New Industry Tools That Could Change the Way You Do Business

Times have changed for financial advisors. The advent of new technology has made it possible for independent advisors and smaller houses to compete with larger firms, and for larger firms to have a global reach. Keeping up with that technology can be a challenge — but it’s vital for any financial advisor who wants to stay competitive. Today’s clients want savvy, responsive financial advisors who are comfortable with technology. Fortunately, new industry tools are easy to use and integrate to provide top-level customer service and performance. “You don’t have a shot if you’re not organized,” says Jason Lara, director of sales and strategy at Ebix. Here are some new industry tools that can change the way you do business. Client Management Being able to manage your clients through scheduling and CRM platforms, as well as provide them excellent advice through market research tools, are among the biggest benefits of using …

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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 Tax Reform Could Impact Annuities

Uncertainty around the Trump administration’s tax reform efforts has made it difficult to predict the kinds of effects that could be in store for a wide variety of consumers, investors and employers. It’s especially hard for annuity experts to determine what might happen to retirement spending. If consumers have more money in their pockets because of lower taxes, they may invest it in long-term savings, while fewer savings incentives might inspire them to simply spend the money somewhere else. So how might this affect annuities? “No one has a clue,” says lawyer Mitchell Miller. The estate tax is one of the rules expected to change, but it’s unclear exactly what might happen. “We have no idea of the form estate tax reform will take: Outright elimination? Increased exemption? Will gift tax be maintained? How about the step-up in basis? What happens to annuities will depend mightily on the details.” Here …

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