Wealth Management Firms Face Challenges as Business Matures

The wealth management business, which has grown from a cottage industry in the 1990s into one with $5 trillion in assets under management, is facing challenges over the next 10 years that will dramatically reshape the landscape. Financial Network’s CEO Mark Hurley lays out the challenges for wealth management firms and provides insights into what may lie ahead for retirement plan advisors.   Read More

Financial Service Groups Oppose State Laws Protecting Workers’ Social Media Privacy

Laws enacted by states to ensure workers’ privacy on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are under attack by regulators and the financial services industry. The laws, already enacted by five states and under consideration in many more, are intended to prohibit companies from monitoring their employees’ social media accounts to prevent invasions of privacy. But regulators like FINRA and groups like SIFMA and FSI are lobbying for exemptions — so far, to no avail.   Read More

Why Should Small Business Owners Care About ERISA?

There’s a misconception out there that ERISA compliance is really more important for larger businesses. But the fact of the matter is that ERISA has significant implications for organizations of all sizes. So, Tom Clark of FRA/Plan Tools notes, it’s vital for small business owners and plan administrators to understand five reasons why they need to pay attention to it too.   Read More

TDFs Vulnerable to Interest Rate Rise

Could a rise in interest rates create a problem for short term TDFs? With many TDFs moving to bonds for safety as their target dates approach, they’re vulnerable to losses if interest rates rise and bonds slump — which many are predicting. Risk can be determined by calculating the duration of the bond — for example, the value of a bond portfolio with a five-year duration could drop 5% with just a 1% rise in interest rates.   Read More

Wary Investors Spending Less on Investment Help

American investors, waiting for the other shoe to drop after their experience with the Great Recession, continue to spend less on investment expenses. The $151 billion spent on advice, commissions and custody in February 2013 represented 1.3% of personal consumption, equaling the average since the market downturn. Compare that with 1.6% over the previous 12 months and the 16.3% spent on health care.   Read More

Ready for the New 3.8% Income Tax Hike?

Just when you thought you could stop worrying about taxes now that April 15 has passed, there’s another new income tax that took effect Jan. 1, 2013. To fund Obamacare, a new 3.8% tax on investment income applies to couples making more than $250,000 and singles making more than $200,000. Investment income such as dividends, capital gains and interest above the $250,000 threshold for couples is taxed at 3.8% — in addition to any other tax that might be owed.   Read More

34th Annual Telly Awards Honor ASPPA’s ‘Save My 401k’ Campaign

The “SaveMy401k” campaign developed by the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) and Beekeeper Group has won a Telly Award for being an industry leader in media innovation. The campaign won a bronze award out of a group of nearly 12,000 submissions, including advertising agencies, television stations and corporate video departments worldwide.   Read More

California Case Raises Thorny Fiduciary Issues for Record Keepers

In Santomenno v. Transamerica Life Ins. Co., a case that may have a significant impact on small market insurance record keepers, a court in the Central District of California rejected a motion to dismiss and raised serious questions about whether the record keeper’s ability to add and delete funds and change the fee schedule were the actions of a fiduciary.   Read More

Just Saying You’re a Fiduciary Destroys Trust Instead of Building it

Noted thought leader Michael Kitces makes a very interesting point: Advisors who focus on or lead with the fact that they are fiduciaries can actually destroy trust. Advisors who focus too much on their fiduciary status are making the implied statement that clients can trust them — but trust is earned, not demanded. And bashing other advisors who are not fiduciaries — implying that by definition they are not trustworthy, as Martin Smith did on this week’s “Frontline” program — can create distrust for all advisors and the entire system, argues Kitces.   Read More

Focus on Successful Outcomes

Recent anti-401(k) stories in the popular media — most recently this week’s “Retirement Gamble” episode of PBS’ “Frontline” show — have promulgated a meme that misrepresents plan advisors’ role in helping plan participants achieve the goal of a dignified retirement. How seriously do retirement plan advisors take their responsibility to help bring about favorable outcomes for individual plan participants? Watch this video interview on the new NAPA Network video channel featuring Michael Coelho, AIF, of SageView Advisory Group and Tim Dougherty, MSFS, CFP, ChFC, CFC, of Windsor Financial Group, and see for yourself.   Read More

Retirement Plan Services Are Not Orange Juice

On April 23rd, PBS ran an episode of its “Frontline” program entitled “The Retirement Gamble,” which it touted as an “eye opening investigation of a financial services industry that may be draining your retirement savings with every passing year.” The core thesis of this documentary — or perhaps more accurately, docu-drama — is that for retirement savers, fees are by far the most important factor to be considered when choosing an investment.   Read More

Marc Robinson on the SaverNation Cash-Back Program

In a video interview with NAPA Net, Marc Robinson, founder of the SaverNation cash-back rewards program, explains how this innovative plan optimization feature helps plan participants and plan sponsors boost plan contributions — and how plan advisors can use it as a door opener and key differentiator. The video is now posted on the new NAPA Network video channel.   Read More