Today's hostile environment of low interest rates, high market volatility and continuing regulatory pressure requires products with the flexibility to adapt in an improving economy.
[FINANCIALWIRES] Women Take Action on Advice Americans Adopting New Mindset for Funding Retirement bitly.com/QRFundingRetirement 9 % This might help us understand why men and women often fight of women over asking for directions. Women are more likely to follow take action on advice, at least when it comes to the financial kind. financial advice According to a TIAA-CREF survey, nearly 90 percent of women take some action after receiving advice, such as saving more or rebalancing retirement portfolios. Another healthy response is decreasing spending after getting advice; 61 percent of women dialed it down vs. 50 percent of men. But women and men are having trouble finding good financial advice in the first place. One in five Americans said they can’t find relevant guidance. About half of the people didn’t know where to look for an advisor and three quarters don’t know who to trust. Looks like advisors are missing a whole lot of eager prospects out there. ICI Updates the Wobbly Stool The Investment Company Institute wants the public to know that the end of the pension era does not mean a slippery slope to the gutter. According to ICI’s report, “The Success of the U.S. Retirement Market,” fears have been overblown about the shift from defined benefit pensions to defined contribution plans. The institute pointed out that assets earmarked for retirement were nearly three times larger in mid-2012 than in 1985 for households and that poverty among people aged 65 or older has fallen from nearly 30 percent in the mid-1960s to 9 percent in 2011. That would be the same period when traditional pensions went the way of Wally and The Beav. Another point made by the report said that instead of looking at the usual three-legged stool (Social Security, pensions and savings), consider a pyramid. That would have five layers: Social Security, homeownership, employer-sponsored retirement plans (defined benefit and defined contribution), individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and other personal savings. That seems more secure than the stool but it looks like a food pyramid and all we can think about is the chocolate on top. Hmm, maybe that’s the point. DID YOU KNOW ? 46 SEC’s Schapiro Resigns Mary Schapiro has had a rough ride as the chairwoman of the Securities and Mary Schapiro Exchange Commission, so it probably was to no one’s surprise that she got off that Tilt-A-Whirl. When she was appointed in January 2009, she inherited an ailing regulatory body that was suffering from the fallout following the Bernie Madoff arrest and, of course, the financial collapse. The former FINRA chairwoman pursued changes at the SEC but fell short of filling in all the details of the framework created by Dodd-Frank financial reform. Many observers said Schapiro made the SEC a stronger agency, but not according to a lawsuit filed a few days before Schapiro announced her resignation. In that suit, former Assistant Inspector General David Weber said the agency retaliated against his whistleblowing. He had complained that the agency was racked with conflicts of interest, incompetency and sexual misconduct. SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter is running the agency until a permanent replacement is named. NAPFA’s CFP Requirement Causes Stir The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors’ (NAPFA) announcement that People rely less on family and friends for financial advice as they age. Of those 18 to 34 years old, 69 percent depend on advice from family and friends. That drops to 33 percent by the age of 65. Source: TIAA-CREF InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » January 2013 it would require the CFP designation to be a NAPFA-registered planner set off some arguments about designations. NAPFA said it wanted to cut through the clutter of designations to boost consumer confidence, but it caused some critics to express a lack of confidence in the CFP designation, administered by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. The most significant critic has been The American College, which also issues designations, calling the NAPHA move a monopoly of designations. Others have criticized that the CFP administrators have not moved strongly enough to adopt a fiduciary standard of conduct in all investment advising, which would be allowed by Dodd-Frank legislation but has not been defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission. CFP administrators have said they require all advisors to act in the interest of their clients and for advisors to follow the fiduciary standard in financial planning. Best Companies: Strong Culture, Sweet Perks What makes an investment company a good place to work? It’s a strong culture, positive work environment, high employee engagement and good benefits. That’s according to Pension & Investments, an international newspaper that ranks best places to work. The top five big companies (more than 1,000 employees) were: The Principal Financial Group, Diversified, Bridgewater Associates, SEI and Invesco. From 100 to 1,000: Hamilton Lane Advisors, Clearbridge Advisors, AEW Capital Management, William Blair & Co. and Western Asset Management. Less than 100: Robert W. Baird & Co., Balentine, Modera Wealth Management, Perkins Investment Management and Dana Investment Advisors. Employees said they valued career advancement more than perks, but some of the extras are pretty sweet: Eight companies provide free or subsidized meals and one provides free snacks and beverages around the clock; 10 have fitness facilities or memberships; 10 offer company-paid parking; and four have on-site recreational amenities like basketball courts.