Yesterday a friend stopped me in court. "Hey – what’s the deal with your blog?"

"What deal?" I said.

"The no entries since June deal…."

Guilty. I have been running, riding, swimming, occasionally golfing, raking pine needles and burning them in McCall, boating, recovering from a couple of trials and trying to answer life’s great questions.

Why am I here?  More importantly – why can’t I get anything productive done at the office? 

And the answer is so simple – it is summer and I am livin’ easy.

But in the Ninth Circuit, justice has taken an interesting turn. In U.S. v. Laurienti, the Court concluded that a securities broker has a duty to his or her clients to disclose bonus commissions on "house stocks" that the brokerage received. The appellant had argued that the fair warning requirement of the Due Process Clause was violated when the government proceeded on this theory for its securities fraud case. They said, essentially, that it wasn’t fair to prosecute them because they had not understood their failure to disclose to be against the law. They have it all wrong.

Federal securities law makes it a crime for licensed brokers to omit to disclose a material fact that is necessary to avoid misleading an investor – if there is a duty to speak. That duty arises out of a relationship of trust and confidence. The brokers who constantly tell us we can trust their recommendations clearly have that duty as to their clients – the folks like you and me who have relied (often to our detriment) on their "expertise."

So there you have it. The Court enforces the golden rule – treat others like you would want to be treated. When we invest money with a "professional" we expect the whole truth. Anything less than that may cause us to invest our money on the basis of bad info.