Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s issues starts off with a fascinating article that studied brain images of investors working with CFPs or non-CFPs in volatile markets, and found that those following a CFP-credentialed advisor were more likely to stick with the advice and less likely to second guess than with a non-credentialed advisor. A second article looks further at some recent brain research and what it’s beginning to tell us about not just how clients behave in general, but about how they interact with advisors and why they often don’t implement an advisor’s recommendations.
From there, we look at a few articles on the regulatory front, including one that suggests the SEC’s recent crackdown on advisors misrepresenting AUM may be partially the regulator’s own fault for having such a poor and ambiguous definition of what constitutes AUM in today’s complex marketplace, a second looking at how fiduciary rulemaking is very likely to proceed this year from the DOL even if the SEC’s own rulemaking progress has slowed, and a third striking piece by Don Trone suggesting that the real roadblock to moving forward on the fiduciary issue is that fiduciary advocates are spending too much time talking about principles the industry already agrees with and not enough time focusing on developing the fiduciary best practices and safe harbors that are really necessary for wider fiduciary adoption.
We also have a few technical articles this week, including guidance from Joe Tomlinson about how to craft better asset class return expectations for financial plans, a fascinating look from John Hussman at how the "great rotation" from bonds to stocks is a myth, a look at how "career asset management" is a new frontier for financial planners to deliver value to clients, and a deep look at the new "play or pay" tax rules for employers offering health insurance (or not) that will kick in starting next year.
We wrap up with three articles looking more broadly at the industry – the first suggests that financial advisor conferences are broken and need to be fixed (with a few suggestions about how to do so), and the last two provide a striking look at the research that’s come out in recent years trying to quantify whether or how much value financial advisors really bring to the table for their clients – research that shows promising signs for the value of a financial planner, but research that is unfortunately confounded by the fact that apparently researchers often can’t tell who’s an advisor and who’s a salesperson any more than consumers can! Enjoy the reading!