The December issue of Research magazine showcases the 2011 Advisor Hall of Fame. Now in its 21st year, this eagerly awaited annual feature is a benchmark of excellence in the industry.
Winners, selected by a distinguished panel of judges, have demonstrated superior service to clients and the broader community. Inductee Denise Fries of Securities America, for instance, spends her Tuesdays and Thursdays helping out local charities. “The best helping hand you can find is at the end of your own wrist,” she says.
Another highlight of the December issue: the Research Roundtable looks ahead to 2012. This expert panel convenes annually to assess how market developments will play out in the year ahead. This year’s panelists give a wide range of views. Kenneth Fisher of Fisher Investments anticipates “a bull market with gusto,” for instance, while Jeffrey Gundlach of DoubleLine Capital likens today’s market to standing with one foot on a pier and the other on a drifting boat–“so you’re probably going to end up in the water.”
Click through the following slides to preview the December issue of Research.
Getting into Research magazine’s Hall of Fame is difficult by design. It requires passing a set of rigorous screens and impressing a distinguished panel of judges. Candidates must have at least 15 years in the industry, acquired substantial assets under management and earned recognition from their peers and communities for excellent customer service and furthering valuable causes.
Contributing Editor Ellen Uzelac profiles this year’s inductees: Theresa E. Chacopulos of Wells Fargo; Denise Fries of Securities America; Gregory W. Kasten of Unified Trust Co.; Gerard Klingman of Raymond James Financial Services; and Sheryl Stephens of Raymond James.
Customer service? Chacopulos helps clients with everything from negotiating car purchases to, in one case, finding a rehab clinic. Serving the broader community? Fries has devoted herself to causes ranging from Habitat for Humanity to campaigning for gluten-free cereals.
The five inductees have diverse styles and backgrounds. Kasten was an anesthesiologist who was spurred into the financial arena by his dissatisfaction with the retirement products he was offered as a client.
Stephens began as a secretary to an eminent financial advisor, John Winton, an experience that put her on the path to running the firm after his death. “He was a true mentor,” Stephens says of Winton.
Forecasting how 2012 will unfold in the markets is the agenda of an expert panel assembled by Research magazine and interviewed by Contributing Editor Jane Wollman Rusoff. This year’s Roundtable features John Buckingham of Al Frank Asset management, Kenneth L. Fisher of Fisher Investments, Jeffrey Gundlach of DoubleLine Capital and Robert Rodriguez of First Pacific Advisors.
Fisher finds cause for optimism in the political season. “Election years are almost never negative for the stock market, and this one should be particularly good,” he remarks. “Normally, when we initially elect a Republican, the market is gangbusters. When we re-elect a Democrat, it’s pretty darn good. And next year we’ll do one or the other.”
Gundlach takes a more somber view, seeing a precarious economy and a stock market potentially weighed down by political factors.
Rodriguez thinks corporate earnings forecasts have been too optimistic anyway, with many companies already having done much to push margins.
Louis S. Harvey, head of the Dalbar market research firm, sketches out a new landscape of disclosure requirements for 401(k)s and other retirement plans. Regulations issued by the IRS and the Labor Department require greater openness about fees and multiple communications with large numbers of clients.
Industry reactions to the new rules have varied widely, Harvey notes, with some firms embracing the requirements while others seek ways to minimize their impact. Harvey warns against “denial” and “deception” as perilous responses to the changed environment.
On the contrary, he asserts, the rules form an opportunity for firms to gain client trust and market share. Advisors who familiarize themselves with the rules can increase the trust and appreciation with which they are regarded by clients, and provide fee disclosure as an enhancement of existing service.
“New regulations and the threat of penalties give aggressive competitors the opportunity to win business from incumbents who are lax regarding the new regulations,” writes Harvey.