Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with the “leaked” announcement that Merrill Lynch isn’t “currently” making plans to leave the Broker Protocol, while avoiding making any official statement that would foreclose on their ability to leave next year, even as rumblings begin that Wells Fargo might be thinking about whether to leave the Protocol instead, and use its FiNet platform as a way to retain its more independent-minded brokers without allowing them to be recruited away.
From there, we have several articles about advisor technology, including the results of the latest annual Advisor Technology survey from Financial Planning magazine (which unfortunately is no longer headed by advisor tech guru Joel Bruckenstein and doesn’t provide nearly as much useful information as it once did), a review of the MaxMyInterest platform that is using “robo” tools to automate maximizing cash yields for RIA clients (and self-directed investors), an overview of the tech strategies and roadmaps of the leading RIA custodians, a discussion of the ongoing rise of model portfolios (and the technology to execute them), and a good reminder of how challenging it is for financial advisors to switch financial planning software platforms.
We also have a few more technical tax-planning articles this week, from a great in-depth overview of year-end tax planning strategies, a reminder of why estate tax planning is still relevant for high net worth clients (even if the estate tax exemptions are increased or potentially repealed), and a list of “tax alpha” strategies that advisors can engage in to improve a client’s after-tax portfolio returns.
We wrap up with three interesting articles, all around the theme of the changing future of financial planning: the first looks at how the rise of digital personal finance tools is making it easier and easier for researchers to test new forms of “digital nudges” to help people improve their financial behaviors; the second explores the ongoing rise of financial planning academic, as the number of degree-based financial planning programs now exceeds adult certificate programs and more and more financial planning practitioners are becoming part-time professors; and the last provides a good reminder that, even as the RIA community worries about whether the SEC’s uniform fiduciary standard could lead to FINRA becoming a regulator of RIAs, that the SEC hasn’t done a particularly good job of regulating RIAs either… including the fact that if the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 was enforced as written, the majority of “advisors” at broker-dealers would already be fiduciary RIAs, and the entire DoL fiduciary rule would have been a moot point in the first place!
Enjoy the “light” reading!