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March 15, 2013
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News covering the insurance and financial advising industry

  Top Story 
  • FINRA's Ketchum calls for harmonization of rules
    Investment advisers and brokers should be governed by the same set of rules, and the Securities and Exchange Commission's oversight has fallen short, says Richard Ketchum, the chairman and CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. "If investors are to be protected, investment advisers need to be examined regularly and vigorously. It's as simple as that, and it is not happening under our current system," Ketchum said at an industry conference. Taking over supervision of investment advisers, however, is not a priority for FINRA, he has said. The Wall Street Journal (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Is Pricing Low Your Strategy to Success? Think again.
Pricing is the heart of a business. It affects everything you do and is affected by everything you do. Economists talk of supply and demand as key factors behind pricing—successful entrepreneurs manipulate demand by making their products more desirable. These six steps will help you determine the right price for your product or service, read the article and learn how to get pricing right.

  Industry News 
  • HSAs, HRAs number 11.6 million, EBRI reports
    Health savings accounts and health reimbursement arrangements continue to gain market share, according to the Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Matthew Greenwald & Associates. The survey says there were 11.6 million accounts with a total of $17.8 billion in assets last year, up from 8.5 million accounts and $12.4 billion in assets in 2011. Data from America's Health Insurance Plans suggest that HSAs are increasingly paired with high-deductible health plans, with coverage reaching more than 13.5 million beneficiaries last year, compared with 11.4 million in January 2011. Employee Benefit News (3/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report: Life insurers' risk profile has seen a "fundamental shift"
    Life insurers have seen aggregate returns below their cost of equity since the mid-1980s, a McKinsey & Co. report says. The returns were slightly positive between 1985 and 2002 before veering into negative territory on average, according to the report. In 2008, the net return on equity reached negative 30.6%, and it has remained negative since, according to the report. "In short, we see 2008 as an indicator of the fundamental shift in the industry's risk profile rather than an aberration," the report says. National Underwriter Life & Health (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 529-plan balances surge, report says
    Balances in 529 college-savings plans increased 12% on average last year, a report from the College Savings Plans Network says. The average 529-plan balance last year was $17,174, the report said. Despite the increase in balances, tuition growth still outstrips many families' ability to pay for college, said Patrick Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute. CNNMoney/Fortune (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Transformational Journeys: Modern Business Planning
Harvard Business Review explores why CFO's and their finance organizations must adapt to the changing landscape of their markets and how big data, organizational collaboration, and new cloud-based planning and analysis technologies are driving successful change.
Click here to access the report.

  Policy Watch 
  • More state exchanges may have to be operated by U.S., official says
    The number of state health insurance exchanges run by the federal government could increase if states aren't able to have their marketplaces ready on time, says Gary Cohen of the Department of Health and Human Services. Among the obstacles confronting the 17 states with conditional approval to run their own exchanges are political and legal opposition and difficulties in creating the necessary technology systems, Cohen said. Reuters (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Building Your Business 
  • Advisory firms respond to the demand for training
    Students seek out firms with strong training programs, a survey indicates, and some advisory firms are offering training that in some ways mimics physicians' residency programs. Cornerstone Wealth Advisors runs a four-year residency program in which young planners learn and take care of the firms' basic tasks, then move on after their training is over. Other advisory firms such as Yeske Buie offer training that comes with a structured career path for young hires. The Wall Street Journal (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  NAIFA News 
  • Podcast: Using social media to enhance your website
    Be sure to subscribe to the podcast series Building a More Successful Practice so that you always have the latest podcast waiting for you. In this podcast, Securities America experts Kirk Hulett and Chris Hall explain how you can use social media to make your website work harder. To download this podcast, visit the Advisor Today blog. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Any party which takes credit for the rain must not be surprised if its opponents blame it for the drought."
--Dwight Morrow,
American businessman, politician and diplomat

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