Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with the news that during the lull of the delayed Department of Labor fiduciary rule, the SEC is proactively working on its own version, and a first proposal could be released as soon as the second quarter of 2018. In fact, in anticipation of the coming rule, the CFA Institute has submitted a somewhat controversial comment letter suggesting that as the SEC proceeds, the best solution may not be to just harmonize with a uniform fiduciary rule for all broker-dealers and RIAs, but instead to focus more on the titles that advisors use and simply require those who hold out as such to be registered as investment advisers (and be subject to a fiduciary rule under current law!).
At the same time, this week’s news also included newly proposed legislation in New Jersey, that would require brokers who are not fiduciaries to clearly and explicitly disclosure that they are not and have no obligation to act in their clients’ best interests, as delays in a national fiduciary rule are leading to a growing momentum for states to take up the fiduciary slack in their stead. And the Wall Street Journal also published an investigative report about how even at discount brokerage firms like Schwab, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade, which are known for not using commission-based brokers, that their Financial Consultants are still receiving bonus incentives on top of their salaries that introduce problematic conflicts of interest in their recommendations (further supporting the need for a fiduciary rule).
From there, we have a slew of advisor technology articles this week, including: a new cybersecurity platform initiative in the advisory industry called cleverDome; why financial advisors should be concerned about the recent news of computer chip vulnerabilities Meltdown and Spectre (and another reason/reminder of why it’s so important to promptly patch your computer with software updates!); how “robo” tools are coming to life insurance now, both streamlining the process of applying for insurance, and even the time it takes to underwrite the coverage (as algorithms and data feeds begin to replace requests for paper medical records and human underwriters); a favorable review of Advyzon (which provides a combined CRM and portfolio accounting/reporting tool for investment advisers); and a look at some of the financial data startups that are trying to compete with Bloomberg in the independent financial advisor community (including YCharts and Sentieo).
We wrap up with three interesting articles, all around the theme of time management and personal productivity: the first looks at what the research tells us about the most (and least) productive times of day for decision-making or creative work; the second provides a fascinating look at how our struggles with time management may simply be a modern-world iteration of the age-old philosophical question about how to find better focus and meaning in our lives; and the last is a simple but effective technique to help avoid distracting “opportunities” that may come along in your business… just provide a quote that is drastically higher than your usual prices, and let the prospective client either say no (but then it was their decision, not yours), or perhaps even yes (and properly pay you for the off-focus work, giving you dollars you can then re-deploy more productively in the business!).
Enjoy the “light” reading!