May 22, 2012

BD Reference Guide; Pursuing Practice Excellence; Evaluating Money Managers: June Investment Advisor—Slideshow

Our June issue is our annual broker-dealer issue, and in it we offer some familiar features. For the Presidents’ Poll, we polled BD presidents at leading firms to get their take on the biggest issues they and their reps face now, as well as long-term. The Broker-Dealer Guide is a handy compendium of the industry’s top broker-dealers, sorted by major categories.

In addition to our broker-dealer coverage, though, we’re also eager to introduce the first in a series of articles we’ll be running in the magazine and online dissecting what practice management is and how to do it better. For the past six months, the Investment Advisor Group and ActiFi have partnered to survey advisors on the subject, and we humbly present the first article on our findings this month.

We also talk to Rupal Bhansali, senior vice president and chief investment officer of international equities for Ariel Investments, for her guidance on how to tell a good money manager from a bad one. All it takes, she says, are three little questions.

What are advisors doing wrong?What Are Advisors Doing Wrong?

Three simple questions are all it takes when evaluating money managers, yet Rupal Bhansali says they’re three questions too often overlooked by advisors and clients alike. In the (refreshingly) candid and direct style for which she is known, Bhansali, senior vice president and chief investment officer of international equities for Ariel Investments, tells Editor-In-Chief John Sullivan what advisors are doing wrong and how they can fix it.

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Pursuing Practice ExcellencePursuing Practice Excellence: The Advisor Perspective

Practice management is a struggle for nearly all advisors. While in most instances they know they should have better practice management skills, there is little agreement among advisors and their partners over what the term actually means, much less any empirical, public evidence on which approaches and programs actually deliver success in practice management. So over the past six months, the Investment Advisor Group and ActiFi have partnered to help solve the mystery of practice management. Rather than dictate a definition or merely brainstorm our own ideas, however, we asked the people doing the work—advisors themselves—to do so, to tell us what they need in terms of practice management help. Spenser Segal, CEO and founder of ActiFi, and James J. Green, group editor-in-chief, introduce their findings in the first of this series.

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Power in PracticePower in Practice: A Coaching Program to Last a Career--Part II

For participants in Power in Practice, an in-house business coaching program offered by Commonwealth Financial Network, the course can sometimes feel like drinking from a fire hose. The program content is designed for advisors who are committed to transitioning their practices into true businesses, but its unique framework—including workshops, peer group meetings and coaching calls—gives participants the tools, structure and motivation they need to take their businesses to the next level. Joni Youngwirth shares what she learned from advisors in the second article of this series.

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Five Facets of a Secure RetirementFive Facets of a Secure Retirement

For typical retirees in the United States, their goal is to fund a comfortable retirement. However, there are two primary risks investors face in managing their retirement portfolios—longevity risk and financial market risk. Peng Chen, president of Morningstar’s global investment management division, explains the five factors that drive the product-type allocation decision.

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Managing Through the Mid-Cap Mania with Perritt Capital ManagementManaging Through the Micro-Cap Mania

If you think the small-cap space has had a wild ride recently, try micro caps, and then get your head around the following boast Michael Corbett makes about one of the funds he manages:

“The Ultra MicroCap Fund has the lowest average market cap [for the companies which it invests] of any mutual fund out there,” Corbett, chief investment officer and portfolio manager with Chicago-Based Perritt Capital Management, told John Sullivan, editor-in-chief.

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Smaller Pieces, Bigger PieSmaller Pieces, Bigger Pie

Across all stages of development, better-performing advisory firms distribute equity more broadly among their team members. While firm owners often view transferring shares as a way to “cash out,” distributing shares is as much about creating value as it is about realizing value. Sharing equity with team members can serve as a powerful incentive for attracting and retaining key talent. Broader equity distribution also improves succession options by reducing the amount of shares that owners need to liquidate prior to their exit while concurrently creating a pool of acquirers for any future equity transition. In the final article in this year’s People and Pay series from FA Insight, Eliza DePardo and Dan Inveen share their findings from the study.

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2012 Broker-Dealer Presidents' PollThe 2012 Broker-Dealer Presidents' Poll

It’s that time of year again. We asked the presidents at top broker-dealers about challenges to their business, their reps and their futures. Some of their answers didn’t exactly surprise us, but the presidents’ responses paint a picture of an industry in flux that still has a lot of potential. Editor-in-Chief John Sullivan breaks down the results.

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2012 Broker-Dealer Reference GuideInvestment Advisor’s 2012 Broker-Dealer Reference Guide

Europe, regulation, margin squeeze, market volatility, succession planning and … oh yes, the day-to-day pressures of running a business. We tick the list off so often, it’s getting a bit cliché. But as with last year, we’re not much further along in figuring out these issues. Lawsuits related to Medical Capital and other poorly thought-out products spelled trouble for certain broker-dealers last year, and a few shut their doors entirely. The field is a little less crowded, but for those doing it right, the confusion spells opportunity.

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