Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with a look at how fiduciary rulemaking progress has slowed so much that any real change may now be years away at best, a discussion of how (despite lack of progress on fiduciary minimum standards) the future of advice may include a small number of mega-firms that are really building a focused, holistic and client-centric approach to advice, and a somewhat disturbing article suggesting that financial planners are becoming a target for cybercrooks that are trying to steal client money by sending advisors fake email transfer requests. From there, we have a few interesting retirement articles, including an interview with Moshe Milevsky, a discussion from Wade Pfau looking at the immediate-annuity-versus-systematic-withdrawal debate, and an analysis of median income for households over the past several decades that shows how retirees are actually faring the best of any age group. We also look at an interesting Journal of Financial Planning article about how to better evaluate cash value life insurance illustrations, a discussion whether it really pays to go to cash waiting for interest rates to rise, and a look from Morningstar at how as more and more people adopt indexing approaches new opportunities may be emerging for active managers. We wrap up with two lighter articles, one with tips on how to get more productivity time back with some good email management tips, and an intriguing discussion of how, in light of the fact that even people who now do what they love often found that path only after a period of time and some difficult early years, "follow your passion" may be bad career advice for Generation Y and that instead we need to paint a more nuanced picture of career paths that acknowledge the (inevitably?) difficult early years. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with a tough look at the CFP Board’s fiduciary standard, raising the question of whether fiduciary is just an advertising gimmick or whether it’s really being enforced as such, along with another recent study that finds the majority of investment assets in the country are being managed by firms with questionable and conflicted business models, or an outright series of regulatory infractions. From there, we look at a few more upbeat industry articles, including two recent studies on planner compensation, one showing that income for senior planners is up 14% in the past two years, and another finding that all else being equal CFP certificants average $5,000/year in additional compensation over non-CFPs. There’s also a discussion of how some firms are developing new training programs to bring more young people into financial planning, and a look at the firm LearnVest which had a "Best In Show" appearance at this week’s Finovate conference with a new iPad app for clients and an announcement of SEC registration as the firm aims to bring financial planning to "the other 99%" of Americans. We also look at two marketing articles, one on how financial advisory firm aggregator HighTower is using social media on a larger firm scale, and an interesting discussion of whether local radio shows still have some marketing value, along with a review of the latest MoneyGuide Pro G3 release. We wrap up with a nice list of market and economic commentaries to check out if you’re looking for good content to stay educated, an interesting discussion about whether we are sometimes too conservative in our recommendations as planners and the impact that can have on clients, and an article about whether the social media revolution is about to get "a little less awesome" as investors put increasing pressure on social media firms to shift from the "making delightful and cheap things" stage to the "making money" stage. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with a surprising interview from Barbara Roper at the Consumer Federation of America, suggesting that given how the SEC is dragging its feet, perhaps FINRA would be the better solution for investor protection after all. Tying into the regulatory theme, we also look at Bob Veres’ latest Financial Planning magazine column, suggesting that RIAs should come to the table with their own fresh proposals rather than waging a FINRA vs SEC battle, a recent study by Financial Advisor magazine, Boston Consulting Group, and 3ethos that attempts to benchmark how well advisors currently execute fiduciary best practices (the answer is not as well as we might have hoped and expected), and a disturbing investigation from the SEC into financial advisor and radio personality Ray Lucia that digs deeply into the backtesting models that Lucia used to support his strategies (raising the question about whether other advisors may also have made errors in assumption or process in their own in-house backtesting efforts regarding the strategies they recommend). From there, we look at a few more aspirational articles, including a vision from hiring consultant Caleb Brown about how financial planners may learn their craft in the future, an interview with practice management consultant Angie Herbers about how to develop great employees, and a great checklist for information you should be certain to cover on your website to give prospective clients what they want/need. There’s also a nice technical summary of some of the planning implications of the Affordable Care Act in the coming years, some thoughts about where the ETF/ETN industry is heading (notwithstanding the growth, it might still be in the early stages!), and a good explanation and comparison of two different types of P/E ratios and what they tell us about whether stocks are cheap or not. We wrap up with some intriguing new research from Morningstar, suggesting that it’s a myth that investors are dumb and pick bad funds; instead, the Morningstar research suggests investors tend to be pretty good at selecting high quality funds, but have a problem in timing the purchase of those funds poorly. Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" – this week’s edition starts off with a fascinating interview with Ron Rhoades where he shares his thoughts about the history of fiduciary and regulation of financial advisors, with some surprising insights, and also look at the recent back-and-forth between incoming FPA CEO Lauren Schadle and American College CEO Larry Barton about the CFP marks and whether there should be one designation for financial planning. From there, we look at a few good articles from Advisor Perspectives, including a list from Bob Veres of the top ten faulty assumptions in financial planning, and a good article by Joe Tomlinson looking at how safe annuity companies are. There are a few retirement articles as well this week, including a look at the "critical path" approach to setting a threshold for when clients can and cannot afford to take risk, a new framework for evaluating various retirement income strategies and alternatives, and an article looking at how disability can threaten retirement success yet may be neglected by advisors (especially for their female clients). There’s also an article that presents a good discussion about risk (and the difference between risk and uncertainty), and the latest from John Mauldin showing some surprising employment trends (older workers are actually taking job market share from younger workers!). We wrap up with two very interesting articles – one looking at the dynamics between patients and doctors in providing recommendations that has some striking parallels for what we do as financial planners, and the other exploring some surprising research that demonstrates we actually value the potential for future success more highly than a demonstrated track record of prior success (which may help to clarify why many clients are always so attracted to the next great thing, even when the current thing is working just fine). Enjoy the reading!
Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition starts off with a number of surprise announcements in industry news, including the early retirement of FPA CEO Marv Tuttle due to family reasons, the decision by incoming NAPFA chair Ron Rhoades to resign his leadership position due to a compliance infraction, and a letter by the CFP Board to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggesting the creation of a ratings system for advisor designations and certifications to help reduce elder abuse. We also look at an article explaining some of the upcoming changes with the CFP Board’s new sanction guidelines, a discussion from Advizent’s Steve Lockshin about how all advisors must help to raise the industry’s low minimum standards, and the conclusion of the Investment Advisor/ActiFi study examining how advisors are being served on practice management issues. Wrapping up, there’s an(other) article on the rise of the so-called “Robo Advisors”, a discussion of how some stress in your business can actually be a positive but it’s important to handle the stress so it doesn’t become too much, and a technical discussion of some of the unique tax burdens of MLPs, along with a look at how advisors are adjusting investments for a potential inflationary cycle, and a striking article from Texas Tech’s Michael Finke about how aging of the brain may reduce financial literacy in later years. Enjoy the reading!
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!