Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with the industry news that the first anti-trust lawsuit has been filed to stop the Schwab-TD Ameritrade merger… and has already been dismissed in what most are simply calling a publicity stunt and not a serious challenge (though it remains to be seen whether more anti-trust scrutiny will still come to the prospective Schwabitrade merger, especially with respect to its RIA custodial business). Also in the news this week is the announcement that Vanguard is cutting stock and option trading commissions to zero for its own direct-to-consumer brokerage platform, matching the spate of similar cuts from Schwab and other retail discount brokerage platforms… and capstoning a 2-year battle with TD Ameritrade’s removal of Vanguard from its no-transaction-fee ETF platform that ultimately resulted in a collapse of trading commissions and TD Ameritrade’s own demise!
From there, we have several articles on retirement planning this week, from a look at how Medigap supplemental policies are being restructured for those becoming eligible for Medicare in 2020 and beyond (including the elimination of Plan C and Plan F policies and the introduction of a new Plan G), research from Wade Pfau on what the industry is still getting wrong about reverse mortgages, and a look at how, while deferred annuities remain controversial, there is a growing base of research about how effective Single Premium Immediate Annuities (SPIAs) can function as a fixed income alternative to support retirement income.
We also have several articles on financial advisor marketing, including: new Morningstar research about how the top priority for advisors is to grow and gain more clients, yet getting new clients is also advisors’ greatest challenge, and despite these woes the majority of advisors are still unwilling to spend on marketing; the proposed new regulations on RIA advertising that could spawn a slew of new advisor marketing strategies in the coming years through the potentially-soon-to-be-permitted use of client testimonials, third-party advisor review sites, and even performance advertising; strategies to get your marketing going even if you don’t feel you’re “creative” at marketing; and the sometimes-unwitting ways we can turn people off in our marketing and sales activities with prospects because of how sensitive other human beings are to body language and other non-verbal communication.
We wrap up with three interesting articles, all around the theme of forecasting what will (and won’t) change in the new decade of the 2020s: the first provides some forecasts about how the financial planning profession will change in the coming years, as financial planning becomes increasingly known as a discipline unto itself (with its own regulatory concerns, oversight needs, and standards); the second looks at the recent 50th-anniversary celebration of financial planning convened by the CFP Board, and how industry organizations are looking to come together to further professionalize financial planning in the 2020s; and the last takes a good look at what won’t likely change in the 2020s (that advisors can still safely ‘bet’ on and invest in growing their own businesses), focused almost entirely around advisors themselves, our ability to communicate effectively with clients and prospects, and the importance of the advisor-client relationship in helping clients to stay the course (because notwithstanding all the changes in technology, clients are still human beings who will behave like human beings!).
Enjoy the ‘light’ reading, Happy New Year, and best wishes to you in 2020!