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Wall Street Helps Haiti and Investing Advice

By Dian Vujovich

In an attempt to find an inch of clear space on my desk, I ran across a bunch of ideas that weren’t turned into blogs but have nuggets of interest in them. What follows are a few gleaned from Registered Rep magazine. A monthly I’ve been reading ever since I was a stockbroker decades ago.

First, regarding Haiti. Know many of us have donated to help that tiny nation and its people after the devastation of the earthquake last month but bet you didn’t know Wall Street pitched in too.

According to the Feb. issue: ” Citigroup pledged $2 miliion, JP Morgan Chase pledged $1 million and Morgan Stanley gave $1 million. Bank of America Merrill Lynch made a $1 million commitment and offered staff matching. UBS offered to match staff donations, and Deutche Banks’ Global Market Equity Group raised $4 million with its pledge to donate 100 percent of one day’s U.S. equity trading commissions.”

(Wonder if any of those donations came from our bailout monies?)

Then there’s Social Investing. Appears as though that’s been paying off for fund investors. Last year (2009), nearly three-quarters of the 73 U.S. large-cap social investment funds, whose families are a part of the 166 funds that are a part of Social investment Forum, outperformed the S&P 500 by an average of six percentage points. That’s big.

U.S. small-cap, balanced funds and international equity-global funds also beat their respective benchmarks. Bond funds did too.

Morningstar fund analyst David Kathman said one reason for the great performance could be because socially responsible funds tend to hold more technology stocks than industrial ones.

And finally from January’s issue, if you’re looking for financial advice, the three top sources for today’s investors are family members, 43 percent; friends, 39 percent; and financial advisors, 36 percent.

TV personalities, blogs and online forums get the least attention—10 percent of their readers or listeners follow their advice. Advertisements not much more, 11 percent. And newspapers 28 percent. All according to a Sun Life survey of 1451 individuals conducted last summer.

That’s not the best news. Especially the part about getting investment advice from family members. They’re typically not the most knowing. Then again, most aren’t trying to sell you something either.

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