Highlights from our National Education Conference

At Loring Ward’s recent National Education Conference in San Diego, more than 150 financial advisors gathered to learn new ideas from industry experts and from one another. Here is just a sample of what they heard:
 
“We are honored that you have decided to entrust so many of your clients’ savings to us…and the hopes and dreams these savings represent. Helping clients with the challenges and opportunities of aging and navigating retirement is becoming increasingly important. This is personal for all of us. We want to help you help your clients, but we all have parents and grandparents who need help and guidance throughout retirement.”
Alex Potts, President and CEO, Loring Ward
 
“If you specialize in retirement, does it say that on your website? Could I go on your website and get links to Medicare, AARP and other resources to help with retirement? If you are a retirement advisor, you should be the source of information — and not just financial information — for your clients.”
Barry LaValley, president, Retirement Lifestyle Center
 
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Dr. Harry Markowitz Honored by Loring Ward

blog_harry_awardLoring Ward today awarded Dr. Harry Markowitz its Heritage Award at the firm’s National Education Conference in San Diego. Markowitz, best known for winning the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1990 for his work on portfolio selection, has served on Loring Ward’s Investment Committee since 2010.
 
According to Loring Ward’s CEO, Alex Potts, “Our firm has drawn on the research and powerful insights of many leading academics to build our Asset Class Investing portfolios, but no one has had a larger and more wide ranging impact than Dr. Markowitz. We are so privileged to be able to honor his lifetime of contributions to financial services, and to recognize his impact on millions of investors.”
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Building Stronger Relationships via Your Digital Ecosystem

Two big revolutions have occurred in marketing in recent years:
 

  1. Marketing has moved from being an art to becoming a science, with an ever-increasing ability to pinpoint the effectiveness (or failure) of marketing campaigns and initiatives.
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  3. There has been a broad move away from product to experience as the key differentiator. As McKinsey Quarterly noted in 2011, “Customers no longer separate marketing from the product — it is the product….In the era of engagement, marketing is the company.”

At Loring Ward’s National Education Conference at the end of September, we will look at what these two revolutions mean for financial advisors and how they establish and nurture client relationships across the digital spectrum, from websites to social media to CRM systems. Some digital ecosystem best practices to keep in mind: Continue reading

Longevity and Continuity Planning Isn’t Just for Your Clients

It was a crisp, clear day in Sedona, Arizona. As an advisor, I was attending my broker-dealer’s 2007 educational conference and had just finished up a session. I was catching up with my business partner in the foyer when the call came in. A long-time friend and colleague of my partner’s had passed away — a financial advisor for over 45 years.
 
He was a model of perfect health. He completed over 80 marathons and was an accomplished triathlete. But even someone in such great shape wasn’t immune from life’s inevitability. He lived a rich and fulfilling 75 years, but now had passed without fully implementing a continuity plan. Continue reading

Could You Be Your Own Worst Enemy?

This blog is from the September issue of Portfolio Perspectives.
 
“The investor’s chief problem — and even his worst enemy — is likely to be himself.”

 
— Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor, 1949
 
The U.S. stock market (measured by the S&P 500) was down more than 5% two days following the historic Brexit vote. Investors sold out of stocks as it seemed the market was on course for a global market correction. Yet, only five trading days later the market was near its pre-Brexit level. I believe the panic was unwarranted and investors succumbed to their emotions yet again.
 
Why do so many investors make investment decisions based upon emotional reactions to short-term events? One possible answer: Because we’re human. It’s normal to feel anxiety during economic downturns or market turmoil — like Brexit — but acting upon those anxieties can lead to imprudent investment decisions. The key is not letting your emotions get in the way of your long-term investment plans. Continue reading

DOL Fiduciary Rule Implementation: The Clock is Ticking

Much ink has been shed on the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule since it was released earlier this year. Some have embraced the new rule and welcome it with open arms, while others have filed lawsuits to prevent its implementation. Love it or hate it, the notion of what it means to be a fiduciary to an ERISA plan or IRA has been completely overhauled.
 
While the nuances of the new rule and its practical impact to the financial advisory community will be addressed at length at Loring Ward’s National Education Conference at the end of this month, here are five initial points to keep in mind:
 

  1. It will be much more difficult for a registered investment adviser or broker-dealer to avoid being a fiduciary to an ERISA plan or IRA. The “test” for what triggers fiduciary status has been simplified and streamlined, making it much easier to trigger.
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Are You Ready to Become an Exceptional Retirement Advisor?

“Are you fully prepared to support your clients’ needs all the way through retirement?”
 
This was the challenge that educator and retirement authority Barry LaValley threw out to almost 200 financial advisors at the recent Advisor Group ConnectED Conference in Washington, D.C.
 
LaValley, who was presenting in partnership with Loring Ward, noted that traditionally, investment and financial planning focused on positioning the client for the future.
 
But with approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day, the future is here NOW. Continue reading