Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" - this week's edition kicks off with the big announcement that the "robo-advisor" Betterment has launched an Institutional platform that will partner with Fidelity to offer a "robo" solution for advisors to use with their (smaller) clients.
From there, we have a number of practice management articles this week, including a look at new compensation models being explored by advisors who are looking to get away from the AUM model (or serving clients who simply don't have the assets to work on an AUM basis in the first place), examinations from two recent benchmarking studies about what top performing firms do that are different than the rest of the pack (including differentiating themselves with niches and specialization to support their pricing, and using "non-professional" support staff to enhance the productivity of their lead advisors), and an interesting article by Bob Veres looking at the wide range of changes being recommended to advisors and sharing his own take about what is and is not really important for advisors to focus on right now.
We also have a few more technical articles this week, from a review of target-date funds finding that many are becoming increasingly aggressive and equity-centric in the current low bond yield environment (with one fund as high as 94% in equities for someone in their 40s!), to an interesting profile of economic and retirement policy researcher Jeffrey Brown (who may not be familiar to most advisors but probably should be!), to an interview with Nobel price winner Bill Sharpe who has been increasingly focusing his current research time on the complex challenge of retirement planning. There's also an article looking at how, despite all the ongoing fears, health care inflation for seniors appears to be slowing, as the latest announcement of Medicare Part B premiums will be $104.90/month again for the third year in a row.
We wrap up with three interesting articles: the first is a comparison of popular risk tolerance tools FinaMetrica and Riskalyze, finding that one seems to be far better as a sales and prospecting tool for clients but the other may be more defensible in court; the second provides some tips on efficiency and productivity based on the latest research of behavioral finance expert Dan Ariely; and the last is a profile of venture capitalist and technology innovator Marc Andreesen, who created the first popular web browser and backed Twitter, Facebook, and AirBnB, and now sees opportunities for similar disruption in financial services (especially around how big banks charge for facilitating credit card and banking transactions, as "crypocurrencies" like Bitcoin gain momentum).
And be certain to check out Bill Winterberg's "Bits & Bytes" video on the latest in advisor tech news at the end, including his take on the recent announcement that Betterment Institutional will partner with Fidelity, and how amidst the SEC's push for better cybersecurity with advisors they lost 200 of their own laptops with potential client data (oops!)! Enjoy the reading!