Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" - this week's edition kicks off with the results of the latest RIA Benchmarking Study from Schwab, finding that business continues to be very good in the world of RIAs, with more than 1/3rd of firms doubling in the past 5 years and profits at all-time highs (since the survey began in 2006). In fact, ironically business for RIAs seems to be so good, that in a separate story Schwab is reported to be expanding their own offering, raising both the pricing (despite the emerging low-cost "robo-advisor" trend) on their internal Schwab Private Client offering up to 0.90% and the depth of advice provided to Schwab clientele, in a move that makes Schwab Private Client look increasingly similar to (and a potential competitor to?) the independent RIAs that custody with Schwab as well.
From there, we have a few technical articles this week, including a summary of what's changed (and what still hasn't) in planning for same-sex couples in the year since the Windsor decision from the Supreme Court, a coming change to the reverse mortgage rules for couples that will protect some consumers but take away planning choices from others, and an interesting look from Nobel Prize winner Robert Merton at the current state of retirement planning in the US and how our shift from defined benefit to defined contribution plans may have dangerously shifted how we think of what's "safe" and "risky" in the world of retirement income in the first place.
We also have several practice management articles, from tips about how to find your first clients if you're just starting your firm as a new advisor, to some "lessons from the trenches" of an advisor who just went through his first year as a solo practitioner, to some recent research about how advisors (and investors) anticipate communication to change in the coming years (think: big rise in video conferencing), and a look at how advisors who are approaching or hitting "the wall" of client capacity can step back and figure out how many clients they really have capacity to handle in the first place.
We wrap up with three interesting articles: the first looks at how we can make better investment decisions by deliberating reading information from and surrounding ourselves with people who disagree with us (forcing more deliberate thought about whether our investment views are really valid or not); the second, in celebration of last week's Independence Day, looks at the story of Haym Solomon, the broker who perhaps exemplified the best of what Wall Street can achieve by becoming the financier that ensured the United States had the funds necessary to field an army and win the Revolutionary War; and the last discusses an interesting new study looking at what does and doesn't lead to greater happiness in retirement, suggesting that the amount of wealth and income really needed for happiness may be far less than most people expect (which means retirement might not be so far off for most baby boomers after all!).
And be certain to check out Bill Winterberg's "Bits & Bytes" video on the latest in advisor tech news at the end, including a new "Technology Spot Audit" service for advisors who need some help figuring out where they stand with their own software solutions! Enjoy the reading!