E-Columns

    Bob Veres' E-Columns 

    In his e-columns, Bob Veres explores topics that help you serve your clients better, and create a more efficient, effective and profitable practice.

    DISCLAIMER: This document has not been approved, disapproved, or otherwise acted upon by any senior technical committees of, and does not represent an official position of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. It is distributed with the understanding that the contributing authors and editors, and the publisher, are not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

     

     

    Note: Access to Inside Information is a benefit of PFP/PFS membership, which is an individual membership. If your peers would like access to this newsletter service, they can either purchase directly from Bob Veres or sign up for PFP membership

    More from Bob Veres:  Media Reviews  |  Inside Information



    June 14, 2013: Fiduciary Day

     

    Bob Veres recaps the recent TD Ameritrade Fiduciary Leadership Summit. Veres writes that the SEC has been pressured by heavily-lobbied lawmakers to create a cost-benefit analysis before it issues any kind of fiduciary rulemaking, and that the SEC staff seems to be divided over whether to preserve the brokerage model and create rules around the fiduciary standard or to force wirehouses to change their business models to make recommendations only in the public’s best interest. Read the full report in this latest e-column from Veres, as well as the AICPA’s recent letter opposing a weakened fiduciary standard.

    June 4, 2013:
    Investment Issues to Ponder
    In creating sessions and discussions and investment markets for the Insider’s Forum conference in September, Bob Veres requests your thoughts on the recent investment markets and interest rate environment. Bob invites you to read this e-column and share your perspective with him at bob@bobveres.com.

    May 10, 2013:
    The Fee Samples: A Report on Advisory Fee Structures in the Financial Planning/Advisor Profession
    Responding to an Inside Information E-Column on advisory fees ("The Fee Conundrum") advisors from all over the U.S. marketplace provided information about their fee structures, including the amounts and how the fees were determined.

    May 4, 2013:
    The Fee Conundrum
    The question of "how much should I charge?" looks extremely complicated when you consider the broad spectrum of services provided by financial planners and investment advisers. Bob Veres is requesting feedback from advisers, and invites you to share your perspective on a host of questions about fees you charge your clients to bob@bobveres.com.

    November 29, 2012:
    Fixing Investment Committees
    In working on an article for the December issue of Inside Information on investment committee issues, Bob Veres is requesting real-world feedback from his readers. Read this e-column and respond with your perspective on a small list of questions to bob@bobveres.com.

    November 16, 2012
    : Top Ten Issues and Concerns in the Advisory/Planning Community
    In his November 12th E-column, Bob requested that Inside Information readers share their thinking and concerns. In this week’s E-column, Bob grouped the more than 300 messages he received into ten categories, and according to Bob, “I think some of you will be surprised not only by the order, but also by the wide-ranging nature of issues that were raised by the Inside Information community.”

    November 12, 2012
    : Many Futures to Worry About
    Bob writes, “I understood how it feels to be the person who does the worrying and the hard thinking on behalf of others--the person who sacrifices, as a matter of professional responsibility, the ability to sleep untroubled at night so that clients can enjoy their dreams. What I'm proposing here is that the Inside Information community go through a virtual scenario learning exercise.  It works something like this: I'd like you to describe to me one or more of the things that worry you most: about the investment markets, about our economic future--anything that you think could happen which would affect your clients and your business dramatically…  I will, of course, collect the messages and try to organize them into plausible scenarios.” Read this E-Column and send any feedback to Bob at bob@bobveres.com.

    October 15, 2012: Crawling to the Cloud
    This e-column provides a look at how one advisor – and you – can gradually migrate from your own desktop or server to externally-hosted data, software and office technology solutions.

    August 17, 2012:
    Staff Refinements
    Bob notes that the feedback from his August 15th E-Column, “Different Roles, Different Skills”, was so valuable and interesting, it warranted a followup column.

    August 15, 2012:
    Different Roles, Different Skills
    Bob writes, “Rick Kahler, who practices in Rapid City, SD, looked at his own firm, and decided that the traditional model for adding great employees--the people who service his clients--just wasn't very effective.  Kahler believes the firm of the future will have five distinct divisions or departments, all of which are destination careers--that is, they will all of their own individual career ladders, rather than being intermediate jobs on the way to becoming an ‘advisor.’" Read this E-column for an overview of these distinct roles (including specialized financial planners, financial advisors, operations staff, investment analysts, and business development specialists) and the personality profiles suited for each position.

    May 22, 2012:
    Rainclouds in the Force Field
    Based on the magazine columns written by our leading practice management voices, advisors tend to operate at a pretty basic managerial level.  You are repeatedly told that you should start taking the role of CEO seriously.  Stop treating it as a junior part-time job, second to your planning work for clients.  Start creating systematized processes, write job descriptions for your staff, and develop a consistent marketing program.  Look at your financials, and monitor your profitability and growth metrics. Welcome to Business Management 101.  What successful corporation would be so unsophisticated that it didn't take these basic things for granted?  So let's stop and wonder: what would the typical small RIA practice look like through the eyes of a sophisticated management team?  What kinds of issues and future scenarios would an advisory firm be preparing for if its leaders were way beyond the "should I or shouldn't I ask for referrals" stage, if they were operating at the 400-level or 500-level of management expertise?

    April 26, 2012:
    Sample Client Letter and Press Release on Bachus Bill
    Bob writes, “After I sent out the last E-Column, talking about the Bachus Bill and the implications of it, several of you asked if I would create a sample letter for you to send to your elected representatives, and a press release for you to send to your local paper and press contacts. Download both. Please feel free to edit or amend this, and in the press release you should add your own quotes and contact information.  Some of the press release materials can be used in anything you want to send to your clients; I tried to lay out everything that a writer/reporter would need to craft a very strong article on this subject, including some fascinating information at the end about the "public" members of FINRA's board of governors, about the Madoff connection with FINRA, staff salaries, transparency, Rep. Bachus's campaign coffers and everything else. I think this is pretty important.  I hope it helps you get the word out.”

     


    April 25, 2012:  In this issue...
    In this E-Column, Bob urges his readers to contact their elected representatives and tell them that the Bachus legislation “would be detrimental to the small businesses in your district or state.” He then emphasizes that if you think the passage of the bill is inevitable, the only alternative is for the profession to put forth a strong alternative. He asks his readers to send him their feedback and comments on the recommendations he’s received from advisors on how best to protect consumers, which are summarized in the article. Read this E-Column and send any thoughts to Bob at bob@bobveres.com.

     


    April 17, 2012: In this issue
    In this E-Column, Bob reports back on reader recommendations of resources to reference when you create a financial plan.

    April 5, 2012
    : In this issue...
    In this E-Column, Bob asks his readers if there is a place an advisor can go, or a book an advisor can consult, which identifies the areas of a client's life that the advisor should be probing, and the kinds of advice, and tools, and recommendations, that might be appropriate in each area?  He then asks for feedback on a recent article by Allan Roth on the AARP website, which outlines a lot of conflicts of interest and things that consumers should be watching out for.  Read the full E-Column and respond to Bob at bob@bobveres.com.

    March 22, 2012:
    In this issue...
    In his latest E-Column, "Better Oversight—A call for help," Bob reviews what he perceives to be the problems inherent in the current regulatory system for the financial services world, and asks advisers for their input on how to best design an efficient regulatory structure that would protect consumers and "create a clear regulatory distinction between financial planners and asset managers."

    March 22, 2012:
    In this issue...
    In this E-Column, Bob Veres reviews two videos that "illustrate the conflicts of the agency/brokerage/wirehouse advice model."

    March 17, 2012:
    In this issue...
    In this E-Column, Bob Veres examines whether advisors are over or underestimating how much people need to save in order to afford retirement, and shares drawdown strategies and insights from advisors.

    March 13, 2012: 
    In this issue...
    In this E-Column, Bob Veres poses the question: “Looking back at your career, what is the best, or the wisest, or the most helpful thing you could tell an advisor who isn't yet on the road to success? ...I would like you also to be thinking--deeply--about how we could do this regulatory thing better.  If we could start with a clean sheet of paper, what would we do differently to protect consumers from the bad apples who lurk invisibly in our profession?  How would that regulatory process work, who would we hire to do it, what would an office inspection look like, where could the regulator look to find out which advisors are stealing money from clients or otherwise harming them?” Send your responses to bob@bobveres.com.

    February 21, 2012:
    In this issue...
    In this Inside Information Special Report, Bob Veres recaps the January 31st John C. Bogle Legacy Forum, which Bob states turned into “an unfortunate … triumphant public lynching of the strict fiduciary position.”

    February 10, 2012:
     In this issue...
    In this E-Column, Bob explores “sustainable” retirement withdrawal rates – and solicits his readers’ feedback on retirement spending patterns and performance reports.

    December 15, 2011:
      In this issue...
    In an Inside Information Special Report, Bob Veres reviews a report released on Thursday by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), commissioned by a coalition of financial planning organizations in response to calls for additional analysis of the recommendations in the SEC‘s study under Section 914 of the Dodd-Frank Act. The study found that the cost of establishing a self-regulatory organization to oversee investment advisers would cost at least twice as much as funding an enhanced SEC examination program; further, more than 80% of IAs said they would prefer to pay user fees to fund enhanced SEC oversight.

    October 28, 2011
    :  In this issue...
    In an Inside Information Special Report, Bob Veres reports the outcome of a brainstorming session with 40 “well-known thought leaders in the [financial planning] profession” regarding “the survival of the fiduciary RIA/financial planning profession.”

    October 23, 2011
    In this issue...
    In this E-column, Bob shares the text of what he believes is a  perfectly-realized presentation about the intersection between values, fiduciary, focus on the consumer and success in the marketplace, Reflections on Fund Management: Five Lessons from 25 Years.  The presenter was Don Phillips, who is celebrating his 25th anniversary at Morningstar.

    August 10, 2011:
      In this issue...
    In this E-column, Bob shares a compendium of client letters written by readers that  offer their perspective about the current market turmoil.

    August 9, 2011:
      In this issue...
    In this E-Column, Bob shares resources to assist with the recent economic turmoil and the S&P downgrade of U.S. debt.  He also asks members to share client letters offering perspective about the current market turmoil in order to pool efforts and develop better communications.

    July 13, 2011:
    In this issue…
    In this E-Column, Bob shares one economist’s perspective on the future demand and supply of skilled labor – including financial planning professionals – and solicits his readers feedback on resources that they use to better understand economics

    June 10, 2011:
    In this issue
    In this E-Column, Bob solicits feedback from his readers on an illustration of tax-aware distribution planning for retirees.

    June 9, 2011:
    In this issue
    In this E-Column, Bob recaps the feedback he received from advisors on his June 3rd E-Column covering effective tax rates and after-tax allocations.
    June 3, 2011:
     In this issue
    In this E-Column, Bob recaps two simple adjustments in financial planning inputs could have huge implications for your clients today and in the future.
    May 11, 2011: The Referral Letter
    A message from Bob Veres….

     

    A friend and colleague suggested that I provide an updated version of The Referral Letter.  The Referral Letter is designed to help you start the referral conversation with your clients, with the actual request coming from me, rather than you, and with an explanation of why referrals are so important not just to the advisor, but also to the community and to the client's friends, neighbors and loved ones.

    All I ask is that you only give The Referral Letter to clients after they have worked with you for at least a year, and had a chance to see the benefits of your advice and counsel.

    Please note that there are two versions of the letter --one for male planners to use (click here), and another for female planners to use (click here).

    I hope you will be able to put them to good use.

    Best,
    Bob Veres


    April 14, 2011: In this issue
    In this E-Column, Bob shares some of the feedback he received from those advisers who responded to the question posed in his April 5th E-Column: "Where are we spending our time/money to add the most value to client portfolios, and the least value to client portfolios?"

    April 5, 2011:
    In this issue
    In this E-Column, Bob poses the following question: "Where are we spending our time/money to add the MOST value to client portfolios, and the LEAST value to client portfolios?" If you would like to join the discussion or connect with other advisors to discuss this and other issues, read the E-column and respond to bob@bobveres.com.

    February 2011:
      In this issue
    This E-Column is a report on the recent TD Ameritrade conference in San Diego.  You'll find out what Colin Powell thinks about the current state of the world (and the political scene in Washington); what Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles have to say about their committee's recent deficit reduction proposals; Jeremy Siegel's take on the current market environment; TD Ameritrade economist Craig Alexander's assessment of the current economic conditions, and a bonus at the end, a truly inspirational presentation that connects the dots from an ordinary life, to a successful one, to an extraordinary one.
    January 2011:
      In this issue
    In his January E-Column, Bob Veres provides detailed review and analysis of the SEC’s report to Congress on harmonization of broker-dealer and RIA regulatory structures. Bob asserts that despite recommendations that sound promising and may initially resonate with fans of the fiduciary concept, the SEC has also provided “justifications, and draw[n] conclusions, that sound very similar to the ….arguments that have been put forth by brokerage firm lobbyists.”

     

    If you have comments, send them to bob@bobveres.com. Bob states, “In the next few months, there is likely to be an interesting diversity of opinion and no little amount of debate around this report--something to look forward to in our busy schedules.” To find other editions of Bob’s E-column, media reviews and/or Inside Information, click here.


    December 2010:  In this issue...
    In this E-Column, Bob solicits his readers’ thoughts on how advisors handle their new role as their clients' macroeconomists. As Bob writes, “I'm sure you know what I'm talking about; your anxious clients expect you to keep them posted on how and when the markets will go into another tailspin, and you, the expert, are expected to read the economic tea leaves and help them get out before another meltdown.” Bob shares the feedback that he’s received thus far from advisors and invites you, the reader, to join the discussion.
    September 2010:
     In this issue...
    In this E-Column, Bob makes several observations about the current regulatory environment and solicits the perspective of securities attorney and regulatory speaker, Tom Giachetti. Bob says “Most of us in the financial planning community are living in a state of constant anxiety at the moment, awaiting various regulatory shoes that are about to drop.  There are a variety of issues on the table: the new "plain English" form ADV Part 2, the SEC turning over advisors with less than $100 million under management over to state regulation, an SEC study that suddenly seems more about harmonizing brokerage and RIA regulation than the fiduciary standard--all that, plus some confusing wrinkles in the new custody rules.”

    August 2010:
      In this issue...
    In this E-Column, Bob summarizes Tim Kochis’ perspectives about the future of the profession – from life planning to the fiduciary age.  Kochis, the chairperson of Aspiriant, highlights the important changes that he thinks the profession is going through, which tend to be shoved in the background of our collective attention because so many of us have so much work on our desks.

     


    July 2010:  In this issue...
    “The most recent white paper by Mark Hurley--Creating, Measuring and Unlocking Enterprise Value in a Wealth Manager--offers a broad discussion of enterprise value in financial planning firms, specifically how to build it, and how to dissect the various offers you're probably getting (including those annoying robocalls) to find out how, exactly, those potential buyers are offering less than you think they are.” – Bob Veres

     


    July 2010:  In this issue...
    “As the planning world gets older, a growing number of advisors are finding themselves on a very difficult path: transitioning their RIA firm from a practice to a self-sustaining business.  If you want your clients to be cared for according to your (high) standards after you retire, if you want your staff to be rewarded for the work they've done for you, if you want to stay involved in planning work throughout semi-retirement, then your best, surest--and maybe most profitable--avenue is to create a planning business that can outlive you.” – Bob Veres

    May 2010:
      In this issue...
    “In lieu of an e-column, I have provided something potentially more interesting and important: my best effort to define the important trends of the future. As you'll see, the attached white paper outlines a lot of issues that advisors and the relevant members of your business ecosystem will need to understand about the next ten years--which, I believe, will be a time of dramatic change throughout the profession.” – Bob Veres

    March 2010:
      In this issue... 
    In this month’s E-Column, Bob delves into succession planning, which he views as a major change-factor in the profession. “Many – perhaps most – established firms will change hands (in whole or in part) in the next decade.” Bob highlights several problems that firms encounter in succession planning, and some tentative solutions.
    February 2010:  In this issue...
    Bob shares two major insights from the recent T3 Conference. First, he explores a fundamental misunderstanding about professional software which, if corrected, could lead to dramatic returns on your technology investment. Second, he shares convincing evidence that you can get an astronomical return on your technology investment when you buy--and fully utilize--one of these highly-participatory professional programs.

    January 2010:  In this issue...
    Bob Veres shares insights from his readership on reasonable expectations for investment returns, the usefulness of Monte Carlo projections and how to best communicate all possibilities when planning for your clients.


    Consumer Version of Inside Information
    At the request of a subscriber, Bob Veres has launched a trial of client-targeted messages. These messages are an opportunity for you as a planner to communicate your values and thoughts to your clients with ease. Please feel free to modify and disseminate any of these messages to your clients.

     


    January 2010:  In this issue…
    Conversion Conundrum: What’s the Big Deal with Roth IRA Conversions?
    Letter to Myself: An Interesting Strategy to Keep Your Goals on Course.

    December 2009:
    In this issue...
    A Murky Crystal Ball: Accepting That Investment Markets Are Less Than Predictable
    Who Works for Whom? Discerning Who You Can Trust When Seeking Out Investment Advice
    What's Going On: Looking Beyond the Headlines

    Reading List
    A selective list of useful books, blogs, magazines, and podcasts as recommended by top advisors and prioritized by Bob Veres.

     

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