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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Looking Back, Facing Forward

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The last 12 months have brought an interesting mix of market and economic news. We were in a wait-and-see mode when it comes to a change in interest rates. Meanwhile, energy prices — along with other commodities — had quite a downward run. Economic growth in the U.S. was steady but proved to be weak overseas.

FPA’s Bob Rodriguez discusses where these trends (and others) are headed in 2016 in this issue. There are plenty of clearheaded thinkers for advisors and investors to listen to, but Rodriguez is certainly one of the best. His views on 2016 are straightforward and offer a revealing list of the challenges advisors can expect in the next 12 months.

Also in this issue, Merrill Lynch’s John Thiel describes why he sees plenty of opportunity for growth in the wealth management field, despite proposed regulatory and other changes. Thiel stresses the critical role advisors play in providing “peace of mind.”

Peace of mind isn’t the easy thing to have during the holidays. There’s the rush to get business tasks done, like closing the books and writing plans to execute after the New Year — a process we’ve been taking part in at Research.

With 2016 looking poised to include rising interest rates and intense regulatory change, we aim to provide readers with helpful perspectives and valuable analysis that can have a beneficial impact on advisor practices. We plan to do so by sharing interviews and insights from high-caliber experts, as we seek to dig deeper into wealth management, portfolio construction, alternative investments and other topics critical to wirehouse, employee and other financial advisors.

Likewise, I will be hitting the road this year to cover industry events, such as the Inside ETFs conference set for late January in Hollywood, Florida. I look forward to meeting lots of our readers at such gatherings and to speaking with as many as advisors as possible by phone to keep up with industry developments.

In between trips and deadlines, I’ll be sure to squeeze in walks around the Marina Village of Alameda, the island where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The marina looks out at the Oakland-Alameda Estuary, the Port of Oakland and a Coast Guard base; it includes a few scenic offices where advisors meet clients, so I’m never 100% away from the business.

During the holidays, a good number of sailboats and power vessels are decorated with red-and-green lights, garland, peppermint sticks and the occasional Santa Claus. Cargo ships come and go from Singapore, Hong Kong, Hamburg and other faraway ports. There’s a big Christmas tree lit up in a plaza dedicated to author Jack London.

I sometimes think about those working on the cargo ships and for the Coast Guard, especially during the winter break. There are local groups that reach out to the sailors, which is heartwarming, but I’m sure at least some of the folks on the ships would gladly trade places with holiday landlubbers like me.

My pledge is to keep these individuals in mind when I’m experiencing any stress or bumps in 2016. Kind gestures to those serving our country year-round and working during the holidays are always appreciated and make such a difference, so I’ll take some steps in this regard in my community in the year ahead.

Recently, my favorite team, the San Antonio Spurs, let two boys have some time on the basketball court to shoot hoops with the team mascot during a game break and then surprised them by bringing their father — who had just returned from deployment with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan — onto the court. One of the Spurs’ stars, Manu Ginobili, made sure he shook the soldier’s hand and said “thanks” before the family left the court. That’s what I’m talking about.


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