIAs and their clients, is the sponsor.

Here is an interesting read. The story is a reply to a recent article in Havarvd Business magazine article that suggests the basic nature of stock markets have shifted from “raising capital for businesses” to being simply a “machine for distributing profits to the elite.” This Fortune article argues the counter opinion. There are some good points about the boom in stock buybacks.
According to this article from ThinkAdvisor, “RIAs owe a fiduciary duty to clients to prepare for disasters and other contingencies.” Do you have a disaster recovery plan?
Here is the website for Anonymous Analytics, a sort-of Wikipedia for markets. The website's tag line is great, “Acquiring Information through Unconventional Means.” The website is the source of the information on what some are calling the biggest stock scam in the world. 

The always-entertaining blogsite,, suggests, “What we’re smelling is the acrid smoke from a sub-surface fire” in the Chinese economy in terms of out-of-control debt. Exciting stuff. 

Northwestern University’s Robert Gordon explains why the economy has yet to make up the economic ground lost during the recession. In a working paper released Monday he argues “this catch-up will likely never happen.” For the economy to grow as quickly as government economists expect it to, “we would have to see productivity gains that are simply far beyond what the U.S. economy has produced in recent years, aside from a brief period in the 1990s, when we were reaping the benefits of the information technology boom.” The full story can be found here

Industrialists in the EU are beginning to push back against the renewable energy boom on that continent. Shifting to green energy is hollowing out industry in Europe according to the argument. Lessons here for Ontario?
Uh Oh: The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board is getting sucked into the “active versus passive” investment debate. As the debate over the ability of active managers to add value to investments plays out, the expansion in million-dollar compensation packages at the CPPIB could be the flash point for this debate in Canada. It will be fascinating to see how this debate unfolds in the years ahead.

On the subject of “active vs passive,” here’s a story on S&P’s Persistence Scorecard, a unique measure of the value of active manangment. The results do not reflect well on the CPPIB’s claims. According to one write-up, “by random chance alone, 50% (426) [of active fund managers should] have remained top half performers. Yet only 37% (317) managed to do so.” As well, ”An inverse relationship exists between the measurement time horizon and the ability of top performing funds to maintain their status ... The figures paint a poor picture of a lack of long-term persistence in mutual fund returns.” Back to you CPPIB.

Somebody is going to do all right. Privately held energy producer Seven Generations is expected to go public in billion dollar IPO. The story makes you wonder how much wealth there is in Alberta privately-held companies. This fracking-tech developer has been having great success around the world, Packers Plus.

This story didn’t get much attention in Canada. But in Detroit, workers striking for $15 an hour, ended up in conflicts with the police.

What’s going on inside Goodman Dundee? If anyone has comments, please, get a hold of us. Here is the original press release, NOT distributed on

Finally, from Vanguard: A white paper on “7 rules for trading ETFs.”