Outside voices and views for advisers

Dec 2, 2016, 3:48 PM EST

Help awaits for clients needing to downsize their home in retirement

By Francis J. McAleer Jr.

Moving isn't exactly fun. Whether you do it yourself or hire movers, it almost always takes more time and work than you bargained for. This comes as no surprise to most adults who have moved on more than one occasion — for a new job, a company transfer or a change of scenery. There's another kind of move, though, known as the senior move, which may not be as familiar to you or your clients. It's much more involved than moving from Point A to Point B.Imagine you have an older client who has adult children who live far away or who has no children at all. Suddenly, because of a change in circumstances or the health of your client or their spouse, it becomes necessary to downsize considerably after decades in one place. Such a move can mean going from a 2,500-square-foot home with a lifetime of belongings to a 400-square-foot apartment with room only for necessities and the most meaningful items. An extraordinary transition like this ... Read full post

Dec 1, 2016, 2:33 PM EST

Why it would be a mistake for advisers to stop implementing the DOL fiduciary rule

By Marcia S. Wagner

After Donald Trump's election victory, many are wondering what to expect with respect to the Department of Labor's recently adopted fiduciary rule, which governs investment advice related to retirement plan assets. It is no secret that Mr. Trump intends to take aim at many existing regulations (although the federal courts seem to be doing some of his work for him, as in the recent decisions with respect to the DOL's persuader rules and overtime regulations). In one town hall meeting in New Hampshire prior to the election, Mr. Trump remarked that as many as 70% of federal regulations would be on the chopping block if he were elected. A Trump adviser, in whose view the DOL fiduciary rule “could be the dumbest decision to come out of the U.S. government in the last 50 to 60 years,” has stated that the Trump administration would, in fact, repeal the regulation. Nonetheless, my view is that it would be an imprudent decision to... Read full post

Nov 30, 2016, 5:00 PM EST

Help clients avoid capital gains distributions

By Sheryl Rowling

Capital gain distributions occur near year end when mutual funds need to pass through gains realized within the funds. This means shareholders have to pay tax on income they haven't received. It's true that the basis gets increased, but clients typically don't like paying taxes on phantom income. Soon firms will begin publishing preliminary estimates of distributions. In most cases, these distributions won't be material. However, advisers should be on the lookout for large distributions from actively managed funds. Many actively managed funds have experienced outflows that have forced managers to sell appreciated securities to pay for liquidations. This triggers gains that, in turn, get spread across a smaller shareholder base. (More: How advisers can use technology to calm clients' post-election jitters)At this point in time, several fund companies have already released estimates. In fact, there are already funds estimating... Read full post

Nov 30, 2016, 2:23 PM EST

What Trump can teach financial advisers about women

By Kathleen Burns Kingsbury

I never thought I would write a blog about Donald Trump. But I guess most of us never would have guessed that he would become our 45th president. Whether you are sad that he won or just plain relieved that this election is over, his candidacy can teach you a great deal about how to be (and not be) female friendly. Here are four lessons I learned from Mr. Trump that can help you make your practice more female friendly:DON'T comment on women's appearance, shape or size.As someone who worked in the body image field for 15 years, I can't believe our society still doesn't get this concept. Mr. Trump negatively talked about women's appearances, even rating them one to 10 and calling them farm animals. (More: Women find fewer opportunities on Wall Street)I know you would never emulate his actions. But watch the subtle appearance-related comments you make, as it is easy for these remarks to be misinterpreted. My advice is to stay away from... Read full post

Nov 30, 2016, 2:21 PM EST

Want to provide a better client experience? Consult your clients

By Vanessa Oligino

“You're looking for referrals? You seem so busy; I didn't think you were taking on new clients.” That client exchange was an eye-opening moment for one adviser who'd been struggling to understand why the firm's most engaged clients weren't sending more referrals. The reason, it turns out, was the adviser never asked.Advisers seek the wisdom of peers and experts in their constant efforts to do things better, yet most neglect a better source of intel — their own clients. That's a big mistake, considering 89% of businesses intend to compete by delivering a great client experience, according to Gartner Research. (More: Advisers plan to spend more for compliance and tech in 2017)Competing on the basis of experience goes beyond client satisfaction. Providing a higher level of service engages customers and makes them feel invested in the firm. Advisory boards provide feedback that can help firms deliver the kind of... Read full post

Nov 29, 2016, 2:44 PM EST

Technology at the core of reinvention

By Deborah Fox

Earlier this year after many months of planning and research, our team began the process of reinventing our advice firm by drawing up a wish list of enhancements. Technology is the core component of our reinvention. We feel a robust technology centerpiece is imperative for any financial advisory firm that wants to have a shot at becoming a top firm in the industry. My definition of a top firm is not necessarily according to AUM or even number of clients, but as one that efficiently and profitably delivers an exceptional level of service to its desired number of ideal clients by a staff that loves to come to work each day.(More: Why high-performing advisers are aggressively adopting technology )Our team recognizes that for a top firm to offer exceptional service profitably and to have the ability to scale and grow, it needs to use a great suite of technology on a daily basis. Over the past several years, industry stalwarts such as... Read full post

Nov 23, 2016, 1:19 PM EST

Legislation could improve saving and investment opportunities for disabled Americans and their families

By Dale Brown

When we say that the Financial Services Institute is working to make sure all Americans have access to professional, objective financial advice, we mean all Americans.This commitment is the driving force behind our staunch support for three bills currently working their way through Congress that will provide and protect saving and investment opportunities for disabled Americans and their families.The three bills are amendments to the ABLE Act, which allows individuals with disabilities, and their families, to put money away for qualified disability expenses on an after-tax basis. This allows the earnings in these accounts to grow tax-deferred, under the portion of the tax code that established 529 college savings programs, without jeopardizing their eligibility for federal public benefits. The original law received support from 381 out of 435 U.S. Representatives and 78 out of 100 Senators, and was signed into law in December 2014... Read full post

Nov 23, 2016, 9:49 AM EST

Technology that improves client service with fewer people

By Scott Hanson

Wrestling with the three-headed monster of growth, cost containment and client service considerations is a never-ending challenge. We're always trying to improve, but it's difficult to know how to find the gaps in the organization. Then the question becomes, how do you efficiently fill those gaps once you've identified them? It's the end of 2016, so you'd be correct to assume that the answer, once again, is by utilizing technology. We're growing and that's a good thing. But year after year, our costs take larger and larger bites out of our revenue. It's pretty simple: The more clients you have, the more expenses you incur. That's the bargain we've made, and we've certainly never regretted it. But, as you grow, what if you could actually slow, or even cut expenses and still provide a level of service your valued clients demand? Perhaps you could do even better. (More: Why high-performing advisers are aggressively adopting... Read full post

Nov 21, 2016, 5:50 PM EST

The amazing vanishing DOL fiduciary rule?

By Andrew L. Oringer

When it comes to the Labor Department's new "investment advice" regulation, the first question on the table has to be: Will it survive this historic election? The answer: a definite “maybe not.” First and maybe foremost, let's talk possible paths to revocation:• New DOL leadership could move to revoke the fiduciary rule, possibly moving to delay effectiveness during the pendency of the process. • Congress could move to de-fund any efforts to enforce the new rule. Presumably, Congress would want to address not only the DOL but also the IRS, as much (and in some cases all) of the enforcement authority is in the IRS' hands. • Congress could move to put off the rule until further legislative or administrative action. Arguably, a stand-alone delay could well be the rule's death knell. Any of these possibilities should be troubling to proponents of the new rule. We are no longer in a world in which there is a... Read full post

Nov 21, 2016, 5:17 PM EST

Presidential election sparks awareness of gender issues

By Joni Youngwirth

As we all know, the presidential election of 2016 was the first time a female appeared on the ballot as a major-party candidate. After a particularly hard-fought campaign, Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech, “I know we still haven't shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday, someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now.” Whether you supported Ms. Clinton or not, and whether or not you believe being a woman played a role in her loss, the election brought questions of gender to the fore. In our industry, women remain a distinct minority. “Despite impressive growth in the number of CFP professionals in recent years, the percentage who are women has remained flat, at about 23%,” according to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. On many occasions, I have been party to female advisers' discussions about what it's like to be a woman in a profession... Read full post

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