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!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with a quick recap of who said what at this week’s Financial Services Committee hearing on the Bachus SRO legislation. From there, we take a deep dive into a long series of articles looking at how financial planning is changing. An interview with Rick Kahler explores how financial therapy is being integrated into his practice, and a Morningstar Advisor article looks at how personality types can help predict which kinds of behavioral biases your clients might exhibit. An article by Paula Hogan in the Journal of Financial Planning examines how to integrate financial planning from the economists’ perspective – the so-called Life Cycle finance model – with the current world of financial and life planning, with a rising focus on planning for human capital… followed by another article looking at how several planners are being to incorporate human capital planning in their practices. Bob Veres looks at what we can do to ensure that planners really stay focused on planning, and don’t allow themselves to be lured by "easier" business models. A panel discussion in Financial Advisor magazine explores how some executives at companies that serve and support advisors see the trends playing out. At the same time, a recent article on The Economist questions whether clients might sometimes seek advice more than they should, and how much advice we seek is really for practical reasons as opposed to psychological ones. And Dick Wagner raises the question of whether it’s finally time to push the profession to financial planning 3.0. On a final note, we include a transcript of a recent speech given last weekend by financier investor George Soros in Italy; although a bit of a non-sequitur from the weekend reading theme of changes in the planning profession, the article provides such an amazing look at what’s going on in Europe, that it just had to be included. Enjoy the reading!
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!