Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with the news that robo-advisor SigFig has raised $40M of new venture capital, from established asset manager Eaton Vance, in its bid to become a leading robo-advisor-for-advisors solution as the company continues to pivot away from its challenged B2C roots.
From there, we have a number of practice management articles this week, from a brief review of the new retirement income software solution “Income Solver”, to a look at what the DoL’s “Best Interests” requirement really means (now that it appears the rule is here to stay), tips and best practices for doing client meetings virtually via webinar or video conferencing software, and why it’s so crucial for financial planning to be done consistently across an advisory firm.
There are also several technical planning articles, including: a look at how the long-term care marketplace is evolving as long-term care insurance (and Medicare and Medicaid) continue to struggle; how the problems of the student loan crisis may actually be understating, by failing to recognize how often low-income students in particular are enticed into colleges they can’t afford, fail to graduate due to the financial burden, and then end out with student loans and no diploma; a discussion of common estate planning strategies and assumptions that are changing in today’s environment; and a look at how the rise of indexing may make investments more efficient on a relative valuation basis while still leaving them exposed to potentially extreme absolute valuation distortions.
We wrap up with three interesting articles: the first is a look at how social networking is actually on the decline, as companies increasingly adopt social media for business purposes and drown out the less-and-less-common “personal status update”; the second is a fascinating new study discussed in the Harvard Business Review that suggests the “skills gap” in the U.S. may not be due to a lack of availability worker training and STEM programs, but simply that businesses don’t (or can’t) pay enough in wages to incentivize workers to go get those skills; and the last is an examination of the growing juggernaut that is Vanguard, now taking in nearly $1B of AUM per day and showing no sign of stopping, due not only to its incredible economies of scale and strong brand, but also its unique structure of being owned by its shareholders and the favorable investor-centric incentives that has created for the company’s management and leadership.
And be certain to check out Bill Winterberg’s “Bits & Bytes” video on the latest in advisor tech news at the end, which this week looks at Personal Capital’s announcement that it raised another $75 million of venture capital (albeit from an established financial services firm) to expand its tech-augmented-humans advisory service, SigFig’s announcement that it also raised venture capital this week ($40M, from another established financial services firm) as it pivots its B2C robo-advisor to become a B2B solution for advisors instead, and a look at a recent FINRA fine on an advisor which was triggered in part because he backdated and altered client notes in his CRM to obscure questionable recommendations.
Enjoy the “light” reading!