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Taxing, Changing Times for Advisors

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It’s the dead of winter. The good news is we’ve been able to watch the Winter Olympics. The bad news is the markets are as bumpy as the mogul events. But I’m getting ahead of the game, as we’ll cover market volatility in the April issue.

This month, we tackle everyone’s favorite topic: taxes. This issue brings to mind the words of my fourth-grade teacher, Ms. Hill: “The only two things you have to do in life are die and pay your taxes.” Little did I know back then that she was paraphrasing either Ben Franklin, Daniel Defoe or Christopher Bullock.

As our esteemed group of experts discusses in this month’s cover story, recent tax reforms could prompt more individuals to move from high-tax states like California and New York to low-tax states like Nevada and Texas. Just for the record, I made the move from the Golden State to my native Lone Star State on Dec. 10, 2017, before the new tax reforms had become reality.

Tax changes are one of many big shifts advisors face this year. Another one, of course, is the influence/prevalence of more technology.

During my recent travels to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida, as well to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for several industry conferences (InsideETFs, TD Ameritrade National LINC and FSI OneVoice), technology was in the spotlight. The frankness of many speakers and industry leaders on how critical it is for advisors to look ahead and adapt really impressed me. (See “Ways to Win the Man vs. Machine Advice Game” and “IBD Execs Get Real on Industry Shifts.”)

Contributor Tim Welsh, who attended the T3 Advisor Conference in early February in Florida, shares his firsthand look at how advisors can tailor the latest tech tools and model marketplaces to suit their practices and what this trend means for the wirehouse firms (in “The Tip of the Spear”). The industry veteran argues that technology leadership “has rapidly moved to independent advisors as their growth and success are attracting investment from both incumbent firms and newcomer disruptors.”

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, industry officials expect both a new Labor Department fiduciary proposal and one from the SEC this fall, Washington Bureau Chief Melanie Waddell explains in Washington Watch. On other regulatory fronts, cryptocurrencies, senior investor protections, fee disclosure, digital advice, cybersecurity, anti-money laundering and other regulatory priorities are becoming clearer, she writes in the Playing Field.

For readers interested in cybersecurity issues, we encourage you to read about what cyberfelons are up to (at and to take our online authentication survey, being conducted in partnership with research firm Dalbar: We appreciate your input!

Finally, I’d like to recognize the 50-plus financial planning students I met at TD Ameritrade LINC a few weeks ago. They were exceedingly kind when I spoke with them at several pre-conference sessions and are eager to learn as much as possible about the work financial advisors are doing today and what that work will look like in the coming decades. I believe I speak for many of the 3,500 or so guests at this national event when I say that after spending time with the young adults, the future seems very bright indeed.


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