Skip to content

Category: Bob Veres’ Blog

Inside Information E-Column: Permanent Changes Due to the Pandemic

In a recent group email, I asked the Inside Information community to tell me what they think has changed permanently—in their lives and in our profession—as a result of the ongoing pandemic. There were a lot of responses, which again tells me how lucky I am to be able to ask these questions and receive back the wisdom of the crowds.  As to the “permanently changed” question, there seems to be broad agreement that remote client meetings are here to stay—but there were some interesting differences in interpretation as to what, exactly, that means going forward. Virtual is replacing in-person…

Comments closed

The Next Investment

If you’re looking for a new trend in the investment landscape that could totally change the way advisors build portfolios for clients, then start with a look backwards.  In the 1990s, advisors were focused on actively-managed mutual funds, poring over increasingly sophisticated Morningstar screens to identify the “best” funds, or the funds that would outperform the market over the next three to five years. Then the popularity of passive investing changed the way advisors spent their time and the contents of their portfolios.  That was followed by the rise of ETFs as the building blocks of client portfolios, and once…

Comments closed

Over the Next Hill

Perhaps because I’m genetically predisposed to be a futurist, I can’t help trying to peer over the next hill in our professional timeline.  And a surprising number of possible shifts are contained right here in this issue. Start with the idea of professional specialties, board certification and peer review self-regulation.  The lead article in this issue outlines an intriguing initiative that is broader than the planning profession, which could become the model for a more focused initiative in the financial planning world.  I’m co-author of an upcoming white paper on the financial planning firm of the future (with practice management…

Comments closed

Conference Evolution

One of the most interesting questions facing the advisor/planner ecosystem this year is when and how in-person conferences will resume.  National meetings have traditionally been important venues for creating relationships and networking, and building a common culture among like-minded attendees who, in the hours after the sessions have passed, talk about the profession’s next evolution and how to embrace it.  I have commented elsewhere that the fastest track toward becoming a leader in the profession is serially attending national conferences and interacting with people who are already leaders.  And many of those existing leaders got there by the same route.…

Comments closed

The Lessons of GameStop

I’m sure many of you were watching with some fascination (or horror) as the markets for three unprofitable companies—GameStop, AMC and Blackberry—drove their share prices up nearly 1,000 percent, collectively.  You may also have noticed that Bitcoin has exploded in the last year. The story may be the best illustration yet of the difference between gambling and investing—even though you can do both in the investment markets.  Hedge funds, which engage in very sophisticated forms of gambling, made very logical bets that the prices of these three companies—one of them seemingly outmoded the way Blockbuster was some years back, another…

Comments closed

Better Late Than Never

When I first came into the financial planning world, back in the early 1980s, the biggest thing that confused me about the profession was the SEC’s weird prohibition of testimonials for all SEC-registered RIAs.  Wouldn’t (I asked myself and others over drinks at conferences) the world be a better place if clients could testify to the benefits they’d received from their planning relationship?  (The answer was always ‘yes.’) What made it worse was that there was no such prohibition in the brokerage world.  Brokers could use customer testimonials all they wanted—and some did, although wirehouse compliance departments eventually became uneasy…

Comments closed

Communicating Fiduciary

Hooray!  Hooray!  The CFP Board has released a model client engagement letter that CFP advisors can use with their clients, which outlines in some detail the nature of the engagement and the standards that the advisor will be held to while working with the client. You can find the letter here: https://www.cfp.net/ethics/compliance-resources/2020/11/sample-engagement-letters-for-financial-planning-and-financial-advice)  It points the client to the advisor’s Form CRS and Form ADV, and outlines the services and “products” (?) that will be provided by the planning firm: cash flow planning; investment planning; retirement planning; and estate, gift and wealth transfer planning. The letter lists the seven steps of…

Comments closed

Future Services

In the very recent past, whenever someone would ask me about the future of the financial planning service model, I had a ready list of what I thought were astute responses.  First and most importantly, I would say, is the development of a truly collaborative, life-centered onboarding model where the advisor helps the client uncover what he or she really, truly wants out of life, and then the two work together on a plan to achieve whatever comes out of that conversation.  You know it’s collaborative when clients are startled to discover life goals they had buried or forgotten about,…

Comments closed

Roadmap to Profession

I recently participated in an online group brainstorming session hosted by the CFP Board.  The goal was to help define the challenges that the profession faces in its effort to become a true profession.  I was encouraged that the focus was on the profession, rather than the glorification or enhancement of the CFP Board itself.  The CFP Board appears to realize that it is one of many contributors to the larger effort to build something like what doctors, lawyers and accountants currently enjoy.  Too often organizations focus more on their own well-being than how they can bring about the desired outcome…

Comments closed