August 13, 2013Does the Advice Business Set the Bar Too Low?
All it takes to call yourself a financial advisor is a Series 7 or Series 65. Is the profession’s barrier to entry too low?
Yes. Just because you can sell financial products doesn’t mean you should.6% No. People who earn those credentials are thoroughly trained about where products belong in an investment portfolio.29% It has nothing to do with licenses. All that matters is whether or not you’re a fiduciary — that’s where the industry should set the bar.
August 6, 2013Are Wealthier Clients More “Difficult”?
Rich people are often accused of having an outsize sense of entitlement. In your practice, do clients’ demands rise in proportion to their net worth?
Yes, and that’s fair. The more you have, the more you’ve got to lose.29% Yes, and it drives me nuts. The very rich tend to think they’re very smart.24% No, why should they be? I treat all my clients alike and give my best to each of them.24% No, and I sometimes wonder if they’re paying enough attention.
July 30, 2013How Do You Work With a Tax-Obsessed Client?
A new client with just over $1 million to invest seems obsessed with minimizing taxes. In fact, she worries more about taxes than about returns — a trait that didn’t emerge in your introductory interviews. How do you work with her?
Develop a tax-minimizing portfolio to suit her preferences, even though you know you could do better without those constraints.29% Explain that your job is preserving and growing her assets, and recommend a good CPA.29% Gradually teach her to focus on long-term gains, pointing out that paying zero taxes generally means making zero money.35% Manage her anxiety with a portfolio strategy that coordinates taxable and tax-deferred investments.
July 23, 2013Do You Feel Guilty About Taking a Vacation?
It’s high summer, prime time for many advisors to step away for a week or two and recharge — that's if they don’t feel too bad about leaving.
Yes, my clients are lost without me16% Somewhat, and I spend most of my time away worrying31% Sort of, but I feel the need to unplug and reconnect with loved ones44% No. A rest makes me sharper when I’m back, and that’s good for everyone concerned
July 16, 2013What Stands in the Way of Your Success?
What’s your biggest practice-management challenge?
Recruiting skilled employees7% Staying on top of technology0% Coping with regulatory uncertainty86% Finding enough time to talk to clients, manage their money and do everything else
July 9, 2013Can There Be “Too Much Information” on Compensation?
Should you explain in depth to clients every single fee and commission associated with their accounts, or do most prefer fewer details?
Advisors should be explicit about every last detail on compensation, verbally and in writing37% It’s enough to give clients a document explaining all fees — and have them sign it11% Advisors are responsible for disclosing only the fees they charge, not costs like fund loads16% As long as advisors comply with regulations, they should have discretion on what they disclose
July 2, 2013Will the Death of DOMA Change Your Practice?
The Supreme Court last week struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, granting important financial rights to same-sex couples. Do you expect the ruling to affect your advisory business?
Yes, I expect to get a lot more same-sex couples seeking retirement- and estate-planning advice40% That is not our clientele, so we will not see any change to our practice27% Since state laws still vary with regard to several key rules, it's too early to tell0% We plan to recruit an advisor who specializes in same-sex couples, to attract their business
June 25, 2013Do You Foresee Fallout From More Dispute Disclosure?
The SEC has authorized Finra to publicize actions against brokers more widely and disclose more information about disciplinary measures, including monetary sanctions under $10,000. How will the new policy affect the advisory industry?
It won’t — violations are already disclosed on BrokerCheck10% To protect their reputations, financial firms will fight charges instead of settling them50% Investors will be better-informed when choosing an advisor10% Arbitration and litigation against the industry will increase
June 18, 2013Are All Our Practices More or Less the Same?
It can feel as if the industry contains deep divides between the various business models. Do you feel you can learn from advisors whose practices differ markedly from yours?
I'm a fiduciary; I can't derive much that's useful from non-fiduciary advisors6% I can relate to advisors from other channels but only if their book size is in the same ballpark as mine76% I can learn from peers even when there are differences6% I'm interested in learning only from fee-based or fee-only peers
June 11, 2013Can Advisors Use Social Media to Recommend Stocks?
Regulators say the rules governing how advisors communicate to the public through printed materials and websites extend to social media. But confusion remains. Last week, for instance, two advisors with extensive Twitter followings had a testy exchange about making stock tips in social media. Where do you stand?
It’s OK to recommend stocks on Facebook, Google Plus, etc., as long as you don’t make specific performance predictions.0% It’s OK to recommend stocks and even predict performance as long as you’re not soliciting business.86% It’s never OK to recommend stocks in social media.0% Nobody worries about this except the wirehouses, which have thousands of advisors to keep in line.