Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with an interesting idea from Don Trone – that as the fiduciary standard gets codified by regulators, it will be diminished, and that the next gold standard beyond fiduciary will become "stewardship" to raise the bar again. From there, we look at an article discussing how the wirehouses are rebuilding their training programs into something that looks a lot like what many independent planning firms would do (but with much larger numbers!), a discussion of some lesser known tools and resources for the investment aspects of a firm, a review of a new software package that estimates client health care expenses in retirement, a summary of the tax law changes coming with the fiscal cliff at the end of the year, and a very personal story of how one financial planner got a first-hand look at the value of having proper documents regarding end-of-life medical care after her brother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. There are also a number of interesting investment and economic articles out this week, including Mauldin’s latest where he suggests that Europe may not break up (Plan A) nor unify (Plan B) in the coming years but instead will take a slower crisis-by-crisis approach (Plan C) to eventually grind towards unification, an article from GMO suggesting that "reports of the death of equities have been greatly exaggerated" (in response to the recent Bill Gross article) and looking at the components of equity returns, and some fresh research from the New York Fed suggesting that municipal bonds actually may default at a far higher rate than most believe (but the ones defaulting may not be the ones your clients own). We wrap up with two lighter articles, one by financial planner Carl Richards about how we could probably all stand to purge some of the stuff from our lives (good advice for both our clients and ourselves!), and the other discussing the value and importance of a good night’s sleep and how our sleep patterns as a society have changed dramatically in the past century. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with a look at the big news on the regulatory front – an expected op-ed article from Congressman Bachus in the Wall Street Journal, just after it looked like the Baucus legislation for an investment adviser SRO was dead. From there, the rest of weekend reading takes a deep dive into a long series of practice management articles, including an article on shifting from AUM fees to retainers by Bob Veres, a look at how financial planners are serving the middle market, an examination of ways to maximize the efficacy of your website besides using social media (through search engine marketing and search engine optimization), a look at how many firms fail because the business owner has a strong vision but fails to communicate it effectively to staff, and the benefits of being involved with a study group. We also look at an article sharing some general "pearls of wisdom" and tips for success, an intriguing look at how the best way to generate more referrals may be to stop asking for them, and a caution not to undervalue the work that you do for clients. We wrap up with two more personal/productivity-oriented articles, one on how scheduling time windows for yourself to do various tasks can improve your efficiency, and another on how it’s crucial to always be reading and maintaining intellectual curiosity to be an effective leader in your business (hopefully supported by this weekend reading column!). Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with a review of the recent legislative shift on investment adviser oversight, suggesting that RIA lobbying was the successful driver that staved off the Baucus bill, and an article from the Journal of Financial Planning examining how the fiduciary standard should be properly applied by financial planners. From there, we look at two articles that challenge the traditional planning world, one suggesting that the next stage of financial planning may shift away from AUM to standalone planning fees (and highlighting a firm that is pushing this trend), and another focusing on some of the ways that financial planning in practice diverges from the theory. We also look at a few practice management articles, one about how young planners are being integrated into firms, another about how firms are getting creative in the benefits they provide to build employee morale and connections, and a third about how older clients and older staff members can diminish the value of a financial planning practice. This week’s summary also includes a few technical articles, including one suggesting that HSAs may become less popular starting in 2014 with the new Obamacare-mandated insurance plans, how advisors may start getting questions from clients soon about crowdfunding investment opportunities, and how using a reverse mortgage as a part of a "cash reserve" strategy can boost retirement income sustainability. We wrap up with two recent controversial articles – one from Bill Gross suggesting that "the cult of equities" is dying and exploring the ramifications of a low-return environment, and the other from the Harvard Business Review suggesting that you should never hire an employee who makes grammar mistakes. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition starts off with a recent survey by the CFP Board and the Consumer Federation of America, showing that financial planning helps people to have more successful financial outcomes, and that the results hold regardless of income or wealth levels. We also look at some of the breaking legislative news this week, including new legislation to authorize the SEC to assess user fees to step up examinations (rather than delegate it to FINRA), and the indefinite tabling of the Baucus legislation due to lack of a clear consensus for support. From there, we look at a nice article about how inbound marketing can help advisors grow, and an advance peek at a new iPhone app to help advisors get a handle on the ever-growing contact list (especially given the explosion of social media). There’s also an interesting article exploring some of the math behind whether it’s really a good idea to wait to annuitize or not (given today’s interest rates), and a consumer article with a great series of estate planning questions everyone should consider for themselves that is equally relevant to planners and their clients. This week’s investment articles include a good discussion of long-term secular market cycles, some of the risks of exchange-traded notes, an evaluation by Morningstar of their new stewardship ratings for funds and how it impacts fund performance (and even survival), and the latest Mauldin missive discussing some of the economic surprises that may be coming in a few years. We finish with an interesting article by Aspiriant former CEO Tim Kochis, who shares what it was like as he transitioned from being a leader in one of the largest independent wealth management firms in the country to becoming a client – the outcome is some interesting insights, but Kochis’ article also raises the question about what kinds of experiences other planners might have if they became consumers of their own service. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with an interesting Journal of Financial Planning article suggesting that a uniform fiduciary standard would not, in fact, reduce access of the mass market to financial advice or increases costs. We also look at an article from Bob Veres questioning why it is that more independent broker-dealers and registered representatives don’t object to the Financial Services Institute’s lobbying for FINRA as an overarching regulator for all advisors. From there, we look at several practice management articles, including one up-and-coming RIA custodian Scottrade Advisor Services, another on succession planning, and a discussion of how client communication supports business growth. We also look at a series of technology-related articles, including how to stay safe when using the cloud, a new secure client vault solution, a new retirement income modeling tool to do simplified/expedited basic retirement projections for clients, and a discussion of the incredible return-on-investment that firms see when adopting rebalancing software. We wrap up with a good discussion from John Mauldin of the current plight in Europe, a nice list of social media timesaver tips for those who are looking to dabble or have become active with social media, and an intriguing article from the Harvard Business Review showing how several companies are beginning to increase their sales and growth activity by eliminating commissions for better results. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with an interesting article by Bob Veres, suggesting that most advisors may be undercharging their clients, by as much as 50%! From there, we look at a number of practice management articles, including a nice piece from Bill Winterberg about using online video, the shift to a more ‘conversational’ approach to marketing, a strongly-worded article from Mark Tibergien suggesting that women are NOT a practice niche, and an article highlighting the recently enacted 408(b)(2) fee disclosure rules for retirement plans (is your practice in compliance?). We also look at a number of investment articles this week, including one from Dan Moisand questioning the use of many types of "alternatives", another from Ed Easterling of Crestmont Research suggesting that we may still be in the early stages of the secular bear market (a nightmare for Wall Street and the advisory world?), and an intriguing article in the Journal of Financial Planning showing how guaranteed products may deserve less of an allocation after adjusting for their credit and illiquidity risks. We wrap up with two interesting policy articles – one about healthcare "myths" we must confront to move forward with reform, and another exploring how government policy decisions might be better shaped with input from behavioral scientists – and close with a nice light article from Morningstar Advisor with "23 Best Practices" tips for planners to implement. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with three nice articles from this month’s Journal of Financial Planning: the first is about planning techniques and issues for non-traditional couples; the second is an interview from Tiburon Strategic Advisors CEO Chip Roame about trends and developments in the industry; and the third is an article by Rick Adkins noting that financial services advertising has taken a distinctly planning-centric tilt in recent years, which may be a boon to the profession going forward. From there, we look at a few good practice management articles, about the importance of conducting staff meetings for your firm (and how to do them well), policies and procedures to handle departing employees (whether a voluntary or involuntary termination), and a good piece by Tom Giachetti about how honoring the fiduciary duty means more than just giving good advice – it’s also about important "details" like ensuring clients are getting best execution on their investment transactions. This week’s reading also includes a review of the new Morningstar forward-looking fund ratings, the rise of Zephyr Associates as a potential alternative for evaluating investments, an article on the difficulties of ETFs in penetrating the 401(k) marketplace, a look at whether today’s low real return environment may be setting up retirees for unique new retirement challenges, and a good article from The Economist about the emerging LIBOR rate fixing scandal. We finish with two very interesting articles – one from practice management consultant Angie Herbers about how for many advisors the real challenge is not building a successful advisory practice, but how to deal with success once it’s achieved and not undermine it, and another from the Harvard Business Review blog suggesting that, contrary to cliche and popular opinion, the most successful people may not be those who are most confident, but instead those who pair high ambition with relatively low confidence and who consequently bring a healthy dose of skepticism and self-improvement to everything they do. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with an article about the FPA, its declining membership, and prospective organizational changes as the CEO retires in 2014. From there, we look at a number of practice management articles, including an overview of the emerging niche of firms that provide quality lead generation for financial advisors, how to sustain a study group, the importance of e-delivery of documents not only for your firm but for your clients, a new software package to help with investment advisory fee billing, and two marketing articles – both emphasizing the value of being unique and different and having a niche to grow the business effectively. From there, we look at an interesting interview with Jeremy Grantham about investing opportunities, a striking article that suggests the giant pile of cash corporations are sitting on may be a bad sign and not a good sign, an article from the Journal of Financial Planning about a new way to manage tail risk for client portfolios, and coverage of an emerging new product called a "stand-alone living benefit" designed to provide all the lifetime income guarantees contained in today’s variable annuities but wrapped around a client’s own investment account instead. We wrap up with a slightly more light-hearted list of investing tips and maxims that would probably be a good reminder for almost any planner and his/her clients. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with an editorial from Bob Veres about whether the Financial Services Institute is going to find itself on the wrong side of history, defending the status quo broker-dealer model against the underlying trend towards fiduciary advice. From there, we look at a recent announcement of FPA’s new PlannerSearch tool for consumers, a new CRM package for smaller advisory firms, a nice article about how to select the right CRM package for your firm, and some tips about how to run a seminar marketing strategy effectively to grow your practice. We also look at an interesting article about important conversations to have with your clients, that includes a lot of stuff financial planners already know but a few good tips as well, and a nice article by Roy Diliberto pointing out that the best way to get extraordinary results from your firm is to make your employees extraordinary by giving them the opportunity to succeed and making sure you, the business owner, aren’t being part of the problem. This week’s reading also includes three investment articles: one that suggests the fate of municipal bonds may be more tightly linked with equity returns than we realize; the second providing a nice primer on the European crisis and how we got to where we are; and the last suggesting that Europe’s moment of truth may be arriving, and that they will not be able to substantively kick the can further down the road. We wrap up with a nice article from Robert Shiller – a prospective commencement speech for finance graduates that provides a nice reminder of both the challenges that finance must tackle in the coming years, and the underlying social purpose for why the finance sector exists in the first place. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with a rather scathing article by NAPFA Chairman Ron Rhoades on why FINRA not only shouldn’t be the SRO for investment advisors, but is failing its original charter and should be disbanded altogether. From there, we look at two technical estate planning articles – one on the different ways that incapacity is defined for trigger powers of attorney or even the competence to sign a Will or trust in the first place, and the other on how beneficiaries can potentially try to "bust" trusts that are no longer working as desired. We look at three practice management articles this week, including Mark Tibergien’s latest offering on the importance of managing expenses as well as revenue growth, reporting on the recent FA Insight study showing firms with more widely distributed ownership are consistently better performers, and results from an Investment Advisor / ActiFi study at what practice management issues are most important to advisors and where they’re currently getting help (surprising result – broker/dealers may be stepping up far more than custodians). We also look at an interesting retirement income analysis from Joe Tomlinson suggesting that SPIAs might be particularly effective for retirement portfolios despite – and in fact, because – of low current rates, and an analysis by Geoff Considine about why advisors may be giving short shrift to Master Limited Partnerships in their portfolios. We finish with a sharp analysis by John Hussman about what’s really at the heart of the ongoing global economic malaise, an interesting write-up by Bob Veres about several presentations about trust at the recent FPA Retreat conference, and a lighter article by Abby Salameh on RIABiz abuot how to take a breath and relax to avoid being overwhelmed as a busy advisor. Enjoy the reading!