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January 15, 2013
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A weekly digest of news and industry updates for the financial planning community

  Top Story 
  • Commentary: "Intense" regulatory year is ahead for advisers
    The coming year will be "intense" for financial advisers as the Securities and Exchange Commission works on a uniform fiduciary standard for the industry and the U.S. Labor Department revises its fiduciary regulations, Michael Kitces writes. Advisers should update their technology in 2013 to accommodate the growing use of tablet devices, Kitces writes, and they must be ready to guide clients affected by the changing health insurance landscape. Nerd's Eye View blog (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Policy Watch 
  • House Republicans threaten shutdown, default in push for cuts
    A majority of House Republicans would rather shut down the government or cause the U.S. to default on its debt than agree to a fiscal deal without spending cuts that go beyond what President Barack Obama has said he would allow, GOP leaders say. "I think it is possible that we would shut down the government to make sure President Obama understands that we're serious," said House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Politico (Washington, D.C.)/Behind the Curtain blog (1/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Lengthy policy agenda awaits Treasury nominee Jack Lew
    President Barack Obama has nominated White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew to be the next Treasury secretary. Analysts say that if Lew is confirmed, he'll play a major role in fiscal-policy battles, efforts to reform the tax code and the implementation of financial and health care regulations. Lew, who is known as a budget expert, worked at Citigroup for two years during the financial crisis but has said he is not an expert in some financial-industry matters. National Journal (1/11), Reuters (1/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Money market fund managers disclose daily asset values
    A growing number of U.S. money market fund companies are voluntarily disclosing daily fluctuations in net asset values. The trend, which includes Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab, Federated Investors and Goldman Sachs, comes as regulators press the industry for more transparency. Some observers see the voluntary disclosures as a way to head off more costly regulations. Reuters (1/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Opinion: Backers of fiduciary standard need new strategy
    Proponents of a fiduciary standard must regroup for the next four years and find new approaches that include reframing the issue as one of trust and using research to refute questionable claims, writes Knut Rostad, president of the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard. "Though outgunned in pure lobbying firepower, fiduciary proponents have important assets and allies, not least of which is a better idea and an Administration committed to reform," Rostad writes. AdvisorOne (1/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Practice Management 
  • What advisers need to know to get ahead
    Avoiding sympathy pricing -- the discounting of services when the market declines -- and distinguishing one's services from others in the market through pricing and value are among the best practices offered by PriceMetrix. Customer mix is also key, according to Pat Kennedy, vice president of product and client services for PriceMetrix. Many advisers "mistakenly believe that small households will eventually become big ones," according to Kennedy. Morningstar Advisor (1/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How to handle clients who invest on the side
    About three-quarters of investors who work with financial advisers maintain a separate, self-directed account, a Cerulli Associates report indicates. Such accounts can undermine an adviser's work, Cerulli officials say. Some experts recommend that advisers get information about outside accounts and try to persuade clients to minimize them. The Wall Street Journal (1/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Industry Report 
  • Time is limited to decide whether to use lookback provisions
    The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 included the retroactive reinstatement of rules allowing "Qualified Charitable Distributions" from an IRA to a charity with favorable tax consequences for 2012. While the applicability of these lookback rules may be limited, writes Michael Kitces, they do offer useful planning scenarios for some client situations. Also, he notes, the time window is short to decide whether to take advantage of the provisions. Nerd's Eye View blog (1/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Tax breaks for seniors are under scrutiny in some states
    States struggling to fill budget gaps are starting to rethink the tax breaks they give senior citizens, which could make it more difficult for seniors to reap late-in-life gains by moving to a low-tax state. Connecticut, Michigan and Georgia are among states removing or considering removing tax breaks on pensions, income and other assets. The Wall Street Journal (1/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Higher payroll tax decreases U.S. paychecks
    Americans are seeing decreased take-home pay after a 2-year-old tax cut expired. About $125 billion in consumer-spending power is expected to disappear from the economy this year because the payroll tax has increased by 2 percentage points. Bloomberg (1/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Survey: Fixed indexed annuity helps create sustainable income
    Fixed indexed annuities can improve the likelihood of creating sustainable income throughout retirement if they are coupled with traditional retirement portfolio strategies, according to a survey by the Security Benefit Corp. The optimal retirement income allocation included a fixed indexed annuity with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit, the study found. Financial Advisor online (1/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Capitol Update 
  FPA News 
  • Expand your business in the new year
    Let FPA do the work for you! Sign up for a FREE listing on FPA's PlannerSearchâ„¢ to showcase your practice to thousands of consumers who use FPA PlannerSearch each year. Eligible FPA members who are CFP professionals and meet key criteria can receive a free listing. To learn more about how to build your prospective client base, visit FPA PlannerSearch. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
If you can't write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don't have a clear idea."
--David Belasco,
American theatrical producer, director and playwright

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