Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with the announcement that more than 50% of all Vanguard’s growth is now coming not from its ‘traditional’ direct-to-consumer retail investor but instead from financial advisors, who now have as much with Vanguard as all individual investors in the aggregate (about $1.3 trillion)… a trend that will likely only continue, or even accelerate, as the DoL fiduciary rule rolls out in 2017.
From there, we have several articles on technology solutions for advisors, including: the announcement of Fidelity’s new “robo-advisor-for-advisors” solution Fidelity Automated Managed Platform (which will deeply integrated with eMoney Advisor); the latest technology roadmaps at major broker-dealers Commonwealth, Raymond James, LPL, and Lincoln Financial; a review of the digital marketing tool Vestorly; and an interesting profile of the growing number of financial-advisors-turned-tech-entrepreneurs who are creating tech solutions for advisors by solving problems in their own advisory firms and then making the software available to others (sometimes building sizable tech companies in the process).
We also have a few more practice management articles this week, from a review of the latest FA Insight advisory benchmarking study on how the best advisory firms are outperforming on growth and profits, to a good reminder of how important it is to engage employees (and how expensive it is to turn them over), a discussion of key points to consider before breaking away from a broker-dealer to form your own independent RIA, and a reminder of how even a successful advisory firm sale by a founder can be extremely stressful and trigger a lot of soul searching.
We wrap up with three interesting articles: the first is a look at recent research on longevity, which suggests that despite improving life expectancies, we really may not even live much beyond 115 years of age, which appears to be the maximum lifespan based on our underlying biology (and medical advances may simply help us all to get close to age 115 before we die, not extend us past that point); the second examines how despite the tremendous growth of the tech sector, which now comprise most of the largest companies on the US stock exchanges, total employment of the tech sector is actually down over the past 15 years, as are the number of new tech startups, suggesting that perhaps the potential of technology is much more nuanced than previously believed; and the last is a challenging discussion about whether the focus of financial planning on helping clients achieve goals is wrong, because the truth is that most people don’t have or even know what their goals are in the first place, and that perhaps our real value is to help clients figure out what goals they want to set and pursue.
And be certain to check out Bill Winterberg’s “Bits & Bytes” video at the end, which this week includes cybersecurity tips for advisors from Kevin Mitnick (“World’s Most Famous Hacker”), the launch of the new Fidelity Automated Managed Platform (AMP) for advisors, and the latest growth trends in performance reporting software solutions (from new features at Tamarac, to Orion landing a deal with mega-RIA Buckingham/BAM Alliance, and Addepar surpassing $500B of AUM and opening up a new API on its platform)!
Enjoy the “light” reading!