Wealth & Risk Management Blog

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Posts Tagged ‘Investment Advisor’

FINRA Sets Regulatory Sights on Structured Products

Posted by William Byrnes on January 11, 2012


The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is targeting structured products over concerns about unsuitable sales to retail customers. In an exclusive interview with AdvisorOne (a Summit Business Media product) Bradley Bennett, enforcement chief at FINRA, said that the agency’s caseload on the recent financial crisis has eased up, and the agency is ready to renew its focus on structured products.

Structured products are often marketed to retail customers without an adequate explanation of their associated risks.  “They purport to give the alchemy of lowering risk while increasing yield,” Bennett said, “but the risk needs to be explained” both to the broker-dealer’s “sales force and customers, and be suitable given the customer’s financial circumstances.”

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of structured products in Advisor’s Journal, see SEC Warns Investors about Principal Protected Notes (CC 11-117).

For in-depth analysis of structured products, see Advisor’s Main Library: 7774. What is a structured product? How are structured products taxed?

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The Pitfalls of Transitioning Between Firms

Posted by William Byrnes on August 26, 2011


If you’re considering transitioning your book of business to a new firm, maintaining the confidentiality of client information should be your principle concern. Accomplishing  a move without becoming the target of a lawsuit can be a daunting task. However, there is a protocol of best practices that if followed correctly can significantly lower the risk of violating confidentiality.

In 2004, three wirehouses – Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. (“Smith Barney”), Merrill Lynch, and USB Financial Services, Inc. – created the Protocol for Broker Recruiting (the “Protocol”). The Protocol’s objective is to protect clients’ privacy and flexibility when choosing Registered Representatives (“RRs”) – especially RRs who are switching firms. By reducing litigation over RRs transitioning to new firms, the high costs associated with competitive recruiting efforts can be minimized and client information can remain protected.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber)

For previous coverage of broker-dealer issues in Advisor’s Journal, see  Is a Hybrid Practice Model Right for You? (CC 11-46), What’s Driving the Increasing Appeal of the RIA Model? (CC 11-69).

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Do Your Clients’ International Assets Create Criminal Tax Exposure?

Posted by William Byrnes on August 12, 2011


Retirement plan sponsors face increasing regulatory scrutiny and significant liability as plan fiduciaries. Can you leverage off these fiduciary concerns and generate advisory business for your firm?

There are a couple of key approaches you can use to address sponsors’ concerns about their fiduciary responsibilities and sell to the plans and their sponsors.

Believe it or not, there are a number of plans that don’t use an advisor—with the plan sponsor choosing to go it alone to save a few dollars. As reported in a previous edition of the Advisor’s Journal, a significant of number of employee retirement plans (19%) don’t use an outside investment advisor.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

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Plan Clients: Where are the Advisory Margins?

Posted by William Byrnes on July 28, 2011


A significant of number of employee retirement plans don’t use an outside investment advisor, often because of the cost. Demonstrating your firm’s flexibility and splitting fiduciary responsibility for the plan could be the key to securing those underserved plans. Customizing your level of service gives these plans what they need—advice—while allowing you to prune services that aren’t cost effective for your firm.

According to the Retirement Plan Survey 2011, released by Grant Thornton LLP, Drinker Biddle & Reath and Plan Sponsor Advisors, greater than 50% of plans use a limited scope investment advisor and 14% of plans use an outsourced investment advisor. Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

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SEC Moves to Require Full of Disclosure of Incentive-Based Compensation

Posted by William Byrnes on July 15, 2011


Investment advisors and broker-dealers may be required to disclose their incentive-based compensation programs under proposed rules approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 2. The proposed rule is the latest in a series of advisor and broker-dealer reporting rules issued under the mandate of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

The rapidly increasing compliance obligations for advisory firms and B-Ds has the capability to drastically modify business practices at affected firms. Many will be forced to reconfigure their entire compensation program to comply with the new rules.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of advisor reporting requirements in Advisor’s Journal, see Advisors Hit with Another Round of SEC Reporting Rules (CC 11-30).

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Appealing to Your Affluent Clients’ Retirement Planning Values

Posted by William Byrnes on April 12, 2011


Now more than ever, clients and potential clients are concerned about how they’re going to continue to enjoy the lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to pre-retirement.  Most clients are still looking for the same basic retirement advice from their advisors—advice on how to define and meet their retirement goals.

Following the recent financial crisis, your affluent clients are more likely to gravitate to conservative investment strategies that will preserve their hard-earned principle.  But many of them are not clear on the risks of that strategy—they aren’t aware of the opportunities they’re missing.

You can help them reach the retirement they want and find the level of risk appropriate to their long-term goals.  Here’s a breakdown of their values and priorities and how you can appeal to them.  Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of high net worth investors in Advisor’s Journal, see High Net Worth Clients: How to Find Them, How to Service Them (CC 10-07).

For in-depth analysis of investment planning for affluent clients, see Advisor’s Main Library: Investment Planning.

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SEC Says “Not so Fast” to Advisor Social Media marketing

Posted by William Byrnes on April 11, 2011


Social media marketing is quickly becoming many industries’ go-to medium for low-cost, high-yield advertising, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) may be saying “no so fast” to investment advisors.  But the SEC isn’t just asking for general information about advisors’ use of social media. Advisors are also being asked to provide a copy of “communications” made by the advisor on social media sites, including the text of postings, tweets and other messages sent by the firm.  Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of SEC initiatives and rulemaking in Advisor’s Journal, see SEC Waffles in Study on Improving RIA Oversight (CC 11-24)Advisors Hit with Another Round of SEC Reporting Rules (CC 11-30)SEC Approves FINRA Suitability and Know-Your-Customer Rules (CC 11-17).

For marketing tips, see the “Soft Skills” segment of Advanced Markets AdvisorFX: The 7 Deadly Sins of Chief Marketing OfficersTo the Moon, Alice!—How to Market Even Though People Are Fed Up with Marketing, & Marketing to the Millennials.

 

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