ACTIONABLE ADVICE FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Newsletters and Commentaries Focused on Investment Strategy

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2015-11-25 00:00:00 Surveying The Commodity Carnage by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Commodities and commodity stocks have been a disaster in recent years, but fortunately one that our Group Selection (GS) Scores managed to avoid. Underperformance in both the Energy and Materials sectors during the last 12 months in particular (Chart 1) is so severe that any contrarian with a pulse probably can’t help but take a peek. We’ll admit the wreckage is beginning to look interesting, and—what with our cautious stance on the stock market—it would be fun to be bullish about something. But both our GS Scores and our intuition suggest it’s still too early.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 The Investment Portfolio of the Future by Bob Veres (Article)

I envision a world where advisors are vetting a growing number of nontraditional investments for their clients.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 How to Develop a Growth Game Plan by Kristen Luke (Article)

Growth. When you’re a financial planning or wealth management firm, how do you do it right? From implementing a precise, uniform sales process to creating an annual marketing strategy, you need something – a game plan – that shows how you should grow and when you’ve actually succeeded.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 Action-Oriented Teambuilding by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We want to do a teambuilding activity for our advisory firm. We get along reasonably well, but we are always passing one another in the hallways on our way to our next meeting or phone call. I run the firm, and I’d really like to get everyone engaged in an activity that would be fun but also meaningful. Do you have any ideas?

2015-11-24 00:00:00 Reflections on Four Decades of Economic Forecasting by Harald B. Malmgren (Article)

Timeworn economic forecasting methodologies on which we rely -- whether prepared by governments, central banks or private economists -- are gradually becoming less relevant and reliable.

2015-11-24 00:00:00 The Surprise Inside the Surprise Index by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

Appreciation for the multitude of messages provided by Citigroup’s Citi Surprise Index allows investors to stay a step ahead of the economic models that Wall Street, and -- by default -- most investors, rely heavily on to forecast market levels and securities prices.

2015-11-23 00:00:00 On My Radar: Global Recession a High Probability by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“I have long made the claim that the transnational nature of Europe cannot be sustained. The divergent economic interests of EU countries, some with unemployment over 20 percent, some with it under 5 percent, meant that it was impossible for all of them to live not only under the same monetary regime, but under the same trade regime, which we cannot call free trade with agriculture, among other things, being protected. This would lead to a focus on national interest and on a resurrected nation-state.” -George Friedman

2015-11-20 00:00:00 South Korea 2.0 by Michael Oh of Matthews Asia

Some key differences between Korea’s older companies and its newer “2.0 firms.” include their target demographics, regional reach and branding tied to rising interests in Korean pop culture, or K-pop. Whereas the products of Korea’s more traditional and longer-standing exporters were geared toward developed economies, its newer cultural exports are a hit with more developing countries. This month Asia Insight explores such cultural exports, including those from industries as travel & leisure and entertainment, which are growing even faster than Korea’s overall export growth.

2015-11-19 00:00:00 Newsletter Volume 8, No. 5 - November 2015 by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz / Foldes Financial Wealth Management

AMAZING AND VERY COOL! From my friend Peter: The French restaurant «Le Petit Chef» (The Little Chef) came up with an original way to entertain guests while waiting for their orders — using a projector on the ceiling, animation appears on the table.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Stop Wasting Your Dollars on Marketing: Develop a Strategy by Mandy Fisher (Article)

If you are not strategic about the dollars spent on your marketing efforts, you will truly be wasting both your time and your money.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 How to Conduct a 360-Degree Performance Assessment by Kristen Luke (Article)

I’ve found that when advisory firm employees do well, they shouldn’t need a performance review. But they need something that sets expectations and encourages constant improvement.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Improving Team Effectiveness When You’re Not a “Coach” by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Why can’t the newer generation of advisors learn the way we did, at the “school of hard knocks”? I think we are creating a generation that needs constant input and teaching.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 Can the Free Market Protect Consumers? by Michael Edesess (Article)

A new book, Phishing for Phools, by Nobelists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller – respectively, authors of the phrases “market for lemons” and “irrational exuberance” – says that the exact same free-market process that Adam Smith lauded for doing a great job of satisfying mutual self-interests, also incentivizes scamming.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 A Simple Step to Stay Positive in Tough Markets by Dan Richards (Article)

The key to motivation has nothing to do with bonuses or stock options, but rather stems from something that will surprise you.

2015-11-17 00:00:00 The Paris Attacks by Bob Veres (Article)

Here is a letter you can send to clients in response to the Paris attacks.

2015-11-16 00:00:00 On My Radar: Poking At The Beehive by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“The European Central Bank is likely to continue negative rates, extend and enlarge QE, and acquire more balance sheet assets over time. ECB policy influences other nearby non-euro jurisdictions. Essentially, all short-term interest rates of higher-credit-grade and mid-grade countries in Europe are negative, and the policy of negative rates is spreading as the rates go even lower (more negative).” – David Kotok

2015-11-11 00:00:00 High Yield Energy: Paths of Valuation and Correlated Effects by David Kleinberg of Universal Orbit

An observer may rightly state the bull case for oil and related investment thesis is not one of prescience but only precarious sentiment. True a simple wager on the directional valuation of commodity pricing may set the course, perhaps even amplified by modest use of leverage. In the Energy sector, valuating macroeconomic drivers consistent with the permutations of effects on corporate performance is measurable in degree though often variable in the most desired performance metric—timing.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 On My Radar: Resolve To Keep Happy by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“U.S. interest rates are already zero. Japanese interest rates are zero also. European interest rates are negative. All of these central banks have printed trillions of dollars in their respective currencies under various QE programs. They are at the point where they simply cannot print trillions more without risking political backlash or the collapse of confidence in their currencies.” – James Rickards

2015-11-09 00:00:00 Business Planning Beyond the Numbers by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

It's the time of year to develop a 2016 business plan. Many advisors believe the business plan consists solely of revenue, new-client acquisition and acquiring new assets. But there is much more than just a few numbers.

2015-11-09 00:00:00 How to Describe What Makes Your Firm Different by Kristen Luke (Article)

How do you differentiate yourself from your competition? The answer is not just in your marketing, which simply conveys the message of how you are different. You do so by drawing on all areas of your business.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 Light Vehicle Sales Per Capita: Another Look at the Long-Term Trend by Doug Short (Article)

For the past few years we've been following a couple of transportation metrics: Vehicle Miles Traveled and Gasoline Volume Sales. For both series we focus on the population adjusted data. Let's now do something similar with the Light Vehicle Sales report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This data series stretches back to January 1976. Since that first data point, the Civilian Noninstitutional Population Age 16 and Over (i.e., driving age not in the military or an inmate) has risen 62.2%.

2015-11-03 00:00:00 Matching Employee Style to Firm Culture by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We keep churning through administrative staff who tells us our environment is too fast paced and too intense. We keep adding new clients, and our clients are demanding. Our partners thrive on the fast changing nature of what we do, so I don’t see it changing. How do we find the right people to keep up with us, or how do we slow the partners down so they stop burning out staff?

2015-11-03 00:00:00 On My Radar: Defending Diversification by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“Whatever the form of risk and risk measurement one uses, the important thing to know is that diversification reduces risk and can be used to reduce risks without reducing returns.” – Ray Dalio

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Robert Merton on the Promise of Reverse Mortgages and the Peril of Target-Date Funds by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Target-date funds are an exceptionally bad way to save for retirement, according to Robert Merton. But, he said, reverse mortgages are a powerful – yet largely untapped – tool for retirees to improve their standard of living.

2015-11-02 00:00:00 Curve Ball - Is the Yield Curve Still a Dependable Signal? by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

Although traditional yield-curve analysis does not predict a recession, other equally persuasive indicators do.

2015-10-30 00:00:00 Have Commodities Reached an Inflection Point? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week the Federal Reserve announced that it would delay the interest rate liftoff yet again, but while everyone seems concerned about nominal rates—the federal funds rate, in this case—real rates have already risen about 5 percent since August 2011. This “invisible” rate hike is much more impactful to commodity prices and emerging markets than a nominal rate hike, which is simply the “tip of the iceberg.”

2015-10-28 00:00:00 On My Radar: I’m Rooting For Ray by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

There is a great deal of research around investor behavior. For example, our brains notice when a group provides an answer that is different from ours, the disparity is unpleasant. For many, aligning with the group is more rewarding for the brain than being independent and correct.

2015-10-21 00:00:00 On My Radar: Lucy, Charlie Brown and the Fed by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

All over the world, all eyes are zeroed in on the Fed. No pun intended.

2015-10-19 00:00:00 Where to Look for Outperforming Active Managers by Bob Veres (Article)

Not all stock-pickers are winners, and winning funds tend to be scattered all over the various sectors of the market. Is there a way to analyze the different segments of the global opportunity set, and determine the best places to look for those outperforming managers?

2015-10-19 00:00:00 Holiday Marketing Ideas for Advisors by Crystal Butler (Article)

It’s the perfect time of year to let clients know how appreciative you are for their business. I’ve summarized some of my favorite ways you can show your clients that you care.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Another Look at the Total Return Roller Coaster by Doug Short (Article)

Here's an interesting set of charts that will especially resonate with those of us who follow economic and market cycles. Imagine that five years ago you invested $10,000 in the S&P 500. How much would it be worth today, with dividends reinvested but adjusted for inflation? The purchasing power of your investment has increased to $18,100 for an annualized real return of 11.92%.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 How to Create a Client-Experience Calendar by Rob Pascual (Article)

The most successful financial advisory firms have one thing in common: They offer an extraordinary client experience. That is a direct result of relentless attention to detail and design. It happens on a consistent basis when your firm has systematized almost every aspect of its operation.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Is the Biotech Pullback a Buying Opportunity? by Aaron Reames of Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Fundamentally, the outlook for biotech is as strong as ever. Drug price controls are unlikely to happen for the next decade despite the political rhetoric. Political pressure combined with crowded quant positions and fund liquidations have created buying opportunities in biotech.

2015-10-12 00:00:00 Money Printing Lessons from the French Revolution by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

The events leading up the French Revolution are likely unfamiliar to most. Yet money printing and a debauched French currency played no small part in this history. The story is not a forecast for what may happen, but a powerful reminder of what has repeatedly happened in the past.

2015-10-07 00:00:00 On My Radar: Defaults Will Breach the Historical High Next Year – The Fed is the “Wild Card” by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

“The Fed is the “wild card” that has the power to determine how quickly the current credit cycle ends.” – Ed Altman

2015-10-05 00:00:00 The Case for Gold to Protect Clients’ Wealth Shorting the Federal Reserve by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

This article presents the case for an asset that will help managers protect their clients and uphold their fiduciary duty owed to them. I’ll explain why gold is a powerful hedge that will protect your clients’ wealth, but first I’ll look at the history of trade and currencies and how gold evolved to become a global store of wealth.

2015-10-05 00:00:00 How Google’s Innovation Formula Can Fuel Your Growth by Dan Richards (Article)

In today’s results-driven world, many CEOs focus on hitting short-term profit targets. But not Eric Schmidt. In the book, How Google Works, he outlined the model that allowed the company to meet ambitious goals while simultaneously positioning itself for success down the road. Here’s what advisors can learn from his approach.

2015-09-29 00:00:00 On My Radar: It’s Déjà vu All Over Again by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

What scares me, or what worries me, is what the next downturn in the economy looks like, with asset prices where they are and a lesser ability of central banks to ease monetary policy.” – Ray Dalio with Bloomberg’s Tom Keene

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Do Your Marketing Materials Pass the 10-Second Test? by Dan Richards (Article)

A conversation with a successful advisor highlighted the biggest pothole in developing marketing materials; whether a brochure, a website or a presentation to prospects, focusing on similarities rather than differences will make you fail to stand out.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 How to Answer the Question “Whom Do I Serve?” by Kristen Luke (Article)

To solve the problem of not clearly defining the clients you work with, I use a Client Profile Worksheet. This tool will organize and answer two key questions: Whom are you going to serve, and what are their financial needs and concerns? In other words, which clients do you really want to help?

2015-09-21 00:00:00 Applying the Sales Effectiveness Model to Your Firm by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Over the years I have had the chance to work with countless financial advisory firms to help them increase their growth. While most do not want to “sell,” they would like additional assets coming in the door! This week’s column gives a peek into the assessment process I use.

2015-09-21 00:00:00 How to Generate Alpha without Selecting Superior Funds by Bob Veres (Article)

In Part I of my series on active investment management, I described two types of research that attempted to help advisors uncover above-average talent: identifying conditions where you are more likely to find outperformers, and better ways to identify above-average managers. As it turns out, there’s a third possibility. Instead of identifying superior funds, you identify superior combinations of funds – which, of course, includes a fund-selection process, but then takes it one step further.

2015-09-18 00:00:00 Why the Fed Kept Rates ‘Lower for Longer’ Yet Again by Kristina Hooper, Steve Malin, Greg Meier of Allianz Global Investors

As a divided FOMC continues sitting on its collective hands, we’ve analyzed what’s going on behind the scenes and outlined the investment implications of the Fed’s latest inaction. Read the new report from Allianz Global Investors’ US Capital Markets & Strategy team.

2015-09-15 00:00:00 Be Face-To-Face Without Being In-Person by Crystal Butler (Article)

I’ve summarized some tools that can help you achieve a face-to-face meeting even if you aren’t necessarily in-person.

2015-09-12 00:00:00 Life Is Uncertain and So Are Interest Rates by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Right now, a lot of investors are wondering about the uncertainty of rising interest rates—the causes, effects and possible ramifications. Many people have been saying for weeks and months now that a rate hike is imminent and that September is the anticipated takeoff. I’ve been skeptical of this, and now a chart from highly-respected market analyst Jeff deGraaf confirms my skepticism.

2015-09-11 00:00:00 Housing: A Secular Opportunity? by Adam Peck of Heartland Advisors

Low interest rates, demographics, and a solid economy should provide staying power to a resurgent housing market. We are finding opportunities to capitalize on growth in the area while diversifying idiosyncratic risks in our portfolios.

2015-09-07 00:00:00 The First Step in Launching a Firm-wide Marketing Strategy by Kristen Luke (Article)

In order for a firm to grow and succeed beyond its owner’s capabilities, marketing and business development must become a company-wide responsibility. Here’s a process to make that happen.

2015-09-06 00:00:00 Muddling Through Shanghai by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

China is in transition, a transition that was clearly telegraphed if you have been paying attention. Our recent book on China (A Great Leap Forward?) clearly laid out this new path. Today we are going to talk about this precarious, difficult transition, which may impose profound impacts on much of the rest of the world. This transition is going to change the way global trade has worked in the past. There will be winners and losers.

2015-09-04 00:00:00 Unfazed by the Turmoil by Byron Wien of Blackstone

Overall, my sense of this year’s lunches is that the participants were still basically optimistic, as they generally are. I wonder if there were something big and negative brewing out there, whether the group would be able to anticipate it.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 The Active-Passive Debate Revisited by Bob Veres (Article)

Asset flows to passively managed funds are surging. But, as often happens, advisors are embracing a trend just as debunking information is arriving in the marketplace. New research is showing that selecting above-average active funds may not be the impossible task that the academic research has suggested.

2015-08-31 00:00:00 Stay Calm and Carry On by Kenneth Kim of EQIS Capital

As most everyone is aware, the markets have been highly volatile, and mostly down, during these past few days. Everyone seems to be pointing fingers at China’s slowing economy as the cause. Before joining EQIS, I was a professor of finance at Renmin University in Beijing, China for many years. Recognized as one of the top 15 economists* in China, and a frequent economic commentator on the Chinese economy on China’s only English-language national television station, I can speak about, and address, this current market condition that places blame on China.

2015-08-24 00:00:00 A Different Perspective on Market Valuations by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

How fast must annual EPS grow over the next five years to normalize the current CAPE 10 with its historic average?

2015-08-24 00:00:00 Strategies to Convert More Prospects by Dan Solin (Article)

Evidence-based advisors are no match for the media’s steady drumbeat of misinformation. As a consequence, they need to be especially skilled at persuasive techniques grounded in peer-reviewed data, which will permit them to convert more prospects into clients. Here is a research-backed strategy to accomplish that goal.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 What New Advisors Need to Succeed by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Our newer advisors – while credentialed – are not experienced. We can’t put them in front of our large clients. But because they have credentials behind them, they think that doing analysis or behind-the-scenes client work is beneath them. How do we explain that doing the time in analysis is important and does require a high level of expertise on its own?

2015-08-18 00:00:00 15 Ways to Make Investment Reports Easier to Read by Joyce Walsh (Article)

You put on your best outfit for client and marketing meetings. Your offices are well appointed, reflecting the professional culture of your firm. Then you pass the presentation materials around. The font is quirky and informal. In places it’s too small for some clients to read comfortably. With the flip of a page, your chance of making a positive first impression is lost.

2015-08-18 00:00:00 The Most Important Success Factors by Bob Veres (Article)

What are the most important success factors that you should have in order to achieve your business and personal goals (whatever they may be) and in what order?

2015-08-17 00:00:00 Big Data Analytics: Investing in Technology Themes by Paul Meeks of Saturna Capital

With big data analytics we can quickly and efficiently comb through a mammoth store of data for many business insights that just keep coming.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 Investing with the Slowskys: Appreciating the Value of Expertise, Analysis, and Judgment by David Robertson of Arete Asset Management

News bits and data items with obvious implications are ever present but get discounted by the market very quickly. Only deeper, “slow traveling ideas” provide long term investors with a chance of realizing superior results.

2015-08-14 00:00:00 China Breaks into a New Range by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

For some time, analysts have suspected that China’s economic performance was trending well below targeted levels. The equity market correction that began earlier this summer seemed to confirm these concerns; only a substantial amount of official intervention prevented an outright crash. Now we can add exchange-rate uncertainty to the list of things that China will have to manage very carefully.

2015-08-11 00:00:00 The Hidden Cost of Ignoring Evidence by Dan Solin (Article)

An advisor recently told me that he lost a large client to another firm. This advisor said he had carefully explained the benefits of evidence-based investing to the prospect and thought he had made a convincing case. The losing advisor was distraught and confused. He wanted to know if I could help him understand how the prospect could make such an “irrational” decision.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 The Investment Opportunity from Share Buybacks by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

Clear-headed reason shows that unless one is an executive whose compensation is tied to metrics influenced by the effects of share buybacks, there are few instances that support this use of corporate resources. Indeed, shrewd investors can profit at the expense of companies that have aggressively bought back shares.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 What Drives Risk Tolerance by Daniel Solin (Article)

To be a successful advisor, you need to understand how risk affects the decisions investors make and what you can do to make those decisions more objective and responsible. Demonstrating value at a time when investments are becoming more of a commodity is a popular topic in advisor-industry circles.

2015-08-04 00:00:00 Niche Marketing with Cathy Curtis by (Article)

Cathy Curtis, president and founder of California-based Curtis Financial Planning, discusses how she built a successful practice targeted to women in transition.

2015-08-02 00:00:00 Europe: Back to Business by Philippe Brugere-Trelat of Franklin Templeton Investments

The main very positive consequence of the Greek rescue agreement—even if nobody in Greece or in the eurozone at large seems to like it—is that Greece appears to be staying in the eurozone and the construct has been safeguarded.

2015-08-02 00:00:00 When China Stopped Acting Chinese by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Much of the world is focused on what is happening in Greece and Europe. A lot of people are paying attention to the Middle East and geopolitics. These are significant concerns, for sure; but what has been happening in China the past few months has more far-reaching global investment implications than Europe or the Middle East do. Most people are aware of the amazing run-up in the Shanghai stock index and the recent “crash.” The government intervened and for a time has halted the rapid drop in the markets.

2015-07-30 00:00:00 How Hemlines Affect The Market by Tyler Howard of Saturna Capital

George Taylor's "Hemline Index Theory" has persisted since 1926, but is it true? If you search long enough, or mine enough data, you are bound to find correlations that, while statistically robust, have no meaningful explanatory power.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Selling (and buying) the Invisible by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

No matter what profession or stage of your career you may be in, everyone is ultimately “selling something.” Whether a teacher, a lawyer, a physician, a plumber, or a high school student applying to colleges, we are all salespeople in one way or the other.

2015-07-22 00:00:00 Currencies Depend on Faith, Gold Doesn’t by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In his July 17th Blog, Let's Get Real About Gold, author and Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig likened investor interest in gold with the "Pet Rock" craze of the 1970's, when consumers became convinced that a rock in a box would provide continuous companionship, elevate their social standing, and give them something hip to talk about at parties. Zweig asserts that investor faith in gold, which he argues is just another inert mineral with good marketing, is similarly irrational, and has kept people from putting money in the much more lucrative stock market.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 The Opportunity in Municipal Closed-End Funds The Value in the 9th Inning of the Great Bond Rally by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

For the last five years, bond market experts have unfailingly and wrongly predicted a rise in interest rates. If the current rate-hike fears prove unfounded again, municipal-backed closed-end funds (M-CEFs) is an asset subclass likely to perform well. Here are eight such funds to consider.

2015-07-21 00:00:00 Four Principles for Proven Success on Social Media by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

In last week’s article, I discussed the need for advisors to use social media effectively. This brought a number of follow-up questions. This week’s column provides guidelines for navigating the often-murky waters of social-media marketing.

2015-07-17 00:00:00 Crude Oil Is the Best-Performing Commodity of 2015 So Far by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The widest expansion this year was made by none other than crude oil, the worst-performing commodity of 2014. As of June 30, oil posted gains of over 11 percent, rising to $59.47 per barrel. After falling more than 50 percent since last summer, though, it had little else to go but up. That oil claimed the top spot just highlights the reality that commodities are in a depressed state right now.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Common Sense Trumps Smart Beta by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Every few years or so the powerful money men of Wall Street come up with a new idea they believe will lead to unimaginable wealth for their clients and themselves. These ideas often stem from rigorous statistical studies which attempt to confirm that a particular idea offers better than average returns to investors. Of course, in the world of academia, any believable idea originally promoted by one researcher will quickly be followed by additional research from academics around the world expanding on, reinforcing, or contradicting the original study.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Fees vs. Commissions: Why An Old Debate Is New Again by Bob Veres (Article)

Robo-advisors are forcing us to revisit the ancient fees versus commissions debate. New data and new circumstances have changed the debate in powerful ways.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Innovation – Too Much, or Too Little of a Good Thing? by Michael Lebowitz (Article)

New innovations save us a lot of time and effort but, believe it or not, they do little to generate sustainable economic growth. Sustainable economic growth depends on productivity. Despite these new innovations, domestic productivity is flat lining.

2015-07-14 00:00:00 Can Social Media Lead to New Prospects? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We should be getting more from social media. We all have LinkedIn accounts. We have a Twitter account for the firm, and we regularly post articles and ideas. None of this leads to new business. What can we do to generate prospects from our social media activities?

2015-07-11 00:00:00 Global Investors: You Should Be Paying Attention to this Economic Indicator by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In addition to our own macro models, BCA Research , a highly respected independent research company, pointed out that PMIs in developing economies have plunged to new lows. The International Monetary Fund also revised downward its global growth forecast for 2015. On this account, bad news is good news, as central bankers are scrambling to stimulate economic growth.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Why Neuroscience Trumps Investing Expertise in Gathering AUM by Daniel Solin (Article)

To convert more prospects into clients and grow your assets under management, a basic understanding of neuroscience is critical.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 The Client-Savvy Colors That Make Presentations More Effective by Joyce Walsh (Article)

Your client reports and marketing presentations are arguably the most public face of your practice. How they look and the colors you choose affect the way clients and prospects respond to the information you want to convey.

2015-07-07 00:00:00 Making Investment Strategies Interesting by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We are reworking fact sheets for a number of our specialty investment products. As we read them, we see that we use the same terminology and ideas over and over again. How can we make this aspect of our offering more compelling?

2015-07-02 00:00:00 Home of the Free, Land of the Entrepreneur by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Where else but in America can a startup such as Uber be valued at $50 billion, higher than 80 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 Index, only six years after its founding? Where else but in America can someone reach billionaire status by inventing a new type of hosiery, as Sara Blakely did with Spanx? Before her now-ubiquitous undergarments were worn by women—and now men—all over the globe, Blakely was so broke that she had to write her own patent without the help of an attorney.

2015-06-30 00:00:00 Stop Ignoring Millennials: They’re The Future of Your Company by Lauren Hong (Article)

Millennials are bucking trends day-in and day-out. As of 2013, they’re officially the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. As a financial advisor, you cannot ignore them. Here’s how to include millennials in your marketing plan.

2015-06-25 00:00:00 Take Shareholder Yield With a Grain of Salt by Jeff Middleswart of Ranger International

A valuation measure called “shareholder yield” has gained credence among investors of late. While shareholder yield may be a one of many useful valuation measures, we caution against overemphasizing the metric. We are particularly concerned that the measure is indifferent to whether cash flow is spent on dividends or share buybacks, the latter being a questionable allocation of capital in our view.

2015-06-22 00:00:00 Why It’s Time to Stop Reading About Robo Advisors by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

Rather than just reading about the robos from third party sources, it’s important to do some first-hand research for yourself to truly understand the value proposition of online automated financial advice platforms.

2015-06-16 00:00:00 How to Use Color to Make an Impact by Daniel Solin (Article)

Most firms have marketing materials available on their websites and in hard copy. And every advisor communicates with clients via email and through periodic performance reports. I have yet, however, to meet an advisor who pays the same attention to these materials as they do to their clothes or the way their office is appointed.

2015-06-14 00:00:00 The People’s Republic of Debt by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Among the most important questions for all investors and businessmen is, how will China manage its future and the problems it faces? There are many problems, some of them monumental – and at the same time there is an amazing amount of opportunity and potential. Understanding the challenges and deciphering the likely outcomes is itself an immense challenge.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 In Defense of ‘Smart Beta’ by Keith Goddard (Article)

In a recent article, Why Smart Beta is Really Dumb, Michael Edesess encouraged investors to be skeptical of the growing number of factor-based investment strategies being marketed under the moniker of "smart beta." While I applaud Edesess' call for skepticism, I am compelled to play the role of public defender and cross-examine his accusations.

2015-06-09 00:00:00 The Importance of Knowing Your Ideal Client by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

When I start working with a client, one of the first things they want me to do is help them develop a personalized marketing plan. To set the foundation for that plan, we first must determine their ideal client.

2015-06-02 00:00:00 Why Emotions and Bias Trump Facts by Daniel Solin (Article)

This interesting article on the role emotions play in making sales revealed some fascinating insights that savvy advisors can utilize.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 World War D—Deflation by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Everywhere I go I’m asked, “Will there be inflation or deflation? Are we in a bull or bear market? Is the bond bulk market over and will interest rates rise?" The flippant answer to all those questions is “Yes.” And that can be the correct answer as well, but it depends on what your time frame is and what tools you use to measure the markets and inflation.

2015-05-28 00:00:00 Half Full or Half Empty by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

The ultimate question for investors. Is the glass half full, that is to say are economic backdrops improving to support attractive valuations, or to the contrary, half empty, deteriorating and threatening full valuations?

2015-05-26 00:00:00 Why 'Smart Beta' Is Really Dumb by Michael Edesess (Article)

What does smart beta mean? Does it deserve the attention it is getting from the market and academia?

2015-05-26 00:00:00 The Most Important Step to Convert Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)

Most advisors using traditional mass-marketing methods without building early credibility will see heightened struggles to get a return on their effort. Fortunately, once the will and priority is in place, there are some proven models to successfully build credibility.

2015-05-23 00:00:00 Rate Hike Ahead? Here’s How to Get Your Portfolio Ready by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Many experts and analysts believe a June rate hike seems very unlikely, but today, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen hinted that one might happen as soon as the end of this year.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Louis-Vincent Gave: The World's Most Crowded Trade by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Investors are paid to adapt, not to forecast, according to Louis-Vincent Gave, and three changes are occurring globally that all portfolios must accommodate. One of them is a position that is missing from virtually every investor's allocation.

2015-05-12 00:00:00 Weathering Market Risk With Dividend Stocks by Sponsored Content by Invesco (Article)

Retirement planning is like a road trip: You need a well-thought-out plan to reach your destination. Prudent travelers should be prepared for occasional bursts of volatility. Dividend-paying stocks can help manage market risk by providing relatively conservative exposure to the equity market.

2015-05-11 00:00:00 Taming Longevity Risk by Patrick Drum of Saturna Capital

"In spite of the cost of living, it's still popular." - Kathleen Norris. These words offered by Kathleen Norris decades ago carry more weight than ever before, particularly within the realm of financial planning and saving for retirement.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Ten Lessons from America's Top Marketer by Dan Richards (Article)

The world's largest consumer products company with global sales of $80 billion, Procter and Gamble has 26 brands with sales over $1 billion and names like Tide, Crest and many others. P&G's marketing success provides 10 important lessons for financial advisors.

2015-05-05 00:00:00 Make Your Website Work as Hard as You Do by Lauren Hong (Article)

Every three to five years. That's how often you should be refreshing and revamping your website based on how quickly technology and design develop. Not what you want to hear? Fear not: I promise the return is worth the investment on this one.

2015-04-27 00:00:00 Investment Trends Shaping Our Industry’s Future by Patty Quinn McAuley of Clark Capital Management Group

I attended iShares Connect in New York last week, a conference focused on bringing together industry leaders in the ETF space. Attendees heard from a variety of investment experts and thought leaders and had an open dialogue about where our industry is headed.

2015-04-21 00:00:00 Closing the Retirement Gender Gap by Jeff Briskin (Article)

New research shows how a lack of "retirement readiness" puts many women at risk of financial hardship during their retirement years, especially since most will outlive their spouses.

2015-04-20 00:00:00 Picking Stocks in the Tech Sector by Chaitanya Yaramada of Robert W. Baird & Co.

Technology is an important sector for growth portfolios - it carries a significant weight in major growth benchmarks, and more importantly, tends to be a ripe area for stock picking. The technology sector represents nearly 15% of the Russell Midcap Growth benchmark and 24% of the Russell 3000 Growth benchmark. The percentage is even higher when including Internet stocks that are categorized into the Consumer Discretionary sector.

2015-04-14 00:00:00 The Words to Avoid in Marketing Your Firm by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Are there key phrases and terms we should stay away from in our firm's marketing message?

2015-04-14 00:00:00 Stocks: The Great Wealth Non-Equalizer by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Just recently, published a very interesting article entitle "Stock Market Is America's Great Wealth Equalizer." While I am sure the author is well-intentioned, it is a very misguided article in its assumptions.

2015-04-11 00:00:00 Finding Value in Declining Commodity Prices by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So what’s the deal with Chinese equities right now? After all, China’s economic growth for the first quarter of the year cooled to a six-year low of 7 percent. The market surge is mostly attributable to monetary easing and government policy changes such as housing stimulus and modernization of the country’s financial structure. But there’s more at work.

2015-04-11 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Today’s Oil Retreat Is at Odds with Long-Term Trends; A New Bank Creates Controversy in Asia; Solving the U.S. Wage Conundrum

2015-04-10 00:00:00 Reforms Help Revive Eurozone Recovery Hopes by Lisa Myers of Franklin Templeton Investments

Many of the eurozone’s local stock markets began 2015 with a bang, as the effects of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing (QE) program were felt even before the bond-buying began. While QE seems to have provided a quick lift to many eurozone economies and and their respective equity markets, Lisa Myers, executive vice president, Templeton Global Equity Group™, stresses the importance of long-range structural reform in any sustained eurozone recovery. She analyzes country-specific endeavors and discusses their implications for future economic growth in the region.

2015-04-07 00:00:00 How to Profit When Rates Rise: Negative Duration Bond Strategies by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

As the debate rages surrounding the timing of the first Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hike, we continue to discuss the potential tradeoffs surrounding this inevitable shift in policy. While some investors may be content to ride out the waning bull market in bonds, others may seek to position more tactically.

2015-04-01 00:00:00 That’s So Overrated: How Credit Ratings Do Damage by Jeff Skoglund of AllianceBernstein

Credit rating agencies are a capital-markets fixture; the ratings they assign to the debt of corporations and governments are widely used by investors as a standard measure of credit risk. But agency credit ratings aren’t perfect—and shouldn’t be a substitute for investors doing their own analysis.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 How Advisors Can Learn Empathy from Doctors by Daniel Solin (Article)

According to a recent article, the mindset of doctors is changing. Empathy skills are no longer dismissed as a "good bedside manner." Indeed, advisors can improve their own empathetic skills by looking at advances in medical training.

2015-03-31 00:00:00 Are You Building a Harley Davidson Practice? by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

Harley Davidson is the only company I know of whose customers permanently tattoo its name on their body. What is it that makes Harley Davidson customers want to show their support in this way? Bad-boy image, reputation, quality products, exceptional service?

2015-03-27 00:00:00 REITs in a Rising Interest-Rate Environment by Wilson Magee of Franklin Templeton Investments

Wilson Magee, director of global real estate and infrastructure securities, Franklin Real Asset Advisors®, believes this environment is causing many investors to search for alternative investments that can add an income-oriented asset to their portfolio as well as gain exposure to global economic growth potential. He outlines why he thinks it’s an opportune time for many investors to consider diversifying into global real estate through an actively managed investment vehicle.

2015-03-21 00:00:00 The Fed -- Drunken Coxswain of the SS America by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

What if the Fed’s luck should change for the worse without its “smarts” changing for better? Well, that question now is relevant. After rebounding to a rate approximately equal to its long-run median, growth in total thin-air credit sharply decelerated in February, both on a year-over-year basis as well as a three-month basis.

2015-03-17 00:00:00 How Advisors Are Positioning Fixed-Income Portfolios by Bob Veres (Article)

I asked the readers of my Inside Information newsletter service to tell me how they're preparing for an impending Fed rate hike. To date, I've received 178 pages of responses from advisors all over the country and across the spectrum, from indexers to fervent believers in active management, representing large and small firms investing on behalf of wealthy or middle-income clients.

2015-03-08 00:00:00 Weighing the Week Ahead: Is Good News Now Bad for Investors? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Anyone who wants to speculate on what the Fed is thinking must include some actual evidence from past transcripts. If, for example, you want to suggest that the Fed “wants a market correction” (you can’t make this stuff up) then you have to find at least one historical example where some participant raised that idea. Otherwise, shut up!

2015-03-04 00:00:00 The Millennial Obsession by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

You cannot pick up a business publication, tune into a financial news program, or glance at any news website without confronting yet another story on Millennials.

2015-03-02 00:00:00 The Herd Can Be Blind by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Going into 2015 the economic outlook held by the U.S. investment establishment could not have been much more positive, and more unified. Pundits saw all the variables aligning to create the best of all investment worlds, a virtual "no-brainer" of optimism. Many believed that the 5.0% annualized growth in 3rd quarter would stay strong in the 4th Quarter and then usher in a strong 2015, which many believed would be the best economic year since the crash of 2008. The only question that divided most forecasters was how good the year would be.

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Could Apple Buy a Third of the World’s Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So what’s Apple’s next trick? How about moving the world’s gold market?

2015-02-27 00:00:00 Reconnecting with Energy Stocks by Sharon Fay of AllianceBernstein

Plunging oil prices since mid-2014 have led many equity investors to shun energy stocks. We think that’s a mistake. By studying the aftermath of previous oil shocks, we believe investors can gain insight to prepare for a possible rebound.

2015-02-24 00:00:00 On My Radar: A $9 Trillion Dollar Crisis by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

Here is the main point of today’s OMR: According to the Bank of International Settlements, non-bank borrowers outside the U.S. have borrowed, in dollars, $9 trillion. This is an increase of $4.5 trillion since the financial crisis and it places that $9 trillion on the wrong side of the dollar bet. The dollar debt is an example of how the Fed’s tightening will impact the world economy. This is a pressure cooker and the pot is starting to boil.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Harold Evensky - Nine Key Communication Points by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Advisors should put their mouths where their money is, according to Harold Evensky. Educating and preparing clients for what advisors will ultimately deliver must be a core principle of every practice. In a recent presentation, Evensky described nine key ways that advisors should interact with clients, the media and their peers.

2015-02-10 00:00:00 Why Building Trust is the Top Priority in 2015 by Robin Powell (Article)

I have long advocated using high-quality, engaging content to build trust and attract and retain more clients. Your content reflects - or should reflect - you and your values and it has to take center stage in your firm's marketing strategy.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 Your Alpha is My Beta by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick and Rodrigo Gordillo of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of a short correspondence with Lars Kestner, a well known quant and derivatives trader, and creator of the thoughtful K-ratio as a measure of risk adjusted performance. We connected on the definition of alpha, and how the term has been so abused in media and marketing as to become almost meaningless.

2015-02-05 00:00:00 Why Were We So Surprised? by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

Chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham examines the sources for the "unique decline" in the oil price since June, and offers an outlook for the coming years -Why Were We So Surprised? The Oil Glut, Saudi Decisions, and the Uniqueness of U.S. Fracking

2015-02-03 00:00:00 Doing Business Through the Know, Like, and Trust Process by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

We have all heard the phrase, "People like doing business with people they know, like and trust." But how does one get to the point of trust in a relationship?

2015-01-27 00:00:00 The Characteristics of a Great Sales Culture by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

If you don't think your sales culture is strong enough, here is a guideline for developing a more robust sales culture.

2015-01-25 00:00:00 There?s More to the Gold Rally than European Market Fears by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Even though gold was down last year, it still ranked as the second-best-performing currency, following the U.S. dollar. The metal has risen about 10 percent year-to-date, and on Tuesday, for the first time since mid-August, it broke through the $1,300 mark.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 The Small Investment that Pays a Big Return by Daniel Solin (Article)

Television anchors have discovered something that has eluded many financial advisors, both male and female.

2015-01-20 00:00:00 Are You Considering a Client Advisory Board? Here's What You Need To Know. by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

As part of your 2015 marketing calendar, consider including a client-advisory board.

2015-01-13 00:00:00 The Small Decisions that Lost a $5 Million Account by Dan Richards (Article)

A recent conversation with a woman looking to invest an inheritance highlighted how seemingly trivial decisions by advisors can make a huge difference. In this case, the advisor's inattention to a small detail cost a $5 million account.

2015-01-07 00:00:00 Transition to the Cloud: Do-or-Die Time For Laggards by Paul Meeks of Saturna Capital

Saturna places considerable emphasis on technology, especially in growth strategies. Amana Growth and Sextant Growth Funds sport tech heavy allocations well in excess of their benchmarks.

2014-12-30 00:00:00 The "Art" of Gathering AUM Should be a "Science" by Daniel Solin (Article)

The process of converting prospects into clients is more of a science than an art. There is peer-reviewed support that shows how you can skew the odds in your favor by following some basic rules. Here are some suggestions.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Convertible Bonds: The Rodney Dangerfield of Liquid Alts by Robert Martorana (Article)

Historical returns have been outstanding for convertible-bond strategies. Moreover, low drawdowns during bear markets give these products an attractive risk-return profile, especially when compared to other liquid alternatives.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Three Reasons why Robo-Advisors are a Huge Benefit to the Advisory Profession by Bob Veres (Article)

It's time to change our thinking about the so-called robo-advisory firms that are moving into the financial planning landscape. They are going to be far more beneficial to the planning/investment advisory profession than any innovation in recent decades. Let's explore three ways these firms are changing the planning ecology, and note that all of them are not just positive, but significantly positive.

2014-12-18 00:00:00 2015 Investment Outlook: US Credit Cycle Tiptoes into Middle Age by Eric Takaha of Franklin Templeton Investments

Eric Takaha, SVP, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, discusses how far the US economy is in the credit cycle and the potential effects of rising rates.

2014-12-16 00:00:00 Increase the Emotional Connection with Your Prospects by Daniel Solin (Article)

To convert prospects into clients, you need to make an emotional connection. Lecturing, educating, presenting data or otherwise demonstrating your superior expertise in financial planning and investments will not achieve that goal.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Developing Growth Plans for 2015 by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Every year we talk about formalizing our client referral process, increasing our market presence and setting other growth-related goals. But we start January 1 without real plans in place. What can we do this December to ensure we are successful with our resolutions?

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Who Should Go to the Bowls? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

When I was a kid there were just four year-end college football bowl games. Today there are 39. Perhaps the title of this piece should be Do we need holiday football bowls at all? But I guess they wouldnt produce them unless there was a demand for them from the cities, hoping to get some travelers, to the sponsors, hoping to get some attention, to the teams, seeking to cap a successful season, and to the fans, who are just looking to have some fun and experience a last hurrah for this years heroes.

2014-12-04 00:00:00 Exchange Rate 101: A Primer For International Investors by Bryce Fegley of Saturna Capital

A solid grasp of exchange rates and how they impact various asset classes can help international investors make better-informed decisions. The asset class most likely to be impacted negatively by a strengthening dollar is non-dollar fixed-rate bonds.

2014-12-02 00:00:00 The Danger of a Gossip-Monger by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

One of my colleagues thrives on gossip. She talks about each of us behind our backs, criticizing how we do everything. I want it to stop.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 The Elusive Goal of Success by Daniel Solin (Article)

There's no shortage of information on the subject of success. The problem is defining what success means to you.

2014-11-25 00:00:00 How to Visually Illustrate the Fiduciary Obligation to Clients by Seaborn Hall (Article)

Industry and legal experts have described the fiduciary obligation as complex, simple, elusive, atomistic, and contradictory. It is like the parable of the six blind men describing the elephant: how you see it depends on your vantage point. Deriving a flexible, easily explained definition of the fiduciary obligation is a challenge.

2014-11-22 00:00:00 Solar Energy Powers Record Silver Demand by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Silver demand in the fabrication of solar panels is set to outpace photography, if it hasn?t already done so.

2014-11-18 00:00:00 Putins World: Why Russias Showdown with the West Will Worsen by Vitaliy Katsenelson of Investment Management Associates

I grew up hating America. I lived in the Soviet Union and was a child of the cold war. That hate went away in 1989, though, when the Berlin Wall fell and the cold war ended. By the time I left Russia in 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed, America was a country that Russians looked up to and wanted to emulate. Twenty-three years later, a new version of cold war is back, though we Americans haven't realized it yet

2014-11-17 00:00:00 The Hypocritical Assertions of CFP Lobbyists CFP Lobbying Organization Calls Out RIAs by John H. Robinson (Article)

Recently released research from the Financial Planning Coalition is likely generating the desired attention its media-savvy crafters intended, but an informed reading of the materials reveals a campaign that is at odds with the ethical preaching of its three member organizations.

2014-11-15 00:00:00 Explore and Discover the Winners When Gas Prices Fall by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil for December delivery is currently priced at $75 per barrel, Brent for January delivery at $78 per barrel. Many investors, publications and news sources focus only on the drawbacks to falling oil and gas prices-don't get me wrong, there are many-but today we're going to give the spotlight to the biggest winners and beneficiaries.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 Why Jeremy Grantham is Right about Corporate Profit Margins by Baijnath Ramraika, CFA® and Prashant Trivedi, CFA® (Article)

As U.S. corporate profit margins have made it to record highs, a debate has raged between those who place their hopes on a new paradigm of sustained high profits and those who believe in capitalism's efficiency and the tendency of margins to revert to the mean. We show that an often-cited explanation for the new paradigm - that the U.S. economy is more service-focused - lacks empirical support.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 How to Get Clients to Open Your Emails by Dan Richards (Article)

It's imperative that your clients and prospects open and read your e-mails. But with escalating volumes, people are drowning in email, leading to steep declines in open rates and readerships. Here's the latest research on how to get your email read.

2014-11-11 00:00:00 Qualifying Made Easier by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have so many leads that sometimes I can't manage them all in one day. My biggest problem is that when I do follow up and generate interest, only a small portion open an account. Where am I making a mistake?

2014-11-11 00:00:00 One year in: Im doubling down on investment discipline by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Since assuming the role of Global CIO here at Russell Investments one year ago, I have been met by one inescapable truth again and again: Discipline matters!

2014-11-11 00:00:00 Factors: An Essential Part of Any Nutritious Portfolio by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of Dundee Goodman Private Wealth

We recently posted a piece on factor investing so we were thrilled to have an opportunity to see Dr. Andrew Ang and Don Raymond discuss factor investing at a seminar in Toronto last week.

2014-11-07 00:00:00 The Investing Evolution: How We Got Here by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

One of the main themes of the Schwab Impact conference was the urgency the industry feels to go beyond traditional asset allocation. I could not agree more with that concept. But as for the execution of it, I see what I have seen so many times beforea good idea to help investors, which the industry then bludgeons to death with complexity, excessive fees and a bunch of me-too products. I will devote much more space in this blog to this in the coming weeks and months.

2014-11-04 00:00:00 Identifying and Communicating Your Key Differentiators by Kristen Luke (Article)

Let's look at how advisors can communicate the ways in which they are different - a common struggle for many firms.

2014-11-03 00:00:00 Digging Deep for Value in Volatility by Grace Hoefig of Franklin Templeton Investments

Selloffs like those seen recently in US equities have provided a respite from soaring share prices for deep value investors, and they have been out in force, scouring the markets for quality stocks at bargain prices. Grace Hoefig, research analyst and portfolio manager for Franklin Equity Groups US Value Equity team, says that recent stock market dips have presented value opportunities in some market sectors, but, as through all market conditions, a little patience and a lot of research and flexibility are required to uncover them.

2014-11-01 00:00:00 Dont Be Spooked by Market VolatilityOpportunity Is Still Knocking! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

One of the greatest fears this Octoberpossibly the most volatile month of the yearhas been the correlation between the S&P 500 Indexs ascent in the first three quarters of the year and the possible ramifications of the end of quantitative easing (QE).

2014-10-28 00:00:00 Five Holiday Marketing Tips by Megan Elliott (Article)

The holiday season is an ideal time to reach out and remind people what you do in a more personal, less sales-focused way than you might at other times of the year.

2014-10-21 00:00:00 How to Compete with Online Advice: The Historical Lessons by Dan Richards (Article)

Online start-ups offering low-cost investment advice have received lots of attention, not to mention over $200 million dollars in venture capital. What lessons does history offer on the likely impact of online advice? And based on what's happened in the past, how can advisors respond to this new threat?

2014-10-21 00:00:00 The Wrong Question to Ask About Marketing by Mandy Fisher (Article)

When confronted with a marketing decision, the first thing most advisors ask how much it will cost. But that's the wrong question.

2014-10-21 00:00:00 Getting Your Boss to Understand You by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

My boss does not understand me. Every time he asks me to do something, he criticizes my work. Everything I submit is "wrong" and needs to be redone. I'm pulling my hair out (and I didn't have much to start with). How do I get him to see what I am doing in a positive light?

2014-10-21 00:00:00 Help is on the Horizon to Ease Student Debt by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason (Article)

To preempt the college funding crisis that lies ahead, we must ensure that future generations avoid excessive debt. With the current path unsustainable, experts believe the partnership between 529s, colleges and government must evolve. Get a preview of tomorrow's college conversation and advisors' role in the holistic solution.

2014-10-21 00:00:00 The Tool that Will Transform Firmwide Financial Planning by Bob Veres (Article)

Alex Murguia, founder and CEO of InStream Solutions, may be the most creative visionary in today's advisor software ecosystem. And like all people who think outside the box, sometimes he discovers that his best ideas have far better uses than he intended.

2014-10-16 00:00:00 The Boutique Advantage by Team of Ridgeworth

A recent survey highlights advisors thoughts and concerns about these specialized investment managers.

2014-10-14 00:00:00 How to Promote Your Case Studies by Elizabeth Snyder (Article)

If you don't promote your case studies effectively, they won't help you achieve your marketing goals.

2014-10-14 00:00:00 The Eurozone Plots Its Long Road to Recovery by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

Growth in much of Europe is slow - some observers even say the economy is moving sideways. Lately, the eurozone seems to have more in common with Japan, whose economy has been idling for years, than it does with the UK or the United States.

2014-10-13 00:00:00 New Depths of Shallowness by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

What happens in the corporate world often is a reflection of the values and trends in our society. Here are a couple of recent stories that, well, leave me scratching my head...

2014-10-10 00:00:00 Japan: Changes in Sentiment and Tokyo's Property Market by Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

In his second trip to Japan this year, Portfolio Manager Dilip Badlani observed a change in sentiment, though his bullishness on Japanese micro-caps remains unshaken.

2014-10-07 00:00:00 The Five Biggest Ways Your Practice Needs to Change by Bob Veres (Article)

Telling you to brace for change, over and over again, isn't exactly helping you make concrete plans. With the constant demands on your time, it would be helpful to know: What are the new realities to which you must adapt? Where are the transitions going to impact your practice? What old ways are you going to have to abandon, and what new ones will you have to adopt? Here's my list, including five that are either urgent or high-priority changes.

2014-10-07 00:00:00 The Five Keys to Effective Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

To set yourself up for success in the coming year, put these five foundation items on the top of your list before developing your marketing plan.

2014-10-01 00:00:00 Making Sense of the Bond Market by Phelps McIlvaine of Saturna Capital

A persistent reduction in the US inflation rate and well-anchored inflation expectations continue to contradict the common understanding that interest rates have reached a cyclical floor.

2014-09-30 00:00:00 Why You Should Stop Blogging About Investing by Megan Elliott (Article)

Now that virtually every advisor is a blogger, it's harder to stand out. There's no shortage of people expounding on financial planning and investing online. Here's what to write about instead.

2014-09-23 00:00:00 The Tax Harvesting Water Hole by Michael Edesess (Article)

Michael Edesess responds to Betterment's critique of his article on its tax-harvesting alpha.

2014-09-23 00:00:00 What Makes a Powerful Website? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We are redoing our website. Any tips on how to attract prospects?

2014-09-20 00:00:00 Stocks Rally Following Janet Yellen's Conference and Scotland's Historic Referendum by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This news gives stocks reason to rally for a considerable time, or at least until the Fed gives us a more concrete timeframe for a rate hike.

2014-09-19 00:00:00 Finding Appropriate Investment Strategies for Client Portfolios by Chuck Self of iSectors

Financial advisors (FAs) utilizing outsourced investment management processes face a significant number of choices. Recently, there were 675 exchange-traded fund (ETF) investment strategists in Morningstars database. How does one narrow the list of choices for further investigation effectively?

2014-09-16 00:00:00 What are the 'Magic Words' to Re-engage Past Clients? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

My partner and I left a firm where we worked with clients for years. It's very disheartening how few of our former clients have followed us to our new firm. In some cases, they won't even return a phone call. What magic words can we use to get them re-engaged with us?

2014-09-16 00:00:00 Now is the Time to Build Your 2015 Marketing Plan by Mandy Fisher (Article)

There are four building blocks that create a well-balanced marketing plan for financial advisors: infrastructure, awareness, lead generation and conversion. I will walk you through each block so that you have a clear understanding of what they are and how you can build your 2015 marketing plan.

2014-09-09 00:00:00 What is "Fee-Only?" Is the CFP Board Taking the Right Approach to Defining it? by Bob Veres (Article)

Which is more important to your advisory practice - your CFP designation or your fee-only status? Before you answer, consider this: Your CFP mark says very little about whether you adhere to a fiduciary standard, and less about your mode of compensation. Those issues are at the forefront of an ongoing controversy pitting the CFP Board against a prominent advisor, and there is little sign that its outcome will resolve the ongoing debate about how to define a fee-only professional engagement. If anything, it raises more questions than answers.

2014-09-03 00:00:00 Consumer Confidence Hits a Seven-Year High... But by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last week, the Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to a near seven-year high in mid-August. It was the fourth consecutive monthly rise in the Index and handily beat the pre-report consensus.

2014-09-02 00:00:00 Ranking the Top 10 "Differentiators" for Advisory Firms by Bob Veres (Article)

If we have a clear idea of what foregrounds one advisory firm ahead of others, then we can deliberately cultivate those characteristics. The problem is, nobody has ever compiled a comprehensive list of differentiators, much less ranked them according to importance. So, to fill that obvious void, I've ranked the top 10 differentiators that I've personally seen advisors use in their positioning and marketing.

2014-09-02 00:00:00 A Marketing Strategy to Reach Millennials by Melanie Cressman (Article)

Millennials are a hands-on generation in every aspect, including finances. How can financial advisors connect with them?

2014-09-02 00:00:00 Your Clients Don't Care About You by Megan Elliott (Article)

Conversations with clients should be about them, not you.

2014-08-26 00:00:00 Successful Succession Planning - Building Your Legacy and Keeping It by Alan Rosenfield (Article)

RIAs need a succession plan. But what does that mean, and how can you get one?

2014-08-26 00:00:00 These Four Mistakes Will Shipwreck Your Email Marketing Campaign by Alan Del Rosario (Article)

Here are four common mistakes that will shipwreck your email marketing campaign.

2014-08-22 00:00:00 What "Smart Beta" Means to Us by Rob Arnott, Engin Kose of Research Affiliates

The controversial term smart beta is used so broadly in the marketplace that it risks becoming meaningless. This article describes the characteristics of equity strategies that, in our view, merit the smart beta designation.

2014-08-19 00:00:00 When Senior Managers Make Bad Decisions by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

What do you tell an insurance-based planning organization that owns a mutual fund company, a broker-dealer and an annuity company and has a 150-year track record as a mutual life-insurance company but does not require its recruits to be equities licensed at even the Series 6 level? These so-called advisors meet with clients but cannot provide the full suite of products and services that the parent company has available.

2014-08-18 00:00:00 Why Gilead Is The Most Exciting Growth Opportunity In 2014 by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Earnings drive stock price in the long run and Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD) is entering a remarkable period of what could only be called astounding future earnings growth. This has not gone unnoticed by the market, as the stock price has been on a steady ascent for the past several months.

2014-08-18 00:00:00 A Different Take on an Advisor's Fees by Daniel Solin (Article)

Some traditional advisors feel pressure to lower their fees to compete with robo-advisors, even though the services they offer are more comprehensive. These advisors have succumbed to the basic premise used to justify robo-advisors' existence: Cheap is good. Expensive is bad. Do the data support this premise?

2014-08-16 00:00:00 Managing Expectations - Part III by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In the first of this three-part series on managing expectations, I discussed the role cycles play in the investment management process. At U.S. Global Investors, we actively monitor both short- and long-term cycles, from the annual seasonality of gold to four-year presidential elections, in order to manage expectations based on historical patterns.

2014-08-11 00:00:00 Market Perspectives: The Corporate Inversion Debate by Sandy Lincoln of BMO Global Asset Management

Merger and acquisition activity in the U.S. is on the rise this year with over 4,000 deals pending, and corporate inversions have played a significant role. High corporate and global tax rates are major reasons why so many U.S. companies have left their profits overseas, opting not to pay a big tax bill to bring them home. Many other countries not only have lower rates, but they also tax on a territorial basis only.

2014-08-11 00:00:00 What Countries are Hot? What Should a Momentum Investor be Looking at Now? by David Garff of Accuvest Global Advisors

In a previous whitepaper, we looked at using Momentum as a factor when investing across countries, and found it to be effective in generating outperformance vs. the benchmark.

2014-08-05 00:00:00 Ten Reasons the Advisory Business is Unlike Any Other by Bob Veres (Article)

The business dynamics that an advisory firm faces are so fundamentally different that any small business owner, dropped into your executive chair, would feel like she had been transported to another planet. To see how exceptional your business climate really is, let's take a quick tour of some of the differences between an investment advisory firm and a typical member of the business landscape.

2014-08-05 00:00:00 Dealing with Your Less Experienced Team Members by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Are we the only place where the soon-to-retire advisors struggle to communicate with the newer staff members? We are not as tech-savvy or are marketing-savvy as they are, but they could learn a lot from our experience too. They seem too cocky to me, and I don't know how to get through.

2014-07-29 00:00:00 How to Solve the Referral Conundrum by Daniel Solin (Article)

There is a considerable amount of sound data on how to acquire referrals. But the initial issue you must address is whether you should ask for them at all.

2014-07-29 00:00:00 Ten Habits of Successful Advisors by Jennifer Geoghegan (Article)

What are the tactical habits you can introduce to make business development a larger part of your new routine? Here are 10 habits that I have seen some leading advisors adopt as behaviors that have helped them consistently grow their practices.

2014-07-29 00:00:00 What Makes a Compelling Marketing Hook? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

How do we improve our image in the market? We are not well known for what we do, although we believe we do it better than the competitors. We talk about being fiduciaries and having an objective voice, but I don't know if our message is powerful enough. What else could we do?

2014-07-29 00:00:00 Protect Your Business with a Marketing Plan by Kristen Luke (Article)

Even if you don't have the capacity to take on any more clients until you add staff, here are the marketing strategies you should be following today.

2014-07-25 00:00:00 The 401(k) Event Horizon by Scott Klimo of Saturna Capital

Who would have guessed in 1973 that Roger Waters' meditation on life's fleeting passage would describe the dilemma faced by many today as they consider how best to save for retirement? The good news is that missing the starting gun doesn't prevent you from joining the race. We have all seen the calculations of how big our nest eggs could be if we started saving and investing at a young age, but those unable to do so still have an opportunity to build substantial savings.

2014-07-22 00:00:00 Why Market-Timers Go Nuts by Stephen Huxley, Brent Burns (Article)

How do you drive a market-timer nuts? Remind them of the evidence against them. That is, the evidence of shifting and even reversing correlations between stock and bond returns that make it improbable - if not impossible - to use market timing to make profitable investment decisions.

2014-07-19 00:00:00 Perspectives from the Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group by Christopher Molumphy, Michael Materasso, Roger Bayston, Michael Hasenstab, and John Beck of Franklin Templeton Investments

In early July, there was a noticeable disconnect between the median forecast of Fed officials for interest rates by end-2015 and the markets forecast, as expressed in the federal funds futures rate. But if unemployment continues to decline and inflation to pick up in the coming months, the danger for bond market participants is that their predictions for interest rates may be too low and will have to be adjusted.

2014-07-18 00:00:00 Why Japan? Why Now? by James Calhoun of AdvisorShares

One of the most popular investment themes coming into 2014 was Hedged Japanese Equity (owning Japanese equities while simultaneously hedging out the risk of the Japanese Yen weakening against the US Dollar). At its core, this theme leaves investors long Japanese equities in US Dollar terms, not Japanese Yen terms. This investment turned in very poor performance for the first half of 2014. By the end of Q1 2014, Japanese equities had sold off rather sharply and the US Dollar had weakened 2.01% versus the Yen.

2014-07-15 00:00:00 Survey Best Practices, Part 2: Question Intent and Types by Elizabeth Snyder (Article)

Here are some tips that will increase your chances of gathering meaningful survey results.

2014-07-14 00:00:00 Ockham's Razor and the Market Cycle by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

This time is different requires a lot of counterfactual assumptions. Ockhams razor would suggest a nice shave.

2014-07-10 00:00:00 Is Dow 17,000 Dangerously High? This Comprehensive Review May Surprise You! by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The Dow Jones Industrial Average recently closed above 17,000, a historical record and milestone. Consequently, the question at the forefront of every investors mind has understandably been raised. Has the market now become dangerously high and therefore destined for a crash? The truthful answer to this important question is that nobody can know for sure what the stock market might do over the short run.

2014-07-09 00:00:00 Choosing Winners in Asian Credit: Key Trends and Themes by Raja Mukherji, Ronie Ganguly of PIMCO

Key trends include Asian credit supply, which is on track for another record year in 2014, and China's priority to promote cleaner and more efficient energy. Our bottom-up research and careful risk assessments informed by macroeconomic perspectives have us favoring select investments in several sectors of Asian credit markets, including state-owned enterprises in China and Korea, investment grade new issues and Basel III Tier 2 bank capital bonds. ?

2014-07-05 00:00:00 I'm Grateful to Live in America. Here's Why. by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

An important principle of our investment process at U.S. Global Investors is a belief that government policies are a precursor to change. As a result, we closely monitor the fiscal, monetary and other impactful governmental policies of the worlds largest countries, both in terms of economic stature and population. Were always listening for the proverbial shot heard around the world. As we approach Americas Independence Day, this belief rings especially true.

2014-07-01 00:00:00 What an Elite Group of Younger Advisors Has to Say by Bob Veres (Article)

I recently served as a facilitator for the annual NexGen conference, this year held on the campus of Augustana University in Moline, IL. I was able to gain insight into the very different way that the financial planning landscape looks through the eyes of younger advisors just starting their careers - and in many cases, from the bottom end of a planning firm's organizational chart.

2014-07-01 00:00:00 Five Social-Media Timesavers by Sarah Scorgie (Article)

Save time on your social-media efforts by planning ahead and using online tools.

2014-06-30 00:00:00 The New Normal of Healthcare Spending by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

A rather interesting shockwave came across the newsfeeds this week. I was actually doing a TV interview when the host announced that GDP was down 2.9% for the first quarter. There was not much else I could do but note that that was a really bad, ugly, terrible, not very good number.

2014-06-28 00:00:00 Health Care Sector Spurred by Population Growth and M&As by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Recently I spoke with John Derrick, director of research here at U.S. Global, to pick his brain about what he thought was the most interesting sector right now. You might expect him to have said energy, perhaps because of the intensifying violence in Kurdistan Iraq, a major oil producer. But instead, he said that he had his eyes on health care.

2014-06-25 00:00:00 Rethinking Revenue Sharing by Daniel Notto of AllianceBernstein

While revenue sharing may be a legitimate way to pay for the costs of operating a plan, both US courts and the Department of Labor (DOL) have made it clear that plan sponsors have a significant responsibility as fiduciaries to fully understand, evaluate and monitor their revenue-sharing arrangements and determine whether they are reasonable. Therefore, the most prudent response for plan sponsors may be to rethink the practice of revenue sharing altogether.

2014-06-24 00:00:00 Announcing a Merger? You Need a Game Plan by Kristen Luke (Article)

It wasn't until I announced my own firm's merger that I truly appreciated how complex this seemingly simple task really is. The following checklist can help you simplify the process and develop a game plan for making a successful announcement.

2014-06-24 00:00:00 Coping With an Erratic Boss by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We are all tired of the erratic behavior of the lead advisor in our firm. One day he is perfectly fine, then the next he is yelling in the hallways over some perceived infraction. I never know what is coming next. Can you suggest strategies that would better enable us to work with Doug?

2014-06-24 00:00:00 Red Sky in the Morn', Junk Bond Investors Be Warn'd. by Bryce Fegley of Saturna Capital

Investor appetite for income has pushed yields and spreads on high-yield bonds to very low levels, while corporate borrowers have fed that demand with record issuance of new debt. On top of low yields and heavy issuance, bond dealers have retreated from corporate bonds in response to new financial regulations. As a result of these factors, we believe now is a particularly risky time to invest in high-yield bonds. Here we offer some of our suggestions for seeking income and yield with less risk.

2014-06-23 00:00:00 What Exactly Is An Intangible Asset? by Team of GaveKal Capital

As another relatively quiet week in the market comes to a close, we thought we would step back from analyzing the market and briefly introduce to our readers a topic that we care greatly about and one that most of our readers are probably unfamiliar with. That topic is investments in intangible assets. The first question that probably comes to your mind after reading the previous sentence is...Why?

2014-06-23 00:00:00 The Rise of E-Commerce in Asia by Jerry Shih, Winnie Chwang of Matthews Asia

Its no surprise that Asiahome to two of the worlds most populous countriesholds great potential for e-commerce. Much of this growth has been driven by the fact that e-commerce, particularly in India and China, has helped serve as a bridge between what people want and what people can get offline. This is especially true for those who live outside major urban areas.

2014-06-20 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: June by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

With 10-year US Treasury yields dropping below 2.5% at one point during early June in spite of improving forward economic indicators, the US bond market has continued to send out confusing signals, in our view. Purchasing manager indexes have remained well over the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction for many months, consumer demand has remained relatively buoyant, and nonfarm payrolls show job creation running at over 200,000 per month for 13 of the 21 months to May 2014.

2014-06-18 00:00:00 Getting in Gear for The New Neutral – What Does It Mean for Investors? by William Benz of PIMCO

Smart beta is increasingly important when returns are likely to fall short of what most investors need and expect. Active managers can use multiple tools to help generate higher returns. With outcome-oriented strategies, investors can align their portfolios toward meeting specific risk and return objectives. Investors with more aggressive income or return needs may benefit from bespoke, multi-asset solutions. ?

2014-06-17 00:00:00 Seven Tips for Delivering Bad News by Megan Elliot (Article)

You can better communicate bad news to clients by keeping the following seven tips in mind.

2014-06-14 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The World Cup begins amid a series of financial controversies; Is the honeymoon over for Japan's Abenomics program?; The last word on Thomas Piketty

2014-06-10 00:00:00 Six Questions for the Future of the Planning Profession by Bob Veres (Article)

A few weeks ago, I asked for your help as we created the scenario learning session for the Insider's Forum conference in September. We're going to map out some possible futures that you can prepare for, using as raw material the crowdsourced thoughts and ideas that you provide to us. Here are six questions that have been raised and addressed about the future in the first round of our exercise.

2014-06-10 00:00:00 Survey Best Practices, Part 1: Designing Your Survey by Elizabeth Snyder (Article)

If you are not accustomed to regularly surveying your clients, here are some basic guidelines to consider when it comes to survey design, layout and structure.

2014-06-10 00:00:00 Is it Right to Bash a Previous Firm? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

My partner and I left our previous firm to start an independent advisory practice. We had issues with its business approaches and even some ethical concerns. Part of me thinks we should let our clients know of the firm's nefarious ways, but part of me thinks that is behind us and we should look forward.

2014-06-10 00:00:00 Center for American Progress (CAP) on Fee Disclosure by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

On April 11, 2014 the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report "Fixing the Drain on Retirement Savings How Retirement Fees Are Straining the Middle Class and What We Can Do about Them."

2014-06-10 00:00:00 The Crossroad by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

As summer peeks around the corner, a machine with two wheels is silently calling me, telling me that a new adventure awaits. This machine stirs up memories of past adventures, which builds in me a desire to head out to places unknown. I know that before summer ends I will answer its call, but for now I will just have to relive a few moments from trips past.

2014-06-06 00:00:00 Ties that Bind by Patricia Huang of Matthews Asia

It's been almost three years since A-di first moved in with my relatives in Taiwan to work as a caretaker for my ailing grandmother. A college graduate from Indonesia with a reserved demeanor and an endearing smile, A-di, or Di Di as my family sometimes calls her, was found through an agency that places migrant workers in jobs abroad. Like her sister, a factory worker in Taiwan, she regularly sends a portion of her roughly US$550 monthly pay back home to her parents in West Java.

2014-06-03 00:00:00 Coaching Employees toward More Effective Behaviors by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

One of my advisors is brusque and cuts clients off in mid-sentence sometimes. She doesn't follow my protocols. I am not ready to fire her. What else can I do to get her to model my behavior?

2014-06-03 00:00:00 The Value of a Secondary Call to Action by Sarah Scorgie (Article)

In today's technological world, email has become the easiest way to connect with potential clients. With Web-based email marketing services, it's easier than ever to communicate with leads - but are your calls to action making the most of your campaigns?

2014-05-27 00:00:00 Integrating Social Media and Website Reviews into Your Practice by Bob Wilgus (Article)

In March, the SEC released a guidance update on the use of client testimonials and social media. The update provided new rules and clarifications regarding the use of third-party advisor review sites, community or fan pages and links directing clients to social-media pages. Here is the reality advisors must confront to take advantage of the new rules.

2014-05-21 00:00:00 Everyday Brands in the Right Hands by Aaron Monroe of Diamond Hill Investments

An ownership mentality, long-term perspective, and disciplined capital allocation are characteristics we look for in all management teams but find in few. Through its commitment to these attributes, Jarden Corp. (JAH) has driven significant outperformance for long-term investors and compiled an attractive portfolio of niche brands that are leaders in their respective markets.

2014-05-20 00:00:00 Introducing APViewpoint by Robert Huebscher (Article)

This month marks the seventh anniversary of the founding of Advisor Perspectives - and the release of our new service, APViewpoint.

2014-05-20 00:00:00 Understanding the Investment Function in Greater Depth by Tom Brakke (Article)

In late 2010, I published a series of letters to someone who was about to enter the investment industry. In March of this year, they became the foundation for an ebook, Letters to a Young Analyst, which includes advice and resources for aspiring investment professionals. Despite the title, the book is not exclusively for a narrow slice of those professionals.

2014-05-20 00:00:00 Creating Error-Free Marketing Materials by Megan Elliot (Article)

Here's how to avoid marketing mistakes that will negatively affect your firm's credibility.

2014-05-16 00:00:00 College Costs 101: What are 529 Plans? by Beyond Bulls and Bears of Franklin Templeton Investments

Tabulating the costs of a college education can be overwhelming for new parents, so overwhelming, in fact, that many choose not to think about it at all, assuming the situation will resolve itself in time. Many parents wind up turning to student loans as the solution to finance a college education, often resulting in a shiny new diploma accompanied by a mountain of debt.

2014-05-15 00:00:00 Never, Never by Andrew Redleaf of Whitebox Advisors

Imagine a few months from now Mark Zuckerberg calls a press conference to announce his goals for Facebook for the next few years. As the crowd waits with baited breath, he announces three: 1.To have Facebook recognized as the worlds coolest company. 2. To triple the number of Facebook employees, because there are so many cool things to do and because we all have to work together to fight unemployment. 3. To make Facebook employees on average the highest paid in the world, because income inequality is incompatible with FBs values.

2014-05-15 00:00:00 Mexico: A Country in Transition by Brad Jensen of AdvisorShares

We have been traveling regularly to and investing on and off in Mexico for over thirty years. We have seen the Peso strengthen and bust a couple of times; government-owned banks privatized and then bust; an ongoing roller-coaster ride in the Bolsa. Through it all, we have been big believers in the long-term prospects for the country, its economy, and financial markets. However, it is clear that a thoughtful process regarding entry and exit points is required.

2014-05-07 00:00:00 First Quarter Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

The broad equity market displayed a fair amount of volatility during the quarter, but essentially went sideways. This pattern continued through April; 2013s losers became 2014s winners and vice versa. In the broadest sense, bonds narrowly beat stocks on the heels of 2013s thorough drubbing.

2014-05-06 00:00:00 Ten Ways the Next Generation of Financial Planners Will Change the Profession by Bob Veres (Article)

I have distilled ten key themes that illustrate how the next generation of advisors will change the profession when they take the reins.

2014-05-06 00:00:00 The Six Most Costly Words for Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)

Every advisor knows the most dangerous and expensive words when it comes to investing - "It’s different this time." An email in response to a recent article led me to conclude that there’s six words that are just as costly...

2014-05-06 00:00:00 Fighting Financial Advisor Anxiety: Part Two by Sarah Scorgie (Article)

Last month, I discussed how to calm clients’ nerves with educational marketing strategies. Now, I’ll discuss strategies for making your practice more relatable.

2014-05-06 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to several articles and commentaries that appeared within the last week.

2014-05-05 00:00:00 Big Pharma's Bitter Pills by Peter Nielsen of Saturna Capital

Price Pressure Becoming Pharmaceutical Industry's Bitter Pill as Breakthrough Drug Therapies Break the Bank

2014-05-01 00:00:00 Europe Part 2: The Smart Beta Portfolio by James Calhoun of AdvisorShares

In our last post we discussed the attractiveness of European equities in aggregate, and assessed the pros and cons of implementing this regional investment theme with a market capitalization weighted ETF (VGK ? Vanguard). It was our conclusion that the most effective way to gain exposure to the expected advance in European equities was through a multi-factor ?smart beta? portfolio.

2014-04-29 00:00:00 How to Help Business Clients Unlock Wealth by Bob Veres (Article)

Is there a way to help your business clients diversify their holdings, take some risk off the table and create a side investment portfolio that will sustain them if their business runs into trouble? Is there a way you can help your clients find capital when they need it most?

2014-04-29 00:00:00 How to Rethink Your Market Niche by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I work with 30-year-old entrepreneurs, 60-year-old dentists, divorced women and others. If I limit myself, I will leave opportunities on the table all the time. Am I wrong to be diverse in what I do?

2014-04-29 00:00:00 Content Marketing: The Long and Short of It by Meghan Elliot (Article)

While capsulated content - tweets, Facebook posts, 30-second videos and snappy emails - has an important place in your marketing strategy, you have to make room for longer content that educates and informs on more complex issues.

2014-04-29 00:00:00 Six Tricks for Creating Killer Content by Bradd DelMuto (Article)

Most advisors are sharing market data and information, creating presentations, sending emails and solving client issues every day. Dont let this collection of content wither away. It can be reworked into "content gold" elsewhere.

2014-04-29 00:00:00 Europe: Market Capitalization vs. Smart Beta by James Calhoun of AdvisorShares

A bullish investor consensus for European equities appears to be building. More and more, we are hearing and reading that European equities are attractive and undervalued. It may be the right time for greater exposure to developed international equities, and Europe might be the right place for investors to focus. However, why stop there? Why stop at the regional level?

2014-04-22 00:00:00 Why Annuities HATE Ken Fisher. And you should too. by John H. Robinson (Article)

Before we commend Ken Fisher for his vitriolic antipathy toward variable annuities, there is one little problem we need to recognize. Fisher’s claims are at odds with a growing body of empirical research published in peer-reviewed academic and professional journals.

2014-04-22 00:00:00 The Surprising Number One Driver of New Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Among sophisticated clients, referrals arent the most important determinant in deciding on an advisor. Heres what is.

2014-04-22 00:00:00 What SEC Social Media Guidance Means for You by Kristen Luke (Article)

Recently, the SEC published new testimonial and social media guidelines that cleared the way for advisors to use social media review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. Such sites were previously restricted because they provided content that was generally seen as testimonials. While the new guidance may seem like a big leap forward for financial advisors who use social media, there are still many restrictions, so it is important to understand what you can and cannot do.

2014-04-22 00:00:00 The Power of Storytelling by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I’ve read in the past that you encourage telling stories about clients. There are lots of compliance reasons that deter us from getting too specific when telling a client-based story. In addition, I don’t see how stories are of importance. Can you clarify?

2014-04-22 00:00:00 Israel ? Under the Radar by Brad Jensen of AdvisorShares

In recent travels and presentations, I was asked frequently about Israel. How is it that the Israeli market is #2 in our country ranking methodology? It seems as though the country is off the radar screen of most investors, so a quick overview of the market and why it ranks high currently seems to be in order.

2014-04-22 00:00:00 Hope Is Not A Strategy by Steven Rubenstein of Arrow Partners

With almost 20 years in the third party marketing (3PM) business, we thought we had seen and experienced it all.

2014-04-21 00:00:00 Rising Food Prices May Whet Investors' Appetite for Agriculture by Nick Kalivas of Invesco Blog

Food prices are affected by a wide range of factors - from weather to geopolitics. Today, these factors seem to be pointing toward rising food inflation, and investors want to know where potential opportunities may lie.

2014-04-17 00:00:00 What to Make of the Rebound in Emerging Market Equities by Dara White of Columbia Management

A month ago, much of the news from the emerging markets (EM) was negative. We saw headlines highlighting the liquidity headwinds created by U.S. QE tapering, Russia?s aggressive opportunism in the Ukraine, and China?s imminent hard landing.

2014-04-15 00:00:00 A Conversation with DFA’s David Booth by Robert Huebscher (Article)

It’s possible for an airplane company to manufacture excellent jets that reliably and safely reach their destination, even if some of its engineers design questionable components. Indeed, its products may be among the best ever designed. That’s my impression DFA, which was reinforced after meeting with its co-founder and co-CEO, David Booth.

2014-04-09 00:00:00 Master Limited Partnerships by Greg Reid and the Salient MLP Team of Salient Partners

Master Limited Partnerships (?MLPs?) are a unique asset class in the investment landscape. Historically, MLPs have been primarily owned by high net worth and retail investors due in part to the tax complexities. However, MLPs have started gaining traction over the past few years among institutional investors as they seek alternative sources of yield in our present low-yield world.

2014-04-08 00:00:00 Greatness is Overrated by Justin Locke (Article)

I have no objection to greatness per se, but let’s think about the practical uses - and potential negative effects - of this word.

2014-04-08 00:00:00 Adding Direct Mail Advertising to Your Marketing Mix by Elizabeth Snyder (Article)

Advisors rarely generate the positive activity necessary to make direct mail worthwhile and cost effective. But they have an opportunity to capitalize on direct mail as a marketing strategy, especially since it offers advantages over electronic marketing (such as email): Direct mail reaches people directly in their homes and provides physical documents that recipients can save and refer to later.

2014-04-01 00:00:00 How to Avoid Hidden Costs in Your Bond Allocations by Bob Veres (Article)

The supposedly safe move to shorten bond maturities in anticipation of rate increases has been very costly over the last three years - and there’s no reason to expect the next three will be any different. Here’s a way to quantify those costs and position your portfolios in a way that makes money in a variety of interest-rate scenarios.

2014-04-01 00:00:00 Fighting Financial Advisor Anxiety by Sarah Scorgie (Article)

Here’s how to help prospective clients educate themselves before walking into a meeting with you.

2014-03-28 00:00:00 Why International Now? by David Garff of AdvisorShares

One of the ongoing challenges that advisors face is determining what percentage of their clients assets should be allocated to international equities. The magnitude of this decision is often amplified when the United States has years of persistent out/under performance. US clients will inherently gauge the success of their portfolio based on the S&P 500, or similar index. The challenge for advisors is explaining why a more diversified exposure to global equities is meaningful in the long-run, despite recent years of outlandish performance.

2014-03-26 00:00:00 Hangman: The ETF Revolution by Cole Smead of Smead Capital Management

Financial innovation in the investment business is, in our opinion, sometimes just smoke and mirrors. The recent movie The Incredible Burt Wonderstone illuminates what this smoke and mirror faade can produce.

2014-03-25 00:00:00 Why I Sold - Part 4 by Jim Whiddon (Article)

The months I spent considering whether to sell my successful independent RIA were difficult personally and professionally. But once my decision was made, it felt good to focus on the positive aspects of a merger that would benefit my staff and my clients.

2014-03-25 00:00:00 Rethinking your Newsletter by Megan Elliot (Article)

Newsletters, once a cornerstone of advisor marketing, now look a bit old-fashioned. Compared to Facebook, Twitter, videos, blogging and other flashier marketing strategies, many simple newsletters look boring and dated. But newsletters can still have a place in your marketing repertoire, provided you approach them in the right way.

2014-03-18 00:00:00 Active Share. Toward a Stock Picker’s Market? by Sponsored Content from ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Explore five groups of mutual funds-from stock pickers to moderately active to the closet indexers. Which categories produced the best risk-adjusted return 1990-2009? The more different the portfolio from its benchmarks, the greater the range of possible outcomes. Consider a tool like active share.

2014-03-17 00:00:00 Recalibrating the Retirement Clock: Should 75 Be the New 65? by Nick Kaiser of Saturna Capital

Retirement sounds pretty sweet, doesn't it? Exotic holidays. Finally writing that novel. Never having to rely on an alarm clock to wake up early. Being your own boss. Retirement goals are as varied as people themselves.

2014-03-11 00:00:00 Crashing Through the Insurance Industrys Wall of Silence by Bob Veres (Article)

A cash-value insurance policy is essentially a mutual fund investment account that pays annual term-insurance premiums on behalf of the policyholder each year, so theoretically you should be able to get the same disclosure on the funds and on yearly payment for life insurance protection, the way you do on any of the term insurance websites. Heres how you can do that for your clients.

2014-03-11 00:00:00 Why I Sold - Part 3 by Jim Whiddon (Article)

When I decided to sell my small wealth-advisory practice, my due diligence focused on the internal threats and weaknesses I faced. But I took an equally hard look at external threats - industry-wide issues that all firms, regardless of size or stature, will face in the coming years.

2014-03-11 00:00:00 Why You Should Stop Asking For Referrals by Elizabeth Snyder (Article)

I hear it all the time: I ask my clients and centers-of-influence (COIs) to think of me if they know anyone who many benefit from my services, yet I never receive any referrals. What am I doing wrong? What should you do if you find yourself in this position?

2014-03-04 00:00:00 Why I Sold - Part 2 by Jim Whiddon (Article)

When considering whether to sell my firm in 2012, I embarked on a six-month war-game exercise to decide whether to join forces with a similarly positioned ally within our industry. With the help of my team, I performed a detailed analysis of how well-prepared the firm was for the challenges facing it. Several key threats emerged.

2014-03-04 00:00:00 How to Market to Clients’ Kids by Sarah Scorgie (Article)

Building relationships with the next generation can help ensure the long-term success of your practice.

2014-03-04 00:00:00 Overcoming Bad Performance by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Our investment strategy did not fare well last year and we lost ground to competitors. Were on the defensive with clients, which makes it hard to have any growth discussions. We have corrected our approach and are on track for much better performance for 2014. Any tips to get our clients to believe in us and stay with us until the turnaround?

2014-03-04 00:00:00 The RIA Succession Paradox: It’s About the Brand by Joe Anthony (Article)

RIAs rise to success based on their abilities to attract talent, build referral networks, see emerging trends and cater to a market. In their prime earning years - say 45 to 55 - they are the central force in their own success. And there lies the paradox. A younger, more dynamic generation is better suited for running your firm.

2014-02-25 00:00:00 Five Technology Trends that are Reshaping the Industry by Bob Veres (Article)

Recently, I spent a couple of days at the annual T3 conference - the financial planning professions version of the Consumer Electronics Show. The conference brings together tech vendors offering planning software, CRM, portfolio tracking, rebalancing and trading, outsourcing, hosting and screening. Here are five trends that will help all of us put the new technology into perspective.

2014-02-25 00:00:00 Why I Sold by Jim Whiddon (Article)

In 2012 at age 52, after almost three decades in financial services, I decided to sell my Dallas -based independent registered investment advisor (RIA), JWA Financial. Why would I trade in the peak earning years of my career after I successfully positioned my firm to take it to the next level? In a series of articles, I’ll explore a multi-faceted topic weighing on the minds of many advisors - succession planning.

2014-02-25 00:00:00 The Stereotypes to Avoid When Marketing to Women by Kristen Luke (Article)

Many financial advisors dont have marketing materials that appropriately address todays affluent female market. To make a genuine connection with women, choose images for your marketing materials that show you understand who they really are.

2014-02-25 00:00:00 Why Bother with a Target Market? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

What is the purpose of a target market? I find the concept limiting. We work well with young professionals in their 40s and retirees in their 70s. We have clients that are couples, families and successful singles. I am hesitant to limit our approach to a certain group.

2014-02-25 00:00:00 More on Building a $250 Million Practice by Dan Richards (Article)

In last weeks column, I outlined four steps a rookie advisor needs to take to build a $250 million practice within 10 years. Here are five additional steps to hit that goal.

2014-02-20 00:00:00 Lack Of Slack - Why Aggregate Unemployment May Be Masking Wage And Inflation Pressures by Anthony Wile of J.P. Morgan Funds

A historically large number of long-term unemployed, representing 36% of joblessness, have kept the unemployment rate elevated which could be distorting the traditional tradeoff between inflation and unemployment dynamics.

2014-02-20 00:00:00 Stocks for 2014: Fairly Valued Dividend Growth Stocks with an Emphasis on Dividends - Part 4 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

I am a firm believer that common stock portfolios should be custom-designed to meet each unique individuals goals, objectives and risk tolerances. With that said, I believe it logically follows that in order to create a successful portfolio, the individual investor must first conduct some serious introspection to be sure that they truly "know thyself." Therefore, I believe the first, and perhaps most critical step, towards designing a successful equity portfolio is to ask your-self, and honestly answer several important questions.

2014-02-20 00:00:00 Stocks for 2014: High Yield and Fairly Valued Dividend Stocks for High Current Income ? Part 5 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Retired investors seeking high income to live off of during retirement, face greater challenges today than almost ever before. The days of high yields available from bonds and other fixed income vehicles are long gone. Consequently, generating an adequate level of current income on retirement portfolios is difficult to say the least. This is especially tricky for those investors with a low tolerance for risk.

2014-02-18 00:00:00 Five Tips for Telling Your Marketing Story by Megan Elliott (Article)

A great story makes your firm stand out. Many financial advisors struggle with storytelling, which can seem vague or touchy-feely, especially if they’re more comfortable focusing on the technical side of wealth management. But telling great stories is easier than it seems. Here are five tips to you get started.

2014-02-18 00:00:00 Building a $250 Million Practice from Scratch by Dan Richards (Article)

We can learn from rookie advisors who, despite all the obstacles, are building large practices from scratch. To achieve a peak level of success entering the financial advisory space today, you have to get a lot of things right. I’ll cover four foundational decisions today and wrap up with some others in next week’s column.

2014-02-18 00:00:00 Stocks for 2014: Growth and Income For Total Return - Part 3 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

When investing in common stocks, there is no one strategy that fits all investors. Some investors are focused on investing for income, some for capital appreciation and others for various combinations of both. Additionally, there is the issue of risk tolerance. Some investors are willing and capable of assuming greater risk if they believe it will lead to greater returns, while others are more risk adverse. These are just but a few of the many variations that apply to the individual investors own unique goals and characteristics.

2014-02-14 00:00:00 Does a Down January Dog the Rest of the Year? Probably by Peter Nielsen of Saturna Capital

The bottom line for investors is that a negative January tends to herald lower (though not necessarily negative) returns for the subsequent 11 months.

2014-02-13 00:00:00 A Time for Optimism in Europe? by Philippe Brugere-Trelat of Franklin Templeton

Volatile markets and an uneven recovery may appear to justify a cautious outlook for investing in Europe right now, while in the US the specter of higher interest rates might also be signaling a challenging market environment ahead. The investment case for European equities favors a more optimistic outlook and despite a bumpy start to the year for equities globally, he still sees the market as rife with potential opportunities for selective investors, particularly undervalued segments of the market. One place where caution is likely warranted? Japan.

2014-02-11 00:00:00 Monthly Letter to Our Clients & Friends by Kendall J. Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Although the rest of America may need a manufacturing revival, mutual fund manufacturing is not in need of help, as the business has been growing continuously for three decades. Because of the sheer number of funds and the amount of investment dollars they control, there is a very high probability that we are buying new positions and selling existing positions to one or more mutual fund companies.

2014-02-06 00:00:00 How Did the Emerging Markets Get Into This Mess? by Andres Garcia-Amaya of J.P. Morgan Funds

A number of central banks around the world tightened monetary policy during the week of January 27, but the rationale for their policy decisions varied significantly. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve continued its "tapering" of quantitative easing (QE) to reflect the strong economic growth prospects, while Turkey, India and South Africa tightened policy in an attempt to prevent an exodus of foreign capital from their countries.

2014-02-06 00:00:00 Technology Leaders and Laggards by Paul Meeks of Saturna Capital

The technology sector includes several industries, such as semiconductors and semiconductor capital equipment, software and services, and technology hardware and equipment.

2014-02-04 00:00:00 Do-It-Yourself Practice Valuations by Bob Veres (Article)

More firms are looking to grow through acquisition. Indeed, this pathway to growth has been incredibly vibrant in the last 12 months. But the biggest impediment has been unrealistic expectations and valuations. Here is a tool that addresses these valuation challenges - and it comes at exactly the right time for the profession.

2014-02-04 00:00:00 Want to Achieve Marketing Success? Assign Responsibility by Kristen Luke (Article)

Develop a marketing strategy that works for you and your business. Once you find a strategy that works, implement it consistently. But with numerous other responsibilities and distractions, many financial advisors stumble when it comes to implementing their marketing plans. As a result, they do not see the results they anticipated.

2014-01-31 00:00:00 Value-Hunting in the US by Cindy Sweeting of Franklin Templeton

With key stock indices in the US closing the year near historical highs and many pundits predicting stronger growth rates both in the US and globally going into 2014, one would think bargains would be hard to find this year. Januarys volatility, however, proved just how unpredictable markets can be. The recent market gyrations may be somewhat painful for many investors in the short-term, but the silver lining is that corrections can serve up buying opportunities, particularly for long-term, value-oriented investors.

2014-01-28 00:00:00 Looking Back at the Advisory Profession 20 Years from Now by Bob Veres (Article)

Ive powered up my time-travel hardware to take a clear look at the year 2034. Ive received budgetary approval to make a long-distance phone call into the future, and conduct a real interview with a successful advisor in that time period. Yes, it was expensive. But nothing is too good for our readers.

2014-01-28 00:00:00 Surviving Austerity by Andrew Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

With the Standard & Poors 500 Index having posted a 30% gain, its easy to assume that U.S. stocks easily led the world in 2013. (There is more on what is behind this rally in the latest version of the Euro Pacific Capital Newsletter). But as it turns out, the stimulus-loving U.S. markets had plenty of company. Surprisingly, this includes countries supposedly saddled by the scourge of austerity.

2014-01-27 00:00:00 Greg Morris: Investing with the Trend: A Rules-based Approach to Money Management by Doug Short (Article)

Gregory L. Morriss latest book, Investing with the Trend: A Rules-based Approach to Money Management, was published on December 31 of last year, the same day the Dow and S&P 500 set new all-time highs. The Dow was up 153.2% from its March 2009 low and the S&P 500 had risen an even more impressive 173.2%. These massive rallies were the reversal of devastating drawdowns during the Great Financial Crisis. The Dow and S&P 500 had declined 53.8% and 56.8%, respectively, since their pre-crisis all-time highs in October 2007.

2014-01-27 00:00:00 Hasenstab: Standing One's Ground by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

When the masses are against you, its hard to stand your ground. Going against the crowd is familiar turf for Michael Hasenstab, who manages Templeton Global Bond Fund and co-manages Templeton Global Balanced Fund, and certainly knows the virtue of patience. He has staunchly defended his investment theses over the years, tuning out the naysayers and market noise time and again.

2014-01-25 00:00:00 Wealth Services at Banks Come Under Central Bank's Scanner by Rajat Dhar of Cogent Advisory

RBI, the central bank of India, made critical observations of way in which wealth services were being practised at banks. Also, the clear note was made with respect to the rising cases of misselling at banks. This market commentary covers the draft guidelines issued by RBi and tries to uncover the reason for the same and the way forward for the clients. This has been the first time ever that separate guidelines have come for banks and independent financial advisors or advisory firms in India; and this article covers the wealth services being offered by banks in India.

2014-01-24 00:00:00 Stocks for 2014: Growth and Income For Total Return Part 3 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

When investing in common stocks, there is no one strategy that fits all investors. Some investors are focused on investing for income, some for capital appreciation and others for various combinations of both. Additionally, there is the issue of risk tolerance. Some investors are willing and capable of assuming greater risk if they believe it will lead to greater returns, while others are more risk adverse. These are just but a few of the many variations that apply to the individual investors own unique goals and characteristics.

2014-01-23 00:00:00 A Problem with the Numbers - Unemployment and the Fed's Timetable by Anthony Wile of J.P. Morgan Funds

Given a potentially inaccurate assessment of labor force participation, the Federal Reserve may be missing the mark on their current economic projections, which increases the potential for policy error going forward. Assuming the natural rate of unemployment is at the low end of Fed projections, the Fed can lower forward guidance thresholds without spurring an acceleration in inflation.

2014-01-22 00:00:00 What to Expect in 2014 (And Beyond) by Jack Rivkin of Altegris

Each year, I take Alfred Lord Tennysons advice and "ring out the old, ring in the new" by creating a list of expectations about the markets. My list involves events that the average investor thinks have only a one-in-three-chance of happening, but which I believe have more than a 50% chance of occurring. If this approach sounds familiar, it should. Its modeled after Byron Wiens annual list of "surprises." Like his, my expectations are designed to provoke thought and discussion.

2014-01-22 00:00:00 The Virtualization of Everything by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, looks at the motivations of participants in capital markets, and how with the advent of synthetic investments and complicated derivatives products, he is concerned that "the stock market has lost its close link to the "real" economy and has become more of a gigantic casino."

2014-01-21 00:00:00 Will 2014 Be the Year Canned Content Dies? by Joe Anthony (Article)

Adoption of social media will reach a tipping point in 2014, with the overwhelming majority of your clients and prospects ignoring the newsletters, direct-mail pieces, conference calls and seminars that worked in the past.

2014-01-21 00:00:00 Stocks 2014: Investing for Growth - The Power and Protection of High Compounding Earnings Growth by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

As I become more mature (translate: gotten older), my investment philosophy has slowly evolved into a more conservative posture. When I was a younger investor I felt I had time on my side, and therefore, was willing to take on greater risk as long as I believed that greater rewards could follow. In other words, if I made a mistake by investing in an aggressive and more risky growth stock that went badly, I felt I had adequate time to overcome or recover my losses. Consequently, as a younger investor I relished a good growth stock.

2014-01-21 00:00:00 The Deflation Menace by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Dedicated readers of The Wall Street Journal have recently been offered many dire warnings about a clear and present danger that is stalking the global economy. They are not referring to a possible looming stock or real estate bubble (the paper sees few threats there). Nor are they talking about other usual suspects such as global warming, peak oil, the Arab Spring, sovereign defaults, the breakup of the euro, Miley Cyrus, a nuclear Iran, or Obamacare.

2014-01-17 00:00:00 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.

Some of the things weve been talking/warning you about in recent years came to fruition in 2013. Specifically, medium- and long-term interest rates rose and commodity prices declined.

2014-01-16 00:00:00 Stocks for 2014: Something for Everyone: Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

My biggest pet peeve regarding common stock investing is how so many people have a tendency to over-generalize this asset class. Commonly held beliefs such as investing in stocks is risky, or that the stock market is overvalued, or that the fed is driving stock prices, etc., are just a few examples illustrating my point. In truth, common stocks are as individually different as people are individually different. When dealing with human beings, most reasonable thinking people would reject prejudicial statements. Personally, I believe we should have the same attitude about common stocks.

2014-01-14 00:00:00 Should Advisors Write a Book? by Megan Elliott (Article)

Not every book becomes a best seller, especially those written by financial advisors. Before you sit down to pound out your opus, step back and evaluate whether writing a book makes sense for you and your financial advisory business.

2014-01-10 00:00:00 Automation and Lean Manufacturing: Boost Profits, Squeeze Employment by Tyler Howard of Saturna Capital

Despite industrial production reaching all-time highs in August of this year, employment in the manufacturing sector remains substantially below levels witnessed before the 2008-2009 recession. When looking at longer term employment trends in manufacturing, it becomes clear that companies increasingly boost production without adding incremental labor. Profit margins, while not yet recovered to pre-recession peaks, endure at historically high levels. Several long-term changes in the manufacturing economy contribute to this divergence: outsourcing, automation, and lean manufacturing.

2014-01-07 00:00:00 Ten Predictions for Advisors in 2014 by Bob Veres (Article)

Nobody can predict the markets. But it is possible to forecast the challenges that financial advisors and planners will face in the next 12 months, or at least provide a warning system for impending threats. Here are my top 10 issues to think about as we enter 2014 - offered with humility and respect for the world’s ability to surprise us.

2014-01-07 00:00:00 How to Triple Client Meetings in 2014 by Dan Richards (Article)

When it comes to getting a return on your time, nothing beats sitting down with existing and prospective clients. Yet when I talk to advisors, most struggle to arrange one meeting per day. Recently I spoke to an advisor who more than tripled client meetings over the last two years. Not only did his number of meetings go up, but the quality and productivity improved as well. Here are five key lessons on how you can achieve the same results.

2014-01-07 00:00:00 A Healing Economy by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The quarter continued the theme of the year, with U.S. equities continuing their dramatic performance. For the quarter, the Dow was up 9.6%, the S&P 9.9%, and the NASDAQ 10.7%. The years returns substantially exceeded last year"s "expert predictions" and much of this years punditry with the Dow up 26.5%, S&P up 29.6%, and NASDAQ up 38.3%.

2013-12-24 00:00:00 The Price America Pays for Global Leadership by Bob Veres (Article)

Americas political debates inevitably default to finding ways to contain our federal deficits, and our investment debates focus on whether were facing a secular bear or bull market - and how to maneuver within that environment. I had never imagined that these two debates could be related until I heard a presentation by Bill OGrady, of Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis, MO at the Insiders Forum conference in Dallas.

2013-12-24 00:00:00 The Key to Creating Better Marketing Materials by Elizabeth Snyder (Article)

For your New Year’s resolution this year, consider updating or creating new marketing materials for your firm. Do you know how to communicate your preferences to your creative team?

2013-12-20 00:00:00 Five Resolutions for 2014 by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

Entering 2014, the global investment environment is as challenging as ever. After a super 2013 in returns, U.S. equities can no longer be considered inexpensive and yet still look attractive relative to the prospective returns on savings accounts and long-term bonds. Long-term bond yields are higher than a year ago but could still rise further as the Federal Reserve begins to reduce quantitative easing.

2013-12-17 00:00:00 Making Brand Communication Work for Your Firm by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have sat in on meetings with my staff while they talk to prospects and clients and they say things I would never say. Everyone has their own style but it is important that we say the same things. Is there a way to accomplish this through training?

2013-12-17 00:00:00 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Dan Richards article, How Service Screw-ups Can Create Happier Clients, and a reader responds to Patrick McVeighs article, Low Demand Will Depress Oil Prices, both of which appeared last week.

2013-12-17 00:00:00 The Monster That Is Europe by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week, Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom in the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen of the Front National (FN) of France held a press conference in The Hague to announce that they will be cooperating in the elections for the European Parliament next spring and hope to form a new eurosceptic bloc.

2013-12-10 00:00:00 Six Things Every Advisor Must Have on Their LinkedIn Profile by Megan Elliott (Article)

An optimized LinkedIn profile is an essential part of any financial advisors marketing efforts. But putting together a great LinkedIn profile involves more than just copying and pasting information from your resume. To get the most out of this professional social networking site, here are six things you need in your LinkedIn profile.

2013-12-06 00:00:00 Gold: Currency or Commodity? by Anthony Wile of J.P. Morgan Funds

Despite gold traditionally serving as a safe haven asset, investors should be wary of fear-inflated investments given the potential for improving global growth.

2013-12-03 00:00:00 Active Share. Toward a Stock Picker’s Market? by Sponsored Content from ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Explore five groups of mutual funds-from stock pickers to moderately active to the closet indexers. Which categories produced the best risk-adjusted return 1990-2009? The more different the portfolio from its benchmarks, the greater the range of possible outcomes. Consider a tool like active share.

2013-12-03 00:00:00 On the Wings of an Eagle by William Gross of PIMCO

Ive always liked Jack Bogle, although Ive never met him. Hes got heart, but as hes probably joked a thousand times by now, its someone elses; a 1996 transplant being the LOL explanation. Hes also got a lot of investment common sense, recognizing decades ago that investment managers in composite couldnt outperform the market; in fact, their alpha would be negative after fees and transaction costs were factored in.

2013-11-26 00:00:00 Making Vendor Relationships Work Effectively by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We hired an outside contractor to do some marketing work for us. It has been a nightmare. She is difficult to deal with and criticizes every idea we have. Is there something we can do differently to avoid this situation in the future?

2013-11-12 00:00:00 Three Ways to Turn Casual Contacts into Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Most advisors routinely cross paths with people who are attractive prospects, whether at their golf club, get-togethers with neighbors or through charitable activity in their community. The challenge is how to raise the possibility of working together without appearing to be one of those stereotyped hustlers who give salespeople everywhere a bad name.

2013-11-08 00:00:00 U.S. Shale Oil: A Central Banker's Best Friend by Charles Wilson of Thornburg Investment Management

After nearly a decade of sustained high energy prices , U.S. oil and natural gas producers responded to the markets call for supply with newly exploitable shale resources. The fresh supply helped reduce concerns about global spare production capacity and limited upward pressure on energy prices. Central bankers around the world were able to maintain highly accommodative monetary policies for prolonged periods as a result.

2013-11-08 00:00:00 Asset Allocation: Pie in the Face? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

The typical approach to spreading ones assets in order to diversify and conquer, is to have the client complete a risk tolerance questionnaire. That survey is important not only to establish guidelines for how the assets will be managed, but also because some form of it is required by securities regulators to make sure advisors know who their clients are. The magical conclusion usually includes a color pie chart, representing a variety of asset classes that are assumed to be a path toward asset growth and preservation of capital.

2013-11-05 00:00:00 The Advisory Professions Best Web Sites by Bob Veres (Article)

His firm has created more than 2,000 websites for financial advisors. Bart Wisniowski, founder and CEO of Advisor Websites, has the best seat in the house to watch the rapidly evolving state-of-the-art in website design and feature sets in this age of social media, video blogs and smartphones. In a recent interview, Wisniowski not only talked about the latest developments and trends that hes seeing; he also identified some of the advisory professions most interesting and creative websites.

2013-11-05 00:00:00 Three Trends That Will Change the Game for Advisors by Steve Lockshin (Article)

This article is excerpted from Steve Lockshins new book, Get Wise to Your Advisor. This book makes an impassioned argument as to why clients should choose independent advisors who adhere to a fiduciary standard.

2013-11-05 00:00:00 Three Articles to Help Clients to Happy Retirements by Dan Richards (Article)

For many clients in their 50s and early 60s, the challenges to achieving happy and secure retirements have never been greater. Three recent articles will help you when talking to clients about retirement.

2013-11-05 00:00:00 How to Help Clients Who Hate the Holidays by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I deal with a number of clients who are very wealthy but are miserable around the holidays. Some are older and don’t have family members who see them, others are miserly and don’t feel they should use their money for gifts for people they don’t like. The conversation actually comes up with many of them every year, and I want to be prepared this year. Any ideas or tips?

2013-11-01 00:00:00 Where Do Profits Go from Here? Up. Here's Why. by Joseph Tanious, Anthony Wile of J.P. Morgan Funds

After record-setting earnings in the first two quarters of 2013, the S&P 500 is on track to hit another historic high in profits for 3Q13. If this occurs, the first three quarters of this year will have been the most profitable ever in the 56-year history of the S&P 500. Future earnings growth through margin expansion seems unlikely, as an improving labor market and higher interest rates will most likely squeeze margins. However, stable revenue growth, share buybacks and the additional use of debt financing should support modest earnings gains in the year ahead.

2013-11-01 00:00:00 When Small is Big by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Theres a popular saying in the US, good things come in small packages, which is generally a statement about gifts of jewelry. My team and I find this saying can apply to the investment world, too, as we often find companies that are small in size, but which may have big long-term potential.

2013-10-29 00:00:00 Why Deficits Don?t Matter by Bob Veres (Article)

Stephanie Kelton, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri/Kansas City, believes that the root of our deficit problems can be found in a fundamental misunderstanding ? shared by Democrats, Republicans and mainstream voters alike ? about the government?s balance sheet. She argues, plausibly, that the whole idea that we should control the deficit at all is costing our nation trillions of dollars in lost output. The result is lost income, savings, wealth and prosperity.

2013-10-29 00:00:00 Seven Resources to Make You a Better Writer by Megan Elliott (Article)

Whether youre crafting client emails, blog posts or market commentaries, you want your writing to be read, understood and (if youre lucky) enjoyed by your intended audience. If youre looking for inspiration, encouragement or just some basic writing tips, check out these resources.

2013-10-22 00:00:00 Recession-Proof Your Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

The choices you make and actions you take today will influence how your business fares following the next market crash. Here are two marketing strategies you can implement now to prepare for the future.

2013-10-22 00:00:00 How Many Monkeys Does it Take to Find a Successful Strategy? by Michael Edesess and Kwok L. Tsui (Article)

Give a monkey enough darts and she will eventually hit the bulls-eye on a dartboard. We wouldn’t dare consider that monkey an expert dart thrower, but investment professionals have been using essentially that same logic to assert that their strategies ? often called “smart betas” ? will outperform the market. New research exposes the faulty mathematics upon which such claims are based.

2013-10-18 00:00:00 Just Like Yesterday by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest essay, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, with help from Chetan Parikh, of Indias Capital Ideas Online, provides excerpts from and commentary on a 1971 speech by iconic investor David L. Babson. He begins by noting: "It is eerie how timely this speech, delivered 42 years ago, remains today."

2013-10-17 00:00:00 Global Brand Companies: Well Positioned to Deploy Incremental Capital at High Rates of Return by Jenny Hubbard of Diamond Hill Investments

Achieving an optimal balance between growth and return on invested capital is critically important to value creation. Many discretionary product companies attain this equilibrium for a short period of time, but fickle and geographically divergent consumer preferences make it challenging to sustain over the long-term.

2013-10-15 00:00:00 Why Customized Content Beats Canned Content by Neil Rhein (Article)

If you’re communicating syndicated (“canned”) content that is similar (or identical) to what every other advisor is saying, you’re just adding to the noise.

2013-10-15 00:00:00 Why You Need Video on Your Web Site by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We are upgrading our website, which is used mostly for clients now. We want to attract more prospects. Ive been told that video is important, but the cost of adding this could be several thousand dollars per video. Will adding video give me an increased ROI? I dont believe in this busy world that anyone watches this stuff.

2013-10-11 00:00:00 Default is unlikely, but there is more at stake by David Kelly and Andrew Goldberg of J.P. Morgan Funds

In a recent publication, (Investing through the Washington Mess) we outlined some of the dynamics at play regarding the ongoing debt limit debate in Washington. Latest developments notwithstanding, it is important to understand two key points: A default is very unlikely, and if the debt ceiling is not raised, simple prioritization to avoid default by continuing to pay interest would still inflict severe damage on the economy and markets, and could result in a credit rating action.

2013-10-08 00:00:00 Four Lessons from Sport’s #1 Overachiever by Dan Richards (Article)

A New York Times article pointed out that this year’s baseball playoffs have more teams from the bottom 10 in payroll than from among the top 10 spenders. Here are four ways you can do more with less, drawing lessons from a baseball team that has outperformed despite being consistently outspent.

2013-10-08 00:00:00 The Market May Be Signaling a Return to a More Typical Recovery by Whitney George of The Royce Funds

Despite the Feds indecision about whether or not to taper, we see evidence that business activity is normalizing and the global economy is getting healthier. Co-CIO, Managing Director, and Portfolio Manager Whitney George talks about how economically sensitive sectors have begun to benefit from rising rates in the small-cap rally, how recent news coming out of China has affected certain portfolio investments, where he is currently seeing long-term opportunities, and stocks in which he has high confidence.

2013-10-07 00:00:00 Charles Wheelans Tips for Separating Economic Truth from Fiction by Jeff Briskin (Article)

The world of numerical obfuscation is a topic covered in an informative and surprisingly entertaining ?statistics primer by economist Charles Wheelan. In a recent conversation with Wheelan, we discussed his book and the lessons it offers to financial advisors, whose decision-making processes are influenced by the seemingly endless stream of economic and market data posted every day.

2013-10-04 00:00:00 Ten Other Things that Should be Shut Down by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

In order to avoid getting too P.O.d (thats either a slang term for angry or a pun on the Post Office, take your pick), I asked the Sungarden investment, operations and marketing teams to provide me with their opinions on what else to shut down. I combined their thoughtful work with my own thinking on the topic and here is our top 10 list.

2013-10-01 00:00:00 Money Can Buy Happiness by Justin Kermond (Article)

Extensive research has shown that the act of buying life experiences and giving money away can make people happier than buying material items does.

2013-10-01 00:00:00 The Key Succession Issues for an Advisory Practice by Bob Veres (Article)

Succession planning has moved to the top of the practice management priority list for tens of thousands of advisory firms. As the average age of founder/advisors creeps ever closer to traditional retirement age, the profession is asking itself a lot of hard questions about how to keep these businesses alive ? and take care of clients ? after the founder retires.

2013-10-01 00:00:00 Is Your Marketing Message Putting Prospects to Sleep? by Dan Richards (Article)

To be effective, your marketing message has to be differentiating and memorable ? and motivate potential clients to want to learn more. By that standard, most advisor communication fails.

2013-09-24 00:00:00 ENERGY MLPs: A Suitable and Sustainable Asset Class by Sponsored Content from ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Key Takeaways: MLPs have provided income with little correlation to other asset classes and little sensitivity to interest rates, commodity prices or economic cycles. The market for MLP stocks has expanded greatly and offers liquidity which appeals to long-term institutional investors. The renaissance in U.S. energy production is driving sustainable growth in the infrastructure that MLPs own and operate

2013-09-24 00:00:00 Four Ways to Attract Affluent Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Attracting HNW clients is all about credibility ? as a result, it’s typically lower key, takes longer and requires an upfront investment of time and effort to position yourself to interact with HNW prospects.

2013-09-24 00:00:00 The Elements of a Successful Succession Plan by Mary Ann Buchanan (Article)

While the idea of yielding to maturity and dying in your boots feels right, you need to think about contingency and succession planning for the continuity of care for your clients, family and staff. Its a challenge that hangs over you like Damocles sword.

2013-09-24 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Two readers respond to Michael Edesess’ article, Why DFA’s New Research is Flawed, which appeared September 10.

2013-09-23 00:00:00 Aberdeen Global Investment Outlook: September 2013 by Mike Turner of Aberdeen Asset Management

The point of maximum policy accommodation may now be in sight: Markets volatile as investors forced to contemplate U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) exit strategy. Slowing growth in China is putting pressure on Asian and emerging markets to develop domestic led demand. This time really could be different for Japan - however reflating the economy was never going to be easy.

2013-09-19 00:00:00 Intermodal Transportation: Finding Value in a Growing Segment of the Transportation Industry by Jason Downey of Diamond Hill Investments

As intrinsic value based investors, we view growth as a potential source of value for shareholders; however, we are careful not to overpay for it. Intermodal shipping is one of the fastest growing modes of domestic freight transportation, and also an area where we have found two companies trading below our estimates of their respective intrinsic values.

2013-09-18 00:00:00 Stock Funds' 5-Year Track Records Set to Double by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Many investors focus on the previous five years annualized return when analyzing which mutual funds to buy. We also pay a good deal of attention to the 5-year performance number when analyzing mutual fund and ETF returns at Halbert Wealth Management. And currently the 5-year average returns for most equity mutual funds are not all that attractive.

2013-09-17 00:00:00 How One Advisor Attracts HNW Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Recently, a California-based advisor explained how she shifted her practice to focus on affluent clients. Her success was the result of a simple but thoughtful five-step plan.

2013-09-14 00:00:00 Nothing But Bad Choices by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Crises in government funding dont simply arrive on the doorstep unannounced. Their progress toward the eventual Bang! moment is there for all the world to see. The root cause is almost always the same: debt. And whether that debt is actually borrowed or is merely promised to the populace, when the market becomes worried that the ability of the government to fund its promises is suspect, then the end is near. Last week we began a series on what I think is an impending crisis in the unfunded pension liabilities of state and local governments in the United States.

2013-09-12 00:00:00 The Best Time to Own Cash: No Return is Better than a Negative Return by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest essay, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, writes about "the best time for an investor to own cash," which somewhat counter-intuitively, he believes is when that cash pays nothing.

2013-09-12 00:00:00 Opportunity Out of Uncertainty: Finding Investment Ideas in a Rising Market by Jay Kaplan of The Royce Funds

Portfolio Manager and Principal Jay Kaplan talks about investing in a slow-growth, high-price environment and discusses where we are in the current retail cycle, companies in which he has high confidence, and his experience with a long-term holding.

2013-09-10 00:00:00 Raising the Bar on Target Date Due Diligence by Manning & Napier/Strategic Insight of Manning & Napier

Deeming whether target date fund investments are appropriate for a specific participant population is an arduous and imperfect task, made more complicated by a lack of full transparency. Fiduciaries should question whether the underlying securities of target date funds are appropriate to meet the retirement saving needs of plan participants. However, the question itself raises concern about what it would take to examine the funds in such detail.

2013-09-03 00:00:00 Getting Prospects to Respond to Your Emails by Dan Richards (Article)

The chances that a prospect will open an email from someone they dont know are slim. Advisors who rely on mass emails are increasingly challenged to find creative ways to get their message through. But a few advisors who are succeeding in attracting clients via email invitations told me of five ways they get past inbox filters.

2013-09-03 00:00:00 So Step Right Up, Pick Your Favorites... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

So with the backing of The White House, the State Department, the Senate & The Economist, the United States is going to launch Tomahawks on Syrian targets. The President did say that he will let Congress vote on a strike, but both he, Secretary Kerry and Senator Reid let it be known that they will be lighting fuses soon. So as a refresher as to who is supporting whom in Syria, the chart below will both assist and thoroughly confuse you...

2013-08-27 00:00:00 The Price Clients Pay for Worst-Case Forecasts by Bob Veres (Article)

Clients and the world at large give inordinate attention to downside scenarios, and nobody is calling our attention to the much larger upside of our business and investment landscape. The human brain amplifies this effect, because it is hardwired to notice threats much more than opportunities. I recently spoke with Dennis Stearns ? an advisor who happens to be an expert in scenario planning ? about the role planners need to play to counteract media-driven negativity.

2013-08-27 00:00:00 Five Tips for Managing Stress by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

What are your tips for managing stress? Financial advisory work has become increasingly stressful and neither I nor my staff do a good job of managing it.

2013-08-21 00:00:00 The Big Secret Mutual Fund Companies Are Hiding by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Do you know that most (if not all) mutual fund and ETF sponsors are keeping vital information about their funds secret from you? Well start todays E-Letter with a discussion about what that valuable information is and why fund companies dont want you to know about it.

2013-08-20 00:00:00 How to Evaluate Event Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

If your firm uses event marketing, then it is critical to evaluate the success of your efforts. I recommend asking attendees to fill out an evaluation form at the conclusion of each event. This feedback will help you make necessary tweaks to improve future events and collect valuable contact information from attendees. The following tips will help you create a useful event evaluation form.

2013-08-20 00:00:00 How Much Communication is Too Much? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

How much communication is too much? We meet with clients once per quarter and were surprised when one told us they didn’t need to see us so often. I think we need to stay in front of them.

2013-08-13 00:00:00 Envisioning the Planning Firm of the Future by Bob Veres (Article)

Virtually all advisors operate with a value proposition built on bettering their clients financial future through management of their assets. But trends in the workforce and capital markets will force advisors to rethink those assumptions and, if Richie Lee is right, the planning firm of the future will adapt a four-factor service model that places much greater emphasis on helping clients maximize their human capital.

2013-08-13 00:00:00 Quantitative Easing for Regular Folks: Three Lessons from the New York Times by Susan Weiner (Article)

Quantitative easing pops up regularly in economic and market commentary. The term conveys a lot to financial professionals who know the fine points of QE1 vs. QE3. However, it’s likely to make the average investor ask, “Huh?”

2013-08-02 00:00:00 U.S. Equities: Tapering expectations by Joseph Tanious of J.P. Morgan Funds

Given the markets strong recent performance, investors are now asking what to expect moving forward. The top of mind question remains: are we likely to see a pull-back and is there still any room for this market to rally further?

2013-07-31 00:00:00 New GDP Revisions to Boost US Economy by 3% by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

At the end of April, I pointed out that the Commerce Departments Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced it would be making some significant revisions to the way it calculates Gross Domestic Product on July 31. It will revise economic growth for all years going back to 1929. This change is somewhat controversial in that it is expected to add up to 3% to total GDP in one fell swoop tomorrow morning. Thats about $1,500 worth of extra goods and services for every person in the US!

2013-07-30 00:00:00 Five Web Metrics Advisors Should Be Tracking by Kristen Luke (Article)

Do you look at your website analytics report and have no idea what it means? Don’t worry. Unless you are a professional web marketer, most of the data you see on those reports won’t impact your business in any significant way. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore your website statistics all together.

2013-07-26 00:00:00 The View From Here by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Despite the advance of college savings accounts, many families are ill-prepared to pay for school.

2013-07-24 00:00:00 Average Gas Price Could Hit $4 by Labor Day... Or Not by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

With the recent jump in gasoline prices, several energy analysts are forecasting that prices at the pump will top $4 a gallon (national average) later this summer. On the other hand, some analysts feel that gas prices will only go up another 5-10 cents a gallon just ahead, and then move lower in the fall. Of course, no one knows for sure. Today, well take a look at whats driving gas prices higher.

2013-07-23 00:00:00 The Price You Pay for Poor Management by Bob Veres (Article)

If you have 100 client meetings a year and could net an additional $65,000 to $70,000 out of them, how much effort would you be willing to put into achieving that?

2013-07-23 00:00:00 Fantasy versus Factors by Michael Nairne (Article)

Investors who wish to earn market-beating returns have a choice. They can indulge in the fantastical quest for alpha via high-cost active managers or they can construct factor tilts in their equity allocations via low-cost exchange traded or enhanced index funds. It doesnt take a PhD in mathematics to determine which route is more likely to take an investor to higher performance.

2013-07-23 00:00:00 The Limits of Flower Power by Amy Florian (Article)

It’s automatic: There’s a death in a client’s family, so you send flowers to the funeral home. Did you ever wonder whether that’s a good idea? Given that your aim is to be supportive and comforting to the grieving family, a lovely floral arrangement does not necessarily accomplish that goal.

2013-07-19 00:00:00 China's Slowing Growth Who's In the Driver's Seat? by Anastasia Amoroso of J.P. Morgan Funds

After three decades of double-digit GDP growth, China has recently been expanding at a rate much closer to its five-year plans established target of 7%. As the pace of growth has changed, so has its composition and trajectory. The focus is shifting away from growth at all costs to a preference for quality over quantity that increases the wellbeing of an average Chinese consumer. The government is intent on rebalancing the economy away from commodity intensive infrastructure spending and towards supporting the middle class by increasing urbanization, private consumption and affordable ho

2013-07-16 00:00:00 How a Teenager and Skype Deepened Client Relationships by Dan Richards (Article)

Successful advisors are always on the lookout for cost-effective ways to deepen relationships with top clients. Last week, an advisor told me how he hired his son for the summer, and the two created an impressive offering that exceeded the expectations of his key clients.

2013-07-16 00:00:00 Dealing with Over-needy Clients by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We have too many clients who are needy and require a lot of personalized service. I know we can expect to spend 80% of our time servicing 20% of our clients, but the 80% seem to demand more and more and more from us.

2013-07-12 00:00:00 Hasenstab: Emerging Out of the Consensus Trade by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Just when is a potential long-term reward worth the short-term risk? Investors are often most focused on the short-term pain of a particular event (hard to blame them), losing sight of possible outcomes farther out into the future. That could partially explain whats going on in the emerging markets right now, at least according to Michael Hasenstab, co-director of the International Bond Department, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group.

2013-07-12 00:00:00 Making Sense of the Bond Market by Phelps McIlvaine of Saturna Capital

The great challenge for investors and advisers today is to forecast where interest rates and bond prices will be once the influence of radical central bank intervention dissipates. Measures of inflation expectations are declining, and deflation remains the dominant influence on interest rates. In assessing whether to trim bond allocations, it is important to revisit the reasons for selecting a particular asset allocation before modifying or abandoning it.

2013-07-09 00:00:00 A Mid-Year Letter to Clients: A Positive Outlook on America by Dan Richards (Article)

Each quarter Ive posted templates to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the three months that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead. This quarters letter focuses on why the U.S. is expected to be the leader among global economies.

2013-07-09 00:00:00 ENERGY MLPs: A Suitable and Sustainable Asset Class by Sponsored Content from ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Greater capitalization. More liquidity. The energy MLP market has grown steadily, with good reason: our constant demand for energy. While oil prices go up and down, volume has stayed consistent. Production is increasing. And the infrastructure is needed to support it. Add some risk, and you’ve got an investment which could fit in a diversified portfolio.

2013-07-09 00:00:00 Assessing Healthcare Expenses in Retirement by Dan McGrath, Paul Seidel and Josh Jackson, CAS, ALMI (Article)

In the wake of the Affordable Care Act and its accompanying deluge of regulation, advisors are helping baby boomers prepare for retirement in more ways than ever before. But our industry continues to overlook a significant threat to clients continued comfortable lifestyles: out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

2013-07-09 00:00:00 Business Building for Advisors by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I have received so many questions related to sales skills and business building that I will offer some basic tips for readers who want to energize their sales process and grow their firms. It’s no surprise that most advisors don’t sell naturally and in most cases think of selling as unpleasant. ’I want to clients to refer on their own ? I don’t want to sell them on doing so,’ is a refrain I hear over and over again.

2013-07-09 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Mitchell Eichen and John Longos article, The Practical Application of Behavioral Finance, which appeared last week, and a reader responds to Geoff Considines article, ?The Greatest Anomaly in Finance: Understanding and Exploiting the Outperformance of Low-Beta Stocks, which appeared on February 14, 2012.

2013-07-02 00:00:00 Becoming the Safe Choice for Your Target Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

When it comes to gaining clients, many advisors harbor this fantasy: Your phone rings and on the line is a qualified prospect with a million dollars, asking if youre available to meet and talk about the possibility of working together. For most advisors, theres only one way to make that happen, and thats to become the recognized, go-to expert for people in a defined target community.

2013-06-28 00:00:00 Labor Force Myth Sends the Wrong Signal on U.S. Growth Prospects by Brandon Odenath of J.P. Morgan Funds

Weve seen the pundits on TV and read their op edsthe drop in the labor force participation rate is proof that unemployment is falling because many of the unemployed have simply given up the search for work. The inference of course, suggests that the economy is in much worse shape than falling unemployment rates would indicate.

2013-06-25 00:00:00 Three Simple Ways to Ensure Clients Retain Key Messages by Dan Richards (Article)

Todays article outlines why client communication gets derailed ? and three success stories from advisors who changed just one thing and saw their message stick with clients as a result.

2013-06-25 00:00:00 Measuring the ROI of Advisor Marketing by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Our practice has grown by word-of-mouth. A couple of my advisors want me to advertise and spend on expensive marketing programs. No one can show me the ROI for this. Is aggressive marketing a predictable way for advisors to get new clients? I just don’t see someone answering an ad who has $2 million (our minimum) to invest.

2013-06-24 00:00:00 A Timetable for Ending QE by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

In a press conference following this weeks FOMC meeting, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke provided markets with a clearer understanding on how the Fed expects to phase out its current quantitative easing (QE) program. This timetable is justified both by economic progress and by the significant future costs which a too-large Fed balance sheet is likely to entail. Moreover, the timetable, while never previously explicitly outlined, should not have been a surprise to most market observers. Nevertheless, Mr. Bernankes words have been met by a sharp selloff across a wide range of financial a

2013-06-21 00:00:00 Finding Great Value In The Energy Sector by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This will be the second in a series of articles designed to find value in todays stock market environment. However, it will be the first of 10 articles covering the 10 major general sectors. In my first article, I laid the foundation that represents the two primary underlying ideas supporting the need to publish such a treatise. First and foremost, that it is not a stock market; rather it is a market of stocks. Second, that regardless of the level of the general market, there will always be overvalued, undervalued and fairly valued individual stocks to be found.

2013-06-18 00:00:00 Help Clients Fill the Income Void by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)

Affluent investors all over the world just arent getting what they want from their income investments, according to Legg Masons recently released Global Income Survey. Yet there is good news: most say they want to become more knowledgeable about income investing, and theyre eager for financial professionals to point out fresh opportunities.

2013-06-18 00:00:00 Three Time Bombs that Threaten Retirement Plans by Dan Richards (Article)

Three poorly understood developments threaten secure retirements ? without wishing to be alarmist, I will call them time bombs. These developments will change the retirement dynamic for many Americans: increasing lifespans, escalating medical costs as people age and safe withdrawal rates on savings dropping from historical levels.

2013-06-18 00:00:00 Newsletter June 2013 by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

Do you remember hiding under the sheets listening to radio when your parents thought you were asleep? If so, I have an unbelievable collection of all the old-time radio shows we listened to when we were kids, if you have about six months? spare time. Find your favorite, click on it, and it lists literally hundreds of episodes you can re-live.

2013-06-12 00:00:00 Bond Realities: The Changing Landscape for Fixed Income and the Death of the Agg' by Andrew Johnson of Neuberger Berman

Earlier this year Andrew A. Johnson, Neuberger Berman?s Chief Investment Officer for Investment Grade Fixed Income, led a series of discussions with institutional clients about the state of the fixed income market and key ideas in approaching opportunistic fixed income investing in the current environment. Here, Mr. Johnson has adapted, and elaborated on, the concepts described at those meetings.

2013-06-11 00:00:00 How Specialist Advisors Earn Twice as Much by Dan Richards (Article)

In any profession ? medicine, dentistry, law, accounting ? the average income for specialists is more than double that of generalists with the same years of experience. My experience with successful financial advisors who’ve built a niche practice confirms this, but first they had to overcome three common myths about developing a niche positioning.

2013-06-11 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A number of readers responded to Adam Kanzer’s article, Exposing False Claims about Socially Responsible Investing, which appeared last week. Kanzer’s article was in response to Adam Apt’s article, Measuring the Cost of Socially Responsible Investing, which appeared the week before. Several readers responded to other articles as well.

2013-06-04 00:00:00 Woody Brocks Challenge to Krugman and the Keynesians by Bob Veres (Article)

A polarizing choice confronts policymakers. Either they side with Paul Krugman and the Keynesians, and advocate for aggressive fiscal measures to stimulate Americas economic growth rate, or they align themselves with the so-called austerians, who argue that budget cutbacks are necessary to eliminate deficits. A third option is rarely discussed. Its most outspoken proponent, Horace Woody Brock, says that America should continue to borrow, but spend wisely ? and develop new policy instruments that would eliminate asset bubbles and stimulate economic activity.

2013-06-04 00:00:00 How a Golf Outing Led to a $2 Million Client by Dan Richards (Article)

Last week I spoke to an advisor with a billion dollars under management about how he turned his favorite activity into multi-million dollar clients.

2013-06-04 00:00:00 Your Value Proposition: A Precursor to the Elevator Pitch by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

Every business should stand on four legs: values, a mission statement, a vision statement and a value proposition. This fourth item, a value proposition, must provide concrete data about your organization, why it exists and who you serve.

2013-05-28 00:00:00 Six Reasons You’re Charging the Wrong Fees by Bob Veres (Article)

My research has explored the spectrum of advisory fees in considerable detail, and has allowed advisors to compare their fee structures with professional norms, evolving trends and the input of advisors around the country. Here are the six biggest oddities I discovered ? each of which is a clear sign that advisors are not charging as much as they should.

2013-05-28 00:00:00 The Perfect Team Meeting to Start Your Week by Dan Richards (Article)

A focused, productive meeting with your team is the single most powerful way to start your week. Despite this, many teams dont have those regular sessions to start the week ? and where meetings do take place, they often underperform versus their potential. For your team to believe that Monday meetings are a good use of their time, those meetings should achieve five goals.

2013-05-28 00:00:00 When Your Coworkers Don’t Measure Up by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I work in a large financial organization. I’m frustrated that many of my coworkers don’t pull their weight. I work hard and am very committed, but those around me run out the door at 5 p.m. I want to talk to those in charge, but I am not sure how to go about doing it.

2013-05-23 00:00:00 The Labor Force Participation Puzzle by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

Slow growth and mediocre job creation have been common themes used to describe the U.S. economy in recent years, as both the labor market and broader economy failed to produce the snap-back rebound many expected following the deep recession seen in 2008 & 2009. Despite that lackluster growth, the unemployment rate has now fallen to 7.5% after peaking at 10% in October of 2009, a much faster decline than expected, given average employment growth of less than 125,000 per month.

2013-05-22 00:00:00 Malaysia's Post-Election Investment Outlook by Scott Klimo of Saturna Capital

Earlier this year we identified ASEAN as the most attractive region within the emerging markets universe. That prediction has proved accurate. Market indices (USD returns) year-to-date through April in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia are 23%, 22%, and 16%, respectively. Singapore (which we do not consider an emerging market) gained 6%, while Malaysia rose only 3.9%. So whats the outlook for Malaysia?

2013-05-22 00:00:00 A Whiff of Confidence by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

The single biggest on-going survey of consumer confidence in the United States is conducted by Rasmussen, who survey 500 consumers every night on their views of the U.S. economy and their personal finances. Since October 2007, there has not been a single month in which the index produced by this survey has exceeded 100. However, since the start of May it has averaged well above this level.

2013-05-21 00:00:00 A Cry for Help from Income Investors by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)

Confronted with the stark realities of income investing now, affluent investors all over the world are rethinking their approach, notes Legg Mason’s just-released Global Income Survey. Yet the Survey also found income investors hungry for more knowledge and ideas -- creating opportunities for savvy financial advisors.

2013-05-21 00:00:00 How Responding to Client Requests is Like Returning a Sweater to Sears by Dan Richards (Article)

A source of frustration for many advisors is the amount of time that’s consumed by mundane administrative requests ? things that clients don’t value and chew up a ton of time. But there is a way to take the time spent on routine matters and turn it into something that clients see as delivering quantifiable value. A veteran advisor told me how he did exactly that ? and enhanced relationships with the accountants for key clients in the process.

2013-05-21 00:00:00 Social Media Best Practices: Slow and Steady Wins the Race by Wendy Cook (Article)

If a website is the center of your marketing universe, social media is the gravitational force pulling your audience into the world youve created for them. But social media is easily a full-time endeavor of its own. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ ? Where do you begin? Equally important, where should you leave off?

2013-05-21 00:00:00 Does Your Firm Need a COO? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I run a 15-person firm. A consultant come and prepared a growth plan for our future. The number-one recommendation was that I create a role for a chief operating officer and hire this person. But I dont see how a COO helps a firm that is as small as mine. This seems the solution for a firm of 50 or above, and I cant afford a high-paid individual repeating what I already do.

2013-05-21 00:00:00 As Energy Demand Outpaces Supply, Asia Looks Overseas to Refuel by Raja Mukherji, Taosha Wang of PIMCO

Many Asian countries are encountering growing energy shortages due to declining indigenous resources and domestic consumption growth. Oil companies in Asia frequently engage in overseas acquisitions. In many cases, these transactions help enlarge reserve base, access technological know-hows and enhance corporate profitability. Strong sovereign support is a key investment thesis in the Asian oil and gas sector. Through our bottom-up analysis, we are finding numerous investment opportunities.

2013-05-16 00:00:00 Saving for College: A Family Affair by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

The language of personal finance isnt especially racy, but debt certainly has taken on the negative tone of other four-letter words. Even so, with college costs on the rise and many parents feeling especially pinched in this challenging economic environment, student loans rather than college savings have become the solution for many.

2013-05-15 00:00:00 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks moved higher again last week as the data continues to reflect an economy that continues to trudge along to the consternation of many.

2013-05-14 00:00:00 Curing Smartphone Addiction by Dan Richards (Article)

For some people, smartphones lead not only to distraction but to burnout and reduced motivation. Ultimately, they reduce productivity rather than increase it.

2013-05-07 00:00:00 Breakaway Brokers: What the Data Really Say by Bob Veres (Article)

For the past 15 years, and especially since 2008, few assumptions have been accepted as widely or confidently in the financial services world as the idea that brokers are leaving the wirehouse environment in increasing numbers ? and taking their clients with them. Underlying that assumption is another: that the trend is accelerating, and will continue to do so until the brokerage industrys retail footprint has been severely diminished. The more extreme projections see the entire brokerage asset gatherer/sales model following Lehman, E. F. Hutton and Bear Stearns into extinction.

2013-05-07 00:00:00 The Satisfaction Gaps that Cost You Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Most advisors recognize that clients are unhappy with returns in the last decade, but believe they are satisfied with communication and the relationship as a whole. That’s why three recent conversations I’ve had with investors and advisors should set off alarm bells.

2013-05-07 00:00:00 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

In his April 2013 commentary, PIMCOs Bill Gross wrote, PIMCOs epoch1, Berkshire Hathaways epoch, Peter Lynchs epoch, all occurred or have occurred within an epoch of credit expansion What if an epoch changes? What if perpetual credit expansion and its fertilization of asset prices and returns are substantially altered? What if a future epoch favors lower than index carry or continual bouts of 2008 Lehmanesque volatility ?

2013-05-01 00:00:00 US Economy to Get a Hollywood Makeover by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

You may have heard that the government is going to make some major changes in how our Gross Domestic Product is calculated later this year. Your first thought might be that this is no big deal. However, I will argue today that it is a very big deal, the biggest in a decade, and you need to know why. So I hope you read what follows with more than a passing interest.

2013-05-01 00:00:00 Looking at Leverage Outside the Box by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

Yield-seeking investors have been boxed in by the near-zero US rate environment, and it seems like there are few ways out. But for those willing to set aside preconceived ideas about the word leverage, the lesser-known leveraged loans category may be an alternative to consider in the credit space. Mark Boyadjian, senior vice president and director of our Franklin Floating Rate Debt Group, spoke to us recently about what these often-misunderstood vehicles are and what yield-seeking investors need to know before they take the plunge.

2013-04-30 00:00:00 The Most Underappreciated Threat to the Advisory Business by Bob Veres (Article)

Financial advisors have often heard the warning that their investment management services are going to become commoditized ? so often, in fact, that you can forgive them for ceasing to pay attention. But if you dont believe that an online algorithm can replace the sophisticated advice offered by a flesh-and-blood advisor, then check out the Wealthfront USA website.

2013-04-30 00:00:00 How to Make a Big Impact in the First 10 Minutes of Your Day by Dan Richards (Article)

Can changing how you spend the first 10 minutes of your day make a big impact on your business? For one advisor who altered his routine in January, the answer is a definitive yes.

2013-04-30 00:00:00 Best Practices for Following Up After a Prospecting Event by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Based on your experience, what are the best practices for following up with prospects after an event that my firm sponsors?

2013-04-26 00:00:00 An Update on the Global Business Cycle by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Understanding where we are in the an important aspect of investing, as the behavior of asset classes may vary throughout that cycle. Recent data indicate that the U.S. remains in its fourth year of expansion, but payroll and retail numbers have disappointed. Outside the U.S., Europe continues to be mired in recession while Chinas growth rebound recently has appeared to sputter. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we review what these developments mean for the global business cycle and how to position portfolios accordingly.

2013-04-24 00:00:00 An Awesome Gift For Your Kids, Grandkids, or You by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

This week, I veer from our usual economic and investment themes to tell you about what I believe is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give your children, grandchildren or others who are dear to you (or maybe even yourself). What I am about to describe is something that has literally changed the lives of dozens of my friends and relatives over the last 30+ years.

2013-04-23 00:00:00 Looking Back at Peak Oil: The Coming Crisis in Energy Supplies by Richard E Vodra, JD, CFP (Article)

Peak Oil ? the maximum sustainable rate of global oil production ? happened in 2012. Thats one of the main conclusions of a new report, Fossil and Nuclear Fuels ? The Supply Outlook, released in March 2013 by the Energy Watch Group. This event will have profound long-term implications for how advisors should manage clients portfolios, and how clients should plan their future expenses.

2013-04-23 00:00:00 How to Help Your Middle-Class Clients Retire by Dan Richards (Article)

The burgeoning field of behavioral finance points to some simple methods to help clients save more, invest their savings more effectively and maintain motivation through tough patches. Using these methods, advisors can help middle-income clients take the steps to increase the odds of being able to retire when they want, how they want ? and to reduce their stress along the way.

2013-04-23 00:00:00 Dividend Growth and Stock Returns by Peter Nielsen of Saturna Capital

The compounding impacts of dividends have historically been significant in terms of market returns for long-term investors. The importance of these cash flows to investor returns can be seen across countries and industries.

2013-04-22 00:00:00 Strategy for a Second Gear Economy by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

American investors could be forgiven for feeling just a little confused. One week after the stock market posted its strongest first-quarter gains since 1998, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the weakest monthly job growth in nine months. Real GDP growth was just 0.4% in the fourth quarter but appears to have been much stronger in the first. So is the economy getting stronger or weaker, how is the Federal Reserve likely to react to it and what, if anything, should investors do about it?

2013-04-17 00:00:00 In the Category of Sign Spinners by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

If you thought the plunge in Gold prices was tough on those long the precious metal, wait until you see the upcoming hit to the April Non-Farm Payrolls in the category of Sign Spinners...

2013-04-16 00:00:00 Why Landing Clients is Like Dating ? and Seven Other Rules for Prospecting by Dan Richards (Article)

In the last 10 years, the dynamics of acquiring clients has fundamentally changed. Todays article outlines eight new rules for prospecting; among them why gravity no longer moves prospects through a funnel and the need for a communications catalyst as a result.

2013-04-16 00:00:00 Five Warning Signs of a Coming Market Correction by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Funds

There are no positive fundamentals driving the U.S. stock market. No one has ever gotten rich by chasing markets by buying at the top, which is how this market feels.but it seems everybody feels they cant afford to miss being in the U.S. equity markets. People should instead be focused on the true facts of the U.S. economy and corporations and tune out the hype and happy talk from the media and Fed heads. Instead investors should focus on the real data.

2013-04-16 00:00:00 What the Bull Giveth, the Bear Taketh Away by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

The question of whether to commit new funds to stocks here is nuanced and complex, not least because it isnt obvious that traditional alternatives - bonds or cash - offer any better value. We are very near all-time low interest rates across most developed government bond markets, credit spreads are near all-time tights, and rates are negative out to 5 or more years in real terms.

2013-04-15 00:00:00 Valuation Based Equity Market Forecasts - Q1 2013 Update by Doug Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

Click to viewWe endorse the decisive evidence that markets and economies are complex, dynamic systems which are not reducible to normal cause-effect analysis. However, we are willing to acknowledge the likelihood that the future is likely to rhyme with the past. Thus, we believe there is substantial value in applying simple statistical models to discover average estimates of what the future may hold over meaningful investment horizons (10+ years), while acknowledging the wide range of possibilities that exist around these averages.

2013-04-12 00:00:00 How a Landslide Shifts Copper Supply by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The U.S. mining industry was dealt a devastating blow as Kennecott Utah Coppers Bingham Canyon Mine experienced a pit wall failure causing a massive landslide with rocks and dirt covering the bottom of the mine pit. Its a miracle no one was hurt due to the vigilance of its owner, Rio Tinto. The landslide is just one example of how quickly and unexpectedly the supply and demand factors facing the red metal can shift, which underscores the need for nimble active management.

2013-04-09 00:00:00 Four Bold Innovations that will Revolutionize Financial Planning by Bob Veres (Article)

What it would be like for an advisor in the 1980s to be magically transported to our 21st century? The changes would be dazzling: the Internet and social media, exchange-traded funds and Morningstar data, Skype conferences and the virtual cloud, plus a few million mobile device apps that do everything but vacuum your house.

2013-04-09 00:00:00 Four Steps to Becoming the Primary Advisor for Top Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Recently, an advisor who had successfully persuaded an investor with many millions of dollars to open an account asked me how to turn this foothold into a larger share of this client’s assets.

2013-04-09 00:00:00 Tips for Building a Compelling Web Site by Wendy Cook (Article)

Is your current website still living in the “online brochure” days or even non-existent? Don’t dwell on what’s been holding you up. Let’s move your site ? and you along with it ? into the 21st century.

2013-04-09 00:00:00 The Big Lie of COI Referrals by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Several weeks ago I responded to an advisors question about increasing center-of-influence (COI) referrals. The advisor was frustrated that seemingly good relationships with COIs were not translating into more referrals. I received a response to that column from Scott Johnson, director of sales and marketing for My Perfect Client, a provider of training programs for financial advisors. Scott shared some interesting insights about his approach to COI referrals and I thought readers could benefit from these ideas.

2013-04-02 00:00:00 The Most Important Practice Management Challenge by Bob Veres (Article)

The future of the advisory business is all about people, according to Philip Palaveev. No matter what happens with consolidation and pricing, he says, no matter what role technology plays, the most successful firms of the future will be those which excel at retaining, motivating and organizing their people.

2013-04-02 00:00:00 A Q1 Letter to Clients: Why Warren Buffett is Bullish on Stocks by Dan Richards (Article)

Since 2008, I have posted templates to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the year that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead. This quarter’s letter draws on Warren Buffett’s most recent letter to shareholders, and why he is bullish on the US equity market.

2013-04-02 00:00:00 The Online Advantage: Findings from the Advisor Perspectives Mutual Fund-Site Survey by Nina Eisenman and Jeff Briskin (Article)

New research from Advisor Perspectives shows that offering outstanding online research and due-diligence capabilities is key for fund companies that wish to win the competitive battle for the time and attention of financial advisors.

2013-03-27 00:00:00 RISE Survey Reveals Some Somber Retirement Realities by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

As numbers go, 1% and 99% have gotten more than their fair share of media attention, but if youre one of the millions who hope to retire someday, you may want to pay attention to another figure: 21%. According to the 2013 Franklin Templeton Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations (RISE) survey, thats the percentage of retirees who have no savings to speak of. So how do you avoid falling into this statistical group? Thats the $64,000 question thats worth much more than thatits the price of your future.

2013-03-26 00:00:00 A Cry for Help from Income Investors by Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)

Confronted with the stark realities of income investing now, affluent investors all over the world are rethinking their approach, notes Legg Masons just-released Global Income Survey. Yet the Survey also found income investors hungry for more knowledge and ideas -- creating opportunities for savvy financial advisors.

2013-03-26 00:00:00 How to Communicate Your Account Minimum by Dan Richards (Article)

Over the past decade, there’s been increasing pressure on advisors to establish a minimum account size for new clients. The challenge is how to communicate that ? should you be direct and upfront, or subtle and indirect?

2013-03-26 00:00:00 Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Justin Kermond (Article)

How do you create something so contagious that people can’t stop talking about it? A little-known appliance company did just that with a video of its president grinding up Justin Bieber CDs in a blender. Every advisor hopes to achieve that same contagion with social-media marketing: a presence that “goes viral” and attracts scores of retail investors.

2013-03-22 00:00:00 The Importance of Women Leaders: From Margaret Thatcher to Sheryl Sandberg to Park Geun-hye by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I have always admired former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose strong leadership and perseverance made her one of the most influential and respected political figures in recent history. She once said of her ability to persevere that she has the womans ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it.

2013-03-19 00:00:00 Five Steps to Demonstrate Your Value Today by Dan Richards (Article)

Of the broad trends facing the financial service industry, the most powerful will be greater transparency. It will force everyone ? and advisors in particular ? to clearly demonstrate the value they provide. How advisors respond to this shift to a value-driven world will determine whether they succeed or fail.

2013-03-18 00:00:00 5 Reasons to Still Like (but not Love) Stocks by David Kelly of JP Morgan Funds

While investors have been justifiably worried that the combination of the big tax hikes of January and the Sequester in March could lead to an economic slump, so far the numbers are reassuring.

2013-03-12 00:00:00 Three Ways to Turn Referrals into Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

In the perfect world, every prospect who's been given your name would immediately call you. But the real world doesn't work that way, something I was reminded of by a recent email from a financial advisor. Here's how to address that situation.

2013-03-12 00:00:00 Bill Ackman on What Makes a Great Investment by John Heins (Article)

In addition to commenting on his high-profile current investments, Pershing Square Capital's Bill Ackman in a recent interview with Value Investor Insight describes the general company traits he looks for in both active and passive investments, why a high public profile is an important element of his strategy, whether his thesis on J.C. Penney has evolved, what lessons he's learned from a few prominent mistakes, and why his short conviction on Herbalife is as high as ever.

2013-03-07 00:00:00 Guanxi, Mianzi, and Business: The Impact of Culture on Corporate Governance in China by David Smith of Aberdeen Asset Management

There are two key cultural and sociological issues of particular importance when evaluating Chinese companies: guanxi (relationships and networks) and mianzi (face). When analyzing the potential of a Chinese company, it's important to understand how guanzi and mianzi affect transactions, board composition and deliberations, and shareholder engagement, among other issues.

2013-03-06 00:00:00 Smooth Returns by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Harry Markopolos was working for a hedge fund of funds and attempting to put a portfolio together that would "smooth" long-term returns. In the process of marketing what his company was doing, he ran into a client who already had a money manager doing that for him. The money manager the client used was Bernie Madoff. When Markopolous looked at the long-term track record of Madoff's client, he instantly knew that it was mathematically impossible to have a return that high with as little year-to-year variance in the return. We at Smead Capital Management would like to ask a few questions.

2013-03-05 00:00:00 What to Say When a Friend Doesn?t Want to be a Client by Dan Richards (Article)

Many great client relationships emerge from friendships. That said, some investors are uncomfortable working with advisors with whom they have close friendships. Here's how to respond when a good friend eliminates the possibility of working together, precisely because of your friendship.

2013-03-05 00:00:00 Increasing Center-of-Influence Referrals by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I'm frustrated by the lack of success my advisors are having with centers-of-influence (COIs). I know all of the supposed tips but nothing works in practice. I was led to believe that if we follow the right process we will get referrals from them. It doesn't work this way. Do you have any ideas for increasing COI referrals?

2013-03-05 00:00:00 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks drifted last week, buffeted by concerns over Europe due to the Italian elections and worries here at home as the "dreaded" sequester begins to take effect.

2013-02-27 00:00:00 Understanding the Sequester by David Kelly, David Lebovitz of J.P. Morgan Funds

A recent survey conducted by The Hill found that only 36% of likely voters even knew what the term "sequester" meant. For the record, sequester in our current fiscal lexicon, refers to the $1.2 trillion of spending cuts spread out over the next 10 years that are set to commence on March 1, 2013. These cuts have the potential to impact both the markets and the economy. Although time still remains for a deal to be reached, it seems increasingly unlikely that this will actually occur, making it more likely that the effect of these spending cuts will be felt, at least temporarily.

2013-02-27 00:00:00 The Great Migration by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

We are value investors dedicated to creating portfolios for clients, whether growth (equities), income or a balanced blend of both, of undervalued securities with meaningful upside potential and a margin of safety to guard against permanent loss. For us, the bottom-up factors are the most compelling, but we are also mindful that we need to take account of the top-down macro factors. We know how the Crash of ?08 and the accompanying recession created havoc for investors, including us, no matter how undervalued stocks were.

2013-02-26 00:00:00 Are There Too Many Financial Advisors? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Is our industry struggling under the weight of too many advisors?

2013-02-22 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Outlook: Will Emerging Markets Continue Their Run in 2013? by Scott Klimo of Saturna Capital

A number of times we have been asked whether emerging markets will continue their run in 2013. Our response typically begins with the following clarification: "Emerging markets" may be a handy way to refer to the countries that constitute a generally recognized asset class, but this group is far from monolithic. Widely differing levels of development, economic drivers, opportunities to invest, and returns exist under the emerging markets umbrella. For this reason it's not entirely correct to imply that "emerging markets" had a run in 2012.

2013-02-22 00:00:00 A Test of Strength for Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week, we saw the gold bears growling louder and gaining strength, as the worlds largest gold-backed ETF, the SPDR Gold Trust, experienced its largest one-day outflows since August 2011. The Fear Trade fled the sector following the Federal Reserves meeting that revealed a growing dissension among some of its members over the central banks bond-buying program.

2013-02-22 00:00:00 Understanding the Sequester by David Kelly, David Lebovitz of J.P. Morgan Funds

A recent survey conducted by The Hill found that only 36% of likely voters even knew what the term sequester meant1. For the record, sequester in our current fiscal lexicon, refers to the $1.2 trillion of spending cuts spread out over the next 10 years that are set to commence on March 1, 2013. These cuts have the potential to impact both the markets and the economy. Although time still remains for a deal to be reached, it seems increasingly unlikely that this will actually occur, making it more likely that the effect of these spending cuts will be felt, at least temporarily.

2013-02-16 00:00:00 The Squeeze: Reassessing the Japan/Korea/China Manufacturing Nexus by John Longhurst of PIMCO

If the yen settles between 95 and 100 to the dollar, it could be a game changer for Japanese companies which have restructured to become profitable at 75 yen to the dollar. Some Korean companies, especially those in heavy industry, may be squeezed by intensified Japanese and Chinese competition. We expect Korean firms to fish in profit pools in businesses related to their core competencies, chiefly to the detriment of Asian and European competitors.

2013-02-12 00:00:00 The Best Tool You?ve Never Heard Of by Bob Veres (Article)

What's the most useful tool for your advisory practice that you've probably never heard about? I nominate an online service that fills in the blanks in your client asset management system.

2013-02-12 00:00:00 Staying Active on Social Media: Ten Ways to Generate Relevant Content on a Frequent Basis by Kristen Luke (Article)

One of the most difficult aspects of social media marketing for financial advisors is staying active. For advisors who already have a hectic schedule, how do you generate relevant content and maintain an active presence? Here are 10 tips to help you get started.

2013-02-08 00:00:00 A More Savvy Insurance Market by Tarik Jaleel of Matthews Asia

During my last visit to Hong Kong, I attended a conference to discuss various opportunities in financial services along with industry experts and executives from both Asian and global institutions. The key theme that emerged from the event was how Asia is typically viewed as the world's primary growth market in this important sector, particularly given the slowdown in Europe and the regulatory environment in the U.S.

2013-02-07 00:00:00 U.S. Companies Sense Great Opportunities in Shale Oil and Gas Boom by Team of Thomas White International

Thanks to the newfound sources of energy, the U.S. is forecasted to become self-sufficient in energy by 2035.

2013-02-05 00:00:00 Comparing Advisors to Jim Cramer: Measuring your Professional Alpha by Bob Veres (Article)

Jim Cramer, Suze Orman and other so-called investment pundits and gurus are constantly telling consumers that they can do a great job of managing their portfolios on their own. Let's look at what the research has to say about the various investment performance benefits that advisors should be able to give their clients during the accumulation phase of their lives ? excess returns above what do-it-yourself investors could obtain on their own. I call those excess returns 'professional alpha.'

2013-02-05 00:00:00 Why Don?t Satisfied, Happy Clients Refer? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Many factors underlie this issue, and here are the four most important of them.

2013-01-29 00:00:00 Your Most Important Resolution for 2013 by Dan Richards (Article)

With the first month of 2013 behind us, many of those New Year resolutions relating to diet, weight or exercise are distant memories. That's why this is an opportune time to make a new resolution for 2013 for your business: This is the year that you will excel at bringing new clients on board.

2013-01-28 00:00:00 A Few Things to Consider. Plus a Look at Maine and Illinois by Gregg L. Bienstock of Lumesis

This week's commentary is a slight departure from our standard format. It's been a few weeks since we mentioned the fiscal cliff, sequestration and the like. This is due to our collective saturation and the perspective of so many that the problem was solved. Well, we want to provide a reminder or two and throw a few thoughts at you to kick around. We conclude with a quick look at Maine and Illinois.

2013-01-25 00:00:00 Prisoner of the Bureaucracy by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

I wrote some time ago that Greece had a choice between Disaster A: staying in the euro; and Disaster B: leaving the euro. I have recently come back from four days in Greece, meeting with lots of people at all levels of society, and will share with you in this letter my analysis of their choices and the results. I'll also have a few things to say about what the developments in Greece might mean for the rest of Europe and the developed world.

2013-01-24 00:00:00 Quick Takes on the Investing Year Ahead by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

We covered a lot of market and investment topics at Pioneer's National Sales and Marketing Meeting last week. Here are some notes on a few that were popular: GDP Growth for the U.S.. Expectations for rates: Fed Funds Rate and the 10-year Treasury, EM equities favored over U.S. Equities?, Things that keep us up at night (outside of the debt ceiling, Europe, and Middle East tension.

2013-01-22 00:00:00 2013 Investment Outlook by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

I would like to focus this commentary on three trends which I believe will have a larger positive impact on the US economy going forward than the broader investment community expects.

2013-01-22 00:00:00 Ten for '13 by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Last year, despite the noise surrounding the U.S. elections and the ongoing European debt crisis, the main drivers of asset prices arguably were the large-scale bond-buying programs put in place by global central banks to alleviate systemic pressures. In 2013, we anticipate fewer aggressive central bank actions as the pace of global growth gradually picks up. We believe the largest influential factors to our outlook are premature fiscal tightening in the U.S. and a potential resurgence of eurozone problems.

2013-01-22 00:00:00 Fossil Inc Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Fossil Inc. (FOSL) is a global design, marketing and distribution company that specializes in consumer fashion accessories. The Company's principal offerings include an extensive line of men's and women's fashion watches and jewelry sold under proprietary and licensed brands, handbags, small leather goods, belts, sunglasses, soft accessories, shoes and clothing.

2013-01-17 00:00:00 The Fiscal Cliff: Overview of Tax Implications by Team of Neuberger Berman

The fiscal cliff bill, formally titled "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012" ("Act"), was signed into law by the President on January 3. The Act extends certain tax relief provisions enacted in 2001 and 2003, and contains numerous other tax provisions.

2013-01-17 00:00:00 End of An Era: 30 Years of Double-Digit Chinese Growth by Bryce Fegley of Saturna Capital

Slumping exports, lackluster domestic consumption, and slowing urban migration contribute to lower growth expectations for China. With Chinese manufacturing capacity now saturated relative to global demand, and developed economies facing the consequences of over-indebtedness, external tailwinds to China's growth have passed.

2013-01-15 00:00:00 Demographics and the Decline of Equity Mutual Funds by Paul Franchi (Article)

Until the last few years, mutual fund flows followed performance. Recently, however, money has flowed disproportionately into bond funds and out of US equity funds despite a strong rally in the equity markets. Changing demographics explain this shift, which has important implications for advisors and the mutual fund industry.

2013-01-15 00:00:00 Five Key Marketing Trends for Advisors in 2013 by Kristen Luke (Article)

It is a new year and time to experiment with fresh marketing ideas. Keeping up with trends isn't just a way to tell your colleagues you are on the cutting edge of marketing. You need to understand how consumers are changing and how you can keep your message delivery relevant. If your marketing is getting stale, here are five marketing trends for 2013.

2013-01-15 00:00:00 Courting Your Communications by Wendy Cook (Article)

How are your communications like a courtship? In both cases, it's crucial to proceed in the proper manner, at the proper time. Otherwise, like proposing marriage during a blind date, what might otherwise be a smooth move could flop fast.

2013-01-15 00:00:00 Forecast 2013: Unsustainability and Transition by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

As we begin a new year, we again indulge ourselves in the annual rite of forecasting the year ahead. This year I want to look out a little further than just one year in order to think about the changes that are soon going to be forced on the developed world. We are all going to have to make a very agile adaptation to a new economic environment (and it is one that I will welcome). The transition will offer both crisis and loss for those mired in the current system, which must evolve or perish, and opportunity for those who can see the necessity for change and take advantage of the evolution.

2013-01-14 00:00:00 The More Things Change... by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

One crisis averted...another one on the way? Of course, but we're still positive on the US economy and stock market.

2013-01-04 00:00:00 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

As always I hope you will enjoy this issue, as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. Most important though I wish one and all a very happy, prosperous and healthy new year!

2013-01-02 00:00:00 Getting the Most from Your Investment Committee by Bob Veres (Article)

Investment committees are a little bit like fingerprints: they come in all shapes and sizes, and no two are exactly alike in form or function. So advisory firms that have investment committees ? or are considering creating one ? can learn a lot from one another. My research has identified some best practices for this flexible management tool, by comparing notes among advisors on how they are managing their IC teams.

2013-01-02 00:00:00 How to Boost Your Team?s Morale by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

With the new year rapidly approaching, I want to instill enthusiasm and excitement for my team. We are concerned about the events in Washington and the price we will pay for inaction by our politicians. In the face of this, I want to remind my team of the value we provide for our clients. How can I instill the boost I'm seeking without seeming fake or forced?

2013-01-02 00:00:00 Brian McMahon on Thornburg?s Investment Income Builder Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Brian McMahon is the chief executive officer and chief investment officer for Thornburg Investment Management, where he the co-portfolio manager for the $11.4 billion Thornburg Investment Income Builder Fund (TIBAX). The fund's goal is income production, and it has outperformed its benchmark, the Morningstar Moderate Target Risk, over the last ten years (10.87% versus 2.88%). In this interview, he offers his views on the economy and the markets, and how he has positioned his fund.

2013-01-02 00:00:00 Somewhere Over the Rainbow by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We are 13 years into a secular bear market in the United States. The Nasdaq is still down 40% from its high, and the Dow and S&P 500 are essentially flat. European and Japanese equities have generally fared worse. The average secular bear market in the US has been about 11 years, with the shortest to date being four years and the longest 20. Are we at the beginning of a new bull market or another seven years of famine? What sorts of returns should we expect over the coming years from US equities?

2012-12-26 00:00:00 The Ten Key Benefits of Investment Committees by Bob Veres (Article)

In this first part of a two-part report, I'll identify ten core purposes that investment committees serve in different types of firms, ranking them in order of the number of responses I received. If your investment committee is serving all ten purposes, based on the survey, you're among a select minority - which means that many advisors may find new ways to use this versatile new tool in their RIA practices.

2012-12-26 00:00:00 Managing Client Interpersonal Dynamics by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I run a high-end family office firm. A couple of families are dealing with significant interpersonal dynamics. In one case, I fear a client's son is emotionally unstable and could be harmful to someone. In another case, I have seen unnecessary confrontation among siblings.

2012-12-18 00:00:00 Should Your Firm Write its Own Marketing Copy? by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

My new marketing person has ideas for client outreach and communication. He says we would have more impact if we wrote our own articles and emails instead of using the vendor we have utilized for many years. Will we get more out of our communication if we write our own copy?

2012-11-27 00:00:00 Dealing with a Ruthless Competitor by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

An advisor in the same town as I am is winning business that should be going to my firm. Prospects tell me that he makes claims that I know are patently untrue. Is it appropriate in sales meetings to tell prospects that this guy lies?

2012-11-20 00:00:00 Kyle Bass on the Next Big Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If economics could be studied in a laboratory, scientists might concoct something like the circumstances now unfolding in Japan ? and policymakers should be paying close attention. According to Kyle Bass, Japan's currency ? and its bond market ? are about to collapse under the weight of the country's unsustainable fiscal deficit.

2012-11-20 00:00:00 Working with Clients when Markets are Tough by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

It's hard for me to get clients excited and upbeat these days. The markets have been disastrous and unpredictable for too long. How can I get myself back on track?

2012-11-20 00:00:00 The Fallacies in Today?s Retirement Plan Assumptions: Putting the Hedonic Pleasure Index to Work by Bob Veres (Article)

Are you dramatically underestimating your clients' retirement lifestyle expenditures when you use Monte Carlo software? If you stop and look at a number of important assumptions hidden in the current models, you'll suddenly have a lot less confidence in the retirement plans you?re mapping out for your clients.

2012-11-13 00:00:00 The Downside to Socially Responsible Investing by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Who wouldn't want a cleaner environment or a more just society? We can all agree these are worthy goals. But it's an established fact that pursuing them through one's investing is costly; environmental-, social- and governance-based investing (ESG) does fine on a gross basis, but loses money net of fees. Now, a recently published paper argues that that ESG is basically a waste of time.

2012-11-13 00:00:00 Harvard's #1 Strategy Guru on the Key Decision for Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)

Competition has brought many once-dominant names to the brink of survival - General Motors, Kodak, Sears and Xerox. Michael Porter, Harvard's top expert on strategy, explains why advisors ignoring the important lesson here do so at their peril.

2012-10-30 00:00:00 Building Portfolios that Beat their Benchmark: Measuring Nanometers with a Yardstick by Bob Veres (Article)

Using tools he co-developed with the Nobel-prize winning economist Bill Sharpe, one advisor has found that he can reliably outperform an appropriate benchmark. His work proves it is possible to build a portfolio knowledgably. You just need the right tools to get the job done.

2012-10-30 00:00:00 Overcoming Employee Finger-Pointing by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We have a team-selling approach. We have portfolio advisors, salespeople and client-servicing people who all go on calls together. I own the firm and I'm tired of hearing each of them complain to me about one another. It's always someone else's fault. What advice can you give me so that I don't say something that I will regret?

2012-10-23 00:00:00 How to Change the Regulatory Debate - Before it's Too Late by Bob Veres (Article)

After almost a decade of lobbying, arguing, and posturing, the long fight on Capitol Hill over who will regulate RIAs and how to define 'fiduciary' is approaching a close. Within the next six months, there will no longer be any real excuse to put off a decision, and new players, both in Congress and at the SEC, will be eager to start fresh.

2012-10-23 00:00:00 When Portfolio Managers are Asked to be Marketers by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I work for a large firm as a portfolio manager. We are increasingly asked to make sales presentations and find new business. Is managing money no longer important in this business?

2012-10-23 00:00:00 Viral Marketing to Women by Tony DiLeonardi and Barbara Kay (Article)

Expanding your client list is a never-ending goal. Even if you already have a large and profitable client base, you need to replenish it over time. That perpetual chase can be a distraction - unless you can get clients to seek you! That's viral marketing at its best.

2012-10-16 00:00:00 When Strong Client Relationships Aren?t Enough by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Building strong personal relationships with your clients and consistently exceeding their expectations for direct, personal service ? these traditionally were the best ways to generate referrals. But what if that's no longer enough?

2012-10-09 00:00:00 How to Manage an Overextended Team by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I work for a large financial firm. I am continually frustrated by the fact that we generate lots of good ideas and talk about what we need to do, but rarely get things done. Many things stay open-ended, or up for discussion. I am part of the problem because I am so busy, as is my team. How can I be more of a doer and less of a talker?

2012-09-25 00:00:00 A Woman's View of Choosing a Financial Advisor by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Here are five things I've learned about what women seek in the marketplace.

2012-09-25 00:00:00 Value Investing in a Macro-Driven Environment by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The GoodHaven Fund (GOODX) is managed by Larry Pitkowsky and Keith Trauner. For most of the previous decade, Larry and Keith held research, portfolio management, and executive positions with the Fairholme Fund. I spoke with them last week.

2012-09-25 00:00:00 How to Build a Portfolio by Adams Jared Apt (Article)

This is the first of a set of three articles intended for the educated layman, in which I will combine the core ideas presented in my preceding articles into a comprehensive description of how to put together a portfolio. In this one, I'll explain what is often called Modern Portfolio Theory.

2012-09-18 00:00:00 Selling Your Practice ? After Negotiations Fall Apart by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I was hoping to sell my firm to another financial advisor. When the time came to close the deal, he turned into a different person, trying to negotiate for all kinds of things and generally being very nasty. The deal fell apart. How do I find a suitable buyer who will treat me with respect and negotiate fairly?

2012-09-11 00:00:00 A Lesson in Damage Control (Ron Rhoades, This One's for You) by Wendy J. Cook (Article)

Mistakes. Bigger or smaller, sooner or later, we all make them. With meteoric speed, one goof-up can leave a gaping crater in a firm's otherwise stellar reputation. Ron Rhoades provided a case in point when he recently withdrew from becoming the next NAPFA chairperson after becoming entangled in a minor regulatory problem. Ron's actions provide a lesson for dealing with a situation where your judgment lapsed and the damage is done.

2012-08-28 00:00:00 The Key Obstacles to Succession Planning by Bob Veres (Article)

At every financial services conference, you hear complaints about all those clients who never managed to get around to implementing the fancy, creative, tax-saving estate plans that their advisor created for them. But are financial planners any better?

2012-08-28 00:00:00 Why Don't Your Female Clients Like You? by Kathleen Burns Kingsbury (Article)

Over the next 40 years, women will inherit 70% of the $41 trillion in intergenerational wealth transfers, and the first thing they will probably do after receiving the money is fire you. The reasons are not what you think: not poor investment performance, not lack of expertise.

2012-08-28 00:00:00 Who?s Fooling Whom? by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Equity markets are exhibiting a remarkable degree of complacency. The VIX is currently at extremely low levels and it can maintain those levels for a long period of time. The worse things get in terms of the economic data, the higher the market goes on hopes of central bank stimulus. At this rate, the Dow will peak just as the world is coming to an end!

2012-08-21 00:00:00 The Profession's Faulty Assumptions: A Top Ten List by Bob Veres (Article)

In the financial planning profession, we make a lot of assumptions about the world in order to run spreadsheet models, retirement projections and sufficiency analyses, and generally determine how much a client should save and invest for the future. But many of the industry-standard inputs into our models are (how can I say this delicately?) garbage. Here are my top ten garbage inputs, with an explanation of how we might possibly improve on them.

2012-08-21 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to the commentary, Maybe This Time is Different, by Andrew Redleaf of Whitebox Advisors, which was published on August 14, and a reader responds to Michael Edesess' article, Why Hedge Funds Destroy Investor Wealth, which was published last week.

2012-08-07 00:00:00 Why Hedge Funds Destroy Investor Wealth by Michael Edesess (Article)

If all the money that's ever been invested in hedge funds had been put in Treasury bills instead, the results would have been twice as good. So claims Simon Lack - a former JPMorgan executive whose job was once to help steer billions into hedge funds - in his recent book, The Hedge Fund Mirage: The Illusion of Big Money and Why It's Too Good to Be True. You'd think hedge fund advocates would immediately pounce on this and refute it; but it's irrefutable.

2012-07-31 00:00:00 The Alternative to AUM-Based Fees: The Total Profitability Retainer Formula by Bob Veres (Article)

Many - perhaps most - advisors are overcharging a few of their clients and undercharging the rest. In other words, a small number of investment advisor clients are subsidizing the services that the others are receiving. Here's a way to address that.

2012-07-22 00:00:00 How 5 Seriously Overworked Buzzwords Can Come Between You and Your Client by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

In my experience, several investing buzzwords have done more harm than good for investors. While they are important concepts, they have been so commoditized by the financial planning industry that their true meaning has been misinterpreted. All the while, Wall Street firms have reaped the benefits by mass-customizing portfolio management. What started as a concerted effort to help investors has been reduced to a marketing pitch and investors keep falling for it.

2012-07-17 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Two readers respond to Bob Veres' article, Why Are Advisory Fees Lower Than They Have To Be?, which appeared last week, and a reader responds to Larry Siegel's article, Benchmarking Your Retirement Portfolio With a Risk-Free Strategy, which also appeared last week.

2012-07-11 00:00:00 Advisor Perspectives Marketing Case Study: A Small Fund with Large Ambitions by Team (Article)

For many smaller investment firms, growing a fund?s assets can be an enormous challenge, typically constrained by labor-intensive lead generation and qualification processes, lengthy sales cycles, and limited resources. One Boston-based firm found a way to eliminate these bottlenecks?and nearly double their assets as a result.

2012-07-10 00:00:00 Why Are Advisory Fees Lower Than They Have To Be? by Bob Veres (Article)

How much should you charge for your services? Is there any way to objectively calculate a fair price? Doctors, lawyers and accountants all charge relatively similar prices for their services. Why does the financial planning profession have fees that are all over the map?

2012-07-03 00:00:00 The Value of Planning by Bob Veres (Article)

How much do you charge for your services? When you look hard at the value you provide, the answer may be: 'not enough.'

2012-06-19 00:00:00 How to Follow Up Without Being a Pest by Dan Richards (Article)

How do you value your business? We all know the obvious candidates: assets, income, recurring revenue, client loyalty or the extent to which you've built a strong team. But a recent discussion with some top-performing advisors illuminated one metric that is absolutely critical - and typically overlooked.

2012-06-19 00:00:00 The 20 Rules for a Successful Study Group by Mike Walters (Article)

Study groups are a great tool, allowing advisors to exchange helpful insights - but they can run your business into the ground. For your study group to succeed, you must know what you're getting into, the parameters you want to live by, and how you're going to be sure to get the best of, not the worst of, the experience.

2012-06-13 00:00:00 Risk For Breakaway Brokers Equals Opportunity For RIA Firms by Joseph Giulitto of Trust Company of America

There are challenges aplenty in the world of the breakaway broker. From the obvious considerations of the market over the last decade, to the constant bombardment of the 24 hours news cycle keeping your clients informed of all the potential and peril that exists in the financial arena. With ongoing regulatory changes that create a virtual minefield of violations, and let us not forget the do it yourself marketing that is pummeling the investor to think that they dont need professional guidance.

2012-05-29 00:00:00 What Does a Dividend Tax Hike Mean for Dividend-paying Stocks? by Steve Chun (Article)

The Bush tax cuts are due to expire at the end of this year, but owners of dividend-paying stocks need not be afraid. Historically, changes in tax regimes have had little effect on the value of the aggregate stock market. Historical data show that even vulnerable asset sub-classes - high-yield stocks, for example - have not lost value long-term as a result of similar tax increases.

2012-05-15 00:00:00 The Surprising Way to Deepen Client Relationships by Dan Richards (Article)

Among the countless ways advisors have attempted to increase client loyalty, I've found a simple approach that deepens relationships.

2012-05-08 00:00:00 Richard Bernstein: US Assets will Outperform over the Next Decade by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Prior to founding the firm that now bears his name, Richard Bernstein was the chief investment strategist at Merrill Lynch & Co. In this interview, he discusses why he expects US assets - both equities and fixed income - to be the outperformers among global markets over the next decade.

2012-05-01 00:00:00 Why MLPs Belong in Your Portfolio by Geoff Considine (Article)

One would think that an asset class yielding 7% and carrying less volatility than do equities would be popular with investors. Yet, despite those attributes, master limited partnerships (MLPs) remain unknown or ignored by large numbers of investors. The case for MLPs is compelling, so it's time for a deep examination of the special properties of this asset class.

2012-04-26 00:00:00 Why Eurozone Woes are Creating Headwinds for Global Firms by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Europe is in crisis -- and that has major implications for multinational firms with significant operations in the region. In fact, while much is written about the race by corporations to penetrate emerging markets like China and Brazil, the reality is that the investment by multinationals in Europe dwarfs the assets they have in those fast-growing economies. And the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, along with weak economic growth, is sparking changes in how these firms operate -- altering everything from manufacturing strategies to marketing to financial maneuvers.

2012-04-24 00:00:00 65+5+Dividends: The case for quality dividend stocks in the first five years of retirement by Legg Mason ClearBridge Advisors (Article)

Retirees are living longer than ever before, and for many, outliving their money is a real concern. A good reason to consider quality large-cap dividend stocks in the early years of retirement - which have historically offered higher returns than fixed income with lower volatility than equities overall.

2012-04-17 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

We have several letters from readers, including one in response to Lisa Keung's article on myths about women and investing and one in response to a recent commentary by Dan Ariely.

2012-03-27 00:00:00 Jack Bogle: The Triumph of the Index Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Jack Bogle has spent his career selling investors on virtues of index funds. In a talk last week, he spoke triumphantly, as if the battle is all but over.

2012-03-27 00:00:00 The Top Three Myths about Women Investors by Lisa Kueng (Article)

Successful marketing requires an understanding of your target market. Too often, however, advisors are misled by outdated industry ideas and strategies that have shifted over time. Advisors who target women investors should avoid myth-based errors that others have made.

2012-03-27 00:00:00 Letter to the Editor ? Jeremy Grantham by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Michael Edesess' article, Jeremy Grantham: This Time is Different, which appeared last week.

2012-03-20 00:00:00 Hot Buttons that Motivate Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)

If you spend $12,000 to promote an event for prospects, you should expect results. That didn't happen for an advisor whose recent prospecting events failed. Here's how he could have created a successful event - by focusing on the hot buttons that motivate prospects.

2012-02-14 00:00:00 Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Basis Points? by Mariko Gordon (Article)

Lately I'm seeing twins everywhere - both the human kind and in the investment patterns of our business. I will explain why the positive results we've seen when selling stocks after a big break in price can often lead to equally negative results - a mirror image twin - when applied on the buy side.

2011-12-20 00:00:00 Wall Street Journal: Three Words of Advice for Million-Dollar Producers by Dan Richards (Article)

The financial advisor careers section of Wall Street Journal asked 60 advisors from all over the U.S. for suggestions to new advisors starting in the business whose goals were to be million-dollar producers. Their advice came down to three words.

2011-12-13 00:00:00 GLWBs: Retiree Protection or Money Illusion? by Wade Pfau (Article)

One of the most popular variable annuity riders is the guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB), which offers downside protection through lifetime income, upside potential with step-ups based on market performance, and minimal surrender penalties. But, examining historical data, I have found that those riders carry a cost that will not be readily apparent to retirees: their cash flows rapidly decrease on an inflation-adjusted basis.

2011-12-06 00:00:00 Why Shiller and Soros May Be Wrong about Farmland Investing by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Earlier this year, Yale's Robert Shiller identified farmland as an asset class in the early stage of bubble formation. George Soros, Jim Grant and Jim Rogers have espoused similarly bullish views. But advisors - even those managing the assets of very wealthy clients - shouldn't bet the farm on these expert forecasts just yet.

2011-11-22 00:00:00 Investment Trends in the Financial Advisory Profession by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Advisors are optimistic about the returns Treasury bonds will provide over the next decade, but they are less sanguine about the projected performance of US equities. Their inflation expectations are consistent with the historical data. These findings and many others arise from our study, Investment Trends in the Financial Advisory Space: Key Implications for the Investment Management Industry, a research report now available from Advisor Perspectives.

2011-11-01 00:00:00 The Small Cap Falsehood by Michael Edesess (Article)

The supposed outperformance of small cap stocks is a foundational precept on which many respected asset managers have staked their expertise over the years ? foremost among them, Dimensional Fund Advisors. A growing body of research, however, shows no such advantage for the last 30 years and, now, a new study seems to have proven that the supposed small-cap advantage may have never existed in the first place.

2011-11-01 00:00:00 A Better Way to do Financial Planning by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Simplicity is dangerous when it comes to financial planning. Easy-to-use tools that project your retirement savings based on minimal inputs such as your income and savings rate amount to a ?bait-and-switch,? according to Larry Kotlikoff, a Boston University professor of economics. To properly prepare for retirement, one should focus on maintaining a constant standard of living throughout their life ? what economists call consumption smoothing.

2011-11-01 00:00:00 Regulatory Armageddon by Bob Veres (Article)

Suppose you were somehow able to convince 40 advisors, who are all well-known thought leaders in the profession, to gather in the same room for a six-hour brainstorming session. The goal: to identify the single most important thing that the financial planning profession should be thinking about now. What do you think they'd come up with? Fasten your seat belts, because this may be the most important report you'll read all year.

2011-10-18 00:00:00 A Response to Improving on Morningstar Style Boxes by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)

A reader responds to Stephen Dodson's article, Improving on Morningstar Style Boxes, which appeared last week. Taking on the scourge of the active equity mutual fund industry, the style grid, is a laudable goal. I would like to build upon the arguments presented in that article.

2011-09-20 00:00:00 Counterparty Risk in Large Total-Return Funds by Robert Huebscher (Article)

We can add another to the list of concerns facing advisors: counterparty risk ? a potential loss from the failure of a bank or broker-dealer. Underscoring this threat, DoubleLine's founder and chief investment officer, Jeffrey Gundlach, recently warned advisors to avoid all funds with counterparty risk. Heeding his warning, however, is not easy; it is virtually impossible to gauge the extent of counterparty risk in most funds.

2011-09-20 00:00:00 Own Your Brand by Kristen Luke (Article)

Your company's brand is too important to not have total control of your logo. Your designer may have created your logo, but you should have full control over these files. This means having appropriate versions for different applications and owning the rights to your logo.

2011-08-23 00:00:00 Strategies for a Rising Rate Environment by Jayant Kumar of Fisher Francis Trees & Watts (Article)

Shortening the duration of a fixed-income portfolio is often considered the default option, but it is not the only way to hedge against a potential rise in interest rates. This article provides investors with a framework to analyze and implement a range of fixed-income strategies, and highlights various investment considerations that should carefully be taken into account.

2011-08-23 00:00:00 A Fundamental Investment Strategy for Today's Environment by Robert Huebscher (Article)

We spoke with Tim Hartch and Michael Keller, who are co-managers of the Morningstar 5-star BBH Core Select Fund (BBTEX) from Brown Brothers Harriman. The fund's strategy is strictly bottom-up, with investments in established, cash-generative businesses that are leading providers of essential products and services with strong management teams and loyal customers.

2011-08-23 00:00:00 What You Don't Know About Stock Photos Can Hurt You by Kristen Luke (Article)

While the process of purchasing a stock image is easy, make sure you are purchasing the photos with the correct specifications and licenses to meet your needs. Otherwise, you could find yourself paying much more than you ever would have imagined.

2011-08-02 00:00:00 Hitting a Moving Target: Matching Portfolio Risk to Client Expectations by Scott Smith (Article)

Much of the angst faced by investors and advisors over the last several years was caused by mismatched perceptions regarding investors' appetite for portfolio risk. Advisors overestimated the amount of risk investors were comfortable being exposed to within portfolios.

2011-07-19 00:00:00 Should You Use Google+? by Kristen Luke (Article)

The jury is still out on whether Google+ is going to be the next Facebook. So the question is, 'Should you use it?'

2011-06-14 00:00:00 Fall Marketing Starts Today by Kristen Luke (Article)

The summer slowdown provides an excellent opportunity to focus more energy on marketing and planning for the fall. Here are three things to work on to prepare for September and the fourth quarter.

2011-05-31 00:00:00 Fantasy-world Returns for Equity Indexed Annuities by Robert Huebscher (Article)

When research fails to meet the basic standards of academic rigor, its conclusions should be questioned. One such case is a recent paper, Real-World Index Annuity Returns, whose conclusions you should trust at your own risk.

2011-05-24 00:00:00 A Sentence that Tripled Referrals by Dan Richards (Article)

This veteran advisor added a six-word sentence to his website - and saw referrals triple as a result.

2011-05-10 00:00:00 Something's Fishy in the Russell Rebalancing by Mariko Gordon (Article)

We humanoids think in words; it's just the way we're wired. As a result, the labels we assign to things affect our view of the world. I look at two frequently used investment labels: 'growth' and 'value.' I'll explain why both are high on my list of jargon pet peeves.

2011-04-26 00:00:00 How to Take Advantage of the CFP Awareness Campaign by Kristen Luke (Article)

If you are a CFP, you will be directly affected by the Let's Make a Plan campaign, even if you take a passive role. Those who take a more active role can use the toolkit provided by the CFP Board to promote themselves in local markets. Here's what's entailed and what you can personally do to take advantage of the campaign.

2011-04-26 00:00:00 When is a Fiduciary not a Fiduciary? by Jeffrey Briskin (Article)

You would think every investment professional who claims to be acting in a fiduciary capacity for his or her clients understands exactly what that entails. But the results of a recent survey of brokers and RIAs indicates that many apply their own personal 'fiduciary litmus test' when determining where these responsibilities start and end.

2011-04-19 00:00:00 Two More Changes to Facebook by Kristen Luke (Article)

In last week's article, What Facebook's New Features Mean for your Business, I discussed a recent change Facebook made that allows business pages to interact throughout the site as a business and not just as an individual. Facebook made two other changes to business pages that affect how advisors use them as a marketing tool.

2011-04-12 00:00:00 Ten Trends that will Reshape the Fund Industry by Robert Huebscher (Article)

For advisors scouring among thousands of mutual funds, bargains and inefficiencies will be harder to find in coming years. Intense competition among funds for shelf space will not translate to lower fees, and the new class of broad asset allocation funds is unlikely to live up to its marketing promises. Those were among the surprising forecasts from Geoff Bobroff, with whom I met last week.

2011-04-05 00:00:00 A Close Look at the PIMCO-Met Life Retirement Strategy A Marriage Made in Investment Heaven? by Michael Edesess (Article)

If you embrace their recently announced co-marketing strategy, when you're relatively young you use PIMCO's Real Income Funds for stable income in the near term. When you're older Met Life's Longevity Income Guarantee kicks in and takes it from there. You're set with secure income for life. We examine these products more closely and analyze whether they are good deals, either separately or together.

2011-04-05 00:00:00 Four Ways to Position Yourself as an Expert by Kristen Luke (Article)

You have a wealth of knowledge about your industry and about how you can help your prospects. Indeed, you are an expert, but does your target market consider you one?

2011-03-15 00:00:00 Nailing the Invisible Interview by Justin Locke (Article)

I am always looking for a marketing edge, employing everything from social media to traditional collateral. But the other day I saw marketing from the other side. Someone acquired me as a new client, and it was revealing to learn why.

2011-02-22 00:00:00 Winning New Business, Growing Your Firm by Michael Slemmer, CFA (Article)

How are advisors reaching prospects and winning new business today? What's working well for advisors as they seek to grow their businesses, and where are they finding challenges? To answer these questions, we conducted a survey in late November, 2010, aiming to learn the most common and successful business-building tactics for wealth managers, investment advisors and related professionals.

2011-02-01 00:00:00 Stop Using Outlook for Email Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

Unfortunately, many advisors confuse the ability to send hundreds of emails through Outlook with conventional email marketing. Advisors who do this don't know that they are putting themselves at risk of violating the federal CAN SPAM laws.

2011-01-25 00:00:00 Ten Resolutions for Greater Prosperity in 'The Year of the Fiduciary' by Jeffrey Briskin (Article)

If you think selling and servicing 401(k) plans isn't easy today, ERISA is about to make it even harder. The good news is that firms that adjust to these challenges can use them to their competitive advantage Here are ten steps your firm can take to prepare for The Year of the Fiduciary.

2011-01-25 00:00:00 Demand Transparency in an Opaque Mutual Fund World by Andy Rachleff (Article)

Too many investors will end up in actively managed funds that fail in their mission to outperform a passive benchmark. And investors won't know until it's too late because they lack the information to evaluate which funds might consistently outperform the market.

2011-01-18 00:00:00 Marketing Ideas I've Learned from My Clients by Kristen Luke (Article)

One of the favorite parts of my job is learning new ideas. Sometimes they come from campaigns that my clients have implemented over the years and sometimes these ideas come from collaborating with clients to find a solution to a problem they are facing. Here are my three favorite ideas from the past year.

2011-01-18 00:00:00 Build Loyalty through Annual Client Reviews: Four Questions All Advisors Must Ask Their Clients by Ani Yessaillian (Article)

In today's highly competitive marketplace, you'll never be able to grow your business if you're losing clients. Trust fosters loyalty - but how do you build that kind of trust with your clients? The annual review is one of your best opportunities.

2011-01-18 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A number of readers respond to Nancy Opiela's article, Tactical Asset Allocation and Market Timing: What's the Difference?, and one reader responds to Michael Lewitt's article, The Wages of Growth. Both articles appeared last week.

2011-01-11 00:00:00 The Key to Scaling Your Practice by Bob Oros (Article)

Independent advisors who are ill-equipped to handle a large influx of business from retiring baby boomers will struggle to harness the swelling demand. To capitalize on this new wave of assets, advisors need an edge. Many forward-thinking advisors have already discovered such an advantage in model portfolios.

2011-01-04 00:00:00 Five Ways to Shape Up Your Marketing in 2011 by Kristen Luke (Article)

January is the natural time for identifying areas neglected over the past few months (or years) and making plans to remedy these failings. As you create your list of New Year's Resolutions, here are five things you can do to shape up your marketing this year.

2011-01-04 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to our article, Debunking Ken Fisher, which appeared two weeks ago. Another reader responds to the article, Return Distributions and the Shiller P/E Ratio, by Keith C. Goddard, which originally appeared on February 2, 2010.

2010-12-21 00:00:00 Debunking Ken Fisher by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In his latest book, Debunkery, Ken Fisher achieves his goal of dispelling many common investment myths and, in doing so, offers his philosophy on how individuals should manage their money. While most of the advice he offers is unequivocally correct, he also makes egregious errors on some serious matters.

2010-12-21 00:00:00 Three Ways to Tweak Your Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

Even the best marketers can improve upon their existing successful campaigns and marketing messages. Here are my three recommendations for how to tweak your marketing for better results.

2010-12-14 00:00:00 Five Things to Look for When Hiring a Marketing Coordinator by Kristen Luke (Article)

A Marketing Coordinator must have diverse talents and the ability to handle the majority of marketing responsibilities required by your firm. Here are five skills to look for on a resume to increase the likelihood you are hiring the right person.

2010-12-06 00:00:00 Why You Aren't Getting Referrals - And What to Do About It (Part 2) by Dan Richards (Article)

In his previous column, Dan Richards discussed seven misconceptions that prevent advisors from getting referrals. Here, he concludes with eight more referrals fallacies.

2010-12-06 00:00:00 The Silver Bullet of Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

One of the first questions advisors ask me is, 'What is working these days?' This always amuses me, since what works for one advisor is not necessarily going to work for another advisor. However, I have found there is one thing that is "working these days" and has always worked.

2010-11-09 00:00:00 The Most Neglected Marketing Principle by Kristen Luke (Article)

Often, advisors lack a strategy for following up with prospects if they are not immediately interested in hiring your firm. As the authors of a recent book state, "81% of sales that close, close on or after the fifth contact." It is imperative that you integrate a follow-up strategy in your marketing plan.

2010-11-02 00:00:00 The SEC?s 12b-1 Proposal is Based on Misguided History, Flawed Economics by John H. Robinson (Article)

The SEC's stated aims of its proposed Rule 12b-1 reform are laudable: increasing transparency, reducing investor fees, and increasing competition among mutual funds. However, John Robinson's review of its 278-page proposal found major flaws, including a misinformed historical pretext and naïve economic analysis.

2010-11-02 00:00:00 Four New Ways to Beef Up Your LinkedIn Profile by Kristen Luke (Article)

If you have logged into LinkedIn in the last couple of weeks, you may have noticed some new changes. The professional networking site has new sections for individual profiles, and Kristen Luke explains how to use them.

2010-10-26 00:00:00 20 Ideas to Market Your Business this Holiday Season by Kristen Luke (Article)

Many advisors take advantage of the holidays to reach out to their clients and prospects. Kristen Luke offers 20 ideas you can utilize this year.

2010-10-19 00:00:00 to a Successful Practice by Beverly D. Flaxington (Article)

It's not easy for advisors to do many things well at once. Consultant Beverly Flaxington has had success juggling competing challenges, and a client recently asked her to formalize how she manages multiple priorities and what works effectively for her clients. In response, she created the S.H.I.F.T. Model for Success.

2010-10-12 00:00:00 Does Your Marketing Match Your Business Structure? by Kristen Luke (Article)

Marketing strategies differ depending on the structure of a firm, writes Kristen Luke. Solos and silos focus on marketing the individual advisor while ensembles market the firm. Ensembles also tend to have more sophisticated marketing campaigns since they generally have larger marketing budgets and higher revenue streams.

2010-10-05 00:00:00 The Misguided Promise of 529 Plans by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Along with the overall market, 529 plans suffered disastrous returns in 2008, leaving many families with insufficient funds to pay their tuition costs. The real problem, though, is not with the past performance of 529s. A misguided promise underlies the vast majority of 529 plans - that their heavy allocation to equities will provide acceptable risk-adjusted returns for the time horizons over which most parents invest.

2010-09-28 00:00:00 Unraveling the 12b-1 Debate by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The SEC has proposed sweeping changes to the way commission-based advisors will be compensated for the services they provide. Those changes will rename and modify the 12b-1 fees that many mutual funds now charge. To understand their impact, we spoke with Avi Nachmany of NY-based Strategic Insight, whose clients include the largest mutual funds.

2010-09-28 00:00:00 Building your Digital Identity through Blogging by Stephanie Sammons (Article)

Blogging is a modern-day marketing platform for cultivating client, prospect, and center-of-influence relationships. A well-designed and properly structured blog, writes Stephanie Sammons in this guest contribution, can provide you with an opportunity to proactively manage your online reputation and attract new clients into your business.

2010-09-14 00:00:00 How to Star in a TV Special on Retirement Challenges by Dan Richards (Article)

Meeting clients' needs requires strategies that spread across a variety of investment classes, financial securities, and custodians. To ensure you continue spending more of your time managing your clients' assets than their data flow, Envestnet's reporting capabilities give advisors the flexibility to integrate multi-custodian performance reporting at a variety of levels.

2010-09-07 00:00:00 A Modest Proposal to the SEC by Michael Edesess (Article)

The SEC is now considering reforming how 12b-1 fees are currently charged, how they would be set in the future, and how they will be disclosed to fund purchasers. In this guest contribution, Michael Edesess offers an alternative, radical proposal, should the SEC's reforms not be adopted.

2010-08-31 00:00:00 Five Steps to Choosing the Right Marketing Firm by Kristen Luke (Article)

Finding a marketing firm for your advisory practice can be a daunting task and hiring the wrong firm can be an expensive mistake. It is essential that you spend time doing due diligence to find the right partner for your growth. Kristen Luke provides five steps that will help you with this process.

2010-08-24 00:00:00 This is No Way to Run a Railroad by Michael Lewitt (Article)

In the latest edition of the HCM Market Letter, This is No Way to Run a Railroad, Michael Lewitt says the railroad known as the United States economy is chasing its own tail these days. Driven by misbegotten fiscal and monetary policies that ignore the lessons of history in favor of discredited financial and economic theories, the economy is trapped in a cycle of boom and bust. Lewitt also comments on the bond market, the European stress tests, GM, and the private equity industry.

2010-08-24 00:00:00 How to Choose the Right Social Media Archiving Strategy by Blane Warrene (Article)

Advisors who have embraced social media as an important component of their marketing and service toolbox must monitor and manage the content they distribute. In this guest contribution, Blane Warrene discusses how to collect and store postings and comments made by you and others on social media platforms and store the information in a readily accessible database.

2010-08-10 00:00:00 Taking Exception: 'Fiduciary' is Much Ado about Something! by Scott MacKillop (Article)

All financial advisors who provide investment advice directly to clients or exercise investment discretion over client assets should be subject to fiduciary standards. In this guest contribution, Scott MacKillop takes exception to the article by John Lohr entitled 'Fiduciary': Much Ado about Nothing! that appeared here last week.

2010-08-10 00:00:00 Is the Market Efficient? by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

After Marxism, no economic theory today may be as derided and despised as the hypothesis of market efficiency. The idea is often misunderstood, sometimes willfully. So what does "market efficiency" mean? In the latest installment of his series for the educated layman, Adam Jared Apt provides some answers.

2010-08-10 00:00:00 A Marketing Guide for RIAs Part 10 - Develop a Written Marketing Plan by Kristen Luke (Article)

In the final installment of her series on low-budget marketing, Kristen Luke discusses how to put all the elements together in a written plan.

2010-08-03 00:00:00 'Fiduciary': Much Ado about Nothing! by John Lohr (Article)

The most overused, misused and misunderstood word in the investment industry is 'fiduciary.' Independent advisors, trade organizations and self-styled 'expert' groups have called for stockbrokers to adopt the 'fiduciary' standard to achieve a grand leveling of the playing field for those who provide investment advice. This is nothing more than unnecessary marketing hype, says securities lawyer John Lohr in this guest contribution.

2010-08-03 00:00:00 A Marketing Guide for RIAs: Part 8 ? Implement a Client Referral Strategy by Kristen Luke (Article)

In her series on low-budget marketing for startup RIA firms, Kristen Luke discusses how to develop a client referral strategy.

2010-08-03 00:00:00 A Marketing Guide for RIAs: Part 9 ? Create a Drip Marketing System for Prospects by Kristen Luke (Article)

In her series on low-budget marketing for startup RIA firms, Kristen Luke discusses how to develop a drip marketing program.

2010-08-03 00:00:00 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)

In a letter to the editor, a reader responds to Dave Loeper's article, Fake Diversification Exposed: Does Asset Allocation Work?, which appeared on July 13.

2010-07-27 00:00:00 A Marketing Guide for RIAs: Part 6 - Develop a Networking Strategy by Kristen Luke (Article)

In her series on low-budget marketing for startup RIA firms, Kristen Luke discusses how to develop networking strategies.

2010-07-27 00:00:00 A Marketing Guide for RIAs: Part 7 ? Implement a Centers of Influence Referral Strategy by Kristen Luke (Article)

In her series on low-budget marketing for startup RIA firms, Kristen Luke discusses how to implement centers-of-influence referral strategies.

2010-07-20 00:00:00 A Marketing Guide for RIAs: Part 4 ? Create Marketing Collateral by Kristen Luke (Article)

In her series on low-budget marketing for startup RIA firms, Kristen Luke discusses how to create your marketing collateral.

2010-07-20 00:00:00 A Marketing Guide for RIAs: Part 5 ? Become an Expert by Kristen Luke (Article)

In her series on low-budget marketing for startup RIA firms, Kristen Luke discusses how to become an expert in your market niche.

2010-07-13 00:00:00 How to Fix the SEC by Bob Veres (Article)

Bob Veres' view is that the SEC is adequately funded, but perhaps is not ideally allocating the resources it already has. Fiduciary standards and regulatory reform are only part of the solution to protecting consumers from the predatory behavior of some financial services professionals in our midst. The remainder of the fix is potentially uncomplicated. See Bob's other contribution below.

2010-07-13 00:00:00 A Marketing Guide for RIAs: Part 2 ? Craft Your Message by Kristen Luke (Article)

As part of her series on low-budget marketing for startup RIA firms, Kristen Luke discusses how to craft your message.

2010-07-13 00:00:00 A Marketing Guide for RIAs: Part 3 ? Build a Website by Kristen Luke (Article)

Kristen Luke discusses the steps to take to build your website.

2010-07-06 00:00:00 A Marketing Guide for RIAs by Kristen Luke (Article)

Kristen Luke begins a series of articles that will provide step-by-step instructions on how to start marketing your new RIA firm. She assumes that your firm does not have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on marketing. Here is an overview of the series.

2010-07-06 00:00:00 A Marketing Guide for RIAs: Part 1 ? Pick a Niche by Kristen Luke (Article)

Beginning her series of articles that will provide step-by-step instructions on how to start marketing your new RIA firm, Kristen Luke outlines part 1 - developing a market niche.

2010-06-29 00:00:00 The $0 Marketing Plan by Kristen Luke (Article)

Many advisors find themselves in a difficult quandary - they need to market their businesses, but they don't have budget to do so. Instead of finding ways to market on a dime, they throw up their hands and hope that business will magically appear. Kristen Luke shows how you can market your business on a zero-dollar budget.

2010-06-24 00:00:00 those darn analysts by tom brakke of the research puzzle

To be successful, an analyst must be able to evaluate anything and everything. The list of the most important considerations varies by industry and company, but think of all the different pieces: operations, sales, marketing, finance, etc. Any of them can cause problems or improvements within a firm; how well can one person understand the internal dynamics of each? In most investment organizations, we have made it too easy to say, 'those darn analysts,' without stopping to realize that we have constructed a job that is unwieldy and unlikely to engender success.

2010-06-22 00:00:00 Three New Ways to Use LinkedIn to Market Your Business by Kristen Luke (Article)

LinkedIn is constantly evolving and has become a better marketing tool in the process, writes Kristen Luke. If you haven't logged in recently, here are three new ways you can use the site to market your business.

2010-06-22 00:00:00 The New Roth Rules: Are Your Clients Converting? Survey Results ? April/May 2010 by Michael Slemmer, CFA (Article)

Many fund companies are reporting high levels of Roth conversion activity, but to date there have been only anecdotal reports as to what investment advisors and wealth managers are experiencing with their clients and prospects. Here are the results from a survey we recently conducted that provides insights into trends in Roth conversions.

2010-06-15 00:00:00 Strategy Advice from Apple and Google by Dan Richards (Article)

Last week Dan Richards conducted a webinar focused on the key decision that will drive advisors' long term success. Richards talks about what advisors can learn from the success of Apple, Google, Coke and Walmart.

2010-06-08 00:00:00 Ten Ways to Improve Manager Selection by Nancy Opiela (Article)

Today's emphases on fiduciary responsibility, risk management and increased transparency require better due diligence when selecting managers. Especially in today's turbulent markets, advisors who spend more time and resources to do due diligence well can find themselves at a distinct competitive advantage. While these ten tips won't necessarily help you identify the next active management superstar, they can bolster your manager selection and due diligence program.

2010-06-08 00:00:00 The First Thing We Do, Let?s Kill All the Quants by Michael Lewitt (Article)

In the latest issue of the HCM Market Letter, Michael Lewitt draws the parallels between the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and financial reform - both, he says, demonstrate our inability to learn from our mistakes. Lewitt also comments on quantitative trading strategies, economic recovery and the capital markets.

2010-06-01 00:00:00 Social Media & Reputation Management for Financial Advisors by Dan Sommer (Article)

As a financial advisor, your reputation is one of your most important prospecting tools. While the internet presents a wealth of marketing benefits, one downside is potentially losing control of your reputation. In this guest contribution, Dan Sommer shows how to make sure that doesn't happen.

2010-05-28 00:00:00 A Focus on Marketing Research by Dan Ariely of Predictably Irrational

Businesses most often rely on small 'focus groups' to answer big questions in marketing. In doing so, they rely on the intuition of about 10-12 lay people with no relevant training, and who ultimately have no idea what they're talking about. Although statistics about how a large group of people actually behaves can tell us so much more than the intuitions of a focus group, the allure of a story is irresistible. Perhaps we should try and supplement the numbers with a story to quench our thirst for an anecdote. What we can't do is forget about the facts in favor of fairy tales.

2010-05-25 00:00:00 Measure the Success of your Marketing through your CRM by Kristen Luke (Article)

Just because marketing is difficult to measure, it doesn't mean you should give up trying to do so, says Kristen Luke. Your time is valuable and you have a limited budget, so you will want to make educated decisions about where to best allocate your resources. The best way to do this is to utilize your customer relationship management (CRM) system to track your marketing efforts.

2010-05-18 00:00:00 Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile through Applications by Kristen Luke (Article)

The standard LinkedIn profile is pretty boring - it consists almost entirely of text. Fortunately, LinkedIn has partnered with a dozen application providers to help enhance user experience. Here are eight that Kristen Luke recommends to turn your profile from a resume to a marketing tool.

2010-05-18 00:00:00 Search Engine Marketing for Financial Advisors by Dan Sommer (Article)

How do you take advantage of search engine marketing as a financial advisor? The goal of search engine marketing is to ensure that your website appears on as many results pages as possible for queries that relate to your business, and in this guest contribution Dan Somer explains the details of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising.

2010-05-11 00:00:00 Inspire Client Trust by Delivering Clear, Insightful Investment Communications by Ani Yessaillian (Article)

One of the best ways to build trust with your clients is to consistently deliver clear, insightful investment communications. In this guest contribution, consultant Ani Yessaillian tells you how to make the most of your quarterly performance report and your off-cycle investment communications.

2010-05-11 00:00:00 Tagline, You?re It by Wendy J. Cook (Article)

Have you ever noticed that it can be easier to write a 6,000-word treatise than to come up with six perfect words, like, say, "You're in good hands with Allstate®"? As Wendy Cook writes, sometimes less is more - more frustrating, that is. How do you say a lot with a little in corporate taglines?

2010-05-04 00:00:00 Alternative Centers of Influence by Kristen Luke (Article)

Just because you haven't had much luck generating referrals from traditional centers of influence (COIs), don't give up your COI marketing strategy all together. COIs don't have to be CPAs or attorneys, says Kristen Luke. They can be anyone who has the ability to influence a potential client to pick up the phone and call you.

2010-04-27 00:00:00 Four Reasons to Keep Sending Your eNewsletter that No One Reads by Kristen Luke (Article)

If nobody opens your eNewsletter is a waste of time? Not at all! Having your contacts read your eNewsletter to stay informed about your business and educate themselves about their finances is just one possible outcome. Kristen Luke gives four other reasons why you should continue to send your eNewsletter, even if no one is reading it.

2010-04-13 00:00:00 Unforeseen Pitfalls of Social Media Success by Kristen Luke (Article)

There is a pitfall that is rarely anticipated and only occurs for those who are the most successful using social media, writes Kristen Luke. Social media can create more relationships and opportunities than one person can reasonably handle.

2010-04-06 00:00:00 Municipal Bond Advantages Remain by American Century Investments (Article)

You and your clients often sift through competing, complicated information in the course of making investment decisions. That's certainly true in the municipal bond market today. Joseph Gotelli, municipal bond portfolio manager at American Century Investments®, urges investors to consider municipals' enduring features. Conflicting news and views on the municipal market should not obscure the fact that many municipal bonds remain high-quality investments with compelling tax advantages. We thank American Century for their sponsorship.

2010-04-06 00:00:00 Ten Steps to Get Started with New Media Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

For advisors not familiar with social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Viddler, BlogTalkRadio, and YouTube), Kristen Luke provides a 10-step plan to get started.

2010-03-30 00:00:00 Seven Tips for a Successful Family Foundation by Nancy Opiela (Article)

Managing a foundation's assetswins you the cachet of being seen as helping your clients fulfill their philanthropic goals, and it is extremely lucrative work that can create a practice-building bridge to the next generation.The administrative aspects, as Nancy Opiela writes, can be daunting and she offers seven tips for a successful family foundation.

2010-03-30 00:00:00 Get More Bang for Your Charitable Buck by Kristen Luke (Article)

Whatever your level of involvement in charitable activities, you can probably still do more, writes Kristen Luke. This is especially true when it comes to incorporating your charitable support into a marketing strategy for your own business.

2010-03-23 00:00:00 Three Ways to Enhance Your Facebook Business Page by Kristen Luke (Article)

A business page on Facebook provides you with a way to connect with people interested in your practice without having to use your personal profile. Kristen Luke offers three tips for improving your Facebook visibility.

2010-03-16 00:00:00 No Shell Game? Then What Is It? by Dave Loeper (Article)

Wealthcare's Dave Loeper responds to Roger Schreiner's recent article, It's No Shell Game. Loeper contends that the rules of Schreiner's challenge ensure that Schreiner will win and, from a larger perspective, active management advocates sacrifice their clients' wealth by exposing them to risks those advocates cannot control.

2010-03-09 00:00:00 The New Rules of Marketing - A Roundtable by Dan Sommer (Article)

Given the ever-shifting landscape of information consumption and consumer behavior, financial advisors have been forced to change their thinking about the way they market themselves. In this guest contribution, Dan Sommer speaks with two investment professionals who answer a series of marketing-related questions for advisors.

2010-03-02 00:00:00 Robert Pozen on the Financial Crisis, Social Security, and the Mutual Fund Industry by Dan Richards (Article)

Robert Pozen is the chairman of MFS Investment Management and a senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School. In this interview with Dan Richards, he discusses the financial crisis, Social Security, and the mutual fund Industry. We provide a transcript and a video replay of the interview.

2010-02-09 00:00:00 6 Ways to Make the Most of your Web Site by Nancy Opiela (Article)

Whether your web site is an online brochure to attract prospects or tool to enhance client communication, small changes can generate big returns. Even if your site already has the right look and feel, here are six ways it can still be improved.

2010-02-09 00:00:00 Transforming Your Business with an Integrated Solution by Marie Swift (Article)

Marie Swift evaluates the various systems and processes that are kicked-off at a typical firm from one of the most common client interactions - an inbound call. Many firms work with disparate software systems and utilize far too many manual tasks - resulting in duplicate data entry and poor customer service. Conversely, Marie evaluates this same scenario utilizing an integrated software and services solution, Tamarac Advisor 9, and finds dramatic gains in efficiency, accuracy and overall firm profitability. We thank Tamarac for their sponsorship.

2010-01-26 00:00:00 Karma Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

A few weeks ago, Kristen Luke was speaking with an advisor about the types of marketing his firm does. He listed several standard marketing campaigns, and then went on to tell me that his main marketing strategy is to help others first with their needs. Business tends to follow, and he calls his strategy "Karma Marketing."

2010-01-12 00:00:00 Bruce Berkowitz on the Keys to Success for the Fairholme Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Bruce Berkowitz, manager of the Fairholme Fund, was just named Morningstar's US fund manager of the year. In our interview, he discusses current market conditions, the thesis behind several of his largest positions, his views on health care reform, and the elements of the macro environment that concern him most.

2010-01-12 00:00:00 How to Use LinkedIn When Your Compliance Department Says No by Kristen Luke (Article)

For those advisors who are allowed to have a LinkedIn profile but are restricted in their use of the site, there are still strategies that can be utilized to make LinkedIn a valuable sales and marketing tool. Kristen Luke provides four strategies to implement even if you can't use LinkedIn to its fullest potential.

2010-01-05 00:00:00 Perspectives on 2009 and Beyond by Ron Surz (Article)

We are again privileged to provide Ron Surz' award-winning market commentary. Surz examines global performance in Q4, 2009 and the prior decade.

2009-12-22 00:00:00 Morningstar Ratings ? Our Response by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Last week, we published the response from John Rekenthaler, Morningstar's VP of Research, to our recent study of Morningstar's ratings. We disagree with the Rekenthaler's analysis and provide our rebuttal.

2009-12-15 00:00:00 TCW Post-Gundlach by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The reasons for Jeff Gundlach's termination from TCW and his future plans have become subjects of great speculation. We will leave it to others to answer those questions and instead focus on one important issue that was raised in a conference call TCW held with investors last Friday.

2009-12-08 00:00:00 Attracting Clients through Event Marketing by Jason Lampa (Article)

When he meets with financial advisors, Jason Lampa always asks them whether they have integrated event marketing into their strategic marketing plan. In this guest contribution, he writes that rarely are such programs part of a firm's overall marketing strategy; moreover, most advisors have no process in place to execute an event marketing plan.

2009-12-01 00:00:00 Ten Ways to Connect with Your Clients? Children by Nancy Opiela (Article)

When you work with a top client throughout his or her life, you have an opportunity to ensure that the client's family stays with your firm beyond the current generation. Financial legacies are often lost when wealth passes from generation to generation, so building intergenerational connections can ensure both a successful transfer of assets - and an advisory relationship that endures after your original client passes on.

2009-12-01 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

In our letters to the Editor, one reader comments on Dan Richards' article last week, Tapping into Today's Number One Client Concern, and another comments on our article two weeks ago, Bruce Greenwald on Positioning First Eagle's Funds.

2009-11-24 00:00:00 Tapping into Today?s Number One Client Concern by Dan Richards (Article)

Larry Porcelli, the head of the private client group for US fund giant BlackRock said that their research shows that 70% of Americans are willing to move their accounts if another firm or advisor offered expertise on constructing portfolios to avoid running out of money. Dan Richards identifies two things advisors need to do to capitalize on this opportunity.

2009-11-24 00:00:00 Get Personal with your Clients and Prospects by Kristen Luke (Article)

Financial advisors are, or at least should be, in the relationship business. So what better way to build a relationship than to interact with your clients and prospects outside the sphere of your business? Kristen Luke offers her suggestions.

2009-11-24 00:00:00 Buy Bonds and Not Bond Funds by Hildy and Stan Richelson (Article)

Record inflows into longer-term bond funds in the last six months have provided investors purported relief from the near-zero returns in money market funds. Do not mistake those inflows or rising prices for an endorsement of bond funds, write Stan and Hildy Richelson in this guest contribution. Bond funds are inferior to individual bonds, as those who are now buying bond funds may soon discover.

2009-11-17 00:00:00 Five End-of-Year Marketing Tips by Kristen Luke (Article)

The slow period in November and December doesn't mean you should halt your marketing efforts. As Kristen Luke writes, you need to adjust your strategies and take advantage of the unique opportunities that are available during this period. Here are five tips to help make the most out of your end-of-year marketing.

2009-11-10 00:00:00 Using Case Studies to Make Your Case by Dan Richards (Article)

Case studies rank as one of the most effective ways to tell your story to prospects. As Dan Richards writes, well-written case studies can be more persuasive and memorable than the typical marketing material which advisors use with prospects.

2009-10-27 00:00:00 Should You Write Your Own Blog? by Kristen Luke (Article)

If you decide to include a blog in your marketing mix, you can use "canned" material from an outsource provider or you can write your own. Kristen Luke looks at the pros and cons of each approach.

2009-10-20 00:00:00 Marketing with LinkedIn: Create Your Own Group by Kristen Luke (Article)

Participating in various groups is one way you can utilize LinkedIn as a marketing tool, but for the more ambitious marketers, having your own group offers even greater opportunities. Kristen Luke offers step-by-step instructions to create your own group.

2009-10-13 00:00:00 Seven Ways to Reach Prospects in the New Normal by Nancy Opiela (Article)

Extravagance is out and frugality is in. Finding happiness in what we can afford is what sells. With many investors implicitly or explicitly bracing for the New Normal and lower returns from the capital markets, advisors need to rethink their marketing programs to be consistent with their clients' tempered expectations.

2009-10-13 00:00:00 Five Secrets to Effective Communication by Beverly D. Flaxington (Article)

Advisors may think they are excellent communicators, but in Beverly Flaxington's experience many have a lot to learn. Whether they are developing new business, engaging with centers of influence, introducing themselves to new prospects, or simply building existing relationships, five key techniques can improve their communication skills.

2009-10-06 00:00:00 Five Marketing Lessons from Schwab IMPACT by Kristen Luke (Article)

Kristen Luke recently attended Schwab's IMPACT conference in her home town of San Diego. The three days offered a vast amount of information, and she shares her five favorite marketing lessons from IMPACT this year.

2009-09-29 00:00:00 Social Networking is Still Networking by Kristen Luke (Article)

Why do some expect that social networking should produce results in a matter of a couple of months? It is still networking and should be handled in the same manner. As Kristen Luke explains, merely advertising your business may work if you are a restaurant or hotel, but it doesn't work in a relationship-oriented business like financial advising.

2009-09-22 00:00:00 Three Ways to Market Your Business Using Facebook by Kristen Luke (Article)

Kristen Luke explains three ways advisors can promote their practice through Facebook: utilizing a basic personal profile, creating a business page and creating a group page.

2009-09-15 00:00:00 How to Setup a Facebook Business Page by Kristen Luke (Article)

Facebook is not a good strategy for every advisor, but it may be appropriate for advisors with strong personal and community relationships. Kristen Luke shows how a business page allows you to share information with your "fans" just as you would with your "friends" through your personal profile.

2009-09-08 00:00:00 Advisor Survey Shows Best Ways to Business Growth by Michael Slemmer, CFA (Article)

Many investment advisory and wealth management firms have struggled to increase assets in the recent difficult markets. In order to understand how advisors feel they are faring - and the keys, and obstacles, to success - we partnered with Advisors Trusted Advisor to survey advisors on the state of their business-building efforts.

2009-09-08 00:00:00 Make the Most of your Networking after the Event by Kristen Luke (Article)

After a networking event, the standard practice for most advisors is to send an email, make a phone call or mail a handwritten note. But what happens after the initial contact? Is there a system in place to continue following-up in the coming weeks, months and years, even if there is not an immediate fit? This is where most advisors fail in their networking strategy, according to Kristen Luke.

2009-08-25 00:00:00 Building a Practice in America?s Fastest Dying City by Robert Huebscher (Article)

While many - perhaps most - advisors use client appreciation programs as part of their marketing efforts, Mo Young has embraced this idea and made it his sole marketing focus. Young's practice is based in Youngstown, Ohio - which has the distinction of losing population more rapidly than any other city in the US - yet Young has added several hundred new clients over the last four years with his strategy.

2009-08-18 00:00:00 Beam Me Up Scotty, Vulcans Have Taken Over Planet Finance by Mariko Gordon (Article)

You don't need to be a dyed-in-the-wool Trekkie "to boldly go where no man has gone before." In this guest contribution, Mariko Gordon explains how one of these characters - Mr. Spock - helps shine a light on the value of emotion in the never-ending quest for sound investment decision-making.

2009-08-18 00:00:00 New Rules of Growing Your Book of Business: Microblogging with Twitter by Dan Sommer (Article)

Twitter has quickly become one of the fastest-growing and most talked-about marketing channels on the web. In this guest contribution, Dan Sommer explains how this rapid growth and wide adoption across many demographics makes it ideal for financial professionals looking for new ways to reach potential clients and build thought leadership.

2009-08-11 00:00:00 How to Construct a Marketing Plan and Budget by Kristen Luke (Article)

One way to significantly increase the chances of marketing success is to develop a marketing plan and stick to it. Kristen Luke says forget the formal marketing plan and just outline your marketing activities and budget, and she provides a step-by-step guide for you to follow.

2009-08-04 00:00:00 How to Think about Return and Risk at the Same Time by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

In this guest contribution targeted to the educated layman, Adam Apt discusses the relationship between return and risk. Only when you can keep in mind at one and the same time these two concepts can you properly understand how to invest. And you will also understand why you should invest. Without the marriage of the concepts, you will be playing the market-or shunning it-as if it were a casino.

2009-08-04 00:00:00 Convert Prospects to Clients through Drip Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

Kristen Luke covers drip campaigns, where an advisor sends marketing collateral to a prospect on a regularly scheduled basis. Luke discusses how you can add prospects to your existing client communications or create an independent program just for prospects.

2009-07-28 00:00:00 Which Social Media Tool is Right for You? by Kristen Luke (Article)

Kristen Luke's philosophy is that the best marketing activities are the ones that are in line with the advisor's preferences and interests. Social media offers a rich array of tools - all you have to do is choose the one that best fits your personality and preferences.

2009-07-21 00:00:00 Change or be Changed by Bob Padgette, CFA, CIMA and Ted Ponko, CFA (Article)

New financial services regulation will touch on many areas, and mutual fund evaluation and monitoring is one likely candidate. Over the past two decades, screening has been at the core of most mutual fund evaluation processes. The advisor picks the criteria, sets a minimum or maximum level for each, and comes up with a list of funds that survive all screens. Bob Padgette and Ted Ponko of Klein Systems demonstrate several inherent flaws in this process.

2009-07-21 00:00:00 SIFMA?s Proposed by Ron Rhoades (Article)

On July 17, 2009, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association ("SIFMA") announced that its Private Client Group Steering Committee unanimously supports a new federal fiduciary standard for broker-dealers and investment advisors, embracing a proposal advanced by the Obama administration a week earlier in a draft of the "Investor Protection Act of 2009." Ron Rhoades looks at whether this shift in direction by SIFMA poses a radical change in business models, or whether the "new federal fiduciary standard" is something else in disguise.

2009-06-30 00:00:00 Letters to the Editor: The Road to Zimbabwe by Various (Article)

In the second set of our letters to the Editor, we publish responses to to our article, The Road to Zimbabwe.

2009-06-23 00:00:00 New Rules for Growing Your Book of Business: Reach Clients and Prospects Through Their In-Boxes by Dan Sommer (Article)

E-mail marketing is no longer a new marketing channel, but if used effectively it can become a powerful marketing and relationship building tool for financial advisors. In this guest contribution, Dan Sommer explains the benefits of e-mail-based marketing and provides tips to get started down this path.

2009-06-16 00:00:00 What Separates Great from Ordinary CRM Systems by Gary Kinghorn (Article)

In this guest contribution, Gary Kinghorn of AdviceAmerica says that effective CRM system must be centralized applications where all team members can view, share and update information, such as client tasks, documents, data and portfolios. This ensures everyone has current and accurate information at a glance.

2009-06-02 00:00:00 Jeremy Grantham's Warnings to Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Of the thousands of investment letters penned in the industry, only one draws as much readership as Warren Buffet's annual letter to his shareholders: The quarterly commentary written by Jeremy Grantham. Grantham, the Chairman of the Boston-based investment firm Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo, was a featured speaker at Morningstar's Investor Conference last week, and he spoke at two breakout sessions. Those who, like me, attended both were richly rewarded, as he gave two distinctly different talks, addressing many subjects not covered in his commentaries.

2009-06-02 00:00:00 John Bogle and the Lantern on the Stern by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In his remarks at the Morningstar conference last week, Vanguard founder and index fund pioneer John Bogle criticized many aspects of the mutual fund industry. Bogle, who turned 80 this year, is primed to fight his next battle - reducing investor reliance on past returns - which he likens to a lantern on the stern of a ship.

2009-05-19 00:00:00 Turning Corporate Downsizing into Prospecting Success by Dan Richards (Article)

Optimists in the investment business claim "Crisis breeds opportunity." Dan Richards looks at the worst consequence of the current crisis - corporate downsizing - and shows how advisors used five different approaches to create opportunities while helping those faced with job losses.

2009-05-19 00:00:00 Five Ways to Cultivate Professional Referral Relationships by Kristen Luke (Article)

If you are looking to make professional referrals a key strategy for your business, you will want to develop dozens of relationships. Kristen Luke shows how to efficiently nurture these relationships with an action plan to touch your centers of influence throughout the year, just as you would your clients.

2009-05-12 00:00:00 Social Media Marketing for the Everyday Advisor by Kristen Luke (Article)

Some of the most effective advisors are marketing using blogs, internet radio, video blogs, e-books and Web-casts to attract clients and gain exposure. Kristen Luke explains how advisors can dip their toes into social media marketing without too much fuss, and expand marketing already in place.

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