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Managing a Practice

Managing a Practice covers the ways that advisors can profitably and successfully run their businesses. It includes practical topics like business systems, advisor fees and client services, as well as professional development and growth strategies. Also covered are overall industry trends and ethics and compliance, as well the various service providers and vendors that advisors partner with to build, grow and manage their practices.

Managing a Practice

Managing a Practice

By Fred Barstein5/1/2014 • 2 Comments

In a stunning move, LPL’s Retirement Partner Group led by Bill Chetney has hired Paul Mahan, Commonwealth’s head of retirement, as SVP of retirement services. He will report directly to Chetney. It’s not yet clear what Mahan’s duties will be but he will be moving his family to the San Diego area. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein4/28/2014 • 0 Comments

As the economy evolves and new generations start entering the workforce, will financial service firms adjust to the barriers to making the advisory field a career choice? Brokerages are certainly having a harder time attracting new advisors. Now at least one wire house, Wells Fargo Advisors, is considering changing its compensation formula, putting more emphasis on salary versus variable compensation. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein4/22/2014 • 0 Comments

It’s almost unheard of for a plan sponsor of any significant size not to go through an RFP process to search for a record keeper — so it only makes sense that the RFP process would migrate to plan advisor searches. InHub, a new service that launched this week, allows plan fiduciaries to scan a network of advisors, create a customized RFP and then manage and document the process. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein4/18/2014 • 0 Comments

A new Legg Mason white paper by Maria Hurd from the Delaware-based accounting firm of Belfint, Lyons & Shuman covers the ins and outs of an ERISA audit. Before you stop reading to get a head start on your plans for the weekend, there are practical reasons to know more about plan audits. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein4/10/2014 • 0 Comments

Advisors in general and plan advisors specifically will face a more difficult road ahead as margins grow thinner and clients become more sophisticated and demanding. This means that advisors have to become better business managers, not just better investment advisors or sales people. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein4/9/2014 • 3 Comments

A U.S. News and World Report article by financial planner Hal Bundrick calls 401(k) education the biggest failure of adult education in history. Based on the number of people affected, the money spent and the stakes, that statement is not an exaggeration. So why has it failed, and what can be done? READ MORE

By Fred Barstein4/8/2014 • 1 Comments

It’s common knowledge that fees charged by plan advisors are declining, especially in the mid and large markets. But overall, revenue generated by advisors on client assets is declining too. Advisors generated 68 BPs from client assets in 2013, according to a study by Price Metrix involving 40,000 advisors. This marked a continual decline from 69 BPs in 2012 and 72 BPs in 2011. READ MORE

By John Iekel3/28/2014 • 0 Comments

What are the best ways to measure the profitability of your practice? A March 25 panel discussion at the NAPA 401(k) Summit offered some tips. READ MORE

By John Iekel3/26/2014 • 3 Comments

Even a business model or industry that’s perfect won’t stay that way forever. But having the vision and courage to anticipate and create demand and go beyond just changing with the times can be revolutionary. That was the core message of best-selling author Seth Godin in his March 24 keynote address at the NAPA 401(k) Summit. READ MORE

By John Iekel3/24/2014 • 0 Comments

“You’re a consultant. Don’t let yourself be commoditized.” That’s what Ellen R. Lander, principal at White Oak Advisors, would tell someone just starting out as an advisor. Speaking at a March 24 session of the NAPA 401(k) Summit in New Orleans, Lander advocated a new mindset toward what advisors do. “As an industry, we have to get our minds around us being consultants,” Lander argued. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff3/6/2014 • 0 Comments

I speak with a lot of advisors, most of whom, I believe, are good at what they do. I look at their credentials and I am generally impressed. I look at their books of business and I assume that they are successful. Assuming all of this is true, how would I decide to hire one of them over another? What differentiates one advisor from another? READ MORE

By John Iekel2/19/2014 • 0 Comments

If they have not already, small businesses with retirement plans must report on them to the IRS soon. To help, the IRS has updated its Publication 560, “Retirement Plans for Small Business Plans” for 2013 returns. New this year:


By Fred Barstein2/19/2014 • 0 Comments

The latest edition of the 401k Averages Book estimates that fees for the average small plan (50 participants and $2.5 million) dropped slightly over the last year, from 146 BPs to 144. Larger plans (1,000 participants and $50 million) remained flat at 103 BPs. Micro plans (10 participants and $500,000) were at 190 BPs.


By Fred Barstein2/13/2014 • 0 Comments

What makes for good advice for participants in retirement plans? Robert Powell of the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch tackles that question with some good, practical advice of his own. With many DC plans offering advice online, by phone or face to face, people are starting to ask this question: How can I determine whether that advice is worth the cost?


By Don Trone1/27/2014 • 0 Comments

Researchers have concluded that the answer to that either/or question is “yes.” Elite advisors are both born and made.


By John Iekel1/9/2014 • 0 Comments

Concerns over plan fees are nothing new. The DOL has generated heated and seemingly perpetual discussion of the disclosure of fees, but the courts have brought to light another important perspective on 401(k) plan fees. Emily Peterson of Winston & Strawn writes that court rulings in 2013 serve as reminders to plan fiduciaries that benchmarking 401(k) plan fees and expenses merits their attention as well. READ MORE

By John Iekel1/3/2014 • 0 Comments

Defined contribution plans are a centerpiece of the U.S. retirement system. But good design and laws such as the Pension Protection Act of 2006 that bolster those plans are not enough, argues a recent study, which suggests that good communication and effectively educating plan participants also are essential ingredients in the recipe for a strong DC plan. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein12/30/2013 • 2 Comments

Most lists of New Year’s resolutions are superficial and dwell on the negative, like losing weight or joining a gym. We found an anonymous list we thought was interesting and unique. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein12/9/2013 • 0 Comments

According to an article in InvestmentNews, Morgan Stanley has joined fellow wire houses UBS and Merrill Lynch in revising compensation to spur lower performing, experienced advisors to increase production while rewarding those who hit performance targets. Advisors with commissions and fees less than $2.5 million will need to increase production by 10% to maintain their payouts. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein11/20/2013 • 1 Comments

There’s a myth among providers that plan advisors are making a lot of money (especially among those providers who want to become an advisor). But the truth is that only a few are doing really well. How does the compensation of advisors compare to other professions? READ MORE

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