Joe Duran

Duran Duranblog

Joe Duran

Oct 30, 2017, 5:25 PM EST

Prepare clients for the terror of falling markets

Bear-Market

By Joe Duran

It's witching season and while our costumed children invade our neighborhoods for candies and treats, almost no-one considers the "trick" part of the equation anymore. It's much the same way for investors today; it's been nothing but treats and no bad scares for years now. At the turn of the century, we suffered two big bear markets in the first 10 years, but since then we have experienced historically low volatility. Since 2010, investors in all assets have benefited from a flood of capital and low interest rates provided by the ever-supportive Federal Reserve. Assets across the globe, from investments like stocks and bonds to less liquid assets like homes and fine art, have all appreciated measurably for years. More importantly, this has happened with some of the lowest levels of volatility we have ever witnessed. It's more fun to talk about the good stuff, but the scare is worse when you don't expect it. Here are four ways to... Read full post

Oct 9, 2017, 11:53 AM EST

If a GPS app can fail, so can fintech

street

By Joe Duran

I recently read an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer about an 18-wheeler that drove several miles down the pedestrian-only Boardwalk in Atlantic City. The driver was following instructions of his onboard navigation system which had the boardwalk designated as a street. After passing several stunned onlookers, the driver found himself stranded and his tractor trailer had to eventually be dismantled and a berm built to get it off the boardwalk. In this case there were no damages other than confusion. It's an amusing story but also a great analogy in the dangers of trusting too much in technology, and why human judgment is so important even in a highly digitized world. WHEN TECH FAILSWe've all become completely dependent on technology and have come to trust that it's reliable and accurate. However, if we trust it blindly then we are no better than a computer ourselves. Unfortunately, it sometimes lets us down, so it's important to... Read full post

Sep 19, 2017, 4:49 PM EST

The role of an adviser when the unexpected happens

coming-Main

By Joe Duran

When Hurricane Harvey hit Southern Texas, few could be truly prepared for the destruction brought on by the never before seen deluge of rain. Two weeks later Hurricane Irma destroyed several Caribbean islands and swamped Florida as the biggest hurricane to ever strike the Atlantic islands. Lives were turned upside down overnight as homes and cities confronted once unimaginable weather events.There are few models that anticipate a once-in-a-lifetime event, so when they happen, no one is really prepared for what might transpire. In some ways, people's financial lives are similar. We can prepare and plan for many outcomes, but few of us can ever really be ready when an unimagined event actually occurs. (More: Harvey and Irma — Reminders that advisory firms need solid continuity plans)PREPARING FOR THE UNIMAGINABLEThe best laid plans can very quickly be derailed by life getting in the way. It is highly unlikely any person had built... Read full post

Aug 17, 2017, 5:08 PM EST

5 non-money-related books to help you (and your children) live a better financial life

Book summer main

By Joe Duran

Last week I was enjoying a late summer dinner with my daughter. We ended up discussing the books that I thought she should read ? books that I think are interesting and have helped me the most in my life. She's a sophomore in college and really wasn't interested in how-to books or other additional educational stuff. Since we are at the end of the summer season and many of us are about to send our kids back to school again, here is a short list of books that will help any person become a better decision maker. "Animal Farm" and/or "1984" by George Orwell: They might be very different books, but they both speak to the danger of being swept up with the crowd and losing your ability to think for yourself. While "Animal Farm," with its lowly creatures taking over the farm, might have been intended as a commentary on communism, I have always thought of it more as a lesson in the slowly creeping impact of a loss of integrity and the danger of ... Read full post

Jul 17, 2017, 4:15 PM EST

What we can learn from Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods

Amazon-main

By Joe Duran

For the past 20 years, organic food grocer Whole Foods has rethought the way consumers shop for groceries and brought the farmers' market to neighborhoods all over the country. While pricey, it succeeded in a crowded sector, and grew in a small niche market into a nationally dominant position, becoming part of the American fabric in the process. In the meantime, shareholders were rewarded handsomely, as the stock grew tenfold from around $4 per share on June 30, 1997, to about $42 per share today. During the same period, Amazon reimagined the entire consumer experience for all of retail and their stock grew from $2.50 per share 20 years ago to around $1,000 per share today, a staggering 40,000% return over the past two decades (split adjusted). Last month , Amazon announced the acquisition of Whole Foods for $14 billion. A drop in the bucket compared to Amazon's current $480 billion market cap. While most food retailer stocks swooned... Read full post

Jun 21, 2017, 2:06 PM EST

3 big ideas from the brightest minds in behavioral economics

Duran-Main

By Joe Duran

In 1987, two professors at UC Berkeley, Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist, and George Akerlof, an economist, offered a joint class called Psychology and Economics for the first time. They each went on to win the Nobel Prize for Economics in consecutive years in 2001 and 2002. Their groundbreaking work applying psychological insights into economic theory help us to understand why people make irrational choices. I was invited to the Haas School of Business campus at UC Berkeley to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of that first class. The alumni now leading these endeavors at prestigious institutions like Harvard, Princeton, Cornell and Berkeley shared research and recollections with each other, and I was one of the few non-academic guests. (More: 5 counseling steps to make better financial planning clients)Some of the content was a little too academic for me (hello, econometrics formulas). However, there were some concepts that are... Read full post

May 30, 2017, 4:44 PM EST

Vanguard to seize wealth management industry with its digital platform

vanguard-Main

By Joe Duran

Robo-advisers have been around for over a decade, and throughout that time we've been hearing that they are a threat to established independent wealth advisers. While they might have attracted a lot of industry coverage, most robos have gathered a relatively small amount of market share over 10 years. Yet in two short years, Vanguard has quietly amassed over $65 billion in assets under management in its Personal Advisor Services offering and has built one of the largest wealth management firms in the nation. Robos as first constituted were never going to be a legitimate threat to replace the independent wealth manager, especially with wealthier clients. What Vanguard is building is a different threat altogether. There are two base requirements for a millionaire next door to entrust their money to a wealth manager: the first is that they trust the firm to deliver quality advice, the second is that the adviser can help solve financial... Read full post

May 10, 2017, 3:09 PM EST

What financial advisers can learn from Amazon

Amazon-Main

By Joe Duran

Recently my phone's storage chip malfunctioned. Unfortunately, I had a full afternoon of meetings and an early morning flight the next day. Thanks to Amazon, I had a new chip in my mailbox by the time I arrived home a couple of hours later that afternoon. How in the world can any electronics store carry enough inventory or be more convenient in giving me exactly what I need so easily? Every retail store is struggling to compete with the geographic omnipotence of Amazon. Our own industry is in the midst of a similar geographic untethering. And it will happen faster than most advisory firms are prepared for. THE RETURN OF HOUSE CALLSThe internet, mobile devices and convenience service companies like Amazon, Netflix and Google have made our lives easier, but they are also altering consumers' expectations about service delivery. What happens when your biggest competitive advantage — your proximity to your clients — stops... Read full post

Apr 20, 2017, 5:20 PM EST

How technology will alter the role of human advisers in wealth management

Duran-Main

By Joe Duran

A small group of us spent a recent afternoon with the chief evangelist at Singularity University in Silicon Valley. The campus is fittingly housed on a NASA site under the shadow of a huge unused hangar once used to store blimps. Their classrooms contain every variety of technological gadget you might imagine, from 3D printers to various types of virtual reality goggles. It's all interesting, but far more fascinating is their perspective on how technology will alter the role of human work, especially in wealth management. THE INESCAPABLE FUTURE"The greatest shortcoming of humanity is our inability to understand the exponential function," renowned physicist Albert Allen Bartlett once said.It's easy for us to imagine how far 30 steps will take us (about 30 yards), but it's next to impossible for any of us to imagine how far 30 exponential steps will take us (25 times around the earth).Technology develops at an accelerating (or... Read full post

Mar 27, 2017, 4:12 PM EST

When machinery makes financial advisers' work obsolete

Joe Duran-Main

By Joe Duran

A few weeks ago I travelled with some fellow entrepreneurs to spend six days in Vietnam and Cambodia. It was everything you'd imagine: exotic, beautiful and fascinating. The highlight for me was visiting the twelfth century temple at Angkor Wat, near Siem Reap in Cambodia. It's the largest religious monument in the world on a site exceeding 400 acres. The temple took more than 30 years to build, and according to our guide, more than 350,000 people (mostly slaves) worked on it. (More: Winners and losers in the murky DOL rule implementation)That's an awful lot of manpower. It's interesting that the rate of construction hadn't evolved much from the building of the pyramids in Egypt 3,500 years prior. And yet today we build skyscrapers and entire cities like Dubai in a fraction of the time. Man's productivity has surged with the use of machinery and technology. EVER EXPANDING ROLE OF MACHINERYThis got me thinking about how machinery has... Read full post

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