January 15, 2021
NAIFA SmartBrief
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Top Story
Last year was a strong year for life insurance application activity, which was up 4%, according to MIB Group, marking the largest increase since 2011. The pandemic highlighted the need for life insurance and many companies streamlined the application process, MIB Group said.
Full Story: ThinkAdvisor (free registration) (1/14) 
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Industry News
Financial advisors generally are not optimistic that the US economy will fully reopen in 2021, according to an InvestmentNews Research survey. The survey found that 44% of advisors expect a full reopening of the economy, and 28% see a full resumption of in-person work and business travel.
Full Story: InvestmentNews (tiered subscription model) (1/11) 
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About 30% of Americans have withdrawn money from a retirement account since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, while almost the same percentage said they have taken a retirement plan loan, according to a survey from Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and Personal Capital. Of those who withdrew money, roughly a third said they took out at least $75,000, while more than half of those taking out a loan tapped at least $50,000.
Full Story: ThinkAdvisor (free registration) (1/12) 
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A report from S&P shows mergers and acquisitions involving insurance brokerages totaling 754 last year, which saw 10 more deals than 2019. Meanwhile, a MarshBerry report says brokerages' M&A transactions in the US totaled 676 in 2020, up from 648 in 2019, although almost no deals were completed in April or May.
Full Story: Business Insurance (tiered subscription model) (1/13) 
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While many people hope to retire in their 60s or even 50s, it may make sense to wait until age 70, Maurie Backman writes. Reasons include longer life expectancies, higher Social Security benefits and more time to save.
Full Story: The Motley Fool (1/10) 
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Investment Trends
Goldman Sachs expects the 10-year Treasury yield to reach 1.5%, rather than 1.3%, by year-end, citing "revived reflationary themes." Policy under the Biden administration "should translate into a greater fiscal impulse than under our previous divided government baseline," Goldman strategists say.
Full Story: Bloomberg (1/14) 
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Policy Watch
President-elect Joe Biden says he will ask Congress to act swiftly to provide $1.9 trillion in immediate relief to help the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The package includes aid to states and cities, additional unemployment benefits, larger direct payments to Americans and a minimum wage increase.
Full Story: Bloomberg (1/14),  CNBC (1/14),  The New York Times (1/15),  Reuters (1/15) 
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The Small Business Administration says it has forgiven more than $100 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans to 1.1 million borrowers.
Full Story: Reuters (1/12) 
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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that the central bank has no intention of tightening US monetary policy or paring back its bond-buying program any time soon. Powell said that now is "not the time" to think about ending central bank support for the economy given that inflation and employment are tracking below target.
Full Story: Reuters (1/14),  MarketWatch (tiered subscription model) (1/14),  Financial Times (subscription required) (1/14) 
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Building Your Business
Repeat business is extremely important for financial advisors, which is why they need to focus on serving existing clients, writes Bryce Sanders of Perceptive Business Solutions. Among Sanders' suggestions are having fair pricing, treating existing clients with respect and engaging on their terms.
Full Story: Financial Advisor online (1/12) 
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Tuesday.
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Wisdom isn't about accumulating more facts; it's about understanding big truths in a deeper way.
Melinda Gates,
philanthropist, advocate for women and girls
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