Is the Hybrid BD Model About to Take Off?

The hybrid model for advisors is growing quickly, especially in the DC market. But will that trend catch on with broker dealers? According to a report in RIABiz, results at Wells Fargo’s independent FiNet indicate that the answer may be yes — although Wells is the only wire house to allow advisors to use its impressive brand as an independent rep.    Read More

Nationwide Expands Fund Lineup

Nationwide Financial is now offering the Nationwide Diverse Managers Fund (NWWFX) to retirement plan clients. The fund seeks to provide capital appreciation and income by investing in a globally diversified portfolio of equity and fixed-income securities. It consists of four individual investment sleeves that are managed by separate minority- and women-owned investment firms, including Garcia Hamilton & Associates, Herndon Capital Management, Strategic Global Advisors, LLC, and Ariel Investments.   Read More

Commission or Fee-based Comp?

Should your compensation be fee-based or commission-based? Cerulli Associates’ most recent report on how advisors get paid, which it issued in 2013, says that 57% of advisors are fee-based. Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, for example, reports that 37% of its AUM were in fee-based accounts as of March 31, 2014; LPL Financial is one of many firms that have encouraged advisors to charge their clients fees for more than 10 years.     Read More

Lawsuits Reinforce Best Practices

Getting your clients, especially smaller plan sponsors, to pay attention to the litigation risks of DC plans can be hard, even in the wake of recent wins by plaintiffs. A recent article in CFO.com may help you get the attention of clients and prospects. The article features a list of seven best practices for plan sponsors.   Read More

Robo Roundup

Is there good reason to fear robo-advisors? While Vanguard is getting traction with their $13 billion Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, and Schwab is preparing to step up to the plate, so far most robo-advisor startups haven’t exactly made the case that they possess the knowledge or experience to make the grade when it comes to entrusting one’s nest egg to an accomplished professional.    Read More

Vanguard and Schwab: The New Robo-advisors?

While traditional financial advisors might scoff at the viability of pure robo-advisors, even with an estimated $15.7 billion AUM, it’s hard to ignore the efforts of indexing giant Vanguard and retail brokerage house Charles Schwab. Though Schwab was vague about the details of their efforts, CEO Walt Bettinger said that their offering would be “ground breaking.” Speculation is that Schwab’s service will focus on ETFs, leveraging its Windhaven unit.   Read More

Swiss BeFi Experts Refining Tools

Behavioral finance expert and Swiss professor Thorsten Hens is refining behavioral finance tools to make it possible for advisors and financial institutions to use them in an even more precise manner. Thinkadvisor reports that Hens is developing a model that would allow advisors and investors an interactive way to view risk, and is teaming with neuroscientists to discern whether biology plays a part in willingness to accept — or aversion to — risk.   Read More

Chetney’s GRP Group Gets ‘Personnel’ with 401(k) Advisors and RPAG

It has been reported that three 401(k)Advisors staffers joined Bill Chetney’s newly formed Global Retirement Partners OSJ, which is affiliated with LPL, late last week. Earlier this month, Chetney and LPL acquired Financial Telesis (FTI), which had been closely aligned with 401(k)Advisors and RPAG until NFP bought the two entities after having made an investment years ago. The latest transaction caused a rift with FTI, leading in part to the sale to LPL and Chetney. The groups are now fighting over the more than 400 advisors registered with FTI.    Read More

Is There Value in Value-add?

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on supplying advisors and broker dealers with value-added services and tools for free by providers. But what’s their impact? A new study by Chatham, led by Josh Dietch in collaboration with Bruce Harrington and Greg Melton, set out to answer that question through surveys with advisors, DCIOs, record keepers and broker dealers. The study ranked the top providers and created a loyalty index. Though having value-add does create awareness and can differentiate a provider, generally it is most effective in opening doors and breaking a tie.   Read More

Look-Back ‘Provisions’

In just a few weeks the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) will be making preparations to launch the 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS). It is, by far, the longest-running survey of its kind in the nation. Indeed, this will be its 25th year. Think for a moment about where you were a quarter century ago, what (or if) you thought about retirement, what preparations you had made … then consider for a moment what you have done in the years since.   Read More

Re-enrollment a Path to Improved Investing and Fiduciary Protection, Paper Argues

It’s easy for inertia to take over when financial decisions have to be made, especially when it comes to investment choices in a 401(k) plan. In “Using Re-enrollment to Improve Participant Investing and Provide Fiduciary Protections,” a white paper prepared for JP Morgan Chase & Co., Fred Reish and Bruce Ashton discuss one solution — re-enrollment, or requiring participants to re-invest in the plan by making new decisions about how the funds in their retirement accounts are invested.   Read More

401(k) Plan Expense Ratios Down, Says ICI

Expenses charged to 401(k) plan participants declined in 2013, says a new study from the Investment Company Institute (ICI). In “The Economics of Providing 401(k) Plans: Services, Fees and Expenses, 2013,” the ICI reports that last year, participants spent less when they invested in equity, hybrid and bond funds.    Read More