The Practice Management Channel

New Tools to Prove You Acted as a Fiduciary

This article, the first of two parts, is a review of some of the more prominent new tools that advisors can lean on as they prepare for the full DOL rule implementation on April 10. Each of them addresses a different aspect of the rule, and they all approach it from different angles.

How to Help Smart Employees Deal with Adversity

The street smarts necessary for our work is missing from my team - the ability to encounter a problem and, instead of raising it to me, come up with a solution on their own. Can I teach these skills?

American Small Businesses Party Like It’s 2004

Look at what President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to lower taxes and slash regulations is doing to business optimism here in the U.S. Last month, the Index of Small Business Optimism soared a phenomenal 7.4 points to 105.8, its highest reading since 2004. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which conducts the survey, reported that attitudes toward capital spending and job creation in particular surprised to the upside. Research firm Evercore ISI called it a “blowout report,” and I have to agree.

Form 5500 Gets a Makeover: What Does This Mean for Plan Sponsors?

On July 21, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued proposed amendments to the 5500 series forms in a “Notice of Proposed Forms Revisions,” prepared jointly by three agencies: the DOL, the Internal Revenue Service and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, collectively referred to as “the agencies.”

Will the Year of the Fire Rooster Ruffle Feathers?

Allianz Global Investor’s Capital Markets and Thematic Research team and analyst Ann-Katrin Petersen say that even though the year ahead will continue to be challenged by uncertainties, market disruptions may prove fleeting—and cooler heads will likely prevail.

2017 Commodity Outlook

While many group commodities as one asset class, in reality each commodity trades on its own fundamentals. Historic correlation between commodities has been relatively low. In this outlook we will provide an overview of our views on major commodities within each sub-category.

Animal Spirits

I believe this rally was the result of animal spirits based on the notion that Trump’s pro-growth policies will support the economy. At the same time, many investors assume that growth in the economy will lead to upticks in inflation and interest rates, which—along with lighter regulations—are perceived as positive for business.

NFIB: Small Business Survey: "Small Business Optimism Skyrocketed in December"

The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends came out this morning. The headline number for November came in at 105.8, a jump of 7.4 from the previous month's 98.4, and its highest since December 2004. The index is at the 98th percentile in this series. Today's number came in well above the forecast of 99.6.

The Key Business Trends in the Advisory Business

There are several irrefutable facts that should be informing the strategies for leaders in financial services.

How Financial Advisor Marketing Will Be Different in a Post-DOL World

While it’s well-known that the DOL’s fiduciary ruling requires all financial advisors to put their clients’ interests first, financial services professionals are still unable to know how broad of an impact the ruling will have on other aspects of their practice, including marketing.

B.I.C.E.: Financial Advisors Beware

I question why any financial advisor would want to use B.I.C.E., given the likelihood of significant reputational damage that would result for the advisor.

The Art of Qualifying Prospects

Now that the new year has started we are prospecting and no one is responding. I don’t know if we are still dealing with holiday fallout but it seems someone should be ready to go. Is there a technique we could use to generate a response? Should we be more or less aggressive?

Ringing in the New Year with a Bullish Case for Gold

I find it curious that many in the financial media continue to have a bias against gold, even though it generated better returns in 2016 than 10-year Treasuries and the U.S. dollar, which performed half as well. And when it was up as much as 28 percent in the summer, they still didn’t have anything positive to say, arguing it had gone up too much.

Luminous Times: Looking Ahead With Optimism About 2017

In conjunction with the publishing of a summary of Schwab's 2017 outlook across asset classes; this report is a more detailed summary of my 2017 outlook, with a dash of rear-view mirror analysis of the year just ended. Each of the broad topics discussed below will be further unpacked over the next couple of months in individual reports.

The Search for Returns in a Low-Return Environment

3 rules that may help your clients navigate the low-return environment.