This week marks the first anniversary of Van Wie Financial’s acceptance as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) in the State of Florida. It was a long, frustrating process, but we learned a lot about the regulation and compliance environment, both at the State and Federal levels. A handful of unscrupulous “financial advisors” cause the government oversight to be onerous, so most regulation is there to protect you, the clients. That is a very good thing.
Despite all the regulation, oversight, and compliance mandates, every week more dishonest advisors are rooted out and punished. Many of you know that we like to report on some of the worst offenders on the Van Wie Financial Hour whenever we get the chance. The purpose of bringing these cases to the attention of listeners is to point out red flags and markers that may prevent some good people from getting ripped off by these unscrupulous and/or criminal elements. The more you know, the better we all can protect ourselves and others.
On the market scene:
Just about the time we think we’ve seen pretty much everything, a new scenario arises that proves us wrong. The first quarter of 2016 was just such a case, when the market opened down on the first trading day, and appeared to be in a free-fall. There had been no indication, when the market closed for New Year’s Eve, that the mood was getting so sour. By February 11, 2016, the market had performed a full-blown “correction,” which means that it was down over 10%. And many people were nervous (yes, that includes us). But corrections are not only normal, they are frequent, averaging about one per year.
But economic conditions weren’t indicating that we were entering into another 2007/2008/2009 debacle. Early in the year we sent out an email, and also did a radio piece (twice or more) called “Then and Now – It Isn’t 2008 Again.” The conditions just weren’t right to enter a prolonged and very deep market downturn. So we did our best to “stay the course,” and to comfort those investors who were starting to fear a 2008-like market apocalypse.
Thankfully, we closed out the first quarter of 2016 with most of our bruises healed. The major market indices were positive, except for a small loss on the NASDAQ. But, technology has been rallying hard the past few days, and the NASDAQ is playing catch-up. The FED recently exercised its considerable powers to calm the markets with talk of interest rates that will remain low and change slowly. Ipso facto, the market should be reasonably good for a while.
No one knows what the markets will bring in coming weeks, but economic data has been largely favorable, interest rates remain low, and International relations are not much more confused than “normal.” What we have been seeing, however, is an almost insane media frenzy, probably spurred on by politics, claiming that the “great catastrophe” is upon us. Please don’t let the Chicken Little naysayers cloud your judgment. There are just as many, if not more, knowledgeable people who remain optimistic, but they don’t get the same exposure that the voices of doom garner.