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3 insights on the Financial Engines-Edelman combination and how it might affect you

The combined company is likely to become a nationally dominant firm Financial Engines recently announced it was being taken private by the respected private equity firm Hellman & Friedman for $3 billion in cash, a 30% premium over the pre-announcement closing price. Financial Engines will merge with Edelman Financial, the $21 billion national RIA that…

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A Visit to India and The World’s Largest Startup

I recently spent a week in four cities across India. The trip lived up to all my expectations: The Taj Mahal was stunning, Old Delhi chaotic, Jaipur majestic, and Mumbai vibrant. The highlight, however, was not geographic, but commercial. Our group spent an afternoon with the team at Jio, one of the fastest-growing companies ever.…

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How Advisors Can Hold on to Their Clients Despite Vanguard’s Broadening Reach

During a February speech, Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley said 58% of most advisers’ work could eventually be done by computers. This would force a significant change in pricing for most in the industry. Shortly thereafter, Vanguard announced it would create factor-based index ETFs. These two events are directly linked and help explain why one of the bastions of low-cost,…

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Flash Crash: The Value of Advisors in Coping with Uncertainty

A week ago Monday, the Dow fell 1,175 points. Although that was not anywhere near a record percentage decline, it turned out to be the biggest point decline in history. After 19 months without a 5% decline from the peaks (a record in itself), volatility came roaring back, with wild swings on a daily basis.…

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How Bitcoin and Blockchain Will Change The World

Bitcoin climbed in value from less than $1,000 at the beginning of 2017 to $14,000 by the end of the year. A coin of Ethereum was worth $8 on Jan. 1, 2017, and $843 one year later. Who would not be intrigued with the idea of owning something that appreciated thirteenfold, or even a hundredfold,…

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The Biggest Losers and Winners of 2017

Politics and the presidency have seldom played a more dominant role in our popular culture as they did last year. Despite the wall to wall coverage of the White House, 2017 turned out to be a far calmer and less disruptive year in the financial markets and the wealth management industry than many anticipated. In…

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If a GPS can fail, so can fintech

I recently read an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer about an 18-wheeler that drove several miles down the pedestrian-only Boardwalk in Atlantic City. The driver was following instructions of his onboard navigation system which had the boardwalk designated as a street. After passing several stunned onlookers, the driver found himself stranded and his tractor trailer…

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What we can learn from Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods

For the past 20 years, organic food grocer Whole Foods has rethought the way consumers shop for groceries and brought the farmers’ market to neighborhoods all over the country. While pricey, it succeeded in a crowded sector, and grew in a small niche market into a nationally dominant position, becoming part of the American fabric…

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6 Rules to Becoming an Indispensable Advisor in 2020

Robo-advisors, phone apps, and easy access to a plethora of information on the internet has put the traditional role of the human advisor on the verge of being obsolete. Clients now have significantly cheaper ways of obtaining the goal-based financial planning and money management they desire. Soon, they may even get those things for free,…

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Vanguard to seize wealth management industry with its digital platform

Robo-advisors have been around for over a decade, and throughout that time we’ve been hearing that they are a threat to established independent wealth advisors. While they might have attracted a lot of industry coverage, most robos have gathered a relatively small amount of market share over 10 years. Yet in two short years, Vanguard…

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