By Staff | March 7, 2008 | Last updated on March 7, 2008
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(March 7, 2008) Consumer sentiment continues to worsen south of the border, as house prices melt and energy costs spike, according to the latest reading of the RBC Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household (CASH) Index. The overall consumer sentiment reading tumbled from 48.5 in February to 33.1 for March.

“The U.S. consumer, who has carried the economy for the past half-dozen years, is in full defensive mode, battered by falling housing values, spiking food and energy prices, tightening lending standards, the teetering stock market and hints of weakening in the labour market,” said T.J. Marta, economic and fixed income strategist for RBC Capital Markets.

The index is composed of four sub-indexes, measuring attitudes toward current conditions, expectations, investments and employment. The latest drop in confidence was driven largely by consumers’ expectations for the future. Thirty-five percent of those surveyed expect their local economy will be weaker in six months time, compared to 28% in February.

Forty per cent said their local economy was already weak, while 67% said the next six months would be a bad time to invest in stocks, and 62% said it would be a bad time to invest in real estate.

Only 28% of Americans said they were confident about their personal employment situation, down from 32% in February.

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Rice Financial buys Ontario shop

(March 7, 2008) Rice Financial Group has announced the purchase of an 80% stake in Harry James Financial Services Ltd., a financial advisory firm in Markham, Ont. A deal has been struck for Rice Financial to purchase the remaining 20% in five years.

“This transaction will strengthen Rice Financial’s presence in Ontario, which is certainly one of our key strategies,” said Dave Velanoff, RFGI’s president and CEO. “We are excited about partnering with one of Canada’s premier financial advisory boutiques, and we feel that the business model that has been successfully employed at Harry James Financial can be applied to some of Rice Financial’s existing branches.”

The purchase price of $2.8 million is to be paid in a combination of cash, debt and common shares of Jovian Capital Corporation, the parent of Rice Financial.

Harry James Financial, which employs a team of salaried advisors, was founded 20 years ago by the firm’s namesake.

(03/07/08) staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.