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Best of the Web, North American financials edition

Assessing The Impact Of COVID-19 On Businesses: Changes Happening With More On The Way

Small Scale Solar Projects by the Numbers

Infographic: Solar Power by the Numbers - The U.S., Canada and Mexico

Industries Most and Least Impacted by COVID 19 from a Probability of Default Perspective March 2020 Update


Best of the Web, North American financials edition

Bill Gross comparescentral bankers to casino gamblers, the ConsumerFinancial Protection Bureau spends big on advertising and a columnistargues the free market has something to learn from war. 

Ifwar can have ethics, Wall Street can, too

An op-ed in The NewYork Times argued that the Just War Ethic, the idea that militarycommanders ought to limit the immorality of war by considering harm tocivilians, can also be applied to the free market. Doing so might begin tocreate a more moral economy in which consumers and employees are treated morefairly, rather than as collateral in a chase for profit.

MorganStanley brokers pushed loans to win dinners

Bloomberg columnist Matt Levine cast a skeptical eye on theMassachusetts Securities Division's administrative complaint against for running salescontests for some of its financial advisers. It isn't exactly illegal, Levinewrote, and the conflict of interest cited by the regulator is inherent in mostbusiness activity: companies generally want to sell more of their products orservices whether or not customers need them. 

Doublingdown: Bill Gross's monthly investment outlook

Janus CapitalGroup Inc. bond manager Bill Gross' latest investment outlookcompared central bankers around the world to gamblers with unlimited funds,repeatedly doubling down on low or negative rates. Gross worried that if thosepolicies continue for long enough, the basic mechanism of capital allocationvia savings and investment will begin to unravel.

Thereal reason Wells Fargo employees resorted to fraud

A column in The Weekargued that the cross-selling scandal at WellsFargo & Co. is a parable for a basic problem in business: howto properly incentivize staff and measure their progress. Coupling unrealisticgoals with the possibility of being fired for not reaching them will leademployees to "burn out or resort to fraud." 

Consumer-financeagency, under fire, accelerates ad spending

Under renewed fire from Congressional Republicans and thepresidential campaign of Donald Trump, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureauhas begun an advertising blitz to raise its visibility to the public, The Wall Street Journal. The CFPB hasspent $15.3 million in fiscal 2016 to date in online advertising. The percentageof its budget dedicated to ads is larger than at any other federal agency.

Whywealthy drivers with DUIs get to pay less for car insurance

Research by the Consumer Federation of America shows that insome cities, a driver with a higher income but a record including causing a badaccident or a DUI would receive a better car insurance quote than alower-income driver with a clean record. Los Angeles was the only major city togive a better quote to the driver with a clean record, perhaps because insurersin that state are legally required to weigh driving history more heavily.