April 22, 2014Will Alts, SRI, Foreign Securities Go Totally Mainstream?
Most retail investors have a fairly plain-vanilla asset mix. Do you think institutional strategies like alternatives, socially responsible investing, and foreign stocks and bonds will trickle down to Joe Sixpack’s portfolio?
Yes. Within a decade, they’ll all be commonplace in clients’ portfolios.9% High-net-worth and certain niche clients will use them, but they’re not appropriate for everyone.9% Anyone can use SRI and foreign securities, but hedge funds and private equity should be for accredited investors only.0% No — asset managers are trying to bring these strategies downmarket, but they’re not appropriate for retail investors.
March 25, 2014Are You Late to the Party When It Comes to Technology?
Some advisors still use fax machines or snail mail to get client signatures for transactions; others wouldn't know Skype from Pinterest. Are you one of them?
Yes — I just don’t have time to keep up with all the latest stuff.0% Yes — upgrading my software would cost too much.0% Yes — my clients are well-served by the systems I use now.43% No way — cutting-edge technology is part of a really outstanding practice.
March 18, 2014Do You Really Care Who Your Boss Is?
With reports, however sketchy, of management departures at Merrill Lynch, we’re asking advisors to let us know how much they care about such changes.
Not at all. Management doesn’t add much value these days anyway.50% I care somewhat, but I wouldn’t stay with a firm or leave it because a branch, complex or regional manager comes or goes.35% It’s very important to follow such news. Branch managers, and those above them on the ladder, have a direct effect on my work and my desire to stay with a firm.
February 11, 2014What Are You Telling Clients About Retail Data Breaches?
The recent, high-profile hacks of customer accounts at Target and Neiman Marcus have many consumers spooked. How are you advising clients to protect themselves?
We've sent out a memo outlining our own safeguards and reminding clients of best practices for online safety.13% We are recommending they avoid debit cards and contact their credit-card issuers to check up on procedures in case of a hack.25% Nothing. There is very little an individual can do to prevent data theft.
February 4, 2014Is There Anything to the “January Indicator”?
Some say stock performance in January sets the tone for the market all year. What are you telling clients the January market decline suggests for stocks in 2014?
The January Indicator says the year will be bumpy at best, so I’ll warn clients to play it safe.7% Fears are somewhat overblown. Emerging-market jitters will calm soon, and monthly U.S. employment figures will rise once the polar vortex passes.13% It’s nonsense. Time to get aggressive on great deals before people come to their senses.53% I don’t have a crystal ball. I’ll tell clients to stay the course we’ve agreed on.
January 28, 2014What Does Your Dream Client Look Like?
In reality, these descriptions aren’t mutually exclusive. But if they were, which would you prefer as a customer?
A high-net-worth head of household who’s still accumulating assets.54% An intelligent person with a good attitude who respects my expertise.38% Someone with a huge network who recommends me to everybody.
January 14, 2014How Do You Make Sure Prospects Can Find You?
Experts say “inbound marketing” is the key to success today — not pushing out ads you hope customers will see, but positioning yourself so they’ll discover you. What’s your “inbound marketing” method?
I spend hours a week on my blog and Twitter feed. “Keyword” and “hashtag” are my middle names.20% I use Facebook, Pinterest and other sites to share useful or provocative content about investing and financial planning.80% I don’t really think I can gain clients this way. I stick to old-school marketing techniques, like seminars.
January 7, 2014What Do You Look for in a Custodian?
Custody providers compete for RIA business with many types of services. What do you consider most valuable?
I need a company that does it all — trust services, practice-management help, tech tools, everything.20% As long as my custodian is 100% reliable, I don’t care to pay extra for bells and whistles.40% I want one with a lot of know-how in helping newly independent firms grow.
December 24, 2013Do You Carry Professional Liability Insurance?
Clients can sue advisors over all kinds of things — low portfolio returns, cybercrime, late statements — and SEC enforcement actions have picked up. Are you insured?
I have a basic E&O policy, appropriate to my book of business.22% I carry E&O, D&O plus specialty policies (cyber liability, ERISA bonds, etc.).33% I’m a small shop and I play by the rules, so I don’t need insurance.
December 17, 2013Do You Prefer Financially Literate Clients?
Wealth management involves a good deal of specialized knowledge, from market mechanics to the miracle of compound interest. Would you rather work with clients who understand the fundamentals?
Yes. The savvier the client, the less time I’m forced to spend explaining basic concepts.14% No. Clients who consider themselves financially sophisticated tend to cause me problems.43% I’m good at working with clients anywhere on the financial literacy spectrum.