Oil is looking likely to fall sharply, and not just because the world’s economy is looking soft. According to the IEA, oil supply is likely to dwarf demand next year, which will very likely lead to lower prices. Many new projects will come online, boosting oil supply far more than demand, which may only grow slightly, or even shrink if the economy heads downward. This will put more pressure on OPEC.
FINSUM: Nothing is looking bullish about oil other than geopolitical tensions (the effects of which tend to blow over quickly).
RIAs were shocked and stunned by the SEC’s new Best Interest rule. The reason why comes down to one word. By substituting an “and” for an “or”, the SEC basically dissolved the necessity for fiduciary duty of RIAs. Fiduciary duty until now was defined by advisors having to avoid all conflicts of interest AND make a full disclosure of all material conflicts of interest. Now the rule will have an “or” instead of an and, meaning RIAs could abide by the rule simply through disclosure, eliminating a key tenet of fiduciary duty. One industry insider commented bluntly, “It guts the RIA industry”, continuing “RIAs are not fiduciaries anymore”.
FINSUM: This is a big deal for the RIA business because it means a whole slew of new advisors can call themselves RIAs but not meet the standard and reputation that has been cultivated over decades.
Deutsche Bank is an uber dove. The bank has just come out saying it expects the Fed to make three full rate cuts before the end of the year. “Over the past month, downside risks to the outlook for the US economy and Fed have built”, said Deutsche Bank, continuing that a mix of different concerns, from the trade war to weak inflation, are pointing to “more negative outcomes”. Pimco thinks the Fed won’t cut this month, but that it may cut by 50 bp in July, saying “we wouldn’t expect Fed officials to wait for the economic data to confirm declining US growth — if they do, they could risk a more meaningful shock to economic activity”.
FINSUM: The odds of a downturn certainly seem higher than an upturn, which means the Fed is much more likely to cut than to hike. That said, three rate hikes in the next six months sounds a bit aggressive to us, especially because the Fed would want to leave some firepower if the economy really heads downward.
Barron’s has published a piece which covers a survey of wealthy Americans. The survey sought to find out how the wealthiest Americans felt about Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan for a wealthy tax of 2-3% on those with over $50m or over $1 bn in wealth. The results were surprisingly, with 60% of wealthy respondents saying they would embrace the plan. The feedback was split on party lines, with 88% of Democrats agreeing, 62% of independents, and 36% of Republicans in favor of it.
FINSUM: We are somewhat skeptical of these stats. Advisors, please email us with any anecdotes on how your clients have reacted to this plan.
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has just announced that he will sign a dramatic bill which overhauls New York’s rental market. The bill would make permanent laws which govern over one million apartments in New York City. The bill needs to pass through the state’s Assembly and Senate on Friday, but if enacted, would greatly limit landlords’ ability to work around rent control regulations. “We believe this is going to be a huge shift in the ability of people in New York City and the surrounding areas to live in their communities comfortably without fear of being displaced”, says Senator Brian Kavanaugh.
FINSUM: Looking at the details of this bill, it appears more an effort to get votes by saying ”we froze rent increases”, than it is a well-thought out plan. We wonder if this will have an impact on the growing package of incentives wealthy people have to leave the New York area.