Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s reading kicks off with some big news from the CFP Board, which announced this week that it will not be pursuing its controversial proposal to offer CFP CE credit, and instead will be offering up a series of initiatives over the next 3-5 years aimed at lifting the overall quality of CFP CE across all programs; in addition, the CFP Board also announced that it will be extending its “Let’s Make A Plan” public awareness campaign by another two years, citing better-than-expected results from its public awareness metrics.
From there, we have several regulatory-related articles this week (following on the heels of Tuesday’s guest blog post regarding FINRA’s significant fiduciary shift with its recent “Report on Conflicts of Interest”), including a new consumer educational program from Wall Street trade organization SIFMA entitled “Our Partnership With You” that advocates consumers should receive best-interests personal investment advice (though the word “fiduciary” was not used), an announcement by FINRA that it is making its BrokerCheck and IARD systems more accessible and consumer-friendly for those who want to check up on their advisors, and a summary of the current state of various fiduciary activity (from the SEC, DOL, and FINRA) presented at this week’s Schwab IMPACT conference (along with another article that provides overall highlights from the event).
There are also a few technical articles, including a good summary of this week’s proposals to “fix” the Obamacare problems by extending the time period that insurance companies can renew “old” insurance plans without cancelling them (and some of the problems with trying to do so), the potential coming offering of new “R-Bonds” from the US Treasury as a new kind of IRA alternative, a discussion of some of the practical caveats and limitations to the 4% “rule”, and an interesting look at just how long it may take for a total return bond fund to recover from various interest rate increases (hint: a while, but not as long as clients might fear, and still with far less volatility than equities).
We wrap up with three interesting articles: the first looks at how bland and sometimes unprofessional the typical “Out of Office” email is, or at best how it’s purely “AUTOREPLY” style is at odds with what are otherwise high-touch high-relationship advisory firms (and some suggestions about how to improve accordingly); the second is from Steve Lockshin about trends that are likely to impact the advisory world in the coming years (excerpted from his recently published book “Get Wise To Your Advisor”); and the last provides a good reminder about how important it is to have a clear mission for your firm, noting not only do customers/clients increasingly prefer mission-driven companies, but that employees who worked at firms with clear mission and follow-through were twice as likely to want to stay with their current employer and three times more likely to have high job satisfaction! Enjoy the reading!