What do you love more: Your money or your children?
That’s an absurd question, you say.
Only a sociopath would even think about it, you say.
And yet many people are more secure letting a perfect stranger tend to their kids than their cash.
That contradiction shows the high esteem in which the financial industry is held.
It’s why robo advisors are rolling out faster than robo babysitters, why advocates say we need the fiduciary rule, and one reason MW has launched a new Financial Advisor Center.
The act of dispensing financial advice has never been more important — or more fraught.
The industry is at a technological, cultural, and regulatory crossroads.
Reporters and columnists will shed light on what the news of the day means for the industry, exploring the ways markets and economic and political upheavals will affect advisors and their clients.
We’ll also lean heavily on the expertise and perspectives of advisors themselves.
The rise of the robo advis0r: “My biggest worry is that retail clients will blindly go to a robo advisor as an overreaction to the overpriced, nontransparent traditional financial services model. Clients are not getting real advice with most costly salesmen-type advisors. And they are not getting real advice with robo advisors. My hope is that the client finds the middle ground: real, affordable, transparent, conflict-of-interest free fiduciary advice.” — Mark Struthers CFA, CFP
Volatility: “There are so many risk headlines out there right now, and volatility for a stretch of many years has been less than normal. So, even if we spike up to normal, this could feel very different for clients. Anytime risk feels different for clients, it can lead to people on their own wanting to make decisions with regards to their portfolio [and] plan that don’t align with a sound long-term strategy.” — Chad Carlson, CFA, CFP
Cybersecurity: “My biggest fear is cybersecurity. Our website was routinely probed by hackers from overseas (I can show you the web hits to prove it) until we shut off all international traffic. However, that still leaves plenty of U.S.-based hackers who want to get our clients’ information.” — Michael L. Kalscheur, CFP
The future of charity: “I’m concerned about the rumors that charitable deductions will be capped in the future, and the impact on charitable organizations. We encouraged our clients to increase their funding to donor-advised funds in 2016 in case either tax rates are lower in the future or charitable deductions are capped. But capping deductions could hurt many charitable organizations that rely on large donations.” — Susan Elser
A black swan: “My biggest worry is a real disruption that we didn’t see coming. Not robo advisors, fiduciary, regulation, etc., but a real disruption -- a growing blindness that we didn’t notice, or a sudden change. As a fee-only fiduciary, I put my clients’ interests first. As a financial planner, I love to plan, so planning for what’s on the radar is great fun. However, it is a real disruption that is in the back of my mind as a nagging worry.” -- Sheila Padden, CPA/PFS, CFP