Sunday, December 4, 2011

Industry Insightfuls Share Solutions to the Greatest Challenges Facing Financial Advisors Today

On September 16, 2011 in San Diego, California, several leading advisors and industry thought leaders took the mic at this year's FPA Twitter Live session. This year, the focus was the biggest challenge facing advisors as we round the corner and head into 2012 and, more importantly, how to overcome it -- according to these insightful contributors.

This is the third year FPA has asked me to organize and record Twitter Live. You can see the video clips from the 2011 conference as well as 2010 and 2009, below. 
I hope you'll watch each of the 2 minute videos. Do post your comments on this blog if you'd like to add to the conversation!

Marie Swift


More Video Clips on the Way!

Here are the first few video clips from FPA Twitter Live in San Diego (September 16, 2011).

I'll be posting the rest of the video clips, one per day, over the coming week.

To get automatic notices of new postings:

1.  Follow me on
2.  Connect on LinkedIn or FaceBook
3.  Follow this blog (see right hand widget area and it should be obvious how to do that)

Coming soon - insights from:

- Bob Veres, Inside Information

Posted below, are insights from:

- Sheryl Garrett - Garrett Planning Network
- Ron Lieber - The New York Times
- John Brackett - BAR Financial
- Deborah Fox - Fox Financial Planning Network
- Kevin Condon -
- Dave Hubbard - Exemplar Financial Network
- Geoff Davey - FinaMetrica
- Cameron Thornton - The Heritage Institute
- Ed Jacboson - Appreciative Inquiry / Ed Jacobson & Associates
- Darryl Celkupa - Tamarac, Inc.
- Michael Kay - Financial Focus / Money Quotient

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sheryl Garrett Says Planners Wise to Offer Real Time Planning, Debt & Credit Counseling

Sheryl Garrett, CFP, AIF, founder of Garrett Planning Network, addressed the audience while at the FPA National Conference in San Diego, on September 16, 2011. One of the things that Garrett espouses is real time planning -- it's a way for planners to deliver information and advice that provides immediate gratification and helps many clients get what they need, right now. Garrett offers a couple other gems in her 2.5 minute video spotlight.

Watch this 2.5 minute video clip now.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

John Brackett says advisors must work in groups, do the right thing, if they are to survive

John Brackett, partner, BAR Financial, a network of over 400 independent advisors and one of the top 3 Regional Directors with Financial Network Investment Corporation, one of the nation's largest independent broker/dealers, says that the way for advisors to battle margin compression is to work in  groups, focus on profitability and "do the right thing." Hear what he had to say while at the FPA National Conference in San Diego, on September 16, 2011.

   Watch this 2 minute video clip now.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Michael Kay tells Financial Planners at FPA National Conference: Time to Build a Better Business, Band Together is Now!

Michael Kay, CFP, founder and president of Financial Focus, LLC, an RIA that provides  a "tuck in" opportunity for smaller and emerging independent advisors who want to gain efficiencies and scale their  practices, says financial advisors need to band together, provide more holistic services and put the clients' best interests first. The president of the Advisory Board for Money Quotient, one of the industry's leading providers of financial life planning tools and training, Kay delivered his comments while at the FPA National Conference in San Diego, on September 16, 2011.

Watch this 2 minute video clip now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Darryl Celkupa talks about succession planning and maximizing value in the financial advisory business

Darryl Celkupa, vice president of business development with Tamarac, Inc., a company that provides financial advisors with a web-based Investment Strategy Management platform, says financial advisors who do not institutionalize their businesses will be at a huge disadvantage when it's time to transition out of the business. Celkupa delivered his comments while at the FPA National Conference in San Diego, on September 16, 2011.

Hear his words of caution and advice in this 2 minute video clip.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ed Jacobson Says Planners Must Practice Self-Care in the Days Ahead

At the FPA National Conference in San Diego, on September 16, 2011, Ed Jacobson, PhDauthor of Appreciative Moments: Stories and Practices for Living and Working Appreciatively and a psychologist, business coach, consultant and public speaker who works with financial planners and investment managers, said that financial professionals must put their own oxygen masks on first -- before helping other people during touch times.

Hear Dr. Jacobson's advice in this 2 minute video about improving your personal resilience.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cameron Thornton Says Client Retention is Critical, Shares Thoughts on How to Build Relationships Across Multi-Generations

Cameron Thornton, partner at Navigator Legacy Partners, LLC, a firm that works on behalf of families, individuals and non-profit organizations (often in collaboration with their other advisors) to help the clients achieve what matters most for themselves and their families now, and for generations to follow, talked about client retention and building relationships across multiple generations while at the FPA National Conference in San Diego, on September 16, 2011.

See what he has to say in this 2 minute video clip.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Stephanie Bogan Talks About Building Value in Your Financial Advisory Business

Stephanie Bogan, CEO of Quantuvis Consulting, Inc., a national consulting firm that specializes in business consulting to financial advisors and institutions, talked about maximizing profitability and building enterprise value  while at the FPA National Conference in San Diego, on September 16, 2011.

See what she has to say in this 2 minute video clip.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Dave Hubbard says independent financial advisors must band together if they are to compete effectively with the big name brokerage firms and banks over the coming years

David Hubbard, president of Exemplar Financial Network, a network of over 100 independent advisory firms, and one of the top 10 Regional Directors with Financial Network Investment Corporation, one of the nation's largest independent broker/dealers, says that bigger firms will put smaller firms out of business unless the smaller firms find a way to band together and gain scale. Hear what he had to say while at the FPA National Conference in San Diego, on September 16, 2011.

  Unite or die? Watch this 2 minute video clip now.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kevin Condon says financial advisors must embrace social media, real time planning to stay relevant in today's virtual world

Kevin Condon, PhD, CFP, EVP of, an online financial advice service powered by real advisors in real time for real people, said at the FPA National Conference in San Diego, on September 16, 2011, that financial advisors should embrace social media and real time planner - or risk becoming obsolete. The company is rolling out a new social media training solution to help advisors do just that.

Hear Kevin's insights this 1.5 minute video clip.

Deborah Fox says financial advisors must systemize their practices now

At the FPA National Conference in San Diego, on September 16, 2011, Deborah Fox, CFP, founder of Fox Financial Planning Network, a training and empowerment company that helps planners build more efficient and profitable businesses, said that financial advisors run the risk of going out of business if they continue to do business they way they always have. Clients are fearful. We are only part way through the recession. Workflows and systems are key.

Hear what Deborah says in this 2 minute video about surviving and thriving in uncertain times.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Geoff Davey says regulators turning an eye toward risk tolerance and suitability of investments

Geoff Davey, co-founder of Finametrica, an international company that offers a cloud-based psychometric risk tolerance assessment tool to financial advisors and savvy investors, sounded the alarm for financial advisors while at the FPA National Conference in San Diego, on September 16, 2011: regulators will be turning an eye toward client's investments and suitability regarding risk tolerance.

Hear his words of caution and advice in this 2 minute video clip.

Ron Lieber talks about the greatest challenge facing middle-market consumers today at FPA Experience 2011

While at the FPA National Conference in San Diego, on September 16, 2011, New York Times columnist and Bucks Blog author Ron Lieber shared his thoughts about the biggest challenge, as he sees it, facing middle-market consumers today: finding independent, objective financial planning and advice -- with terms they can live with and service they can afford.

Hear the challenge he issues to the financial planning community in this 2 minute video clip.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Select Advisors and Industry Thought Leaders Provide Advice on Articulating Your Value at FPA Denver 2010

On October 11, 2010 in Denver, Colorado, several leading advisors and industry thought leaders took the mic at this year's FPA Twitter Live session. This year, the focus was on how advisors can best articulate their value and position themselves with current and prospective clients.

I was pleased to serve as moderator in both 2009 and 2010.  We recorded their comments and you can view the videos below.

I'm sure you'll learn something new and/or become inspired by what you hear - I know I was!

Marie Swift

Kristin North, Vice President, Institutional Sales - TD Ameritrade - On Articulating Your Value

In a nutshell:

"At TD Ameritrade Institutional, we coach our clients -- financial advisors -- on various techniques and methodologies they may use to engage their clients and prospects.  Miller Heiman's Conceptual Selling Methodology can help anyone in a selling situation understand what is truly important to their clients.  Once a client's "concept" is understood, it is then possible to create a solution that will hopefully fulfill their need(s).  It's always important to realize that clients are primarily motivated by the need to "fix, accomplish, or avoid" an issue at hand.  By asking meaningful, probing questions and then carefully listening to the answers you can build credibility and work together with your client to create win-win solutions.
Additionally, it is important to incorporate the concept of working with buying styles.  By understanding an individual's buying style, it is much easier to tailor your own selling style to their needs. There are 4 primary styles to consider:

The Commander - likes to be in charge, is often guarded, and has a low tolerance for feelings, attitudes, and advice of others.  In order to engage this type of client, the focus needs to be on facts and the dialogue needs to be clear, direct, and formal. 

The Analyzer - is often soft-spoken, asks lots of detailed questions, and uses few gestures.  An Analyzer wants organization, documentation, and detailed facts to make a decision.

The Performer - is very enthusiastic and spontaneous, talks a lot, and laughs easilty.  This individual needs their ideas to be supported, a high level of energy and a perceived audience to commit.

The Empathizer - avoids risk and change, won't easily commit, needs signficant relationship building.  To effectively work with this type of client, you must understand that an empathizer takes things very personally, address any of their concerns, and show sincere interest in them.

The sooner that you can understand both a client's "concept" and understand their buying style, the more quickly you can mold your solution to meet the needs of that client and secure the relationship and a solution (or sale)."

Learn more about Kristin and TD AMERITRADE at

Ed Jacobson, Ed Jacobson & Associates - On Articulating Your Value

In a nut shell:

"The aim is to build a positioning statement – and a practice -- based on your positive core:  the person and professional you are when you are at your best.

Think about your most valued (cherished) client relationships where:
  1. You clicked with the client;
  2. You were at your best, when with them; and
  3. You delivered more than you even dared promise.

What was there about them? About you? About the chemistry?

What do people turn to you for, because they know you’ll come through? (Note: this could be something people have always turned to you for, even as a child, or of more recent vintage.)

Clients? Family? Friends? Colleagues?

What skills, talents, qualities do you prize most about yourself?

Six Things to Do When You’re Anticipating Being Asked, “What You Do?”
  1. Remember to breathe – and not just once!
  2. Smile. (It will make you attractive, and fool your brain into thinking you’re relaxed and happy.)
  3. Recall a client who is irrationally exuberant about you.
  4. Imagine that you’re going to be in conversation about your work, and the other person will be fascinated and intrigued, and time will fly by; keep that image of success in mind. (Keeps your amygdale from firing, and hijacking your relaxed alertness.)
  5. Be curious about, interested in, and fascinated by them; ask questions that reflect that interest. They will think you’re intelligent, empathic, and a good person to be around.
  6. Remember: even though they’re asking about you, it’s not about you: they’re asking if you can solve a problem or make their circumstances better.


What do you do?

Do you know how so many advisors are searching for a way to take their practice and their business – and maybe their life – to the next level, whatever that is for them?

Well, I work with them so that we get very clear on their great strengths, and their proven successes, and on what that next level really looks like. Then, we create ways to leverage those best qualities so they can be successful in getting to that next level – or beyond.

How do I do that?

I create a climate where it’s safe and even exciting for them to explore who they are when they’re at their best, and what they truly want—as individuals or as a firm.

Very often, that means I change the focus of their internal and external conversations from weakness, failure, and doubt to proven successes, positive possibilities, and realistic optimism. That way, my clients become inspired and catch fire, which gives them the drive and courage to take risks for success.

I have mastered a wide range of approaches, and have decades of experience with individuals and firms, which makes me confident that I deliver for (and with) my clients. They sense this, and they trust me to select the right method or tool at the right time."

Learn more about Ed and his Appreciative Financial Planning methodologies at

Gary Klaben, ChFC, Coyle Asset Management Company - On Articulating Your Value

In a nutshell:

"We focus on the needs of our clients. We do not add new technology, process or system without first asking: Will this help our clients gain greater clarity, improve their lives or eliminate a danger they are encountering? We provide deep support and act as an advocate for our clients. We are in the service business that is based on leadership, a strong relationship and ever increasing new capability. We are the first phone call. We are either a family CFO, coach, ombudsmen, advisor or consigliore to our client families."

Hear Gary's comments by watching the video below. Visit, Gary's second business (an intellectual property company providing custom service offerings that help financial advisors deliver deep support to their clients) to learn more about the mindmapping software he's developed.

Kim Jones, CFP, Jones Strategic Financial Planning - On Articulating Your Value

In a nutshell:

"I help people feel happy about their money by providing them tools to organize their financial lives so that they can have confidence in the future.  Most people have some concern about their money that causes them to feel unease.  It seems to me that money can’t buy you love or happiness.  But having your financial life in order can give you options and it’s those options that give you freedom and peace of mind.  What about your money causes you concern?

This puts the ball in the prospect’s court. Many people laugh and say, “My biggest money problem is I don’t have enough!”  If they say that I ask them to tell me more about that.  What does not having enough money mean?  What’s enough?  They then usually disclose a more precise concern such as their finances being in chaos. They don’t have enough money because they haven’t made good investment choices or because they’re not getting enough income from their investments.  They have too many accounts in too many places.  They have old 401k’s that they think they probably need to roll over.  Or, they just don’t know where their money goes.  The point is, whatever they say, it is their concern.  It’s not my agenda.  And, it’s not me providing a solution before I even know what’s bothering them.  Once I’ve heard their concern, then I describe how I can help."

Listen to Kim's comments. Visit to learn more about the "all american planners" network to which Kim belongs.

Andy Millard, CFP, Millard & Company, Inc. - On Articulating Your Value

In a nutshell:

"Our market is retired couples and individuals whose adult children are scattered across the country. They need a reliable, trustworthy financial partner who can stand with them to help manage their assets and make smart decisions. Our slogan is 'Low-stress portfolio management for cautious investors.' (We own the trademark for the term "Low-Stress Investing," and I have published a book under that title.)"

Listen to Andy's comments at #FPA2010. To learn more about Andy's practice, visit his Website

Tom Rabaut, TFG Advisors - On Articulating Your Value

In a nut shell:

Tom has been in the financial advisory business for over 30 years, but 5 years ago, he suddenly realized he didn't know what he wanted to be when he grew up. Thanks to his relationship with TD AMERITRADE Institutional, he had the opportunity to participate in a coaching program that changed his life. Today, Tom focuses on serving 3 niches in the Michigan area:

1. University professors
2. Automotive executives
3. Health Care executives

All of whom are going through life transitions and are between the ages of 50 and 65 years old.

He has a defined process that he and his team take them through. This differentiates his firm. And instead of focusing on the numbers, Tom and his team help their clients "maximize the return on their lives" (not simply maximizing the return on their investments).

Here Tom's observations first hand by watching the video below. Learn more about Tom and his firm on LinkedIn.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chip Workman, CFP, The Asset Advisory Group - On Articulating Your Value

In a nutshell:

"Internally, our mission and purpose is to provide financial and emotional security for like-minded individuals and their families.  We accomplish this through comprehensive financial and life planning and disciplined investment management.

We have been shifting how this mission is communicated to the outside world by integrating right-brained concepts and verbiage in our typically left-brained driven minds.
In other words, while our core values as an organization have not changed, we are in beta testing phase with our positioning statement as we work to make the value we provide our clients that much clearer.

Our Positioning Statement:
We provide guidance and planning surrounding the financial implications of our clients’ life goals.  We serve individuals and families seeking to protect their lifestyle, help their families, achieve comfort in retirement and build a legacy for the future.  With regular checkups, our clients are free to go about accomplishing their goals, knowing that their financial matters are in the hands of someone they trust and know to always have their best interests in mind.  We are the good guys, and we are not afraid to admit it. 

Those terms speak much louder to our clients, prospects and other centers of influence that we work with as opposed to terms like investment management, insurance, retirement and estate planning.  Yes, most everyone we work with needs all of those things, but, in their minds, it’s what those things do, not what they are, that’s more important."

Unfortunately, Chip's video clip did not save down to the camera correctly. We are happy that he was able to reconstruct some of what he shared at #FPA2010 by providing the written comments above.

Chip writes a blog for FPA. His website is

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Roger Wellington - Kinder Institute of Life Planning - On Articulating Your Value

In a nutshell:

The Kinder Institute of Life Planning trains advisors to talk with clients in a broader way than just focusing on the numbers side of financial planning. Here Roger Wellington, Kinder Institute Executive Director, shares his thoughts on best ways to communicate your value to current and prospective clients.

"The Life Planning approach to wealth management is often difficult to encapsulate quickly.  And if it takes you a paragraph to describe how your holistic approach differs from others, you’re likely to have lost your audience.  One of the pithiest summaries of Life Planning I’ve heard is as follows,  'We help clients explore how to use their money to make a life instead of using their life to make money.'”

Learn more about Roger and the Kinder Institute at


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Live Tweets from #FPA2010 by @marieswift

To make the session more fun - and to help FPA Members who could not attend the session in person get the gist of what was happening in the Twitter Live! session - Marie Swift did some "tweeting" live during the session.

Here is the Twitter stream that resulted - plus a few other #FPA2010 related tweets generated by her:

Tom Rabaut #FPA2010 coaching provided by TD Ameritrade practice management team has made a difference for him in communicating his value. Focuses on life transitions. Process for sudden changes. 11:19 AM Oct 11th via web  

Andy Millard #FPA2010 is embracing social media through email blast on Monday morning that ties to his video blog 11:16 AM Oct 11th via web

Andy Millard #FPA2010 specializes in working w/ retired clients. Offers low stress money management for cautious investors. Goal: work thru $ issues 11:15 AM Oct 11th via web


Gary Klaben at #FPA2010: Talks about their financial advocacy process. We serve as Family CFO. Take from complex state to simple state. Partners with clients. 11:13 AM Oct 11th via web

Gary Klaben #FPA2010: Ask about their meaning, values & principles. People love to talk about these very important issues for them. Takes 1-4hrs 11:11 AM Oct 11th via web


Gary Klaben speaking at #FPA2010 how he communicates value to prospects. What is it he sees in them? Frustrated. Complex lives. Clients feel powerless. 11:10 AM Oct 11th via web 

Ed Jacobson at #FPA2010 - Have picture of a client in your mind who is irrationally exhuberant about you. What would they say? How do you feel? Craft your positioning statement by thinking about that. 11:06 AM Oct 11th via web 

Ed Jacobson speaking at #FPA2010 says anticipate what you will say when asked what you do. Remember to breathe. It will calm and center you. Smile! 11:05 AM Oct 11th via web 

Ed Jacobson: Think about who you work w/ best, where you are at your best. You will develop better positioning statement if get in that mindset #FPA2010 11:04 AM Oct 11th via web 

Ed Jacobson speaking at #FPA2010 at Twitter Live Positioning Statements session live in exhibit hall. RE: How to think about your work. 11:02 AM Oct 11th via web

Ed Jacobson: Client meeting an opportunity for you to shine as their trusted advisor and deepen the conversation. #fpa2010 1
1:01 AM Oct 11th via web

Kristin North practice management consultant with TD Ameritrade says there are gender differences. Women tend to fall on the empathizer side. Men tend to fall on the commander side. #FPA2010 11:00 AM Oct 11th via web 

Kristin North TD Ameritrade speaking at #FPA2010 on personality types and how to best work with clients / connecting, articulating value. 10:59 AM Oct 11th via web 

@marieswift gave example advisor who positions self as human GPS system - charting course & there with clients every step of way, come what may. Encourages advisors to draw "word pictures" in the listener's mind. #FPA2010 10:58 AM Oct 11th via web 

Kristin North TD Ameritrade says advisors can use conceptual selling to connect w/ clients & prospects. Doing live positioning stmts now in exhibit hall Learning Center #FPA2010 10:56 AM Oct 11th via web 

Roger Wellington of the Kinder Institute says planners cannot lead with a "money conversation" when trying to communicate w/ prospects at #FPA2010 10:53 AM Oct 11th via web

Kim Jones says at #FPA2010 - I help people feel happy about their money, give them tools to help them feel good about their future. Money = options.

Chip Workman says at #FPA2010 says to provide guidance & planning around clients life goals. Keep their best interests in mind. Do not be afraid to say you are a good guy in a white hat.

Eavesdropping on the #FPA2010 conference via @RIAbiz by @marieswift

@marieswift and her team are proud to be working w/ industry thought leaders such as Influencer Award winner Myra Salzer…

@marieswift with @lindner_capital at #FPA2010 after party post exhibit hall

Join @marieswift via Financial Planning magazine discussion boards. Add your thoughts on rebuilding trust #FPA2010 8:33 AM Oct 11th via web

Join @marieswift today in the Learning Center (back of the Exhibit Hall) at 11:45 am MST today at #FPA2010 and talk about articulating value 8:30 AM Oct 11th via web

RT @MichaelKitces Deborah Fox's college program is very popular. Just finished, and she's mobbed with people asking even more questions! #fpa2010 Mon Oct 11 10:33:57 2010 via TweetDeck Retweeted by marieswift

RT @juanros Don Trone on fiduciary ethos: "Through the eyes of your clients, you have to be viewed as a leader." #FPA2010 Sun Oct 10 15:10:26 2010 via Twitter for iPhone Retweeted by marieswift 


Join @marieswift via Financial Planning magazine discussion boards. Add your thoughts on rebuilding trust #FPA2010 Mon Oct 11 10:33:29 2010 via web 


 Join @marieswift today in the Learning Center (back of the Exhibit Hall) at 11:45 am MST today at #FPA2010 and talk about articulating value Mon Oct 11 10:30:27 2010 via web 

@MichaelKitces Congratulations on your Influencer Award! It was great seeing you and your wife last night at the Financial Planning party! Mon Oct 11 09:57:29 2010 via web in reply to MichaelKitces 

RT @fpapubs: Daily Pulse now online! Check out photos of your colleagues and session highlights from #fpa2010: 7:56 AM Oct 11th via web 

@finplan what a lovely evening! Enjoyed attending/seeing everyone at the inaugural Influencer Awards at @FPA2010 12:41 AM Oct 11th via Mobile Web in reply to finplan 

Myra Salzer named Technology Wizard at @finplan magazine's Influencer Awards Party while at #FPA2010 12:36 AM Oct 11th via Mobile Web 

Sheryl Garrett named Practice Management Guru at @finplan magazine's Influencer Awards party while at #FPA2010 12:34 AM Oct 11th via Mobile Web 

Tom Bradley at #FPA2010 says choice for consumers re fees is good. Explain clearly. Let them choose. 1:39 PM Oct 10th via Mobile Web 

Tom Bradley spkg at FPA2010. Systemitzed referrals a key component for success. Also use Funnel Management system to priortize prospects. 1:35 PM Oct 10th via Mobile Web 

Tom Bradley speaking at #FPA2010. Says advisors need to build more efficient businesses. Example - use portfolio rebalancing software. 1:30 PM Oct 10th via Mobile Web 

Join @marieswift & luminaries Don Trone George Kinder Ed Jacobson Geoff Davey George Tamer Julie Littlechild at #FPA2010 10/10 8 AM room 206 11:46 PM Oct 9th via web 

@ddjfjy Great having you in the Web 2.0 and Social Media Boot Camp today, Dan! Your new blog looks fabulous. Amazing what you accomplished. 11:40 PM Oct 9th via web in reply to ddjfjy 

Just getting back from after party hosted by @marieswift after #FPA2010 official functions ended tonight. Great seeing new friends and old! 11:36 PM Oct 9th via web 

@marieswift & @fpaassociation had surprising number of walk-in registrations today at Web 2.0 and Social Media Boot Camp pre-con at #FPA2010 11:35 PM Oct 9th via web 

#FPA2010 off to a great start! Dan Ariely, author of "Predictably Irrational, very funny but thought provoking in opening keynote speech. 11:32 PM Oct 9th via web 

@calebbrown is telling us at the Speaker Spotlight #FPA2010 that he will share how to hire NextGen Planners during his session Sunday 10 am. 5:10 PM Oct 9th via web 

@cicilymaton will speak at #FPA2010 on Tuesday 8:15 am on working with a therapist. Will share success stories from her practice, tools. 5:08 PM Oct 9th via web 

@lindastimak says her session will help FAs gain sustainable growth. Don't miss finding out what your DNA Footprint is on Tuesday #FPA2010. 5:06 PM Oct 9th via web 

@lindastimak giving preview of her Rainmaker session to happen Tuesday a.m. She is speaking live right now at Speaker Spotlight at #FPA2010 5:04 PM Oct 9th via web 

@gradycash is live speaking at Speaker Spotlight at #FPA2010. Giving preview of session he will give with @rickkagawa. Startling statistics! 5:03 PM Oct 9th via web 

@gradycash will talk with @rickkagawa on Managing Health Issues for Aging Clients at #FPA2010. 5:01 PM Oct 9th via web

Dr. Jacobson's frame work includes 4 phases and action steps, tools at his session Tuesday morning at #FPA2010. Life Abundance Portfolio. 4:59 PM Oct 9th via web 

@edjacobson speaking at #FPA2010 Tuesday morning. Reengergize Relationships with Client Review Meetings. Dr. Ed is fantastic speaker, Ph.D. 4:57 PM Oct 9th via web

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thought Leader Round Table transcript - FPA Anaheim 2009

Marie Swift interviews nine Industry Thought Leaders at FPA Anaheim 2009. She poses Three Big Questions to the Thought Leader panel and gets some insightful - and sometimes surprising - answers. Download and read the Thought Leader Round Table transcript now.

Thought Leader panelists joining Marie Swift:

Mary Zimmerman - Kinder Institute of Life Planning
Justin Nichols - Garrett Planning Network
Deborah Fox - Fox Financial Planning Network
Robert J. Lindner - Lindner Capital Advisors
Brett S. Ellen - American Financial Network / CSP Training
Scott Hanson - Hanson McClain Retirement Network
Dick Weber - ObjectivEdge
Mark Pace - ObjectivEdge
Geoff Davey - FinaMetrica

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Marie Swift, Impact Communications - Welcome

Welcome to Twitter Live! with the Industry Thought Leaders. My name is Marie Swift. I am president and CEO of Impact Communications, a full-service marketing and PR firm for independent advisors and the institutions that serve them.

We are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the financial planning profession. My how things have changed in just the past 20 years that I have been a part of the industry. I remember doing business before their was anything called “email” or “the internet.”

Today Twitter is all the rage. And since FPA has always been progressive, we decided to try something new this year – we’ll be combining the best of “high tech” with “high touch” here at Twitter Live.

20 Industry Thought Leaders are here in the audience. They will each come to the microphone and in 2 minutes max share the #1 thing that, from their perspective, advisors should be thinking about – or doing – as we round the corner into 2010 and beyond. I will ring this small chime 3 times to indicate that there are only 30 seconds left in the allotted time slot. I will ring the chime once when time is up. And I will be forced to use this gong if the Thought Leader just won’t stop – that’s doubtful, but you just never know when passionate people start speaking.

We have set up a Twitter page so you can sign up to follow all the great ideas that today’s Thought Leaders will share – and the other great information that FPA wants to share with you. Just go to and sign up for a free account. Then follow “fpassociation.” So, the Twitter feeds will be found at

We will also be video taping today’s contributions. You can find the video blog entries at

I hope you will take notes, follow the blog and twitter feeds, retweet the things that interest you and leave comments on the blog. Let’s start a dialog online – and include the other people who could not for some reason be here with us live.

In addition, if you want to speak further with the Thought Leaders here today, come by Booth #651. There you will find many of the 20 people who will be speaking here today.

To follow me on Twitter: @marieswift ( To follow my blog:

Thanks for being here. Let’s get started!

Liz Weston, Journalist LA Times / Author "Your Credit Score"

I’m Liz Pulliam Weston, the most-read personal finance columnist on the Internet and author of the book, Your Credit Score, and I believe credit will be the big story for 2010.

We’ve already seen a revolution in the credit card industry, with issuers doubling or tripling rates, lowering credit limits and shuttering accounts even for customers with great credit scores and perfect payment histories.

This is pushing many over the financial edge into bankruptcy, and threatening the credit scores of others by reducing their available credit. Those who still have good credit need to know they have the power to fight back against these changes, or take their business elsewhere, since customers with credit scores of 740 and above are still in high demand.

If the economy continues to shed more jobs than it creates, defaults will remain high and issuers cautious about extending credit to anyone with less-than-exceptional scores. Expect truly good balance transfer offers to get scarce and rewards deals to get less appealing for all but the sterling-credit class.

New rules mean people under 21 will have a much tougher time getting a credit card starting in February—but they will still need good credit scores to get decent apartments, insurance rates and car loans when they’re out of school. Parents need to think about whether they want to co-sign for a card or add a child as an authorized user to one of their own accounts. This is a child-by-child issue—co-signing can work for the most responsible but could be a disaster otherwise.

If your clients have credit card debt, they should fix their rates now by paying off their debt with a three-year, fixed-rate personal loan from a credit union, where those with good credit can get a fixed rate of 10% to 11%. Other alternatives: social lending sites such as Prosper or Lending Club.

If they can’t pay off the debt within three years, they need to talk to a legitimate credit counselor and possibly a bankruptcy attorney. The old days of easy credit aren’t coming back soon, and strapped borrowers need to realistically assess their options rather than continue to struggle with unpayable debts.

You can learn more at

Mary Zimmerman, Path Financial / Kinder Institute of Life Planning

Hi, I’m Mary Zimmerman. I’m a Certified Financial Planner® professional and Registered Life Planner ™. I’m proud to be a founding member of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning and was the first certified faculty member of the institute in the United States. I serve on the Board of the Greater Phoenix Financial Planning Association as Director of Public Awareness.

The one big thing all advisors should anticipate is managing change.

How do we do that? When we invest time with our clients, deepening our relationships with them, we find out what is most important in their lives.

As their trusted advisor, we understand their goals of keeping the family home or putting a premium on education. As a result, we put structures and safeguards in place to help protect our clients’ priorities.

We should walk side by side with our clients through change. Change isn’t always easy, and your guidance and support will help them through a difficult time.

Remember to
1) Be nimble. Change doesn’t just affect our clients; it affects us, our families, our societies, and our planet.

2) Be alert. If one of your clients wants to “go green,” and you know about cash for clunkers or energy credits for heat pumps, alert them!

3) Be enthusiastic. Crackle with ideas that support and encourage our clients’ dreams. For example, a middle class client, working for Southwest Airlines wants her parents in Milwaukee to have a driver. You can encourage your client to trade driving for buddy passes.

4) Be still. Make sure to have some quiet time. Just like I tell my grandchildren, it’s good for the soul.

If you have any questions, you can contact me via my financial life planning practice, PATH Financial Strategies, LLC., at, or via the Kinder Institute's Find a Life Planner map at

Deena Katz, Texas Tech University, Evensky Katz Wealth Management

I’m Deena Katz, Associate Professor at Texas Tech University and Chairman of Evensky & Katz Wealth Management.

It’s a new world. After many years of negative returns, the past year of significant recession, and an unprecedented array of investment scams and fraudulent activities, we are now in a new world, a regulatory world that will set off a sea change of events like we have not seen in our lifetimes.

Be prepared.
The latest draft of the Investor Protection Act of 2009 makes it clearer that the SEC must adopt rules setting a fiduciary standard for advisers and brokers providing investment advice to retail investors. It now states that the standard of conduct “shall be to act in the best interest of the customer without regard to the financial or other interest of the broker, dealer, or investment adviser providing the advice.”

Most people, who are afraid of accepting fiduciary responsibility with regard to the client relationship, interpret “fiduciary” in purely legal terms only. They worry about litigation in being held to a “trust” standard. They explain that they cannot be an agent of their firm and a fiduciary to their client. But, if we look at the FPA’s Standards of Care, there are five simple statements, that considered separately, are nearly impossible for anyone to raise serious objections:

1. Put the client's best interests first.
2. Act with due care and in utmost good faith.
3. Do not mislead clients.
4. Provide full and fair disclosure of all material facts.
5. Disclose and fairly manage all material conflicts of interest.

This, my friends, these are the definition of Fiduciary.

As you look toward 2010, remind yourself that in this New Regulatory World, we will be regulated. If you want to have a voice in that, contact your local representatives, volunteer and support advocacy at FPA. And finally, remember, all professions are regulated. And, we are a profession.

If you'd like to hear more of my thoughts, I write a regular column in Financial Planning magazine.

Julie Littlechild, Advisor Impact, Client Audit

Hello – my name is Julie Littlechild and I’m the President of Advisor Impact and the creator of the Client Audit, a client feedback tool for financial advisors.

The #1 thing that I believe advisors need to do is to clearly define and communicate their value to clients. And I think I’m backed up by the more than 70,000 clients we’ve surveyed over the last several years about what they need, want and expect.

The good news is that overall satisfaction has held strong in the last year. The bad news is that it doesn’t matter that much. What we’ve found is that there are two groups of clients. Both groups would define themselves as satisfied, overall, and both would describe themselves as dissatisfied with investment performance. That’s where the similarities stop. For the first group their dim view on the market is creating a negative halo – they said they have no confidence in their plan for the future and don’t feel their advisor has managed the relationship proactively. The second group, however, may be dissatisfied with investment performance but can see their plan forward and feels the advisor is managing the relationship. Advisors with more clients in the second group have done a better job of defining their value and creating a disconnect between market performance and the value of advice. In the process, those advisors have reduced risk.

So what can we do? I believe that advisors need to define and then communicate their value. They need to be able to clearly explain to clients what they do for them in words that are meaningful for clients. They need to document that value, from fundamentals such as contact levels to descriptions of the planning process. Consider creating a service agreement as a tactical approach to communicating your value. Research shows a clear connection between client engagement and knowing what kind of service they can expect. We also know that if your clients can’t clearly describe the value you provide, they’ll never be in a position to tell anyone else, and that will have an impact on referrals.

If you’d like to learn more about our Client Audit process, visit

Sheryl Garrett, Garrett Planning Network

Hi, I’m Sheryl Garrett, founder of the Garrett Planning Network - a network of fee-only advisors offering hourly, as-needed financial planning.

The number one thing I want advisors to be thinking about is that our emerging profession is on the verge of–potentially–the most important re-regulation of investment advisors ever. The public at large has little or no understanding of what a financial planning professional does, nor do they have faith in the financial markets or financial advisors.

To truly evolve into a respected profession, we must get politically active now! The proposed re-regulation of all those that render investment advice needs to be clear, powerful and client-centered. To truly emerge as a profession, we must make competent, objective financial advice accessible to ALL people.

We must have regulatory reform that ensures that all consumers of financial advice can trust that advice to be rendered by competent fiduciaries. Our society is desperate for quality advice from professionals they can trust to put their best interests first, always!

If you’d like to talk further about this issue, or learn more about the Garrett Planning Network, please contact me through my website,

Blaine Aikin, Fiduciary360

Hi. I’m Blaine Aikin, CEO of Fiduciary360, an organization focused on promoting a culture of fiduciary responsibility and improving the decision-making processes of investment fiduciaries.

The #1 thing advisors should have on their mind is that soon, every advisory relationship will need to be treated as a fiduciary relationship. This change is happening, and soon will be made necessary either through new legislation and regulation or because the market will demand it. Either way, advisors need to be prepared for it.

The debate on financial regulatory reform has moved beyond whether or not a fiduciary standard will apply for advisory relationships, and on to how it will be applied and who will be charged with oversight. Once the details are decided comes the task of compliance. But advisors who are already following processes to the highest standard possible won’t have to worry about playing catch up.

Meanwhile, the financial crisis has caused investors to become more distrustful, while also becoming more informed than ever. Those advisors who are fiduciaries are reaping the benefits as more new clients want the assurance that a fiduciary standard of care provides.

Implementing fiduciary processes now puts advisors both ahead of the compliance curve for when a fiduciary standard is implemented and gives them a competitive advantage for new clients.

If you’d like to learn more about this important issue further, I invite you to visit

Bonnie Hughes, American Capital, Financial Planning Association Board of Directors

Hello, I’m Bonnie Hughes, Principal at American Capital and a member of the Financial Planning Association Board of Directors. I’ve been asked to share some insights with my colleagues as we look out into the next year and I think the main point I’d like to focus on is how planners might serve markets other than the high net worth market. Planning is a sharing profession. I have been fortunate to get to know many planners through conferences, industry events, and visits to their offices. I’ve had time to dig deep into what works for them and where challenges lie in serving those that planners may assume cannot or will not pay for financial planning services. During my own career I have consistently straddled the world of serving high net worth clients and everybody else.

Planners can help change the public’s perception of financial planning by engaging the press and local employers. Rules of thumb seen in the press can be useful as a starting point but rarely serve as a solution on an individual basis. Share case studies with reporters while still protecting your client’s privacy. We know from good research that employers benefit from having the full attention of their workers and if they are distracted by their money problems, they will be less productive at work.

Developing a business model to serve folks starting out who do not have a complex situation could be done on a renewable flat fee basis. We know that 70 to 140 people can be served by a planner during a given year. Charging $1,500 for an initial plan brings revenue of $105k - $210k. In the first year and thereafter, a monthly charge of $99 brings another $83k - $166k. A four person office working this way sharing resources is a workable model. Offerings for the monthly charge might include exclusive access to a quality newsletter, private blog, webcasts and webinars and 4 hours of your time with each client.

But building it and hoping they come won’t work. We all need to work together to change the idea that planning is only for the wealthy. Planning is for anyone who wants to make informed financial decisions for themselves with the guidance of an experienced, ethical, and educated planner.

You can learn more about me and my firm at

Randy Gardner, Gardner Financial Planning, Inc.; Professor, Tax and Financial Planning, University of Missouri, Kansas City

Hi. I’m Randy Gardner, Professor of Tax and Financial Planning at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, contributing columnist, with Leslie Daff, for The Journal of Financial Planning, author and editor of several books at the on-site bookstore, and President of Gardner Financial Planning, Inc. My firm performs tax and estate planning services for financial planners and their clients across the country.

The #1 thing advisors should be aware of during the next year is evolving government policy, with its opportunities and threats.

I have been advising clients over 30 years and have not seen a more proactive executive branch than in the past 8 years. Proactivity has its pluses but also its minuses.

Recently, government policy has created windfalls for our clients with 15% (and maybe 0%) dividend and capital gain rates, $250,000 immediate expensing allowances for business purchases, $8,000 refundable credits for home purchases, and “Cash for Clunkers” programs and deductible sales taxes for vehicle purchases. Act quickly though; these government giveaways do not last long.

The executive branch’s need for revenue to accomplish its goals is apparent to all, but less apparent are the heavy handed tactics the executive branch is using to increase revenue. IRS audit rates are climbing; offers in compromise are denied more frequently than ever; and, if the executive branch does not get its way with Congress or the courts, it legislates through the issuance of Regulations, not only a bad precedent, but a violation of the Constitution.

The government is about to respond to some of the critical issues facing the country – the health insurance crisis with its implications for Medicare and Medicaid, the “lack of” retirement savings crisis and Social Security, and the estate tax. What form will these responses take, and at what expense?

As a financial planner, I feel my role is evolving to that of a watchdog for my client’s resources. Some days, I am reading tax updates looking for coupons my clients can cash in. However, on most days, I am keeping the government away from my clients’ doors with solid compliance and well-executed strategies.

You can contact me through UMKC.

Deborah Fox, Fox College Funding, Fox Financial Planning Network

Hello. My name is Deborah Fox. I have been a practicing financial planner for 25 years and have personally coached many financial advisors all over the country. I am best known in our industry as the founder of Fox College Funding, a specialty planning company. Just this year, I have introduced a new training program for financial advisors called Fox Financial Planning Network, a complete financial planning delivery system. If you want to learn more about me or my programs, just put “Deborah Fox financial planning” in a Google search or stop by booth #651 – “The Industry Thought Leaders’ booth”.

My message today is “Systematize, Document and Delegate.” Over the years, I have come to realize advisors who master and implement these three things are likely to not only have built a best-in-class practice, but also be in a position where they truly enjoy their work and can live a balanced life. Do you feel like you work too many hours and your practice is in disarray? Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth points out that when most people go into business for themselves, they don’t run a business, they merely create a 12 hour-a-day, 6 or 7 day-a-week job for themselves.

What’s the solution? Every client service you deliver should be systematized, documented and then assigned to a person who is responsible for delivering that service. Whether it’s a back office task or something that is done in front of the client, there should be an order and a system for everything you do. By designing a workflow for your practice and then delegating tasks that you personally shouldn’t be spending time on, you can stop working a job and start living the life of a true entrepreneur by having time for the things that are important to you in your life.

Systematizing and documenting your practice can also make possible for you to offer a higher level of service to your clients and can prevent you from being left in a debilitating position if you lose a key member of your team. Ever since I documented my entire practice, I have been able to focus on the higher level activities of my practice that I am both good at and enjoy doing. This is just part of what I teach through the Fox Financial Planning Network where I literally hand over to you all the documented mechanics of my complete financial planning process.

If you'd like to learn more, visit my website,

Mark Pace, ObjectivEdge on Life Insurance as an Asset Class

Hi. I’m Mark Pace, Principal with ObjectivEdge, an insurance asset management consulting firm.

The #1 thing I want advisors to be thinking about is that Life Insurance is not a passive asset. 90% of all life insurance sold in the last 30 years is NOT performing as originally expected. However, we have found that only 25% of these policies merit "replacement," termination, or settlement. Most currently non-performing policies should not be replaced ... because they can often be remediated more successfully than subjecting the client to new fees, loads, surrender charges, and possible diminished returns and/or performance. This result is only possible when applying actuarially-derived tools, techniques and systems - independent of carrier illustrations and non-guaranteed pricing assumptions implemented by competently trained financial professionals. The financial planner is uniquely positioned to fulfill this role.

The perfect storm of reduced industry revenue and increasing policy charges will produce an unprecedented wave of policy crashes. Guaranteed death benefit policies have been all the rage for the last 10 years, but carrier revenue doesn't begin to support these policies in the long-term. While not being able to change pricing on the in-force "block" of such policies, it's anticipated that all current assumption policies (UL, VUL, EIUL) will experience increases in cost of insurance and other expenses - subject to the maximums imposed by the underlying policies. Most consumers and financial professionals have been unaware of the lifetime re-pricing possibilities carriers have contractually reserved for future profit management. Concerned financial planning professionals are ideally positioned to advise clients with proper training and Life Insurance Property Management independent analytical tools.

Whole Life insurance - for lifetime needs - has gained renewed respect as an uncorrelated asset class within an investment portfolio's fixed return allocation. Further, larger needs and policies (typically greater than $5 million) can be optimized into a portfolio of policies with techniques that not only can but SHOULD be applied to the acquisition and asset management of life insurance.

To learn more, visit my website, I also invite you to visit my colleague Dick Weber's website,

Karen Lee, Karen Lee and Associates, Integrated Financial Group, Securities America

Hi. I’m Karen Lee, President of Karen Lee & Associates. My firm is part of the Integrated Financial Group, a consortium of 40 elite advisors and one of the largest branches of Securities America Advisors.

The #1 thing that advisors should be aware of is how common it is for clients to be their own worst enemy when it comes to implementing a financial plan.

I’ve been a financial planner for over 20 years and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen clients trip over their money baggage. It’s like an elephant in the room and unless we, as advisors, acknowledge its presence and help clients see how it can cause them to sabotage their best-intentioned plans, we are not serving them well.

Have you ever had a client tell you that he wants to get his kids through college and then retire at 55? Sure - we all have. So you develop a financial plan that will help him do just that. But instead of following the plan, he’s always got an excuse as to why he’s spending the money that he should be saving.

I have found that if I uncover clients’ issues around their relationship with money when I first start working with then, we are much better able to discuss their behavior and avoid some of the things that throw them off track.

As advisors, we are not therapists - nor should we be. But we can develop a protocol with new clients that enables us to ask questions like:

- How were money decisions made when you were growing up?
- Who kept the purse strings?
If I’m working with a couple, I’ll probe for answers to those questions from both partners. I’ll ask them how they make money decisions in their own relationship - which inevitably tells me whether one is a spender and the other a saver.

While we often learn about issues over the course of working with clients, getting it out on the table at the beginning of the relationship is a tremendous advantage in helping them avoid - or at least be conscious of - the traps they might fall into. They are able to be more successful in achieving their goals, which makes me more successful as an advisor.

To read more about this subject, read my article, A Fine Line, in Financial Planning magazine. You can contact me through my website

Susan Galvan, Galvanic Communications

Hello, my name is Susan Galvan. I was co-founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning. The last two years I've had my own company, Galvanic Communications.

The quality that planners need to bear most in mind going into 2010 is Trust. Over the past year or so, there have been many challenges to trust in the relationship between planners and clients. Not because planners themselves are lacking in that area, but because circumstances have been so tumultuous that there's been a lot of confusion for everyone. We can all agree that trust forms the cornerstone - the foundation - of the planner/client relationship.

To begin re-building this trust, we need to see a change in the industry to a more client-centered, fiduciary approach. The question is, how do we make that change from being a sales-based culture to being a service-based culture?

First, we must realize that it takes a skill set of both communication and relationship skills that facilitate a relationship of trust. Additionally, I would recommend broadening your view of the planner/client relationship going forward. We should examine how our profession can shift towards a more holistic approach, ensuring that the planner helps a client look at all dimensions of their life. Finally, we need to integrate the financial with the personal to get a better picture of what the whole can be within the financial planning framework.

If you'd like more information, go to our website at, or contact me at

Bob Lindner, Lindner Capital Advisors

Hi. My name is Bob Lindner, founder and president of Lindner Capital Advisors, a leader in third party money management.

The one tip I have for today’s advisors is to get a new message. It is absolutely critical for an advisor to have a well defined, interesting message to share with clients. If you’ve had the same message for a while now, perhaps your conversations have gone stale. That means it’s time to find a fresh topic in order to spark renewed interest and rejuvenate relationships.

One of the areas that is ripe for a new story is investment management. There’s been a lot written over the past year about the whys and wherefores of the decline in the markets. A lot of advisors and money managers are asking themselves what they could or should have done differently.

At my firm, we took a serious look at that question, trying to determine what if any changes we will make to our platform moving forward. Despite the popular rumor, Modern Portfolio Theory is not dead. But we will be making a number of changes in the way we manage portfolios.

Our fresh story for our clients is that we will be implementing a new series of portfolios. Although these portfolios would have done a great deal to curtail the losses investors incurred in 2008, they are in fact built upon thirty years of research. The principles of this research have benefited many large institutional investors, public and private retirement plans, endowments, banks and insurance companies. Cost and time are the largest reasons these methodologies have not been introduced by advisers. We have spent the last seven months finding solutions to these two obstacles and are satisfied that we now have a viable approach to incorporating managed futures into client portfolios - for both accredited and non-accredited investors.

To receive a copy of our new white paper, Contemporary Investment Management, visit our website,

Brett S. Ellen, American Financial Network / Securities America

Hello. My name is Brett S. Ellen, president and CEO of American Financial Network.

The one thing I want advisors today to ask themselves is “Am I really covering all of my clients’ needs or am I only focusing on their personal finance?” It is a big world out there with untapped opportunities, especially among business owners and senior executives with an array of business-related financial challenges.

These challenges might have to do with corporate benefit programs, deferred compensation solutions, tax strategies or insurance plans and your clients may want help with these issues. As their trusted advisor, you are in a perfect position to provide the resources and support they need. Not only can you add value to your client relationships, but the growth opportunity for your practice is real, as well.

There are more than 275,000 mid-market companies in the United States. With revenues between $5 million and $500 million, these businesses generally have a small group of decision makers who can listen to recommendations from trusted advisors and make decisions quickly about how to move forward. Imagine the value you’d bring to your business-owner clients if you could be their go-to advisor for all of their business-related issues.

One way I’ve built a successful practice is by utilizing a brain trust of fellow professionals called the Financial Solutions Alliance. I use the alliance, along with the resources offered to me through Securities America where I have consistently ranked as one of their top advisors and registered representatives, to augment my financial planning and wealth management services. The breadth of expertise of the alliance partners includes accounting, investment banking, business consulting, law, real estate and other services. Developing relationships through our alliance allows each member - and their clients - to benefit from our collective knowledge, experience and independent point of view.

It would be nearly impossible for an individual financial advisor to have the range and depth of expertise in all of these areas. But with the team approach, it makes each of the alliance members more valuable to their clients.

Over the years, I’ve been approached by many advisors, asking how I have expanded my practice to its current size - which is approximately $1 B in assets under advisement. If you are interested in learning more about my approach, visit my website,

Nancy Johnson Jones, Strategic Compliance Concepts

Good afternoon. My name is Nancy Johnson Jones, and I’ve been in senior compliance positions for nearly 20 years. I currently run a compliance coaching firm, Strategic Compliance Concepts, which works with financial planners, advisers and broker/dealers.

My goal is to coach you through the compliance maze. . . .

In a word, the biggest challenge for advisers in 2010 is change. You’ll see changes in regulations, changes in how you’re perceived with clients and with regulators. You may very well be forced to change your relationship with clients and forced to change your standard of care – regulators may require you to be a fiduciary. But will the definition of fiduciary remain the same or will that change as well? And exactly what is the definition of fiduciary?

I believe you’ll also see major changes in who regulates your business – the possibilities being bandied about are never-ending. Will it be the SEC? The states? FINRA for RIAs? Who will regulate financial planners? Will financial planners be regulated separately from investment advisers and brokers? Will there be extra layers of regulation added or will regulation truly become harmonized?

Will the new ADV Part 2 finally be approved and put into place? Can you even imagine the changes that little form will have on your compliance requirements? Do you have any idea how the regulators will react during audits now that they’ve received such extreme criticism over missing obvious red flags in the Madoff case? I’d bet they won’t be very understanding – at least until the sting wears off.

These changes – and whatever else the regulators come up with – will come fast and furious over the next 12 -18 months. Are you ready for them? Is your staff ready? Most importantly, without the knowledge and time needed to stay on top of new requirements, will you be ready when the regulators knock on your door?

To help you and your staff sleep at night, consider developing an on-going relationship with an outside compliance firm – someone to answer questions as they arise and provide guidance when needed. Remember the better they know your business, the more they can help you. Just like your clients – you want personalized – not generic advice. If I can answer any questions, please contact me at or visit Thank you!

Geoff Davey, FinaMetrica

Hello. I’m Geoff Davey, co-founder of FinaMetrica, a psychometrics-based risk profiling software company. Prior to founding my company, I was a financial planner for 20 years.

In this current market environment, I believe that the number one thing advisors should be thinking about is how to turn the negatives of the past 12-18 months into a positive for themselves and their clients, and into opportunities to convert prospects into clients.

Risk has been very evident recently and many would be unsure about where they stand and what they should be doing. Now is a good time to be doing a risk-based review with clients.

The best place to start a risk-based discussion is with an objective assessment of your client’s risk tolerance - and for couples, individual assessments of both. They and you need an objective starting point now that the turmoil has subsided. They and you need to be confident that their new plans are soundly based, and risk tolerance is a critical base point.

Prospects won’t need any persuading that their risk tolerance is important as is your understanding of it. Your ability to demonstrate expertise in risk tolerance assessment will be a big marketing plus.

The industry standard approach to risk tolerance has always been theoretically flawed and these flaws came home to roost in the Global Financial Crisis.

The only way to make a valid and reliable assessment of a client’s risk tolerance is with a properly-constructed, plain-English, psychometric test - everything else is rubbish!

Take this best-practice opportunity to reinforce relationships with existing clients and build relationships with new clients. If you’d like to learn more about psychometric-based risk tolerance assesments, visit