Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with the industry news that FINRA will be probing brokerage firms (both for retail clients and ostensibly RIA custodians as well) regarding their often-conflicted cash sweep programs into affiliated banks or proprietary money market funds, which has taken on an increased focus in the new era of zero commissions (where platforms have to rely more than ever on earning net interest revenue from client cash instead). Also in the news this week is the rumor that private equity firm TA Associates may be shopping Orion Advisor Solutions… for a nearly $2B valuation, in what will likely be a sale (if it occurs) to another private equity firm or industry-strategic buyer focused on growing Orion even larger as the world of advisor technology continues to heat up.
From there, we have several articles on marketing, including a Broadridge study finding that advisors are increasingly investing into various forms of digital marketing over purely traditional (i.e., live in-person channels), a Snappy Kraken study finding that email (and a website call-to-action to join a mailing list) is still far better at generating leads for advisors than social media, a look at various digital marketing strategies that financial advisors can experiment with on their websites, and why ‘old-fashioned’ book publishing can still be an effective advisor marketing strategy (but is not a very good advisor business opportunity for the book sales themselves).
We also have several articles on more technical planning issues, including a look at the new provisions of the SECURE Act that will allow up to $10,000 of 529 college savings plans to be used to repay student loans (or for an apprenticeship program), Fidelity’s launch of an HSA platform for advisors to manage their clients’ Health Savings Accounts (though it’s not clear that many clients will ever have HSA balances large enough to be worthwhile for advisors to do so!), and when it makes sense to consider claiming Social Security’s 6-month-retroactive-lump-sum payment for those who begin their benefits after Full Retirement Age.
We wrap up with three interesting articles, all around the theme of breaking old habits and forming new ones: the first provides a series of tips from successful executives and business leaders about their key habits for productivity; the second looks at how moving (i.e., relocating where you live and/or work) presents a unique opportunity to break old routines and form new habits; and the last explores some of the research about habits and willpower, and how those who have above-average self-control tend to be more successful not because they’re better at avoiding or breaking their bad habits but because they’re better at focusing their energy to form similarly-hard-to-break good habits instead… or stated more simply, that the key to improving your own behavior is less about trying to force yourself to stop doing the things you don’t like, and more about finding and forming habits around the things you do like instead!
Enjoy the ‘light’ reading!