ACTIONABLE ADVICE FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Newsletters and Commentaries Focused on Investment Strategy

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2014-07-24 More Volatility Ahead? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Despite recent market swings, volatility is still very low by historic standards, suggesting that markets aren’t taking into account the prospect of bad news and that investors should prepare for more turbulence ahead.

2014-07-24 Small Caps in Focus Following Fed Comments by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

In conjunction with Janet Yellen’s testimony before Congress on July 15, the Federal Reserve produced a “Monetary PolicyReport1” that provides an update on monetary policy, economic conditions and financial markets.

2014-07-23 Truth and Consequences by Gary Stroik of WBI Investments

After last year's robust stock market performance, returns this year seem a bit meager by comparison. This is especially true of the kind of big, blue chip companies that make up the DJIA, which is up only 1.51% for the first half of the year. This may be one of the reasons behind the topic of conversation that seems to be popping up more frequently lately. Many investors – including many conservative investors – appear to be asking themselves if they're being too cautious now that some of the major stock indices are hitting all-time highs.

2014-07-22 Anatomy of a Moat by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia

At Matthews, we often talk about investing in “quality” companies with “economic moats.” We believe that these are the entities best placed to succeed over the long term in Asia. As Warren Buffett has noted, investors should seek businesses with “economic castles protected by unbreachable moats.” It is these moats that enable a company to survive and thrive as decades pass, creating economic value along the way by generating returns on capital ahead of their cost of capital. But what exactly is an economic moat?

2014-07-17 Quick Thoughts by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

We made a final trip to Latvia to complete an adoption, had a graduation party for my high school senior, and attended orientation weekend at The Ohio State University. In between all that, we squeezed in no fewer than sixty baseball games for our three boys. I think I have a daughter too, but I’m not entirely sure if she lives with us or her girlfriends. As much as I love summer ball, the season ends this weekend and I’m hoping life will settle down to a more sustainable pace and not one reminiscent of a minor leaguer with four kids, a mortgage, and a full time business.

2014-07-15 2Q 2014 Newsletter: Avoiding Your Portfolio’s Enemies by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

“Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” We often hear the last part of this wonderful quote from Warren Buffett, but here at Smead Capital, we find the beginning just as instructive. We thought we would unpack the entirety of his thoughts and dissect it for our faithful investors.

2014-07-01 Five Social-Media Timesavers by Sarah Scorgie (Article)

Save time on your social-media efforts by planning ahead and using online tools.

2014-06-27 Timing Low Volatility Investments by Feifei Li of Research Affiliates

If a secular bear market is coming, a low-volatility strategy might serve well. The five-year return of a simulated low-vol portfolio beat cap-weighting 75% of the time when the market P/E exceeded 20.

2014-06-20 Attractions of a "Walled Garden" by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia

Developments in free trade and a nurturing of open policies with relatively few barriers have helped Asia prosper for several decades now. But a restrictive “walled garden” environment, with tightly regulated market access, has nurtured China’s Internet sector and helped its firms dominate in such areas as online search, games, news, e-commerce, social networking and videos. This week Vivek Tanneeru explores a study in contrasts between the Internet sectors of China and India, the world’s two most populous nations.

2014-06-18 Outlook on the US Dollar, Currencies & Markets: Look Out Below! by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

The FIFA World Cup and market predictions have in common that we are tempted to create a world of make-believe when it comes to predicting outcomes. While others ponder about the meaning of a round ball, we’ll focus on the implications of a make-believe world comprised of ever-higher asset prices. Our caution: look out below!

2014-06-17 Boko Haram by Kaisa Stucke and Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On April 14, the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their school in the town of Chibok, Nigeria. Investor interest in African economies has been increasing over recent years, piquing an interest in the continent’s rising economic and demographic power, Nigeria. This week, we will take a look at the country of Nigeria, including its history and economy. We will then describe the evolution of the terrorist group Boko Haram and its strategic goals and leadership. We will conclude with items of importance when investing in Africa, in general, and Nigeria, specifical

2014-06-05 Is Your Portfolio a House of Cards? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Politics and financial markets may both be resting on an increasingly unstable house of cards. The S&P 500 continues to hit new all time highs, while central banks try to enforce low volatility and financial stability and politicians demagogue in their quest for higher office. The one thing politicians throughout the world have in common is that they rarely ever blame themselves. They tend to diffuse responsibility or place blame on groups such as political opponents, the wealthy, or foreigners.

2014-06-04 Helping Clients Hedge Market Risk: Four Important Considerations by Roger Masi of Macro Risk Advisors

The S&P 500 was up 32% last year and recently reached a new all-time high. Since the March 2009 lows, the market is up 180%. Despite this impressive rally, both institutional and retail advisors must contemplate how to protect client portfolio wealth as many sources of uncertainty remain. The risk environment has changed over the past several years. Banks can create instability, government debt is no longer seen as risk free, the China growth miracle is in question, and Central Banks are actively influencing the prices of assets. This is not your father’s market.

2014-06-03 Beware of the Theme and a Dream by Brian Demain of Janus Capital Group

Mid-cap equities generally remain attractive, but momentum has driven up stocks tied to several hyper-growth industries. The bubble around these stocks began to pop in March, and we believe limiting exposure to those areas of the market will be critical to maximizing returns going forward.

2014-06-02 June Swoon Ahead? Maybe, But Not Because of Valuations by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Given the recent extraordinary performance of most equity markets, many investors are wondering whether the bull market has run its course. Russ explains why valuation alone doesn't signal an imminent correction.

2014-05-31 The Great Backlash by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, policymakers’ success in preventing the Great Recession from turning into Great Depression II held in check demands for protectionist measures. But now the backlash against globalization has arrived, and we know from bitter experience what could come next.

2014-05-27 Integrating Social Media and Website Reviews into Your Practice by Bob Wilgus (Article)

In March, the SEC released a guidance update on the use of client testimonials and social media. The update provided new rules and clarifications regarding the use of third-party advisor review sites, community or fan pages and links directing clients to social-media pages. Here is the reality advisors must confront to take advantage of the new rules.

2014-05-21 Despite the “Grand Reversal,” Stick With Stocks by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

In a reversal of 2013’s performance, stocks are struggling to hold onto gains while bond yields are plunging, leaving many investors asking: “How should I be positioning for the long term?” Russ explains why he still advocates sticking with stocks.

2014-05-20 Bonds Rally, But Stocks Still More Attractive Long Term by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Stocks have floundered, while bonds continue to rally. Markets are showing a sharp reversal from 2013, when stocks were up strongly while bonds struggled. We maintain our long-term preference for equities and suggest investors exercise caution before adding to positions in bonds.

2014-05-14 Worried about the Downside? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

There have been numerous academic studies that suggest investors’ reactions to market risk are not symmetric. Investors consistently react more negatively to losses than positively to gains. At RBA, we incorporate this asymmetry in our sentiment work. Data clearly show that no group of investors is currently willing to take excessive US equity risk. Pension funds, endowments, foundations, hedge funds, individuals, Wall Street strategists, and even corporations themselves remain more fearful of downside risk than they are willing to accentuate upside potential.

2014-05-07 First Quarter Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

The broad equity market displayed a fair amount of volatility during the quarter, but essentially went sideways. This pattern continued through April; 2013’s losers became 2014’s winners and vice versa. In the broadest sense, bonds narrowly beat stocks on the heels of 2013’s thorough drubbing.

2014-05-06 Ten Ways the Next Generation of Financial Planners Will Change the Profession by Bob Veres (Article)

I have distilled ten key themes that illustrate how the next generation of advisors will change the profession when they take the reins.

2014-05-02 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Earnings have been supportive and merger activity has skyrocketed these past couple weeks. Stock markets have remained firm as a result despite money coming out of the previous hot sectors of social media (Amazon) & the biotech industry (despite great fundamentals).

2014-04-29 Six Tricks for Creating Killer Content by Bradd DelMuto (Article)

Most advisors are sharing market data and information, creating presentations, sending emails and solving client issues every day. Don’t let this collection of content wither away. It can be reworked into "content gold" elsewhere.

2014-04-28 Resisting the Sirens by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

There has been an interesting shift in the market over the past several weeks, as high-growth stocks (an area to which we have limited exposure, given our preference for more fairly-valued growth opportunities) have suffered a significant correction after being the darlings of the market since June of last year.

2014-04-22 The Surprising Number One Driver of New Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Among sophisticated clients, referrals aren’t the most important determinant in deciding on an advisor. Here’s what is.

2014-04-22 The Democratic Disruption of Finance by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

There seems to be no limit to the exciting possibilities that come from combining technical innovations, the Internet, and social media. What is less appreciated is the extent to which the same phenomenon is starting to play out in finance, via a democratization process that could transform the institutional landscape.

2014-04-18 Financial Television: Five Things You Need to Know by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Whether you are new to the retirement investing mindset, you go back to the days of Rukeyser and Kangas, or are somewhere in between, here is my list of things you will often see when watching financial TV ... and how to separate the reality from the hype and sales pitch.

2014-04-16 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks fell last week upset by the growth sectors of biotechnology and social media stocks. Energy issues and related infrastructure were largely unaffected. It is clear that hedge funds and others have become forced sellers as their macro bets on being long growth areas, but being short the bond market have blown up in their faces. Until this settles down the overall market is likely to continue its correction.

2014-04-15 Make Your Website An Asset-Gathering Powerhouse by Dan Solin (Article)

Although e-commerce does not involve personal meetings, the need to establish an emotional connection with your prospective clients remains the same. Achieving this goal requires a change in strategy. Here are some tips.

2014-04-10 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The Fed gave a push to stocks early in the week, but news about Washington DC investigating the so-called High Frequency Traders drove down the momentum stocks which were still suffering from the previous week’s hangover.

2014-04-03 Chuck Royce on 1Q14: Despite Minor Pullback, Market Still Shows Strength by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds

Despite the market's subdued first-quarter performance, annualized total returns for the major indexes remained in double-digit territory for the one-, three-, and five-year periods ended March 31, 2014. President, Director of Investments, and Portfolio Manager Chuck Royce offers his thoughts on the market's behavior during the first quarter and why he thinks investors can expect a major correction within the next twelve months.

2014-04-03 Foolish Investment Ideas by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

With April Fools? Day behind us, it?s time to get serious about investing. Don?t be fooled by this week?s non-farm payroll report; nor by the assertion that the U.S. may have the cleanest of the dirty shirts. And certainly don?t be fooled into thinking the market has your interests in mind?

2014-04-03 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week saw a correction in many of the high-flying groups, but overall another quiet week with investors unsure of the economic outlook.

2014-04-02 Foolish Investment Ideas by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

With April Fools? Day behind us, it?s time to get serious about investing. Don?t be fooled by this week?s non-farm payroll report; nor by the assertion that the U.S. may have the cleanest of the dirty shirts. And certainly don?t be fooled into thinking the market has your interests in mind?

2014-03-18 Where's the Plane? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

In another example of life duplicating the media, it seems like most people here and abroad have been consumed by watching a real life episode of Lost for the last week. The question of what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has quickly soared to the opening spot on all of the network news shows, much as Lost and its Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 climbed quickly to the top of the ratings. At CNN it appears that the network of late can report on nothing else!

2014-03-18 Understanding The "Millennial Generation" by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

As the father of two adult children who were born in the early 1990s, I have a particularly keen interest in the ?Millennial Generation? ? those 80 million or so people born in the US between 1980 and 2002, the largest generation ever ? and who will be running the country before too long.

2014-03-11 Cutting Caveats from Your Financial Communications by Wendy Cook (Article)

When sharing important but complicated financial concepts such as investment strategy, fiduciary duty and compensation structure, how do you decide what to leave in and what to omit? How much information is too much information when speaking with clients?

2014-03-11 Why You Should Stop Asking For Referrals by Elizabeth Snyder (Article)

I hear it all the time: ’I ask my clients and centers-of-influence (COIs) to think of me if they know anyone who many benefit from my services, yet I never receive any referrals. What am I doing wrong?’ What should you do if you find yourself in this position?

2014-02-25 Five Technology Trends that are Reshaping the Industry by Bob Veres (Article)

Recently, I spent a couple of days at the annual T3 conference - the financial planning profession’s version of the Consumer Electronics Show. The conference brings together tech vendors offering planning software, CRM, portfolio tracking, rebalancing and trading, outsourcing, hosting and screening. Here are five trends that will help all of us put the new technology into perspective.

2014-02-21 This Common Misconception about China May Be Hurting Your Portfolio by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China is making headlines again, only this time the news attempts to dispel a common myth about the Asian giant.

2014-02-20 WhatsApp With That? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Two pieces of business news announced this week provide a convenient frame through which to view our dysfunctional and distorted economy. The first (which has attracted tremendous attention), is Facebook's blockbuster $19 billion acquisition of instant messaging provider WhatsApp. The second (which few have noticed) is the horrific earnings report issued by Texas-based retail chain Conn's. While these two developments don't seem to have much in common, together they shed some very unflattering light on where we stand economically.

2014-02-11 Dealing with Bad PR by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

One of our advisors quit under difficult circumstances. He talked to some local reporters afterward, and now we look like a terrible place to work. His actions have damaged our reputation. We did not do anything wrong. This advisor was a misfit from the start. What can we do to minimize the ongoing problems his departure is causing us?

2014-02-03 A Secular Bull Market? by Juliet Ellis of Invesco Blog

Five years from now, I believe we will look back and see that 2014 was part of the early stages of a multi-year secular bull market for US equities, characterized by rising stock prices with only short, intervening market corrections.

2014-01-28 Looking Back at the Advisory Profession 20 Years from Now by Bob Veres (Article)

I’ve powered up my time-travel hardware to take a clear look at the year 2034. I’ve received budgetary approval to make a long-distance phone call into the future, and conduct a real interview with a successful advisor in that time period. Yes, it was expensive. But nothing is too good for our readers.

2014-01-25 Five Things To Ponder: Valuations, Triggers & Inequality by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I was thinking about valuations, profits and what could cause a real correction in the markets. That is the premise behind today’s "Things To Ponder" for your weekend homework.

2014-01-22 What to Expect in 2014 (And Beyond) by Jack Rivkin of Altegris

Each year, I take Alfred Lord Tennyson’s advice and "ring out the old, ring in the new" by creating a list of expectations about the markets. My list involves events that the average investor thinks have only a one-in-three-chance of happening, but which I believe have more than a 50% chance of occurring. If this approach sounds familiar, it should. It’s modeled after Byron Wien’s annual list of "surprises." Like his, my expectations are designed to provoke thought and discussion.

2014-01-02 2013 in Review: Best of the \"Silver Bullet\" Awards by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Regular readers of my "Weighing the Week Ahead" series know that I occasionally give the Silver Bullet Award. This recognizes writers who take it upon themselves to debunk dangerously misleading financial analysis. Their often thankless work reminds me of the Lone Ranger, whose adventures often upheld the notion that "...that all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever."

2013-12-24 A Surprising Way to Participate in Today\'s Tech Boom by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If I asked you to name the biggest online shopping day of the year, what would you guess?

2013-12-10 Six Things Every Advisor Must Have on Their LinkedIn Profile by Megan Elliott (Article)

An optimized LinkedIn profile is an essential part of any financial advisor’s marketing efforts. But putting together a great LinkedIn profile involves more than just copying and pasting information from your resume. To get the most out of this professional social networking site, here are six things you need in your LinkedIn profile.

2013-12-05 Running Out of Time by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Well, so far the Federal Reserve is winning out over my timing models that continue to suggest caution should be the preferred strategy in the short-term; and last week that strategy was wrong footed as the D-J Industrial Average notched another new all-time high.

2013-12-03 Nasdaq 4000: Stocks are Not Behaving Like It\'s 1999 by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The Nasdaq Composite made news last week, moving past the 4,000 mark for the first time in 13 years. But, according to Russ, the current trip above the 4,000 level looks quite different from what was happening in 1999 and 2000.

2013-11-28 The Race is On by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

There’s a race to the bottom going on, reflecting a widespread reduction in the level of prudence on the part of investors and capital providers. No one can prove at this point that those who participate will be punished, or that their long-run performance won’t exceed that of the naysayers. But that is the usual pattern.

2013-11-25 Ben\'s Rocket to Nowhere by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Herd mentality can be as frustrating as it is inexplicable. Once a crowd starts moving, momentum can be all that matters and clear signs and warnings are often totally ignored. Financial markets are currently following this pattern with respect to the unshakable belief that the Federal Reserve is ready, willing, and most importantly, able, to immediately execute a wind down of its quantitative easing program. How this notion became so deeply entrenched is a mystery, but the stampede it has sparked is getting more violent, and irrational, by the day.

2013-11-12 Investing Megatrends: New Technology by Sponsored Content from OppenheimerFunds (Article)

This whitepaper discusses how: The ’Data Deluge’ we are experiencing is one of the world’s durable investment themes; Significant capital investments in data infrastructure provide structural support for this trend; Many companies can benefit from the collection, analysis, transmission and storage of data

2013-11-05 The Advisory Profession’s Best Web Sites by Bob Veres (Article)

His firm has created more than 2,000 websites for financial advisors. Bart Wisniowski, founder and CEO of Advisor Websites, has the best seat in the house to watch the rapidly evolving state-of-the-art in website design and feature sets in this age of social media, video blogs and smartphones. In a recent interview, Wisniowski not only talked about the latest developments and trends that he’s seeing; he also identified some of the advisory profession’s most interesting and creative websites.

2013-11-04 What Price for Growth? by Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group

Cloud computing and social media are bringing a level of disruption and innovation not seen in the technology sector since the dot-com era. The troubling aspect is that valuations for many of these companies seem just as stretched as Internet stocks were back then. We think investors may be paying too much for the growth inherent in these companies.

2013-10-29 Only RED That You Have Seen in October... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

The markets felt a bit different this week. While equities finished with another weekly gain, it was lead to new highs by a new and interesting cast of characters: the Dow Industrials, Dividend Stocks (like Utilities & Industrials), Germany, the United Kingdom, Gold & Silver, and Long Maturity Treasuries. While everyone under invested in risk is hoping for a pullback, the rest who are equal or overweight seem to be looking to buy on any pullback.

2013-10-29 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Nice to have a week free of politico rhetoric and distractions for a change (don’t get used to it). With little in the way of budget battles, investors focused on earnings and generally liked what they saw. Add in some positive economic news from China and a labor picture that should prompt the Fed to stay put (for now) and you have another record for the S&P.

2013-10-15 Five Ways Robo-advisors Will Change the Way Advisors Work by Raef Lee (Article)

Even the name robo-advisor is derisive. It evokes an image that is uncaring, lacks humanity and is inflexible. But it is the term being used by advisors to describe a new breed of startups that directly connect tech-savvy investors with suites of analytic tools to create financial plans or investment portfolios. A name this disparaging makes us ask why advisors fear this new model of financial advice.

2013-10-15 Why Customized Content Beats Canned Content by Neil Rhein (Article)

If you’re communicating syndicated (“canned”) content that is similar (or identical) to what every other advisor is saying, you’re just adding to the noise.

2013-10-08 Is Your Website Like a Toothbrush? by Wendy Cook (Article)

Like your website, a toothbrush is essential and comes in a range of sizes and options. Just as you should regularly replace your toothbrush well before its bristles have frayed, you should treat your website to a regular refresh to keep it relevant in the face of ever-advancing technology.

2013-10-07 Charles Wheelan’s Tips for Separating Economic Truth from Fiction by Jeff Briskin (Article)

The world of numerical obfuscation is a topic covered in an informative and surprisingly entertaining ?statistics primer’ by economist Charles Wheelan. In a recent conversation with Wheelan, we discussed his book and the lessons it offers to financial advisors, whose decision-making processes are influenced by the seemingly endless stream of economic and market data posted every day.

2013-08-27 Five Essential Lessons from the Author of “Seven Habits” by Dan Richards (Article)

Who’s had the most impact on determining how businesspeople operate today?

2013-08-02 Tech-Savvy Elections in India by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia

The democratic process in India is famously complex with innumerable caste coalitions and competing interests. With poverty widespread and so many living in remote villages, voter turnout can pose unique challenges.

2013-07-16 Is Your Firm Name Having an Identity Crisis? by Wendy Cook (Article)

How do you state your unique firm name in initial and subsequent references? Do you have guidelines that you’ve shared among your team? If not, establish and implement some today. Having firm-wide consistency on how you refer to your company is a small but potent way to add punch to your most memorable communications.

2013-07-16 Dealing with Over-needy Clients by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

We have too many clients who are needy and require a lot of personalized service. I know we can expect to spend 80% of our time servicing 20% of our clients, but the 80% seem to demand more and more and more from us.

2013-06-20 Why Wellness Matters: The Real Cost to Employers of Unhealthy Employee Behaviors by Team of Manning & Napier

It is no secret that health care costs have ranked among the top concerns of employers for much of the last decade. There is good reason for this concern, as health care costs have outpaced inflation for years, and employers often bear the brunt of these costs for their employees and dependents. Employers looking for ways to stem the tide of runaway health plan expenses should investigate wellness programs designed to impact the source of the costs unhealthy behaviors.

2013-05-21 Social Media Best Practices: Slow and Steady Wins the Race by Wendy Cook (Article)

If a website is the center of your marketing universe, social media is the gravitational force pulling your audience into the world you’ve created for them. But social media is easily a full-time endeavor of its own. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ ? Where do you begin? Equally important, where should you leave off?

2013-05-13 Skills, Education, and Employment by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

It is graduation time, and this morning finds me swimming in a sea of fresh young faces as a young friend graduates, along with a thousand classmates. But to what? I concluded my final formal education efforts in late 1974, in the midst of a stagflationary recession, so it was not the best of times to be looking for work. It turned out that I had a far different future ahead of me than I envisioned then. But I would trade places with any of those kids who graduated today, as my vision of the next 40 years is actually very optimistic.

2013-05-07 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

The trend is your friend (and the current trend is a “friend with benefits” for investors). After a record-setting first quarter for stocks, analysts were skeptical that the “party” would continue. And yet, the Dow Jones enjoyed a fifth straight month of gains in April, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq one-upped the Blue Chips with six month winning streaks.

2013-04-30 The Boston Marathon Bombing by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, given the extensive media coverage of the event, we will not go into much detail on the attack itself except to illustrate points about the origins of the act. We will discuss why we think the Boston Marathon Bombing was the work of grassroots amateurs and what that means for the nation’s security. We will touch on how humans become radicalized and how managing that condition challenges democracies. As always, we will examine the ramifications of this event on the financial and commodity markets.

2013-04-16 Why Landing Clients is Like Dating ? and Seven Other Rules for Prospecting by Dan Richards (Article)

In the last 10 years, the dynamics of acquiring clients has fundamentally changed. Today’s article outlines eight new rules for prospecting; among them why gravity no longer moves prospects through a funnel and the need for a communications catalyst as a result.

2013-04-10 Looking for Warm Milk and a Blanket by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Conspiracy theory economists would say that the Government fudged the data weaker so that it could help sell $60-70 billion in U.S. debt this week. Whatever the outcome, last week we had a perfect storm of high expectations for the data + very below average March weather + the payroll tax hike impact + the upcoming sequester worry. Economic data will move violently from month to month, but unfortunately last week, it was mostly in the WEAKER THAN EXPECTED direction and investors did not hesitate to bring pain on risk assets.

2013-04-09 Four Bold Innovations that will Revolutionize Financial Planning by Bob Veres (Article)

What it would be like for an advisor in the 1980s to be magically transported to our 21st century? The changes would be dazzling: the Internet and social media, exchange-traded funds and Morningstar data, Skype conferences and the virtual cloud, plus a few million mobile device apps that do everything but vacuum your house.

2013-04-09 Tips for Building a Compelling Web Site by Wendy Cook (Article)

Is your current website still living in the “online brochure” days or even non-existent? Don’t dwell on what’s been holding you up. Let’s move your site ? and you along with it ? into the 21st century.

2013-03-26 Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Justin Kermond (Article)

How do you create something so contagious that people can’t stop talking about it? A little-known appliance company did just that with a video of its president grinding up Justin Bieber CDs in a blender. Every advisor hopes to achieve that same contagion with social-media marketing: a presence that “goes viral” and attracts scores of retail investors.

2013-03-22 K-Pop Culture by Soo Chang Lee of Matthews Asia

During my last trip to Seoul, I had meetings with several media companies that left me feeling more confident about the strength of Korea’s popular culture as an emerging growth driver for the country. The rapid growth of South Korean pop music, or “K-pop,” across the media and entertainment industries has been helped not only by Korea’s strong culture of social media, but also by a broader and more global breadth of production. Last year’s hit single “Gangnam Style” and accompanying video by artist PSY is one such memorable phenomenon that crossed int

2013-02-19 How to Improve Your Presentation Skills by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

My financial advisors have the worst presentation skills. Any advice?

2013-02-12 Staying Active on Social Media: Ten Ways to Generate Relevant Content on a Frequent Basis by Kristen Luke (Article)

One of the most difficult aspects of social media marketing for financial advisors is staying active. For advisors who already have a hectic schedule, how do you generate relevant content and maintain an active presence? Here are 10 tips to help you get started.

2013-01-15 Five Key Marketing Trends for Advisors in 2013 by Kristen Luke (Article)

It is a new year and time to experiment with fresh marketing ideas. Keeping up with trends isn't just a way to tell your colleagues you are on the cutting edge of marketing. You need to understand how consumers are changing and how you can keep your message delivery relevant. If your marketing is getting stale, here are five marketing trends for 2013.

2013-01-15 Courting Your Communications by Wendy Cook (Article)

How are your communications like a courtship? In both cases, it's crucial to proceed in the proper manner, at the proper time. Otherwise, like proposing marriage during a blind date, what might otherwise be a smooth move could flop fast.

2013-01-02 How to Boost Your Team?s Morale by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

With the new year rapidly approaching, I want to instill enthusiasm and excitement for my team. We are concerned about the events in Washington and the price we will pay for inaction by our politicians. In the face of this, I want to remind my team of the value we provide for our clients. How can I instill the boost I'm seeking without seeming fake or forced?

2012-12-27 Reader Favorites: A Countdown by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The days between Christmas and New Year's are ideal times to reflect on the topics that captured your interest the most over the past year. To help uncover the top commentaries that were discussed, shared and read, we went data mining across news and social media sources. Over the next few days, I'll be counting down the top 10, concluding with the Investor Alert on Friday.

2012-12-19 Imagine...a Better Future by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

After a weekend of sadness and reflection, I wanted to write something more optimistic we'll go back to the future to learn and unlearn.

2012-12-07 Saving for Retirement: Stage 1 by Team of Franklin Templeton

Most of us have certain expectations about our retirement. We may daydream of the golden years as a time to explore exotic locales, perfect a golf swing, or just relax. The reality is often quite different, particularly for those whove done more daydreaming than planning, or who have suffered setbacks to their portfolios in 2008-2009 and feel a sense of paralysis. Knowing where to begin can be confusing, and as with most things, overcoming inertia to take that first step certainly isnt easy.

2012-11-06 Overcoming Meeting Mania by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

My company is going to win the award for ?Meeting Mania.? When clients want to meet, I can?t accommodate them because of all the meetings we are required to attend: update meetings, investment meetings, focus groups, team breakouts, etc. It?s crazy, and I am not productive in this environment. How can I stop the insanity of these meetings?

2012-10-23 Viral Marketing to Women by Tony DiLeonardi and Barbara Kay (Article)

Expanding your client list is a never-ending goal. Even if you already have a large and profitable client base, you need to replenish it over time. That perpetual chase can be a distraction - unless you can get clients to seek you! That's viral marketing at its best.

2012-10-16 When Strong Client Relationships Aren?t Enough by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Building strong personal relationships with your clients and consistently exceeding their expectations for direct, personal service ? these traditionally were the best ways to generate referrals. But what if that's no longer enough?

2012-10-16 Stiglitz vs. Bremmer: What?s Next for the Global Economy? by Ben Huebscher (Article)

On October 3rd, the same night Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were clashing in their first debate, two equally polarized men met in New York City's Kaufmann Concert Hall to discuss the future of economics, both here and abroad.

2012-10-10 Infectious Ideas for a Connected World by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

With a greater international exchange of ideas, goods, services, and talent today, our world has never been more wired and connected. Globalization has wholly transformed how people across continents absorb information and interact with each other. I believe it also has subtly changed how we think and act as individuals.

2012-10-09 LinkedIn Endorsements: A New Feature to Bug Advisors by Wendy J. Cook (Article)

I've long been a fan of advisors using LinkedIn judiciously to network among colleagues, clients and potential resource providers (such as yours truly). But late last month LinkedIn released a shiny new enhancement - Endorsements - that is not the 'feature' they claimed it was, at least not for the advisor community.

2012-10-02 When Centers-of-Influence Don?t Refer Clients by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Everyone tells me I can sell more through relationships with attorneys and accountants. I have some that I know well. I refer to them, but they don't reciprocate. What am I doing wrong?

2012-09-18 Selling Your Practice ? After Negotiations Fall Apart by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I was hoping to sell my firm to another financial advisor. When the time came to close the deal, he turned into a different person, trying to negotiate for all kinds of things and generally being very nasty. The deal fell apart. How do I find a suitable buyer who will treat me with respect and negotiate fairly?

2012-09-17 The 9/11 Lessons for Terrorists by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we will outline potential lessons learned over the past 11 years by terrorist groups. By doing this, we hope to outline how terrorists might act in the future. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2012-09-14 The Cure for Baldness by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

Rarely does one find market commentators offering moderate, balanced investment advice these days. More likely one will find extreme headlines designed to capture maximum attention. We believe it is worthwhile to take time to craft an investment strategy that can withstand a range of market outcomes. In a lower-return world, we look to buy companies that are attractively priced and that can grow faster than the market as a whole, and we actively manage downside risks.

2012-09-11 A Lesson in Damage Control (Ron Rhoades, This One's for You) by Wendy J. Cook (Article)

Mistakes. Bigger or smaller, sooner or later, we all make them. With meteoric speed, one goof-up can leave a gaping crater in a firm's otherwise stellar reputation. Ron Rhoades provided a case in point when he recently withdrew from becoming the next NAPFA chairperson after becoming entangled in a minor regulatory problem. Ron's actions provide a lesson for dealing with a situation where your judgment lapsed and the damage is done.

2012-09-11 Dealing with Facebook-Addicted Employees by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Is it reasonable to expect my younger staff to stay off Facebook and their phones, and concentrate on what they need to do to be successful? Is there anything I can do to get them to unplug and concentrate on our work during work hours?

2012-08-24 Gold: First Mover Advantage by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week, gold bugs were rewarded with the long-awaited positive momentum in the yellow metal, and on Friday, bullion rose to about $1,670. After falling below the 200-day moving average, gold had been stuck in quicksand for several months. With the jumps in the price this week, bullion swiftly rose above this critically important long-term moving average.

2012-08-14 Advisor Website Calls to Action: Going the Extra Mile by Wendy J. Cook (Article)

To quote Ricky Minor's clever book title, "There's No Traffic on the Extra Mile." One way you can go that extra mile is by using your website as more than just a calling card, incorporating creative calls to action to more proactively invite site visitors to be in touch with you.

2012-08-07 The Game-Changer for Attracting Affluent Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Until now I've been a skeptic on the value of social media for attracting affluent clients. You can use Facebook and Twitter to connect with investors in their 20's and 30's - but not the older, more prosperous clients advisors target. But last week, three separate conversations changed my mind on this.

2012-07-31 The Young General Emerges by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On July 16th, the official North Korean media reported that General Ri Yong Ho, the militarys Chief of the General Staff, had been dismissed of all duties. Reports suggested that the general had been removed due to illness. General Ri was a close confidant of the late Kim Jong Il and was thought to be tasked with smoothing the transition of the new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, the Young General. Ri's exit, along with other events, suggests changes in the Hermit Kingdom.

2012-07-10 Are You Ever Asking for It: Client Referrals by Wendy J. Cook (Article)

Are you in the habit of routinely asking for client referrals? If so, fantastic. Consider this a pep talk. If not, well, it's still a pep talk. But it's also a call to action.

2012-06-28 The Counterrevolution in Egypt by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report we will begin with a geopolitical history of Egypt, concentrating on the unique geography that has historically shaped its governance. We will discuss the role of the military in Egyptian political life, focusing on its self-perception and its goals. We will also detail the role of the MB as an organized political group in the country. Following this analysis, we will offer our forecast for Egypt and its potential effects on the region.

2012-06-19 The Known Unknowns by Ronald Roge of R. W. Roge & Company

On Friday, June 1, 2012 we had an all day investment strategy meeting. The purpose of this semi-annual meeting is to review our current portfolio strategy and evaluate it against the current state of the global economy...Easier said than done.

2012-06-12 A Proven Strategy to Attract Multi-million Dollar Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

When it comes to attracting new clients, new and different approaches are critical. While some advisors are experimenting with social media to grow their business, a recent conversation reminded me that advisors can still learn from longstanding, proven approaches that have been employed by advisors with elite clients.

2012-06-07 Companies with WORSE Valuations Than Facebook (FB) by Team of Bespoke Investment Group

We've read quite a few articles showing how far down Facebook (FB) would have to trade to have a valuation that's similar to big blue chip tech names like Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT). This kind of analysis is done to show that Facebook shares are overvalued. But the analysis can go the other way as well. There are 34 stocks in the Russell 1,000 that have a higher forward P/E (next 4 quarters) than Facebook (FB) right now, and quite a few of them are stocks that are loved by some of the same investors that are likely dumping on Facebook.

2012-05-24 Reform in India: A Work in Progress by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The global investment community has been up in arms (and rightly so) about the Indian governments attempt to address possible past tax evasion through retroactive tax measures. Many investors started to express their disapproval by withdrawing their dollars, and amid the pressure, the Indian Finance Ministry decided to hold off on enacting the general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) for a year. I believe this is a step in a positive direction, although the debate has simply been delayed and not completely resolved. And, retroactive capital gains taxes are still on the table.

2012-05-21 Facebook IPO Not a Flop; Underwriters Priced it Right by John Buckingham of AFAM

he social media giant ended its first day of trading up a measly 23 cents, or 0.6% from its $38 offering price, and technical difficulties at Nasdaq delayed the opening of trading and impacted market activity throughout the day, I give kudos to the underwriters for actually pricing the deal as best they could to match the relatively limited supply to the unprecedented demand. Certainly, Facebook could eventually grow into its lofty valuation, but it is eye-opening to think the disappointing first day of trading still left the company with a $100 billion+ market capitalization.

2012-05-17 Restoring Trust by Kendall J. Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Conflicts always exist between clients and managers. Requiring full disclosure is a step in the right direction towards minimizing these conflicts. Rules alone will not be enough to restore trust between you and those of us who considered themselves professional advisers. My suggestion is that all advisers live their life, both professional and personal under an older rule than the current body of laws. That rule is Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

2012-04-18 Quirky Tales and Waves of Change by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

While almost all commodities (ag, chemicals, and energy) have tended to move up and down together in price, oil has always beat to a different drummer, likely as a function of the ebb and flow of geopolitical concerns and the physical location of most known reserves. I would guess, however, if natural gas is in such abundance domestically, it could very well be the case around the globe. The prospect for $200 oil might be as remote as NASDAQ 5000.

2012-04-10 Advisor Networking for Fun and Profit by Wendy J. Cook (Article)

Over the years, I've seen what works well and what doesn't for advisors. I've noticed that even the best-intentioned, highest-minded advisor usually struggles if he or she operates in a vacuum.

2012-04-09 Pigs and Panics! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

As stated, this is a key week for the equity markets and we continue to wait and see how the equity markets resolve themselves on a short-term basis, a trading stance we have been in for weeks. Meanwhile, for investors, I met with a portfolio manager last week whose investment style I think is suited for the current stock market climate. The investment style of Troy Shaver, PM of Dividend Asset Capital, sub-advisor to Goldman Sachs Rising Dividend Growth Fund (GSRAX/$15.05), is to invest in companies that increase their dividends by 10% per year on average for 10 years in a row.

2012-03-28 Our First Five Years by Gregory Nejmeh of HS Management Partners

As business owners, and as a long only investment manager, optimism is in our DNA. That said, we consider ourselves to be optimistic realists: optimists grounded in reality, and aware that we have to persevere through the inevitable difficult times while believing in and planning for the better days that lie ahead. In that regard, the axiom that the more things change, the more things stay the same has applicability in the investment business. The collective experiences weve had served us well during the turbulent markets we faced in 2007/8/9.

2012-03-13 Investor Communications: Are You Upbeat, or Upfront? by Wendy J. Cook (Article)

When discussing scary markets with your clients, how do you combine the upbeat inspiration they may want with the upfront, honest information they may need to hear? Striking the right balance makes all the difference.

2012-02-27 And Thats The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Earning season plods along with consumer-driven companies like Walt Disney and Coca Cola highlighting the calendar. Investors get a break on the economic front as the mad rush of releases slows, allowing them time to digest this weeks data, particular the news from the labor front. (Surely consumers should be more confident after the favorable developments?)

2012-01-20 The Debate Over "One China" by Sherry Zhang of Matthews Asia

Taiwans recent presidential race, which saw the re-election of President Ma Ying-jeou, generated much mutual interest both in Taiwan and in mainland China, where millions reportedly used social media networks to comment on the developments. The Kuomingtang (KMT) partys control for another four years brings up the topic of One China that so often dominates headlines and online chatter.

2011-11-15 Occupy Yahoo by Jeffrey Bronchick of Cove Street Capital

This is the first part of a non-vampire trilogy which will explore some of our inner thinking on the juxtaposition of "business vs. value vs. people" in the investment decision making process-a process that has led us to recent investments in Yahoo, HP and News Corp in our non-small cap strategies. In this first installment, we will focus on Yahoo for no other reason than to honor the company's place within the pantheon of failed corporate governance.

2011-10-25 Time to Put Your Shades On by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

The paradox of the stock market is that higher prices attract buyers, while lower prices attract sellers. This herd-like behavior is confirmed by peers and exaggerated even more now by social media outlets. The most important thing to acknowledge in these markets is to be tactical and buy on weakness. In our current yield starved environment, I have focused on growth and income (two such scarce resources these days) in both dividend paying large cap stocks and energy infrastructure MLPs.

2011-09-30 The Coming Euro Bail by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

If the optimists are to be believed, Europe will come to grips with its critical financial problems and conduct a massive restructuring of the banking system and bail out the irresponsible countries that overspent. If the pessimists are correct, the world is a mess and will stay that way. We are moving toward the optimistic side. We see that Europe is finally recognizing that the all-is-well charade is no longer working. Investors are too smart and more cynical than in the past. European banks need capital. If they get it, investors may see a sizeable stock market rally in much of the world.

2011-09-09 Fast and Furious in India by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia

Indian social activist Anna Hazare recently generated bipartisan debate, waging a 12-day hunger strike to pressure the government to pass stringent anti-corruption laws. It ended with a government resolution to acknowledge his key demandsmost notably, the creation of an influential anti-corruption ombudsman. Mainstream political parties have also called for such an ombudsman, however, with more limited sway due to concerns that officials may not be able to function effectively if all decisions were to fall under the purview of an intermediary.

2011-09-08 Teaching to the Test by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

Many managers are focused on beating benchmarks, rather than helping clients achieve their investment objectives. Clients save and invest their money for specific reasons, such as for retirement or childrens education and managers should focus on helping them meet those goals. Many managers are really closet indexers masquerading as active managers while charging premium fees for benchmark returns. Many equity managers deviate very little from their benchmark because they are terrified of potentially underperforming it.

2011-08-01 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

A month ago, the DC deficit/debt debate was amusing political theater. Partisan hacks earned brownie points with loyal constituents, while preparing for next years election. Two weeks ago, the theater turned into a game of chicken as Main Street and Wall Street watched with interest to see which party would blink first. Today, theater and chicken are no longer amusing. A complete and utter inability to compromise and a win-at-all-costs attitude have brought government and economy to the brink of disaster. Are there any grown-ups left in Washington?

2011-07-19 Should You Use Google+? by Kristen Luke (Article)

The jury is still out on whether Google+ is going to be the next Facebook. So the question is, 'Should you use it?'

2011-07-19 You and the Internet, Part II - Places to Go, People to See by Wendy J. Cook (Article)

In my last article, How to Waste Time and Influence People, we covered productive ways to wander on the Internet. You also can benefit from harnessing the Internet as it relates to your advisory practice.

2011-07-12 Balancing Debt, Value and Earnings by James G. Tillar and Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

The quarter was weak. If this is due to factors like the earthquake and high energy prices, the soft patch should end in the second half of 2011. However, even if this plays out, longer term headwinds remain. What has become clear is that we are in a period of suboptimal economic activity, despite aggressive fiscal and monetary policy. Almost all rich countries are still stuck with a toxic mix of modest growth, depressed housing markets, negative real interest rates, even more asset concentration at our financial institutions, and uncomfortably high unemployment and government deficits.

2011-06-17 LinkedIn and Pandora IPO: More than meets the eye by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

With all of the confusing, often contradictory, reams of economic information flooding the market, the supply of conundrums seem to be rising. With the combination of hitting six consecutive weeks of declines in the S&P 500 (not seen since 2002) and on track to make it a seventh and the large number of rolling over of economic data, one might be surprised to see the success of technology IPO (Initial Public Offering) market recently. LinkedIn brought back a euphoria and cautionary tales of the go-go 1990s with their stellar IPO nearly a month ago.

2011-06-07 How to Waste Time Effectively by Wendy Cook (Article)

Ah, the Internet. Could there be a more usefully annoying, time-sucking, time-saver? It's always there, ready to transport us to that crucial bit of information we need - or to distract us far away from what we need to be doing. How do you harness the power of the Internet without letting it gallop off with your valuable time?

2011-05-28 Railway Revolution Builds China's Consumer Culture by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China is building the world?s largest network of high speed rails. Since opening the first high speed line between Beijing and Tianjin in 2008, the country has laid down more than 4,600 miles of new tracks. This is three times more than Japan, where the bullet train was invented. Once completed near the end of this decade, the high speed rail system will connect more than 250 Chinese cities, span 18,641 miles and reach roughly 700 million people. Currently, the high speed rail network connects about one-third of China?s cities. That figure is set to nearly double over the next two years.

2011-05-24 Economy Enters A Soft Patch by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Another volatile week resulted in the S&P 500 Index losing 0.3% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 0.7%. Economic data last week continued to confirm that housing markets are sluggish and that manufacturing is entering a weak patch. Existing home sales unexpectedly fell in April. Economists expected sales of existing homes to reach 5.2 million in the month, but the actual tally for April was 5.05 million, down 0.8% from the previous month.

2011-05-21 And That?s The Week That Was ? by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

It?s beginning to look a lot like?summer. From college commencements to high school proms to nursery school graduations?soon kids will be home with nothing to do (but spend their parents? hard-earned money); vacations start in earnest; and market volume usually takes a tumble (tee times during trading hours). As for this year?rising commodities have elevated food prices which makes dining out more expensive. Likewise, with gasoline prices pushing $4/gal, analysts worry about any ill-effects on travel plans and overall consumer activity. In fact, several retailers are already feeling the pinch.

2011-05-16 Secular Outlook: Navigating the Multi-Speed World by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

It is a world that heals slowly and unevenly, and remains structurally impaired. Balance sheets, both across and within economies, are still out of equilibrium. We expect advanced economies will face sluggish growth and persistently high unemployment over the secular horizon. Emerging economies will achieve higher growth but face recurrent inflationary concerns. We do not expect policymakers to boldly address structural problems. By targeting negative real interest rates, they will pursue financial repression that undermines the ?real return? contract that savers expect.

2011-05-10 When You Can?t Say It Nicely ? But It Still Needs To Be Said by Wendy J. Cook (Article)

Perhaps because social media is so, well, social, I find it particularly painful to see someone go on a poorly rendered rant on the Internet. As Gilbert K. Chesterton says, 'A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.' How do you speak your mind about strongly help viewpoints without revealing a fool?

2011-04-26 How to Take Advantage of the CFP Awareness Campaign by Kristen Luke (Article)

If you are a CFP, you will be directly affected by the Let's Make a Plan campaign, even if you take a passive role. Those who take a more active role can use the toolkit provided by the CFP Board to promote themselves in local markets. Here's what's entailed and what you can personally do to take advantage of the campaign.

2011-04-12 What Facebook's New Features Mean for your Business by Kristen Luke (Article)

In March, Facebook changed how business pages can interact with other Facebook users. Most notably, a new feature called 'Use Facebook as a Page' allows business to 'like' and comment on other users.

2011-04-05 Four Ways to Position Yourself as an Expert by Kristen Luke (Article)

You have a wealth of knowledge about your industry and about how you can help your prospects. Indeed, you are an expert, but does your target market consider you one?

2011-03-15 Nailing the Invisible Interview by Justin Locke (Article)

I am always looking for a marketing edge, employing everything from social media to traditional collateral. But the other day I saw marketing from the other side. Someone acquired me as a new client, and it was revealing to learn why.

2011-03-15 How to Get the Best Photo for Your Web Site by Wendy J. Cook (Article)

If your photo is missing or misused on your website, social media profiles, brochures, and other introductory materials, then consider this your call to action. A few simple suggestions can help you literally put your best face forward in your corporate communications.

2011-03-11 The Middle East: A Youthful Reawakening by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The upheavals in the Middle East and N.Africa can be attributed to rising food prices, unemployment, corruption and political stagnation. Unemployment has stayed high and waves of new young job seekers entering the labor market have not been absorbed. As in many emerging markets, the populations in MENA countries are young. Most politically explosive is that an increasing number of the unemployed are high school and university graduates. It is important to note that the recent protests have come not from the lowest income levels but from middle-class and educated Arabs seeking fair treatment.

2011-03-11 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review February 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

With countries led by autocratic rulers marred by stagnation in the economy, high unemployment rates and poor human rights records, protests in the region sparked off in classic ?domino effect? style. With rumblings being heard from countries like Iran, Syria, Jordan, Yemen and Morocco. The economic repercussions of the protests and the unseating of these regimes are yet to be calculated. The first obvious impact would be on oil prices. With the entire world economy hinging on the oil rich Middle East, the seismic shift in the political landscape of the region will be monitored closely.

2011-03-09 Searching for Growth in Asia by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia

There are many ways one might define ?growth? and go about uncovering it. There are a few key elements I look for: main drivers of growth, sustainability and scope of growth, and market expectations. Many global investors today are seduced by the last several years of strong stock performance in China and India, fueled by robust economic growth. However, economic growth alone does not guarantee good stock performance. In fact, many studies argue that, historically, there has been little correlation between stock market performance and economic growth.

2011-03-01 Spring Cleaning for Your Website by Kristen Luke (Article)

Despite the time, thought and energy you spend building your web site, it?s too easy to forget about it and neglect it. It is time for a spring cleaning. Here are seven tips to spruce things up.

2011-02-22 Are You Ready to Lose Control? by Justin Locke (Article)

We view control the same way we view pregnancy - it's an all-or-nothing condition. Either you are in control, or everything is out of control. We would all be wise to rethink this - to look at how to handle and even embrace some lack of control.

2011-02-22 Winning New Business, Growing Your Firm by Michael Slemmer, CFA (Article)

How are advisors reaching prospects and winning new business today? What's working well for advisors as they seek to grow their businesses, and where are they finding challenges? To answer these questions, we conducted a survey in late November, 2010, aiming to learn the most common and successful business-building tactics for wealth managers, investment advisors and related professionals.

2011-02-08 The Downside to Venture Investing (like Facebook?) by Dan Richards (Article)

In this interview, Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner discusses the dangers of venture capital investing and the basis behind Facebook's valuation. This is a transcript of the interview.

2011-01-04 Five Ways to Shape Up Your Marketing in 2011 by Kristen Luke (Article)

January is the natural time for identifying areas neglected over the past few months (or years) and making plans to remedy these failings. As you create your list of New Year's Resolutions, here are five things you can do to shape up your marketing this year.

2010-11-09 The Most Neglected Marketing Principle by Kristen Luke (Article)

Often, advisors lack a strategy for following up with prospects if they are not immediately interested in hiring your firm. As the authors of a recent book state, "81% of sales that close, close on or after the fifth contact." It is imperative that you integrate a follow-up strategy in your marketing plan.

2010-11-02 Four New Ways to Beef Up Your LinkedIn Profile by Kristen Luke (Article)

If you have logged into LinkedIn in the last couple of weeks, you may have noticed some new changes. The professional networking site has new sections for individual profiles, and Kristen Luke explains how to use them.

2010-10-27 Reflections: Venturing into a New Frontier by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Frontier markets are the next emerging markets. These economies are more domestic-oriented, with a limited number of publicly listed companies; hence, frontier market investments tend to be primarily limited to private equity. Quality of company management is a frequent concern. Frontier market investing therefore often requires additional time and due diligence to assess the quality of corporate management teams, including more frequent on site visits to evaluate businesses effectively.

2010-10-22 What Lack of Innovation? by Team of Bespoke Investment Group

In a recent address at the home of Google executive Marissa Meyer, President Obama implied that there has been a lack of innovation in the American economy in recent years. As Bespoke illustrates in a chart provided, however, the number of U.S. patent applications granted has increased steadily each year since 2000, with the exception of 2005. In fact, many have argued that it has never been cheaper for someone with an idea to spread and develop it.

2010-10-12 Does Your Marketing Match Your Business Structure? by Kristen Luke (Article)

Marketing strategies differ depending on the structure of a firm, writes Kristen Luke. Solos and silos focus on marketing the individual advisor while ensembles market the firm. Ensembles also tend to have more sophisticated marketing campaigns since they generally have larger marketing budgets and higher revenue streams.

2010-09-28 Building your Digital Identity through Blogging by Stephanie Sammons (Article)

Blogging is a modern-day marketing platform for cultivating client, prospect, and center-of-influence relationships. A well-designed and properly structured blog, writes Stephanie Sammons in this guest contribution, can provide you with an opportunity to proactively manage your online reputation and attract new clients into your business.

2010-08-31 Five Steps to Choosing the Right Marketing Firm by Kristen Luke (Article)

Finding a marketing firm for your advisory practice can be a daunting task and hiring the wrong firm can be an expensive mistake. It is essential that you spend time doing due diligence to find the right partner for your growth. Kristen Luke provides five steps that will help you with this process.

2010-08-24 How to Choose the Right Social Media Archiving Strategy by Blane Warrene (Article)

Advisors who have embraced social media as an important component of their marketing and service toolbox must monitor and manage the content they distribute. In this guest contribution, Blane Warrene discusses how to collect and store postings and comments made by you and others on social media platforms and store the information in a readily accessible database.

2010-08-10 A Marketing Guide for RIAs Part 10 - Develop a Written Marketing Plan by Kristen Luke (Article)

In the final installment of her series on low-budget marketing, Kristen Luke discusses how to put all the elements together in a written plan.

2010-08-03 A Marketing Guide for RIAs: Part 9 ? Create a Drip Marketing System for Prospects by Kristen Luke (Article)

In her series on low-budget marketing for startup RIA firms, Kristen Luke discusses how to develop a drip marketing program.

2010-07-27 Rediscovering Your Listening Skills by Justin Locke (Article)

Listening may be the most critical part of your job, both for acquiring new clients and for maintaining current relationships. Everyone's listening abilities are unique, but many common fears and anxieties can interfere with your innate listening skills. In this guest contribution, Justin Locke identifies a few common problems and suggestions for how to work around them.

2010-07-13 A Marketing Guide for RIAs: Part 3 ? Build a Website by Kristen Luke (Article)

Kristen Luke discusses the steps to take to build your website.

2010-07-06 A Marketing Guide for RIAs by Kristen Luke (Article)

Kristen Luke begins a series of articles that will provide step-by-step instructions on how to start marketing your new RIA firm. She assumes that your firm does not have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on marketing. Here is an overview of the series.

2010-06-29 The $0 Marketing Plan by Kristen Luke (Article)

Many advisors find themselves in a difficult quandary - they need to market their businesses, but they don't have budget to do so. Instead of finding ways to market on a dime, they throw up their hands and hope that business will magically appear. Kristen Luke shows how you can market your business on a zero-dollar budget.

2010-06-01 Social Media & Reputation Management for Financial Advisors by Dan Sommer (Article)

As a financial advisor, your reputation is one of your most important prospecting tools. While the internet presents a wealth of marketing benefits, one downside is potentially losing control of your reputation. In this guest contribution, Dan Sommer shows how to make sure that doesn't happen.

2010-05-18 Search Engine Marketing for Financial Advisors by Dan Sommer (Article)

How do you take advantage of search engine marketing as a financial advisor? The goal of search engine marketing is to ensure that your website appears on as many results pages as possible for queries that relate to your business, and in this guest contribution Dan Somer explains the details of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising.

2010-05-11 Tagline, You?re It by Wendy J. Cook (Article)

Have you ever noticed that it can be easier to write a 6,000-word treatise than to come up with six perfect words, like, say, "You're in good hands with Allstate®"? As Wendy Cook writes, sometimes less is more - more frustrating, that is. How do you say a lot with a little in corporate taglines?

2010-05-04 Alternative Centers of Influence by Kristen Luke (Article)

Just because you haven't had much luck generating referrals from traditional centers of influence (COIs), don't give up your COI marketing strategy all together. COIs don't have to be CPAs or attorneys, says Kristen Luke. They can be anyone who has the ability to influence a potential client to pick up the phone and call you.

2010-04-27 Writing in Plain Speak by Wendy J. Cook (Article)

Wendy Cook specializes in helping advisors write newsletters and create presentations, and in this guest contribution she shares a number of tips to improve your writing skills. Cook is passionate about writing, and her article covers topics such as the importance of brevity and how to tailor content to your audience.

2010-04-27 Four Reasons to Keep Sending Your eNewsletter that No One Reads by Kristen Luke (Article)

If nobody opens your eNewsletter is a waste of time? Not at all! Having your contacts read your eNewsletter to stay informed about your business and educate themselves about their finances is just one possible outcome. Kristen Luke gives four other reasons why you should continue to send your eNewsletter, even if no one is reading it.

2010-04-13 Unforeseen Pitfalls of Social Media Success by Kristen Luke (Article)

There is a pitfall that is rarely anticipated and only occurs for those who are the most successful using social media, writes Kristen Luke. Social media can create more relationships and opportunities than one person can reasonably handle.

2010-04-06 Ten Steps to Get Started with New Media Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

For advisors not familiar with social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Viddler, BlogTalkRadio, and YouTube), Kristen Luke provides a 10-step plan to get started.

2010-03-30 Get More Bang for Your Charitable Buck by Kristen Luke (Article)

Whatever your level of involvement in charitable activities, you can probably still do more, writes Kristen Luke. This is especially true when it comes to incorporating your charitable support into a marketing strategy for your own business.

2010-03-23 Three Ways to Enhance Your Facebook Business Page by Kristen Luke (Article)

A business page on Facebook provides you with a way to connect with people interested in your practice without having to use your personal profile. Kristen Luke offers three tips for improving your Facebook visibility.

2010-03-09 The New Rules of Marketing - A Roundtable by Dan Sommer (Article)

Given the ever-shifting landscape of information consumption and consumer behavior, financial advisors have been forced to change their thinking about the way they market themselves. In this guest contribution, Dan Sommer speaks with two investment professionals who answer a series of marketing-related questions for advisors.

2010-01-26 Karma Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

A few weeks ago, Kristen Luke was speaking with an advisor about the types of marketing his firm does. He listed several standard marketing campaigns, and then went on to tell me that his main marketing strategy is to help others first with their needs. Business tends to follow, and he calls his strategy "Karma Marketing."

2010-01-12 How to Use LinkedIn When Your Compliance Department Says No by Kristen Luke (Article)

For those advisors who are allowed to have a LinkedIn profile but are restricted in their use of the site, there are still strategies that can be utilized to make LinkedIn a valuable sales and marketing tool. Kristen Luke provides four strategies to implement even if you can't use LinkedIn to its fullest potential.

2009-12-08 Attracting Clients through Event Marketing by Jason Lampa (Article)

When he meets with financial advisors, Jason Lampa always asks them whether they have integrated event marketing into their strategic marketing plan. In this guest contribution, he writes that rarely are such programs part of a firm's overall marketing strategy; moreover, most advisors have no process in place to execute an event marketing plan.

2009-11-24 Get Personal with your Clients and Prospects by Kristen Luke (Article)

Financial advisors are, or at least should be, in the relationship business. So what better way to build a relationship than to interact with your clients and prospects outside the sphere of your business? Kristen Luke offers her suggestions.

2009-11-17 Five End-of-Year Marketing Tips by Kristen Luke (Article)

The slow period in November and December doesn't mean you should halt your marketing efforts. As Kristen Luke writes, you need to adjust your strategies and take advantage of the unique opportunities that are available during this period. Here are five tips to help make the most out of your end-of-year marketing.

2009-10-27 Should You Write Your Own Blog? by Kristen Luke (Article)

If you decide to include a blog in your marketing mix, you can use "canned" material from an outsource provider or you can write your own. Kristen Luke looks at the pros and cons of each approach.

2009-10-20 Marketing with LinkedIn: Create Your Own Group by Kristen Luke (Article)

Participating in various groups is one way you can utilize LinkedIn as a marketing tool, but for the more ambitious marketers, having your own group offers even greater opportunities. Kristen Luke offers step-by-step instructions to create your own group.

2009-10-13 Seven Ways to Reach Prospects in the New Normal by Nancy Opiela (Article)

Extravagance is out and frugality is in. Finding happiness in what we can afford is what sells. With many investors implicitly or explicitly bracing for the New Normal and lower returns from the capital markets, advisors need to rethink their marketing programs to be consistent with their clients' tempered expectations.

2009-10-06 Retailers Face the New Frugality by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Whether they sell high-end designer clothing or tractors and pet food, retailers across the country are girding for leaner times. Consumer spending has dropped to 10% below its historical trend line, creating a landscape with far too many stores and far too much merchandise for consumers' thinning wallets to support. Along with the CEOs of Fortune 500 retailers, we attended a conference in New York last week looking at trends in consumer behavior, and we file our report.

2009-10-06 Five Marketing Lessons from Schwab IMPACT by Kristen Luke (Article)

Kristen Luke recently attended Schwab's IMPACT conference in her home town of San Diego. The three days offered a vast amount of information, and she shares her five favorite marketing lessons from IMPACT this year.

2009-09-29 Social Networking is Still Networking by Kristen Luke (Article)

Why do some expect that social networking should produce results in a matter of a couple of months? It is still networking and should be handled in the same manner. As Kristen Luke explains, merely advertising your business may work if you are a restaurant or hotel, but it doesn't work in a relationship-oriented business like financial advising.

2009-09-22 Three Ways to Market Your Business Using Facebook by Kristen Luke (Article)

Kristen Luke explains three ways advisors can promote their practice through Facebook: utilizing a basic personal profile, creating a business page and creating a group page.

2009-09-15 How to Setup a Facebook Business Page by Kristen Luke (Article)

Facebook is not a good strategy for every advisor, but it may be appropriate for advisors with strong personal and community relationships. Kristen Luke shows how a business page allows you to share information with your "fans" just as you would with your "friends" through your personal profile.

2009-09-08 Advisor Survey Shows Best Ways to Business Growth by Michael Slemmer, CFA (Article)

Many investment advisory and wealth management firms have struggled to increase assets in the recent difficult markets. In order to understand how advisors feel they are faring - and the keys, and obstacles, to success - we partnered with Advisors Trusted Advisor to survey advisors on the state of their business-building efforts.

2009-09-08 Make the Most of your Networking after the Event by Kristen Luke (Article)

After a networking event, the standard practice for most advisors is to send an email, make a phone call or mail a handwritten note. But what happens after the initial contact? Is there a system in place to continue following-up in the coming weeks, months and years, even if there is not an immediate fit? This is where most advisors fail in their networking strategy, according to Kristen Luke.

2009-08-18 New Rules of Growing Your Book of Business: Microblogging with Twitter by Dan Sommer (Article)

Twitter has quickly become one of the fastest-growing and most talked-about marketing channels on the web. In this guest contribution, Dan Sommer explains how this rapid growth and wide adoption across many demographics makes it ideal for financial professionals looking for new ways to reach potential clients and build thought leadership.

2009-08-11 How to Construct a Marketing Plan and Budget by Kristen Luke (Article)

One way to significantly increase the chances of marketing success is to develop a marketing plan and stick to it. Kristen Luke says forget the formal marketing plan and just outline your marketing activities and budget, and she provides a step-by-step guide for you to follow.

2009-08-04 Convert Prospects to Clients through Drip Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

Kristen Luke covers drip campaigns, where an advisor sends marketing collateral to a prospect on a regularly scheduled basis. Luke discusses how you can add prospects to your existing client communications or create an independent program just for prospects.

2009-07-28 Which Social Media Tool is Right for You? by Kristen Luke (Article)

Kristen Luke's philosophy is that the best marketing activities are the ones that are in line with the advisor's preferences and interests. Social media offers a rich array of tools - all you have to do is choose the one that best fits your personality and preferences.

2009-06-23 New Rules for Growing Your Book of Business: Reach Clients and Prospects Through Their In-Boxes by Dan Sommer (Article)

E-mail marketing is no longer a new marketing channel, but if used effectively it can become a powerful marketing and relationship building tool for financial advisors. In this guest contribution, Dan Sommer explains the benefits of e-mail-based marketing and provides tips to get started down this path.

2009-05-12 Social Media Marketing for the Everyday Advisor by Kristen Luke (Article)

Some of the most effective advisors are marketing using blogs, internet radio, video blogs, e-books and Web-casts to attract clients and gain exposure. Kristen Luke explains how advisors can dip their toes into social media marketing without too much fuss, and expand marketing already in place.

2009-04-28 Twitter Your Way to New Clients, Part Two by Kristen Luke (Article)

Building your business is based on developing solid relationships and you know there is no quick way to attract clients. Twitter is no different- it will expose you to people you never would have met otherwise, but you will not see instant results. Kristen Luke provides the second installment in her two-part series on how to get started with Twitter.


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