Banks are by nature conservative and slow to change, but judging by our cover story this month, and last, program managers are jumping on their somewhat higher profile in the business these days to take leaps forward in how they operate and what services they offer.

Advisor programs are focusing on building out retirement and financial planning services because they realize that financial products have become commoditized. It's client service and ongoing contact that makes the biggest difference in attracting and retaining clients. They are also aware that such a relationship-oriented approach could help them be compliant with any new fiduciary standard that requires advisors to put the interests of clients first.

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