Trying to create a somewhat whimsical theme for a cover story on regulatory and compliance issues took some doing.

We all know these are tough times for advisors — akin to the Wild West when it comes to keeping up with new rules and ever-changing regulations. That’s why it seemed to make sense for this cover story to have the headline “Regulatory Wrangling” and for Art Director Chris Nicholls to rustle up the right images.

As HighTower CEO Elliot Weissbluth explained, advisors tell the RIA consolidator that they used to spend about 20% running their practices, but now they spend 80%! Along with other changes, the regulatory shifts “take a drain on their enthusiasm,” Weissbluth says.

Washington Bureau Chief Melanie Waddell rounded up opinions from the top regulatory minds to highlight the key tasks advisors and broker-dealers will need to focus on in 2018. She also explains many details associated with the required forms and reporting steps that advisors can look forward to tackling in the coming months.

Our 2018 Career Guide features a discussion of the most constructive ways advisors can keep “Adapting to the Millennial Disruption,” which is the name of the lead story in this special section of Investment Advisor.

The piece was written by Angie Herbers and Alex Garcia of Beyond U, Inc., a new online practice-management training platform for the next generation of financial advisors; Herbers also is the head of FourPointe Consulting and a monthly columnist for this publication.

While there are challenges in hiring and working with millennials, there’s plenty of good news too, according to Herbers and Garcia: “The truth is that millennials value financial advice more than other generations — so much so that they actually are willing to pay for advice.” This means advisors need to figure out how to compete with their millennial counterparts sooner rather than later.

In “Leading the Diversity Drive,” freelance writer and editor Ginger Szala drills down into the efforts of leading broker-dealers, which have launched or redesigned programs to attract more women and minorities to the advisory business: “Some are recruiting more financial advisors from other firms, training existing client associates interested in developing or changing their careers and reaching out to the broader populace to attract those looking either for second careers or their first job right out of college.”

Each year, several firms reach out to Investment Advisor and request our presence at events that showcase women and minority advisors. We greatly appreciate these invitations. For my part, attending such gatherings is a nice break from the more formal broad-focused advisor conferences that attract large crowds; I plan to attend more of these smaller and highly inspiring events in the years ahead.

Many of us could probably use some hope this holiday season. As we go to print, the year 2017 is ending with many unresolved issues — terrorism in New York, extreme tension with North Korea, wildfires in California and intense political divisiveness. And while the equity markets have been on a tear, many investment professionals say valuations have gotten too hot to handle.

It is our wish that 2018 brings us all a fresh start and new perspectives. We at Investment Advisor look forward to covering emerging issues — like Bitcoin — in the upcoming months and greatly appreciate the continued support and interest of our readers and contributors.