What’s Next for Trump’s Tax Reform Plan

Tax reform took on new urgency for the Trump administration after it was unable to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare), but disagreements that persist between the president and GOP leaders in Congress have put any action in doubt for now. The Senate has passed a budget plan, but no specifics regarding tax reform have been worked out yet, leaving the issue’s fate uncertain. For advisors and consumers alike, this means a wait-and-see situation. “Don’t overreact or make any reactionary plans based off of something that isn’t law, but make sure you’re aware of the changes that are being proposed,” says Garrett Oakley, a certified financial planner at Betterment, an investment adviser. Here’s what could be in store on tax reform. Fewer Tax Brackets While most experts agree that the number of tax brackets is likely to be reduced, it’s unclear what …

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How Big Broker-Dealers Are Buying Small Broker-Dealers, and What That Means for the Advisor

The past few years have been a whirl for advisors at smaller broker-dealers. Consolidation in the industry is rampant — last year’s 138 mergers and acquisitions were a record, according to Echelon Partners, and were a 10 percent increase compared with 2015, which had also been a record year. “For owners of smaller broker-dealers, it provides a great opportunity to sell a business and earn an exit payout,” says Evan Tarver, investments editor at FitSmallBusiness.com, a New York City-based business service that provides advice to small businesses. “For the advisers employed by these broker-dealers, it might be negative as they may be losing their jobs.” Here’s the latest on M&As among broker-dealers. What’s Inspiring These Acquisitions? In many cases, the U.S. Labor Department’s proposed fiduciary rule and the corresponding increased cost of doing business has been inspiring smaller and independent broker-dealers to look for other options, experts say. While parts …

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The Top 10 Risks for 2017

The Top 10 Risks for 2017

All organizations encounter risk. But how they handle those risks—and the price they pay —can make the difference between an organization that prospers and progresses and one that barely hangs on. Whether they are in a private company or a public institution, executives are trusted with helping their organizations become and stay competitive. And capably managing the risks their organizations face is part of fulfilling that charge. Leaders need a thorough grasp of risk management and the total cost of risk. They need to understand how to not only deal with risk when it occurs but also try to prevent it from happening. And do both in the most cost-effective manner possible. Part of risk assessment and prevention is studying the known and the potential risk factors that may affect an organization, studying the environment outside an organization, networking with peers and then putting together some predictive models. In the …

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Demystifying the DOL Part 5: Download the Full White Paper

While the DOL Fiduciary Rule is currently in flux, the principal Advisor in a firm still needs to understand the law and the implications of the rule on advisor operations. To help you evaluate the impact on your business, download our free white paper titled Operational Guide for BGAs, FMOs and TMOs Under the DOL Fiduciary Rule. It is an indispensable guide to ensuring that all aspects of your operations are aligned so that your advisors can act as fiduciaries.  

Demystifying the DOL Part 3: Operational Requirements

Demystifying the DOL Part 3: Operational Requirements

To comply with the requirements of the DOL, the advisory practice must be prepared to do the following by January 1, 2018. Conduct the Practice as a Fiduciary At the highest level, the DOL Fiduciary Rule states that the advisor must act as a fiduciary to the client. To do so, the advisor must be “prudent” and “loyal.” Prudence requires that the advisor operates with a high standard in terms of monitoring, managing, and advising the client of the status of the investment property. Loyalty requires that the advisor make decisions that are beneficial to the client first and foremost and that would not be considered in the primary interest of the advisor at the expense of the client. Partner with a “Financial Institution” to Execute the Best Interest Contract The DOL Fiduciary Rule creates significant financial liability for the distribution partner. Under the DOL Rule, the advisor must work …

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