InvestmentNews INsider

The INsiderblog

InvestmentNews reporters offer their take on intriguing or controversial articles from around the web.

Jul 27, 2018

Is it better to meet with clients in person or online?

By Ryan W. Neal

Is it better to meet with a client in person, or virtually? It depends on who you ask. According to research from FactSet, a data analytics provider, high-net-worth individuals now conduct 44% of their interactions with an adviser online. The number is lower among sub-$1 million investors, but jumps up to 48% for investors with wealth exceeding $20 million. A separate study from Hartford Funds found the frequency of client interactions is skyrocketing. Two-thirds of the advisers surveyed already interact with their clients on at least a weekly basis, either to discuss investment strategy or simply touch-base. A third of advisers expect interactions to increase by 50% in the next five to 10 years, a rate that surely couldn't be sustained by in-person meetings."As advisers thread the needle and both communicate more frequently and meet in person, it's essential that they embrace firm-approved digital alternatives (like video chat) that... Read full post

Jul 16, 2018

Writing on the wall for direct-to-consumer robo startups

By Ryan W. Neal

The consolidation of direct-to-consumer robo-advisers is in full swing. Hedgeable, an early digital adviser that stood out for targeting wealthier clients with active management, hedging strategies and access to alternative investments like venture capital funds and cryptocurrency, announced last week that it will discontinue its investment management service on Aug. 9. The news comes just two months after Northwestern Mutual's decision to shut down LearnVest.​ In December, Amanda Steinberg closed WorthFM, a female-focused robo-adviser launched in 2015. The WorthFM website, which now directs users to Sallie Krawcheck's Ellevest, cites "industry shifts and our own business" as reasons it can no longer offer investment advice. The announcement from Hedgeable was surprising, but not entirely unexpected. Industry observers have long forecast doom for the direct-to-consumer startups not named Betterment and Wealthfront as banks,... Read full post

Jun 21, 2018

Celebrated investor Jim Rogers launches ETF

By John Waggoner

Celebrated investor Jim Rogers has launched an exchange-funded fund. The most intriguing question about this news: Will the perennially bearish Mr. Rogers be able to stay invested?The Rogers AI Global Macro ETF (BIKR), which launched Thursday, is a global ETF that invests primarily in single-country ETFs. It will use artificial intelligence to evaluate periods of volatility, which, in turn, will help it find indications of shifts in market direction. Aiding the AI will be Mr. Rogers, who co-founded the Quantum Fund, one of the first international hedge funds, with George Soros in 1973. The fund clobbered the Standard & Poor's 500 during his tenure.Mr. Rogers left Quantum in 1980 to travel around the world on a motorcycle, teach and invest. His 1994 book, "Investment Biker," tells of his global travels, as does its 2003 successor, "Adventure Capitalist." While Mr. Rogers has been optimistic about Asian economies and commodities, he's... Read full post

Jun 21, 2018

Tech firms still want to dethrone the financial sector

By Ryan W. Neal

Wall Street embraces technology these days, but Silicon Valley still thinks it can take over the financial industry. If there was one theme that stood out at the CB Insights Future of Fintech conference in New York City this week, it's that financial technology startups still believe they can "disrupt" traditional financial services firms and improve everything from banking and credit to financial advice. "A real fintech company hasn't come to the fore yet," said Max Levchin, a co-founder of PayPal who is now CEO of Affirm, a lending fintech. While the industry has made significant strides towards digital adoption, Mr. Levchin thinks the big questions — like how do people get access to credit? What do bank accounts look like? — are more or less the same today as they were 50 years ago. "In the U.S., things that have always been this way are still being this way, and that's where the opportunities really are," Mr. Levchin... Read full post

Jun 5, 2018

Women to Watch: Help us find the next generation of female leaders

By Suzanne Siracuse

What a year for women's empowerment!Over the last nine months, obstacles that women face personally and professionally have been making front-page headlines and sparking powerful movements such as #Metoo and Time's Up. These efforts are bringing much-needed attention to these critical issues.Sadly, these are not new issues, and they are not limited to Hollywood and celebrities. These issues have been prevalent in the financial services industry, as well. But the positive news out of it all is that more firms are understanding certain behaviors and policies cannot and will not be tolerated. And change is on the horizon. By bringing attention to important issues and topics, we all have the ability to change the way women are treated and valued now and in the future. So how does InvestmentNews' Women to Watch initiative fit into all this?InvestmentNews is proud to have launched our Women to Watch initiative in 2015 with the mission of... Read full post

Jun 1, 2018

Hedge fund scam artist targets the middle class

By Bruce Kelly

Investment scams that hit working people or the middle class typically are pretty prosaic. They include church scams, such as a pastor cloaking his phony investment pitch in holy talk, or what are known as affinity frauds, in which the person committing the fraud belongs to and identifies with the same ethnic or religious group he preys upon. Regular people with small amounts of money are simply not of interest to a criminal with a sophisticated sounding investment pitch who's looking to make a big score. Con artists who target the wealthy or upper middle class — think of Bernie Madoff — often talk about sophisticated investment strategies, rather than Jesus, to con their victims. The more complex the strategy, the more impressed the rich mark. Mr. Madoff played this game brilliantly, claiming he bought blue chip stocks and took options contracts on them, using something known as a "split-strike" strategy to earn his... Read full post

May 21, 2018

Envestnet Yodlee raises the bar with AI-powered apps

By Ryan W. Neal

Any doubts as to who is leading the way on adviser technology should be put to rest after last week's Envestnet Advisor Summit. In addition to announcing updates to Tamarac and a plan to launch an annuities marketplace, Envestnet gave a first look at the new artificial intelligence tools it's building with Yodlee's data and technology.They are miles ahead of anything else on the market. (More: Envestnet is the industry's 800-pound tech gorilla)Envestnet Yodlee Chief Executive Anil Arora demonstrated three applications during his keynote. The first, Envision IQ, plugs into a firm's data and provides an easy-to-use interface to which advisers can pose any questions they may have about their business or their clients. Using either a desktop or mobile device, advisers can key in queries like "Who are my top clients?" or "What are my new money flows?" or "Did any clients add cash last week?" and receive an answer within seconds. If advisers ... Read full post

Apr 27, 2018

Wells Fargo wouldn't be the first to push proprietary products on 401(k) plan participants

By Greg Iacurci

The disclosure of an alleged Labor Department investigation of Wells Fargo sales practices — including those in its retirement-plan services division — is sure to raise a few eyebrows, but should this sort of thing really be a revelation to anyone in the 401(k) industry?The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the Department of Labor is looking into, among other things, "whether Wells Fargo's retirement-plan services unit pressed account holders to buy in-house funds, generating more revenue to the bank." The article suggests the DOL is investigating potential violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, which prohibits fiduciaries from self-dealing. Regardless of what Wells Fargo may or may not have done, let's not fool ourselves. Pushing proprietary products — both in 401(k) plans and to participants rolling over 401(k) money into an individual retirement account — is something... Read full post

Sep 11, 2017

DOL fiduciary rule has enforcement gaps — and they could widen

By Greg Iacurci

The Department of Labor's fiduciary rule, as it's currently written, has some enforcement gaps. And they could widen, especially for annuity products, depending on how the Trump administration's review of the rule shakes out. The primary enforcement mechanism of the Obama-era regulation, which raises investment advice standards in retirement accounts, is a "best-interest contract" between an investor and financial institution such as a broker-dealer. Beginning in January, firms that wish to use certain compensation arrangements, like commissions, must enter into a contract with an IRA investor affirming the broker's fiduciary relationship to the investor and that the investor is receiving advice that's in his/her best interest. The investor, in turn, will have a way to bring suit against the institution for breach of contract.But, what if there's no contract? As it turns out, nothing would really change for IRA investors seeking to... Read full post

Jun 21, 2017

Finra engages in rulemaking by enforcement: financial industry groups

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

Financial industry trade associations criticized Finra for using enforcement to establish regulatory standards for brokers rather than the formal rulemaking process, in letters to the broker-dealer regulator as part of its self-examination process.The Financial Services Institute, which represents independent brokers and financial advisers, said that as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. has increased its fine level, FSI members are wondering about the broker-dealer self-regulator's motivation. "Recent developments in fines have lead [sic] members to believe that enforcement has moved away from investor protection and is now actively creating standards and rules outside the rulemaking process," David Bellaire, FSI executive vice president and general counsel, wrote in a June 19 comment letter. "Furthermore, some FSI members report that they feel the threat of large fines is being used to force them to sign [settlements].... Read full post

« Newer Older »

Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.