The Huge Decline in U.S. Publicly Traded Companies

The Huge Decline in U.S. Publicly Traded Companies: Why investors should be worried Financial advisors spend a lot of time reassuring clients. Yes, interest rates are rising, but they are still at historical lows – the markets will be fine long-term. Yes, the technology sector is on a tear, but there are significant differences from the technology bubble from the late 90s – the markets will be fine long-term. Yes, the U.S. dollar declined last year for the first time in 5 years – the markets will be fine long-term. But there is one 20-year trend that has financial advisors worried about the markets long-term: the sharp decline in the number of publicly traded companies here in the U.S. The Worry In 1996, the US stock markets boasted over 8,000 publicly traded companies. Today, that number has dropped to less than 3,500. Let’s go back further and add the US …


U.S. Agency Moves to Allow Class Action Lawsuits Against Financial Firms

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which serves as a consumer watchdog, recently adopted a rule that would prohibit financial firms from forcing customers into arbitration when there are disputes. Legal experts say it’s likely to kill arbitration as a conflict-resolution practice in the financial industry and make it easier for consumers to bring class action suits. “If the rule survives congressional review and a likely court challenge, it would harm both consumers and financial institutions, and increase the burdens on an already underfunded court system,” says Stephen Newman, a partner at the law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. Here’s what you need to know. The Rule The rule got little attention between when it was proposed in May 2016 and now. As written, it would make it harder for companies to block groups of people from going to court to fight a business practice. “Allowing consumers to band together …


Demystifying the DOL: Your Weekly Guide to the Impending Fiduciary Rule

DOL Fiduciary Ruling

The Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Rule will have a profound impact on most advisors, distribution firms and carriers that work with qualified funds. In this weekly series, we want to help advisors, especially principal advisors, garner an understanding of the law, the implications of the rule on advisor operations, and what you can expect with respect to operations as the rule is implemented this year. In our first post we’d like to provide a brief summary of what’s to come. The Principal Advisor in a practice will be faced with a number of key decisions stemming from the DOL rule, including: Whether he or she wants to remain in the business of selling financial services for qualified funds. Whether to continue to receive commissions on the sale of products (versus aligning the business with a fixed AUM compensation model). The choice of distribution partner, which, in the DOL environment, is …