1. At SigFig we are squarely behind the Department of Labor’s effort to expand the fiduciary standard to all financial advisors. Investors should have no doubt that their advisor is putting their — the clients’ — best interests above his or her own. Not surprisingly, financial industry lobbyists are not going down without a fight:
The new [advertising] campaign is sponsored by Americans to Protect Family Security, a front for the life insurance and financial advisory industries. Its target is a proposed new Department of Labor regulation to simply require that the sellers of annuities, life insurance, IRAs, 401(k) investments and other such retirement products place their clients’ interest first… The whole point is that millions of customers can’t tell if they should trust their advisors, because the latter’s conflicts of interest are often well-hidden. When one hears the characters in the industry’s college-parents commercial worrying that they’ll get “no more help from Anne,” their trusted advisor, one feels the urge to knock some sense into their heads.
That great advice you’re getting from “Anne” may do more to line her pockets than your own–and you wouldn’t even know. If the Department of Labor regulations go through, then you’ll know.
2. Barry Ritholtz shares a terrific articulation on what it means to be an “Alpha” or a “Beta investor. Don’t miss his cartoon of nearly every TV finance interview.:
So Alpha is asked where the Dow will be in a year, and he responds:
“Our view is that the economy in the U.S. continues to _______, and we foresee _______ problems overseas ______. China is _______, and that has ramifications for the Pacific Rim’s ______. Greece is ______ in Europe. The commodity complex is causing _____ for emerging markets. But many sectors of the U.S. economy remain _______, and some sectors overseas are still _______. The valuation issue continues to be _____, and that means _____ for investors. That has ramifications for corporate profits that will be ______. We think the economy is going to do ______, and you know that means inflation will be _____, which will force interest rates to ______. Under these conditions, the sectors most likely to benefit from this are ______, ______ and ______. The companies best positioned to take advantage of this are ____, ____ and ____. Based on all that, we especially recommend an overweight allocation to ____, ____ and ____. Thus, we believe the Dow will be at ______ next year.”
You can turn on FinTV any day of the week and hear some variation of that discussion.
3. We shared a piece on US News on setting goals and following through:
Setting goals and managing investment accounts pegged to each goal separately will likely protect you from your human self and the inclination to react emotionally — not necessarily appropriately — to market events. It might, for example, help you stay on course rather than panic and sell out if the market drops and your shorter-term savings are invested in the markets, says Aaron Gubin, head of research and wealth management at San Francisco investment management firm SigFig.