The U.S. ranks number six out of 141 countries when it comes to economic freedom, according to the Cato Institute. According to "Economic Freedom of the World: 2010 Annual Report," released September 22 by the Cato Institute, Washington, D.C., Hong Kong remains the world's freest economy, and has for the past 14 years. The report uses 42 measures to create an index ranking economies around the world based on policies that encourage economic freedom, which Cato measures in five areas: (1) size of government; (2) legal structure and security of property rights; (3) access to sound money; (4) freedom to trade internationally; and (5) regulation of credit, labor and business. Hong Kong's 2010 rating for economic freedom is 9.05 out of 10, followed by Singapore with 8.7; the U.S. has a rating of 7.96. For more information go to

China is poised to become a global innovation leader, as evidenced by data showing that the country's annual patent volume will likely surpass that of Japan and the U.S. by 2011, according to a study published October 5 by the IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters, New York. The study, "Patented in China II: The Present and Future State of Innovation in China," tracks global patent activity as a barometer for innovation across dozens of metrics to provide a view into China's innovation economy. China experienced an annual growth rate of 26.1% in total patent volume from 2003 to 2009, compared to its closest rival, the U.S., with a 5.5% growth rate. To view the full report go to

Hedge funds held up in August, as the Morningstar 1000 Hedge Fund Index rose 0.1% and the currency-hedged Morningstar MSCI Composite Hedge Fund Index increased 0.6% against a decline in global equity markets, particularly in the U.S., according to performance data released by Morningstar. The Morningstar U.S. Equity Hedge Fund Index fell 2.4%, about half as much as the S&P 500. Hedge funds specializing in small-cap stocks hedged even more effectively. The Morningstar U.S. Small Cap Equity Hedge Fund Index dropped 1.5% versus the Russell 2000 Index's 7.4% September dive. "Riskier assets such as equities have moved in concert either up or down over the last several months, a trying environment for many hedge fund strategies," explained Nadia Papagiannis, alternative investment strategist for Morningstar. "But hedge funds effectively preserved capital in August."

In a move designed to enhance its alternative investment capabilities, AllianceBernstein, a global investment management firm based in New York, on October 1 announced the acquisition for an undisclosed sum of SunAmerica's alternative investments group, a team that manages a portfolio of hedge fund and private equity fund investments. SunAmerica, Woodland Hills, Calif., a financial services firm that focuses on the rapidly growing retirement savings market, holds some $52 billion in assets.

Despite the increased influences of a "jobless recovery" and other macroeconomic factors, debt leverage remains the key risk factor affecting the American economy, according to the second quarterly Risk Index from The Global Association of Risk Professionals, New Jersey and London, released October 1. The Index's largest gaining factor affecting perception of risk was market volatility, which increased 6.5%. Other factors comprising the index include banking health, credit spreads, commodity prices, equity values and operational risk. The measure of systematic risk in the U.S. economy, or how the economy suffers major crises, has dropped two points, from an aggregate score of 115 in the first quarter to 113 this quarter.

How do you position yourself to capture the assets of the ultra-affluent segment of the GenX generation? For starters, you need to know their product usage and allocation and level of dependence on advisors. Cogent Research, Cambridge, Mass., provides this information and more in their newly released report, "The Next Generation of Millionaires: Behaviors, Attitudes, and Perceptions of the Affluent Post-Boomer Investor." Contact Cogent at [email protected] or 617-715-7641.


Todd Buchholz, former White House director of economic policy, author and TV commentator, will be the keynote speaker at the Coachella Valley Fall 2010 Economic Summit, "Climate for Success," on October 22 at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, Calif. Sponsored by the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, the event will focus on viable approaches for future economic growth and prosperity. For information go to or call 760-340-1575.

The National Association of Corporate Directors will hold their NACD Directorship 100 Forum on November 8 in New York City. With over 10,000 members, the group provides "information and insights that corporate board members need to confidently navigate complex business challenges and enhance shareowner value." Henry T. C. Hu, inaugural director of the SEC Division of Risk, Strategy and Financial Innovation, will be the keynote speaker. For information go to

On The Move

Beverly Hills Wealth Management ( opened its headquarters in Beverly Hills, Calif., on September 28. The firm was founded by CEO and President Margaret "Mag" Black-Scott, a 30-year former Morgan Stanley executive who retired from the firm in 2008 as vice chairman of global wealth management.

Knight Capital Group, Jersey City, N.J., on October 4 announced the completion of its acquisition of Astor Asset Management, a Chicago-based money management firm specializing in macro-economic strategy and ETF portfolio construction, for about $18.0 million. Astor founder Robert N. Stein was named senior managing director and head of global asset management.

Eaton Vance Corp., Boston, on October 6 announced the hiring of Robert White at Eaton Vance Management International (Asia) to head the new Singapore-based subsidiary of Eaton Vance Management (International) Ltd. Previously, White was with Banquo Credit Management LLP, where he established the Singapore office to develop and service institutional client and consultant relationships in the Pan Asia region.

The National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (, Milwaukee, Wis., a nonprofit trade association whose mission is to increase the utilization of minority and women owned law firms by corporate legal departments throughout the U.S., on September 29 announced the addition of ten new member law firms: Boggs, Avellino, Lach & Boggs, with offices in Missouri and Illinois; Giller & Calhoun, Colorado and New York; Henslee Schwartz, Texas; Patrick Law Group, Atlanta; Perez & Morris, Columbus, Ohio; Rivero Mestre & Castro, Miami; Sanchez-Medina, Gonzalez, Quesada & Lage, Florida; Schwartz Hannum PC, Andover, Mass.; Viksnins Harris & Padys, Bloomington, Minn.; and Yoon & Kim LLP, New York.

Minneapolis-based RBC on September 29 announced the addition of a new team of senior relationship managers for RBC Correspondent Services, which provides clearing, custody and execution services for independent broker-dealers, and RBC Advisor Services, which offers custodian, brokerage and wealth management solutions for RIAs serving high-net-worth clients. Joining the firm are Kelly Cobb, former vice president of J.P. Morgan Investment Advisor Services; Paul Meehl, former head of RBC client services; JoAnn O'Rourke, a relationship manager for RBC Correspondent Services the past two years; and Greg Plifka, who most recently served as regional administrative manager for the East Region with RBC Wealth Management.