Weekend Reading for Financial Planners (June 8-9)

Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with the huge news that the SEC has officially passed Regulation Best Interest (by a 3-1 vote), which will require brokers to act in the “best interests” of their clients when making a recommendation but stops short of actually requiring a fiduciary duty or for broker-dealers to mitigate their conflicts of interest… and raising the question of whether the SEC is so expanding the advice exemption for broker-dealers beyond its “solely incidental” roots that, like the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, Reg BI may soon end out subject to a legal challenge.
Also in the news this week was the revelation that, with the CFP Board’s own coming fiduciary obligation for CFP certificants, Edward Jones is considering whether to force its nearly 2,000 CFP certificants to drop their marks to avoid the fiduciary obligation (at the risk of having them recruited away by broker-dealer or RIA competitors who are willing to embrace an obligation to do the right thing for clients), the announcement that Fidelity is working on a new Managed Account Xchange (FMAX) akin to other model marketplaces but wrapping together Wealthscape and eMoney Advisor into a potential head-to-head Envestnet competitor, the official release of the Envestnet Fiduciary Insurance Exchange (FIDx) to facilitate RIA access to no-commission annuity products, and a look at the current landscape of independent broker-dealers from Financial Planning magazine’s annual survey (finding that while IBDs are struggling, the largest are growing, in part by increasingly reinventing themselves as fee-based RIA support platforms less reliant on traditional commission-based revenue!).
We also have a few articles this week around the intersection of money and children, including a look at the rise of “allowance apps” that parents are using to dole out allowance and oversee chores in the digital age, Morgan Housel’s advice to his newborn daughter on her financial children, a research study on what children of affluent families are really concerned about (hint: carrying on the family legacy matters to them more than most people realize!), and how to find the “Goldilocks zone” of personal finance, recognizing that while it’s very stressful for those who don’t have enough, it can be similarly very stressful to have “too much” as well!
We wrap up with three interesting articles, all around the theme of having and managing stress: the first looks at how, while we tend to think of stress as being “bad,” a moderate amount of stress can actually be a positive that encourages us to step up and achieve more (as long as we get breaks to refresh and recover, too); the second explores a recent FPA study finding that financial advisors, in particular, are very stressed, despite the ongoing bull market, due to the rising challenges of operating an advisory business; and the last explores the “theory of cumulative stress” and how best to recover when you’ve been carrying too much stress for too long and need some personal relief.
Enjoy the “light” reading!
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