Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with an interview with Michael Branham, the incoming president of the Board of Directors for the Financial Planning Association (and the youngest person to ever take on the role), as he discusses the outlook for the FPA in particular and the financial planning profession in the coming year. As the first Weekend Reading of 2013, we continue with a number of additional articles taking a final retrospective look at 2012 and a fresh look at 2013, including a look back at the major financial regulatory events of 2012, a prospective look (and wish list) by fiduciary guru Ron Rhoades on potential regulatory activity for advisors in 2013, a look from Bob Clark at how FINRA took some big hits in 2012 but may not be out for the count yet, and a projection by Bob Veres of a dystopian future for advisors if FINRA gains control (can you sense a theme regarding the looming regulatory battles regarding the fiduciary standard, the oversight of investment advisers, and a general dislike of FINRA?!).
We also look at a few other idea and trends articles for the coming year, including an intriguing idea of how financial planning could be brought to the masses to be funded by a tiny tax applied against the rest of the industry, and a look from yours truly in the Journal of Financial Planning about how the "new normal" environment is impacting the growth of financial planning firms. From there, we look at a few investment-related articles, including a discussion by Bob Veres about best practices for firms that use investment committees, a brief article explaining the best ways to determine if your (client’s) annuity carrier is safe, and an interesting article from GMO about the challenges of investing for clients in "the age of financial repression." We wrap up with three somewhat more "offbeat" articles: the first looks at the ongoing rise of "gamification" to induce consumers to change their behaviors (for better and for worse); an important reminder not to assume you know what your customers really want (or to get stuck in an echo-chamber by only asking your best clients if they’re still happy); and a striking discussion of recent research that shows how we consistently underestimate how different our future personality and tastes will be in 10+ years from what they are today, which has profound implications for how we attempt to establish financial planning goals for clients. Enjoy the reading!