Financial writers like me used to be busy at this time of the year writing “year in review” stories. “Trending” pages on the Web, however, now continuously update us top stories of the past year, quarter, month and week. Since “year in review” are just so yesterday, let’s examine the top three stories of next year:
1. Custodian Sued By FINRA. Following a spate of additional RIA fraud cases, a major custodian to RIAs was slapped with a fine by regulators for failing to detect that an RIA using its brokerage services was a Ponzi scheme. The custodian shut down its retail branch referral program and stopped providing leads to RIAs, saying regulators had determined that such marketing relationships implied to investors that the custodian supervised RIAs in its referral program.
2. Silicon Valley Tech Takeover. A venture capital firm backed by Stanford University alumni in July 2012 acquired six tech vendors serving RIAs to create Frackly.com, an integrated Web app for advisors. Frackly instantly becomes the platform most widely used by investment professionals and begins offering franchises to RIAs around the nation.
3. Iran. Iran’s current religious regime was severely destabilized in 2012 and left teetering on the brink of collapse at the end of 2012. An attempted coup led by a religious leader backed by moderates posed a challenge to the power of the fundamentalist regime as 2012 ended.
Of course, this is only three of the top stories of 2012.
It’s up to you to come up with the rest of the list.