Bank Investment Consultant decamped to Florida last month for the Bank Insurance & Securities Association's annual conference. There were many good sessions, which we wrote and tweeted about throughout the three-day event. Here we present just a few of the good nuggets we heard being discussed.
The shortage of advisors could turn into a crisis if left unaddressed.
While participants in a panel discussion differed in their views on the severity of the advisor shortage, all agreed that action was needed to address the issue. Frank Consalo, director of sales at Citi Personal Wealth Management, noted that sales and program managers should continually contend with the challenge of recruiting. "Recruiting isn't something you do when you have nobody. It's something you do every single day," he said.
Standard recruiting incentives are ineffective in today's environment.
Trying to recruit advisors by offering them a $40,000 base salary and 40% payout for one year? This standard offer, while competitive a few years ago, is unlikely to work today, said Peter Bielan, a principal of Kehrer Saltzman & Associates. "If you're still offering that, you're either not getting the candidates that you want or you're not getting enough of the candidates that you want," he said. Financial institutions should be sure they're offering comparable first-year earnings and upside potential, Bielan said.
Brokers need more bank oversight.
When banks "pretty much give the keys over to the broker" to let them run the program through their organizations, "that's not what we want to see," Stephanie Boccio, a national bank examiner and asset management risk specialist at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, warned advisors. "We want to see active engagement of the bank having oversight."
Clients' families want the advisors to play the bad guy.
When it comes to long-term care, many family members simply cannot bring themselves to broach the sensitive subject with their elderly relatives, said author Barbara McVicker, a panelist in one of the sessions. They want the advisor to "be the bad guy" and start those unpleasant conversations, she said.
The U.S. economy should grow a little more than 3% in 2014.
Publishing magnate Steve Forbes delivered the keynote speech on the final day, and he compared the U.S. economy to a resurging baseball player after a bad year. Specifically, one "who hit .160 last year and is expected to hit .260 this year...but is capable of hitting over .300." Another tidbit from Forbes: He expects the U.S. dollar to be pegged to gold again sometime within the next generation.
We need a new way to look at diversification.
The way we've segmented investments for years has been misguided, said Burt White, LPL Financial's chief investment officer. He showed data that illustrated how the differences between small-cap and large-cap, or between growth and value, have been diminishing over the past 15 years or so. And as those investments become more similar, diversification decreases. Instead, we should be looking for trends and diversify between themes, he says.