Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with the interesting news that a growing number of states are trying to limit the use of the terms “certified” or “registered” to only those who are actually certified or registered by a state agency or certifying body… raising the concern that “Certified” Financial Planning professionals might someday be prevented from using the term, and leading the FPA and CFP Board to join a multi-organization coalition called the “Professional Certification Coalition” fighting to differentiate bona fide certification credentials from the rest of the specious designations (in financial services and other industries) that state legislators are really trying to crack down on.
Also in the news this week is a brief look at the recent “FINRA Industry Snapshot” (a first-ever report from FINRA on the state of the brokerage industry, which finds that the number of broker-dealer firms and registered representatives has been declining steadily for 10 years… but revenue and profits continue to grow and hit record highs!), and a discussion of some of the public comment letters that came out earlier this month against the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest and new Form CRS proposals (including a stringent objection from a group of 17 state attorneys general that could form the basis of a legal challenge against the rule if the SEC decides to move forward).
From there, we have several advisor technology articles this week, from a look at how “robo” tools aren’t replacing advisory firms, but instead are allowing smaller advisory firms to run more efficiently than ever with the use of technology to automate away expensive back-office staff and administrative tasks, to tips on how to conduct third-party vendor due diligence for cybersecurity purposes, and why both advisors and their clients should be talking more about using Password Managers.
We also have a few retirement articles, including: the role that uncertainty (especially sequence of return risk, but also simply the changing nature of our lives over time) has in determining whether portfolios are depleted in retirement or not (which goes far beyond just investing for a sufficient long-term return); perspective on how economists that study lifecycle finance view traditional financial planning topics and strategies differently; and why a goals-based retirement planning approach is very problematic because, in the real world, most people don’t actually know what their goals are, and even if they think they do, the goals often change by the time the client gets closer to achieving it!
We wrap up with three interesting articles, all around the importance of habits (both breaking bad habits and improving good ones): the first looks at a number of recent books that highlight the latest research in how we form habits, change habits, and improve our willpower and self control; the second is a fascinating study at how we can improve our own self-confidence in our ability to control our behavior and break our bad habits (by adopting seemingly mindless rituals); and the last is a fascinating look at how even the most brilliant creatives still struggle, often for years, with a vision of what they want to achieve and knowing that their current work isn’t up to their own tastes, but that the key is maintaining the habit of continuing to do the work anyway with a focus on self-improvement, and it’s the repeated habit of practice combined with the vision of what your work can be that ultimately makes it great and successful!
Enjoy the “light” reading!