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How Financial Advisors Can Find Their Niche (Nerd’s Eye View)
As more people obtain their CFP certification, it’s important for financial planners to have a niche, writes Michael Kitces at Nerd’s Eye View. Many think that by being generalists they are casting a wider net but Kitces writes “this ultimately produces a marketing trap; casting the net wider may lead to more potential clients, but fewer actual clients.” Advisors can define their niche through three key things: their “target clientele,” the “unique expertise” they bring to the clientele, and the services they provide. Kitces also points out not everyone knows their niche on their first attempt but they should get on the path to doing so.
Kitces has an eight-step approach to get financial planners on their way to finding their niche.
1. Find someone you could work with or those who know people you can work with.
2. Ask them to lunch or dinner and pick their brain about how you can serve them.
3. Have questions about their industry.
4. Ask them if they can introduce you to two or three people they might know to better understand the challenges they face. Ask if it’s okay to follow up.
5. Reach out to those people.
6. “Cull together what you’ve learned from your 10 lunch interviews into the initial stages of a business plan.”
7. “Share your prospective business plan with your 10 interviewees.”
8. Ask those 10 if they know others who “might be helped by the business you’ve just created with their input.”
Why Advisors Should Stop Ignoring Long-Term Bonds (The Wall Street Journal)
It’s wrong to assume that low interest rates means you shouldn’t invest in bonds, writes Stan Richelson of Scarsdale Investment Group in a new WSJ column. “This strategy of buying high-quality bonds for their cash flow and holding them to maturity works best with tax-free municipal bonds,” writes Richelson. “But it also applies to taxable municipal bonds, high-grade agency bonds backed by a reputable bank, and even to some corporate bonds.” By only considering short-term bonds, he argues that advisors are passing up on yields they can get from longer high-quality bonds.
“If you hold on to high quality bonds rated AA or better for the long term, rising interest rates are a good thing. When the interest comes in, when the bond comes due, or when the bond gets called, you want to reinvest that cash at a higher interest rate, not a lower interest rate.”
Typically stock prices fall when earnings expectations fall, and vice versa, but “markets stopped following fundamentals about two years ago,” said Matt King, a credit products strategist with Citi. A chart from King’s new presentation, “Distorted Markets” shows that earnings and stock prices have been diverging, with prices rising as earnings fall — this is what analysts call multiple expansion.
Why Investors Should Look For Boring Funds (Morningstar)
Investors should keep an eye out for boring funds, according to Morningstar’s Christine Benz. “One is that life is interesting enough. You probably don’t need to have your investments be super exciting,” Benz said. “Definitely the longer I have done this, the more I have been attracted to very boring investments.”
“The other key reason is that boring investments tend to keep people in their seats. They tend to lead to better outcomes, and here I’m using boring as kind of a proxy for lower volatility. When we look at our investor-returns data, which is return data that looks at when investors purchased various investment types and when they sold them, what we see is that lower-volatility investments tend to produce better outcomes. Investors buy them and they hang on, and that’s really what we want to get people to do.”
A new report from Corporate Insight has found that financial advisors need a new approach if they hope to reach Millennials. This cohort tends to be conservative with its money and wary of the market. “There’s a great opportunity for advisors to coach millennials from a position of risk aversion to one of risk awareness,” Alex Filiaci, senior analyst at Corporate Insight, told Jeff Schlegel at FA Mag. “It’s a great opportunity to educate millennials on the merits of the markets and to explain the risk of each type of investment and how they fit into their time horizon.”
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