W&S Financial Group Distributors Inc. (W&S Financial Distributors) launched Retirement Picture, an interactive online tool designed to provide a snapshot that supports better understanding of retirement goals and risks.

Clients using Retirement Picture can develop visuals of retirement lifestyle scenarios through a series of interactive screens. Users choose scenarios of interest and gauge their retirement risk preparedness for each. The resulting report captures a picture of their retirement that may then be pursued with the financial representative. No personal identifying or protected information is required to use the tool. Clients may access it via a computer or mobile device, with a financial representative or on their own.

“By helping depict retirement choices and their associated risks, Retirement Picture provides financial professionals with conversation starters based on a client’s self-identified interests and readiness,” said Mark E. Caner, AEP, ChFC, CLU, CFP, president of W&S Financial Distributors. “The engagement that occurs between the client and the financial professional reviewing the snapshot helps build a stronger consultative relationship and potentially better aligns the client’s needs and course of action.”

“This tablet-friendly tool, originally developed by leading research trade association LIMRA, advances our services in providing user-friendly resources that help people invest for, live in and manage risk during retirement.”   

In other news:         

According to a study by InvestingNerd, a division of NerdWallet, only 24 percent of professional investors were able to outperform the market index over the last 10 years.

As of December 2012, more than $7 trillion was invested in actively managed U.S. mutual funds and ETFs – almost three times the amount invested in passive funds. Yet the majority of these people who invested their assets over the past decade would have done better by simply investing in a passive index fund, typically at much lower cost.

Key findings from the study:

  • Only 1,863 of 7,630 actively managed products, or 24 percent, outperformed the index average return of 7.30 percent;
  • While active managers outperformed the index by 0.12 percent before fees, they then charged more in fees than the value they created;
  • For risk-averse investors who prefer funds with lower volatility, active management is 1.96 percent less volatile than passive management across all asset classes.

In effort to help investors pick better funds, InvestingNerd launched a Mutual Fund Screener that allows investors to find, search and compare more than 15,000 funds. The tool allows investors to filter based upon these variables:

  • A fund’s type, size and style, minimum investment, and expense ratio;
  • Specific fund families, manager’s tenure and share class;
  • Measures of performance, including R-squared, α, β, and risk-adjusted returns.

The screener also allows investors to compare the details of up to four funds at a time, providing unbiased quantitative recommendations based on key metrics. The screener aims to highlight critical factors often overlooked or underemphasized in assessing a fund’s future performance.

 

The companies of OneAmerica achieved record overall sales in 2012, breaking the previous high water mark for the financial services enterprise set in 2011.

The company attributes the growth to individual life sales and 401(k) sales, both of which increased 24 percent over previous records set in 2011. Over the last six years, OneAmerica sales have achieved a compounded annual growth rate of 14 percent.

The yield as of Dec. 31, 2012, was 5.4 percent – compared to the industry average of 4.9 percent. Combined with investment results, the business growth drove a 3 percent increase in net income to $110.1 million. Other records achieved by the OneAmerica companies in 2012 include: · Total premiums and trust deposits; · Net cash flows; · Assets under administration. OneAmerica business retention is in excess of 95 percent and now serves nearly 2.4 million customers. Total available capital for the enterprise grew to $1.5 billion. OneAmerica continues to maintain Standard & Poor’s AAA-level capital.

 

Laser App Software formed an alliance with Brokers’ Service Marketing Group (BSMG) and tioTERM, BSMG’s online life insurance platform.

The integration of Laser App Anywhere with tioTERM, an end-to-end solution for writing term life insurance, makes possible customizable straight-through processing of term life applications and policy management.  

Laser App Anywhere is a Web-based, mobile forms-filling solution for financial advisors and insurance agents to conduct and process business from virtually any location. tioTERM is a Web-based platform for producers to quote and write term life policies quickly and easily in a paperless environment. Through the integration of the two platforms, producers can enhance straight-through processing of term life insurance by automating the operational workflow of insurance policy determination, pre-qualification and quote generation, application, drop-ticket submission, e-signing, policy management and delivery.

tioTERM leverages Laser App’s over 35 different Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system integrations to funnel data into tioTERM, saving producers and BGAs both time and resources. Producers can also pre-fill life applications by transmitting client information from tioTERM directly into Laser App Anywhere. These two options allow the BGA and producer to choose their own way to process term insurance applications – using either the tioTERM fulfillment center or the back office of the producer’s BGA or broker-dealer.

Burnham Benefits Insurance Services  is expanding further into Northern California with new offices in the region and new senior leadership on board to drive growth and market penetration.

Thirty-year industry veteran Michael Michalski has become an equity partner in the firm and has been appointed as regional president. He begins his service charged with building Burnham’s Northern California team, establishing the new offices and championing the firm’s overall growth.

Michalski’s vast industry experience spans successful entrepreneurship and the sale of his own firm to a major national player, as well as roles that encompassed sales, production and senior leadership of 50+-person teams focused on serving the Northern California region.

 

TechLeaders, the annual broker-dealer technology conference, announced the 2013 TechLeaders Conference award winners. The recipients were acknowledged for their outstanding achievements in broker-dealer technology at the March 13-15conference in Irving, Texas. The following companies were recognized as leaders in their respective categories:

  • Most Entertaining Presenter: Advisor Websites
  • Technology of the Year: Redtail Technology
  • Most Innovative Product of the Year: Finance Logix

Voting was conducted by conference participants via the TechLeaders Conference mobile app which featured information on each company and presenter. The awards tied back to the key agenda of the TechLeaders Conference: presenting technology solutions that best serve the needs and problems that broker-dealers and their representatives are facing every day.