Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with a fascinating new report from Morningstar, finding that the industry’s shift to adopt T shares and Clean shares under DoL fiduciary could improve mutual fund returns in the aggregate by as much as 0.50%/year, through a combination of cost savings and the anticipated pressure of advisors to adopt lower-cost fund choices (over comparable higher-cost ones). Also in the news this week was the announcement that front-end advisor software provider Oranj was purchasing portfolio rebalancing software provider TradeWarrior, and the blockbuster deal that private equity firms Stone Point and KKR were buying a 70% stake in Focus Financial valued at $2 billion (and helping to validate that the RIA aggregation/roll-up model is far from dead).
From there, we have a few articles about advisor technology this week, including a Joel Bruckenstein review of the new FinMason risk tolerance assessment tools, a head-to-head comparison of Redtail CRM versus Salesforce Financial Services Cloud, and a brief review of new advisor screensharing software app ScreenMeet.
We also have a number of marketing and sales related articles, including: why meetings with prospects should always include two people from the advisory firm, ideally with different and complementary sales styles (e.g., one “charmer” and one “analytic”); why the presentation of an advisor’s physical office space really matters (and when it makes sense to invest into an interior designer to get help!); and how to handle the looming “marketing wars” that may soon emerge in the increasingly competitive advisory landscape.
We wrap up with three interesting articles, all on the theme of big data: the first is a look at how a number of tax prep services offered free tax preparation this year, from TurboTax to H&R Block and even Credit Karma, as the providers are realizing that not charging for tax preparation, and using tax filers’ big data, has even more income potential, whether to recommend tax strategies, credit cards, or loan refinancing deals; the second looks at the recent launch of USAFacts, a new initiative from former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer, that brings together Federal, state, and local government data to understand where tax dollars go, and the results they achieve, in a way that no one has been able to produce before; and the last is a discussion of behavioral economics professor Dan Ariely’s new “Common Cents Lab”, that is partnering with FinTech software providers to run behavioral finance “experiments” and harness the value of big data to understand what it takes to actually help consumers change their financial behaviors for the better!
And be certain to check out the video at the end – the start of a new video series being offered from journalist and financial consumer advocate Dan Solin, that provides simple 1-minute video tips for consumers, and can even be embedded by financial advisors directly onto their own websites for free (just be certain to include proper attribution back to Solin!).
Enjoy the “light” reading!