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Industry Spotlight > Broker Dealers

It Takes a Village

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Putting together Investment Advisor’s inaugural fintech survey of industry leaders was time well spent. Of course, it involved more time and effort than I expected, as most valuable projects do.

The names of some individuals polled are familiar to advisors — Joe Duran, Clara Shih, Ron Carson and Michael Kitces. Others have behind-the-scenes roles at their respective firms. All gave generously of their time and energy to bring the cover story to life and deserve our gratitude.

One idea that prompted this publication’s first fintech survey was the Equifax data breach, which put information on 143 million consumers at risk. As several leaders surveyed for the cover story explain, the scope of this hacking raises important issues. Lon Dolber, head of American Portfolios, asks: should credit bureaus be held to the same standards as broker-dealers? And Kitces criticizes the use of arbitration clauses by firms with access to sensitive financial and other data.

Tech leaders that we surveyed also mention which tools they favor, both on and off the clock. I guess it’s time for me to check out and embrace applications like Mint, Evernote and Tableau (heavy sigh).

As for other new tools, the SEC plans to create a website so investors easily can find the names of barred and suspended brokers. This development is highlighted in this month’s “The Playing Field” column by Melanie Waddell. Like BrokerCheck, this new database likely will include client complaints.

Speaking of complaints, Morgan Stanley has a few about the Protocol for Broker Recruiting, which it recently left. I zoom in on what the repercussions of this move mean for the recruiting scene and advisors in “Broker-Dealer Beat.”

I often speak with BD executives and advisors about recruiting when I attend industry events. But there are times when these conversations turn to a subject very near and dear to my heart: financial planning for the elderly.

My 87-year-old-mother has been in pretty good shape in terms of her overall health and wealth. But all that changed in early October, when she had a stroke. Yes, some people recover, and she is on the mend. But her capacities appear to be much more limited and could strain her financial resources. This means my caregiver and coordinator roles are influx, a situation explored in this month’s “Retirement Planning” section.

I can’t tell you how rapidly I developed an appreciation for the work of healthcare professionals while visiting her at the hospital and other facilities. While I understand the details of what advisors, tax accountants and related folks do to help seniors, I didn’t fully grasp about how much those caring for the sick and disabled do hour after hour, day after day, until recently.

This holiday seasons has brought me plenty to reflect on and to cherish. I wish all our readers, advertisers and other supporters a very fruitful and meaningful end of 2017.


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