Volatility Is Back

The market has been on a rollercoaster ride over the last month. How do we get off? And what should you be telling clients? First and foremost, it’s important to remind clients that volatility is a natural and necessary part of market expansion. For SEI’s perspective and three investor-approved communication materials, read today’s blog by John Frownfelter, Managing Director of Investment Solutions for the SEI Advisor Network.

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Ebola, Ukraine, ISIS: The Markets Are Reacting – Advisors Should Be Talking

Every day, we are bombarded by more bad news. We hear of Ebola, ISIS (or ISIL), another European recession, the Ukraine, and the list keeps growing. All the bad news finally caught up with the markets, as last week the Dow had multiple triple digit swings and ended up down over 2.5%. As I write this, the first three days of this week, the market has been more of the same as volatility is up – way up. At times like these, I typically see two types of advisors.

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Advisors: If You Don’t Have One, You Can’t Be Effective

A few weeks ago, I sat down with a very impressive younger advisor. He leads his office in new accounts, has created a few traditional and non-traditional COIs that are feeding him leads, and his advisory business is booming. On the personal side, he was recently married, bought a new house and even acquired the pre-kid little puppy (which many newlyweds seem to use as a test of their domesticity). From the outside looking in, everything looked great, but as my colleague and I sat in the advisor’s office, I realized (fairly quickly) that he was about to hit a wall. Not just a little wall, but a huge brick wall – with spikes on it!

Let me explain…

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CRM: Business Strategy or Technology?

Oct 7, 2014

Is your CRM a business strategy or just technology? Many advisors and other businesspeople talk about their CRM software so often that they have stopped thinking about what it stands for, namely Customer Relationship Management. But if you set aside the software context for a moment, that phrase looks far more like a business strategy than a technology. So what is CRM, really?

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Technology Planning, Like Financial Planning, Means Having a Real World Strategy

Oct 2, 2014

It is clearly a challenge in the modern era of business to make serious technology decisions. We now see a pace of change that disrupts on nearly a quarterly basis let alone year over year hardware and software releases.

The pace of technological change is doing more than just causing us to feel a bit out of touch. It used to be that we could identify a business plan related to systems and look ahead 5 years. Those days are diminishing, if not gone now.

To be aware of tech areas to watch and how to put a strategy in place for the future, read today’s guest blog post by Blane Warrene of QuonWarrene, Inc. a provider of technology consulting to financial advisors.

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No IPS, Ands or Buts – It’s Not About Performance

Sep 30, 2014

Investment performance is always an issue for some clients, and some other advisor will always have better performance – or at least they say they do. Once in a while, clients are going question you, your process and your performance …get used to it. For those clients, rather than fighting with the answers, consider changing the question.

Read today’s post for insights from a recent conversation with an advisor who was faced with this question from a long-time client, and ways you can change the conversation with clients vs. fighting the hypothetical performance of another advisor.

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The (Not So) Hidden Risks of Market Timing

As human beings, we convince ourselves that there is a rational explanation for everything. We believe we can understand a situation, adapt to the circumstances and overcome the hurdle in the future. We have been taught to improve a process and perfect an approach until it is predictable and rewarding. The problem is that some things in life are fluid, ever changing and unpredictable. The financial markets are a perfect example of an unpredictable element of our lives. Despite expert advice that the best approach to investing is to buy and hold, many advisors and investors attempt to move in and out of the market over time in an effort to improve their experience.

Let’s examine the top three “hidden” risks associated with market timing…

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Take Your Clients “Back to School”

One of the traditions of modern schools that totally escaped me when I was growing up is “Back to School” night. For those of you my age (or older), “Back to School” night is an evening near the start of the school year when parents go to their children’s school and talk to their teachers. It is a great way to have our expectations set, get a better insight into the school environment, and build a relationship with our children’s teachers.

It got me thinking – should we as advisors be doing something similar for our clients? Here are some ideas about how you can create a back to school night for your clients…

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Bob Veres’ Insider’s Forum: Prophets and Therapists

Sep 18, 2014

At last week’s Insider’s Forum in Dallas last week, Bob Veres had, as normal, attracted a good crowd of fee-based, fiduciary-oriented advisors and invitation-only exhibitors. There was a broad range of speakers, covering investments, technology and planning trends. The speakers were vying to give their view of the advisor market and their interpretation of what advisors should do.

The conference was lively and thought provoking. I had been invited to do a presentation on “Next Gen Financial Planning.” The front office space is dominated by two different technologies: CRM, which is the hub around how an advisor knows their clients; and financial planning, which is the hub where they show their value to the client . Client hub, value hub.
Rather than an exhaustive report on the different sessions, I’m going to identify themes of the conference that fit into the two camps: Prophet and Therapist. I’ll weave in some of the research from my presentation to give texture to the topics…

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Advisors: Change Is Good (Business)

Sep 16, 2014

I’ve said this before, but last year, I heard a quote from Bob Veres that has stuck with me: “Complacency is the biggest risk to a financial advisor’s business.” In light of competition from all areas, aging demographics, compliance and world financial markets, we cannot afford to be ostriches sticking our heads in the preverbial sand. We need to embrace change and capitalize on it. We need to evolve our businesses.

Read today’s blog post to hear why advisors sometimes fear change and on the flip side, five tips to change your business for the better.

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