SEC’s White Expects ‘Long Process’ On Fiduciary Rule

cwd01-news-1

Regulatory/Compliance

 

SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White is again speaking out on a fiduciary rule, saying that the SEC and DOL are working separately to address a standard — but talking to one another, according to an article at InvestmentNews. White, who appeared before the House Financial Services Committee this week, said she would still need buy-in from more members of the commission on a fiduciary-duty rule, and expected “a long process.” See the story that follows. In other news, a total of $1.4 billion was spent by Wall Street banks, companies and trade associations on campaign contributions and lobbying during the 2013-2014 election cycle, according to an article at ThinkAdvisor. That information comes from Americans for Financial Reform’s “Wall Street Money in Washington.” The article lists the fifteen biggest spenders based on both lobbying and contribution totals. See the link below.

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Schwab Unveils ‘Robo’ Platform For Advisors

Snapshot of the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios dashboard

Snapshot of the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios dashboard

Practice Management

 

Delivering as promised, Charles Schwab this week unveiled its “robo” platform offering for advisors, called Institutional Intelligent Portfolios. There will be a fee of 10 basis points for RIA firms that have less than $100 million in assets under management with Schwab; it will be free for firms with more than $100 million in AUM with Schwab. Read more details and reaction to the offering in a story at Financial Planning, below. Also, many advisors get nervous at the thought of outsourcing administrative and operations tasks, worrying what clients might think and fearing a loss of control over their business. But an article at Financial Planning points out that outsourcing certain duties can free up more time to spend with clients and prospects and create a more efficient business process. The author responds to top questions advisors ask about outsourcing. A link to the article follows.

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The Simple Lunch Strategy That Could Double Your Business

It’s often the littlest things we do – or don’t do – that make the biggest difference.

 

When it comes to maximizing relationships, don’t overlook the power of a simple “thank you” lunch(or dinner)with the top 20 percent of your accounts and centers-of-influence.

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Advisors Enhance Their Value With ‘Life Coaching’

Image: Ed Uthman / Flickr

Image: Ed Uthman / Flickr

Sales & Marketing

 

If you think about it, it’s not a stretch to think of advisors as “life coaches.” The need for financial advice often is triggered by personal life changes, and advisors are increasingly helping with both. An article at Reuters points out that as online automated portfolio management systems (“robo-advisors”) become more commonplace, advisors are differentiating themselves by helping clients with personal issues — such as those that arise with a career change or a divorce. See the Reuters story below. Also, Eileen O’Connor has become one of the nation’s leading experts on financial planning for affluent women, according to an article at Financial Planning. The key to her recent success? Co-authoring a study of more than 550 affluent women nationwide. The results were “both promising and disturbing,” according to the article. O’Connor outlines what affluent women are looking for in an advisor. Read the details below.

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SEC Chief, Mary Jo White Backs Fiduciary Rule For Brokers

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Regulatory/Compliance

 

SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White said this week that the agency should proceed with a uniform fiduciary standard for brokers and advisors. In addition, she said the SEC needs “to move to a program of third-party compliance exams for advisors,” according to an article at ThinkAdvisor. A link follows. Also, Finra’s BrokerCheck database has been upgraded to present information regarding brokers in “a more user-friendly way that’s easier to understand,” said a Finra official. He is quoted in a story at InvestmentNews, which provides information on the changes. For example, exams that brokers have passed will be displayed more prominently. See the story below.

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Six Books Your Prospects Will Love (And How Giving Books Builds Your Business)

Image: Moyan Brenn / Flickr

Image: Moyan Brenn / Flickr

 

Sending hand-selected books to clients and prospects is smart. One gesture accomplishs three major goals for your business:

 

  1. Shows thought leadership. Clients and prospects want to work with a thoughtful practitioner, someone who loves ideas and knowledge. Just as the books you display in your office reveals your mind, the books you send to clients can likewise demonstrate your thought process, as well as your commitment to their well-being.
  2. Deepens relationships. Many of the books you send will be about non-financial topics. Some of the book ideas will come from other clients, and may be more inspirational, than educational in nature. The books may be part of your formal “on-boarding” process, giving new clients the royal treatment – or sent on special occasions to existing clients. Books can start a conversation, and enrich existing relationships.
  3. Opens the door to new business. A well-chosen book can show that you understand a prospect’s needs – and place you on a faster track to win their account. The right book at the right time can let the prospect know you are a committed problem-solver for their financial difficulties.

 

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How Advisors Are Preparing For ‘Bondmageddon’

the-end-is-near

Practice Management

 

The cloud of “bondmageddon” continues to hang over the investment industry, and Bob Veres has collected a bounty of responses from advisors of all stripes about what they’re doing to prepare. He notes that “most advisors talked about the type of vehicles they were using to invest in fixed income, rather than the investment strategy itself.” He breaks down the responses into five different categories, starting with “Those who are out of bonds altogether.” His column is at Advisor Perspectives, below. Also, in an article at Financial Planning, consultant Kelli Cruz writes about the benefits of delegation and how to do it effectively. She outlines questions to ask to determine which tasks are best to delegate. For example: Is it essential or critical that you do it yourself? Read more below. In addition, Michael Kitces zeros in on a method of delegation that he’s found useful: creating video tutorials on how to carry out delegated tasks. Kitce describes how to use screencasting software to create the tutorials. There are some helpful tips from commenters as well. His post is at Nerd’s Eye View.

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‘Sales’ Is Not A Dirty Word For Advisory Firms

Image: Geoffrey Fairchild / Flickr

Image: Geoffrey Fairchild / Flickr

Sales & Marketing

 

For a firm to grow, it must engage in the practice of selling. Although most advisors view “sales” as a dirty word, Philip Palaveev, in an article at Financial Advisor, explains the importance of winning new clients and how sales and marketing lead to that end. He encourages firms to examine their culture, sales process and areas such as compensation and training. A link to the article follows. Also, now is a good time to take a look at a client’s Form 1040 to find ways to help them save and to uncover opportunities to provide additional service. An article at InvestmentNews suggests several line items to review for opportunities to lower taxable interest and capital gains, for instance. Read more below.

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Brokers Beware: New SEC Sweep To Zero-in on Retirement Practices

Image: Bloomberg

Image: Bloomberg

Regulatory/Compliance

 

The SEC plans to target the retirement practices of brokers in an upcoming sweep, according to a story at Financial Planning. The probe will likely begin with broker-dealers. In addition, the regulator will again zero in on cybersecurity practices in a second round of exams. Read more details in the article that follows. Meanwhile, Texas Tech professor Michael Finke, speaking at a CFA Institute conference, called for stronger protections for the elderly, saying the market would be better served “by having some sort of fiduciary protections.” Read more of his comments in an article at ThinkAdvisor, below.

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Profile: ‘Bold’ Advisor Shakes Off Wirehouse, Builds Father-Daughter Team

John LindseyWhen John Lindsey of Westlake Village, California left his longtime firm three years ago to go independent, he did not realize his story would become such an inspiration to other advisors or that his reason for leaving, a desire to plan his legacy, would become a rallying cry for his wealth management practice.

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