Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with two articles about the ongoing debate in Washington on the Investment Advisor Oversight Act of 2012 (the so-called "Bachus SRO legislation"), including a scathing report from the Project on Government Oversight on why FINRA would be a poor choice of SRO, and a second article about why in the end there probably won’t be any action on the Bachus legislation until next year anyway but it’s still important to take it seriously now. From there, we look at a few practice management articles, from an interesting look at how young Generation Y agents are changing marketing and business development in the insurance industry, to the importance of having a good first-six-weeks process in your firm to ensure that your own new Generation Y hires will stick around for the long run, to the importance of choosing the right name for your firm, knowing how to sell to develop your business (even as a professional!), and that the key to growing your business is to deliver an experience that is remarkable – as in, literally, something worth remarking about. There’s also an article about whether Veralytic is really a useful tool for advisors evaluating life insurance on Advisors4Advisors (a response to a post on this blog from a few weeks ago), an examination of how advisors have shifted their investments before and after the financial crisis, and a look at how the due diligence burden on really evaluating ETFs has become far more complex with the proliferation of ETF innovation. We wrap up with Bill Gross’ latest missive from PIMCO about the Wall Street Food Chain, and how the 1% at the top may be disrupted more than they expect as the global deleveraging process continues. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with an interesting article from the Journal of Financial Planning about how the industry can develop more effective risk tolerance questionnaires, along with a good article reviewing college funding strategies and a review of a new cloud-based software program to analyze all the different possible combinations of Social Security claiming opportunities for couples. From there, we look at a few practice management pieces, from how advisory firms can better build their own brand, to some tips about how to develop trust more quickly in new relationships with prospective clients, to the reasons why clients don’t refer (and what to do about it), and the increasing amounts that advisory firms are spending on technology with a focus on ROI. We also look at some articles highlight trends and opportunities in the industry, from the potential fallout in the 401(k) marketplace when the new fee disclosure rules take effect later this year, to the "career arbitrage" that’s occurring as one executive after another leaves the custodian, broker-dealer, and investment company environment to take on a position as a principal with an independent RIA. We wrap up with a look at the potential for a "Grexit" – the new term du jour for a potential Greek exit from the Euro – and a striking article from The Economist that asks whether the era of the public corporation is coming to an end, given the resurgence in everything from private equity to state-owned enterprises to partnerships around the globe. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition starts off with a discussion of the latest shot fired in the SRO debate, as BCG and the Financial Planning Coalition respond to the latest FINRA estimate of SRO costs.
From there, we look at three significant articles on retirement income planning, including: the latest thoughts from Bill Bengen showing that the 4.5% withdrawal rate is still working just fine, even for a 2000 retiree; an article from the Journal of Financial Planning showing how holding several years of the portfolio in a cash reserve INCREASES retirement failure rates; and a discussion from Bob Veres in Financial Planning magazine about whether we need to change our retirement spending assumptions.
Beyond that, we have a number of interesting markets and investment pieces this week, including highlights from James Montier’s opening keynote speech from CFA Institute earlier this month, a look at how ‘adaptive’ asset allocation holds more promise than traditional strategic allocations, a prediction from Mauldin that Germany is waving the white flag and clearing the way for the ECB to print Euros to solve the Eurozone problems, and ongoing worries from Hussman that we may be dancing at the edge of an investing cliff.
We wrap up with three interesting articles: a scathing ‘anonymous’ insider letter to Mark Zuckerberg shining a light on the investment bank realities of the IPO marketplace; an article by Angie Herbers about how the greatest problem in most advisory practices is the owner (and how to better get out of your own way for your firm’s success); and tips for stressed-out advisors to try to (re-)gain a hold of some balance and efficiency in their practices. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition focuses entirely on practice management issues, leading off with a discussion in the Journal of Financial Planning about whether the profession needs to institute a process of peer review to both clean up those delivering poor advice, and to help challenge everyone to deliver better advice. From there, we look at some articles about how to navigate the challenges of being in a small firm, from how to demonstrate that you can compete with the services of larger firms, to supporting the career development of staff in a small firm environment, to managing the challenges when you’re both the business owner and the financial advisor driving the firm. We also look at some articles that share how to know whether your website is a clunker, how advisors are adopting video on their websites, and how your marketing efforts should be certain to both capture target clients and allow unqualified clients to slip through your marketing net so you don’t waste time finding out you can’t work with them anyway. We also look at a good article by Mark Tibergien about the key traits for an enduring advisor firm, and a discussion by Bob Clark of how some independent broker-dealers are stepping up to define a new offering – with remarkably high payouts for the B-D world – to be appealing to the new independent advisor. Wrapping up, we look at an interesting article from the Harvard Business Review about how Gen X and Y are redefining a new, more human definition of what it means to be a "professional" and a nice article from Bill Bachrach reminding us how important it is to take a real vacation – with some concrete tips about how to really do that, especially if you’re not good at taking vacation in the first place. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition leads off with a proposed change by the CFP Board to develop sanction guidelines to that financial planner wrongdoing can be disciplined more consistently, as the organization continues to refine its enforcement efforts. From there, we look at a review of the FPA’s Financial Plan Development and Fees study, and some regulatory discussion about the Financial Planning Coalition’s recent effort to push the SEC forward on fiduciary rulemaking, along with an article where Don Trone explores the importance of discernment – to ability to know between right and wrong – in applying a fiduciary standard. The Journal of Financial Planning has several interesting articles around long-term care issues for clients, ranging from a contributions article on continuing-care retirement communities, a look at how advisors are dealing with rising LTC insurance costs, and an interview with doctor-turned-financial-planner Carolyn McClanahan. We continue the look at elder planning issues with Ed Slott’s review of the new proposed Treasury regulations to allow longevity annuities inside of retirement accounts (although the products have yet to gain any momentum outside of retirement accounts, either!). Wrapping up includes a look at why Mark Hanson thinks the housing market still may not be a bottom (despite calls for it during the spring season for the fourth year in a row), why Hussman thinks 5-year forward returns for stocks are negative and that a bear market may be coming soon, and an interesting story from NPR about the psychology of fraud and new research to suggest that an important way to keep people from wrongdoing is to make sure they stay in an ethical frame of mind when evaluating their own actions. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition highlights the big industry news: legislation proposing that all investment advisors be regulated by an SRO, with an implication the SRO would be FINRA, although another new SRO (perhaps SROIIA?) could fill the void instead. Continuing the theme, we also look at an article by Don Trone exploring how we might measure just how much of a fiduciary an advisor really is. From there, we have a brief look at the other ‘big’ news this week – the release of Google Drive – and why advisors should steer clear, at least with their client and business files, along with a review of the last article from this month’s Journal of Financial Planning, building on the idea that the best withdrawal strategies should not just defer pre-tax accounts as long as possible but instead should whittle them down bit by bit over time. Next, we look at three practice management articles: one about how firms are increasingly developing talent in-house because the young advisor shortage is putting upward wage pressure on hiring from the outside; how it’s crucial to have compensation conversations upfront to avoid resentment and problems later; and how hiring friends and encourage friendships in the workplace can actually be a good thing, despite the common taboo. We wrap up with three interesting investment articles: the first from Morningstar Advisor about why absolute return funds are failing to deliver; the second about how to change the Sharpe ratio to better account for real world market risk and volatility; and the third by Jeremy Grantham of GMO, highlighting that as money managers try to manage their career risk and avoid getting fired, they create some incredible market volatility and inefficiencies along the way. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition highlights two good technical articles; the first is from the Journal of Financial Planning on how the decision to delay Social Security isn’t just about increasing benefits, but extending the overall longevity of the client portfolio as well; and the second is from Morningstar Advisor about the continued growth of alternative investments in portfolios. From there, we look at an interview with the CFP Board’s new Director of Investigations as it steps up enforcement, and a review of the highlights from this week’s Tiburon CEO Summit. We also look at three articles focused on the current state of practices, from the plight of the solo advisor, the changing focus of RIAs, and how to enhance the long-term value of your practice. We wrap up with a great article about how to craft an effective blog for your firm, an interesting perspective on the evolution of the variable annuity business, and a striking article from the Harvard Business Review blog that makes the point that ultimately, the best businesses are defined not by the products or services they sell, but the beliefs that guide the firm, its culture, what it delivers, and how it delivers it. Enjoy the reading! 752NXY7TM54P
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition highlights a scary new trend for advisors to be aware of: thieves who impersonate clients and/or hack into their accounts to try to get you to wire money out to the thief’s account. From there, we look at a mixture of articles, from a review of the recent upgrades to wealth management software eMoney Advisor, to a call by Bob Veres for new 21st century regulation (and what it might look like), to some good practical tips on how to get more value from networking events with the right questions to ask, and how advisors can start using Pinterest (the latest social media site that is exploding in popularity). We also look at some technical articles on the resurgence of reverse mortgages, and the latest from Wade Pfau in the Journal of Financial Planning on how valuation-based tactical asset allocation can increase safe withdrawal rates and reduce required savings by accumulators. We finish with a review by John Mauldin of the latest jobs report, an interesting blog from the Harvard Business Review about how you should focus on your accomplishments and not your affiliations, and an interview with yours-truly in the Journal of Financial Planning on a wide range of financial planning and professional topics. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition highlights recently announced changes from the CFP Board regarding the experience requirement and the consequences of a bankruptcy for certificants, and three ‘warning’ articles to take note of: one about the crowd funding solicitations your clients will likely receive in the coming year(s) as a result of the new JOBS act; a second about problems arising in the ETN/ETF marketplace that suggest more due diligence may be in order; and the third about an annuity agent who was thrown in jail for selling an annuity to a senior who was later deemed incompetent due to dementia, raising serious questions for all advisors about the standard of care for determining whether a client is competent before working with them. From there, we look at three interesting studies hitting the news this week: the first was a research study by NBER that suggested most ‘advisors’ are not giving advice in the interests of their clients; the second found that "fee-based" is actually a negative term in the minds of most consumers and may be eroding consumer trust; and the third suggesting that a uniform fiduciary standard for brokers may not increase the cost of advice for lower income individuals or shift the industry to focus on the affluent, despite many claims to the contrary. From there, we look at two blog posts: one about how using video on your website may be easier (and cheaper) than most people believe, and another that makes the good point that just because someone offers investment insights in the financial media does not mean they’re giving advice – and we need to stop confusing the two. We finish with a striking write-up of a recent study released by the BLS looking at consumer spending over the past century, and exploring the challenging question: if our country has gotten so much richer, why do so many feel poor and struggle these days? Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition highlights a new analytical tool from Morningstar that can apparently help you to benchmark your (AUM) fees against the industry, an interesting perspective on what really makes clients refer you (hint: it’s about what’s in it for them, not for you), and a look at how easy it is to build a website these days (yet how many advisors still haven’t done so). We also look at an article about how to have difficult conversations with clients, and two industry trends articles about Hartford’s departure from the variable annuity space, and Prudential’s departure from the long-term care insurance market (with Genworth stepping up to fill the void). We finish with an article about fixed income strategies that advisors are using in today’s marketplace, a look at how the term financial planner is being misused around the world and what the Financial Planning Standards Board has to say about it, and a lighter look from the Harvard Business Review at two lists you should maintain every day – what you will focus on doing, and what you will commit to ignoring – to enhance your productivity and success. Enjoy the reading!