Succession planning is a hot topic nowadays, and as the advisors who led the industry grow old and retire, younger advisors are looking for their spot in the industry. Group Editor in Chief Jamie Green leads a roundtable discussion with top advisors including TD Ameritrade head Tom Bradley to get their insight on how to transition from the old guard to the new kids.

Plus, technology’s ubiquitous presence in our lives makes it a powerful area for investors. According to tech experts, globalization and technology’s ability to expand are prime factors in the sector’s stability.

It only took the worst global economic crisis in the history of the world to get people to listen, but Ed Egilinsky is telling advisors why it’s so important to include non-correlated asset classes in clients’ investment portfolios.

Click through read the February 2012 features. Click here to read the rest of the February 2012 issue of Investment Advisor.

Bridge Builder, February 2012Bridge Builder

The independent advisory business is a people business. It was founded by clear-sighted pioneers and built on their smarts and sweat. Those pioneers are getting older, while the need for competent, ethical advisors will only grow as boomers move into a new kind of retirement in the midst of volatile markets and slower economic growth. So the outlook for the independent advisory business is bright. Or is it?

The wirehouses and insurance companies that trained most of those pioneering advisors have shrunk, and while colleges are educating young advisors, the graduates of those programs, and their older career-changer peers entering the business, don’t have the same skills as did the pioneers.

Following discussions with Tom Bradley, the veteran head of TD Ameritrade’s RIA custody unit, we decided to convene advisors old and young to discern whether that gap has shrunk and how smart advisors in the trenches are building their businesses by incorporating all their human capital assets, regardless of age. Group Editor in Chief Jamie Green leads a roundtable discussion at the Museum of American Finance in New York.

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Rising Tech, February 2012Rising Tech

The technology sector—which is so large and diverse that it spans the gamut from classic IT to sectors like semiconductors and alternative energy—is far more robust than it was in the run-up to the 2001 meltdown. Tech experts are convinced, though, that the complete destruction experienced then cannot happen again for a variety of reasons, not least the fact that technology companies the world over have strong balance sheets and solid cash reserves.

Experts say that globalization will help trump the overall macro risk both in the United States and overseas. They’re expecting technology to be the biggest investment trend over the next decade. Savita Iyer-Ahrestani shares some of the key drivers for the sector investors need to stay abreast of.

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Profit in Any Direxion, February 2012Profit in Any Direxion

Ed Egilinsky’s job just got a bit easier—thanks in part to 2008. For over 20 years, he’s spread the word on the importance of including non-correlated asset classes in the investment portfolio, and it only took the worst global economic crisis in the history of the world for his effort and education to pay off.

“[When] most people think alternatives, they don’t necessarily think mitigating risk,” he says. “But currencies, commodities, managed futures; they tend to actually reduce risk. Hopefully, they enhance returns as well, but reducing risk is the way institutions have used them for decades, first and foremost.”

As managing director and head of alternative investments at Direxion Funds, Egilinsky’s latest project is the firm’s Currency Trends Strategy Fund (DXFTX). With market volatility, Europe and continued global uncertainty, it’s getting attention. Editor in Chief John Sullivan explains why.

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Process Implementation: Moving Toward a More Efficient Office, February 2012Process Implementation: Moving Toward a More Efficient Office

Advisors are quick to seek efficiency in their firms, but they may not be as swift to realize how their own actions (or inaction) can impede office operations.

Unfortunately, when it comes to implementing firm procedures, advisors often become “the hair in the sink,” or the obstacle that clogs up the works. Most of an office’s activities revolve around client review meetings, which involve both advisor and staff work. Because so many of their tasks intertwine, advisors and staff alike must follow standardized procedures to keep the firm running like a well-oiled machine. Particularly in multi-advisor practices, successful implementation of documented procedures is key to achieving true efficiency and scale. Joni Youngwirth explains how to find what’s clogging your process and get rid of it.

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