Weekend Reading for Financial Planners (Dec 11-12)

Weekend Reading for Financial Planners (Dec 11-12)

Enjoy the current installment of “Weekend Reading for Financial Planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with news about the U.S. Supreme Court’s hearing of a case involving the Northwestern University employee retirement plan, whose participants claim that the plan’s administrators breached their fiduciary duties by offering ‘too many’ choices and providers, such that they failed to reach size breakpoints that could have reduced the plan’s fees… a case that will have broader implications for the types of claims that other retirement plan participants will be able to bring against their plans’ sponsors (and raising broader questions about just how far a fiduciary really has to go in trying to minimize costs for their clients).

Also in industry news this week:

  • While regulators have signaled that they don’t intend to re-write the recent SEC and DOL “Best Interests” regulations that allow for conflicted advice, broker-dealers are likely to face more scrutiny in examinations from the SEC and DOL focusing on conflicted compensation in the coming year
  • Though the “Secure 2.0” bills in the U.S. House and Senate have seen little progress since being introduced in the spring, legislators are still optimistic that the bipartisan bills could actually still pass before the end of the year (and if not, sometime in early 2022?)

From there, we also have several articles on options for investing in cryptocurrencies and the creation of a new type of blockchain-based organizational structure:

  • The introduction of a crypto index using separately managed accounts that could be widely available to advisors next year
  • Fidelity launched a ‘spot’ Bitcoin ETF in Canada, but U.S.-based advisors and investors will face hurdles investing in the fund
  • The potential for Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) to serve as a more efficient business structure for membership-style organizations

We also have a number of articles on investing:

  • How the sharp rise in inflation has led to the increased popularity of Series I savings bonds, whose current 7.12% annual interest rate led to over $1.3 billion in new bonds being purchased in November alone
  • Why structured notes are gaining more interest as a higher-yielding alternative to traditional fixed-income assets, despite some notable potential downsides to investors
  • How “direct indexing” has seen an increase in interest, owing to its possibilities for tax-loss harvesting and customizing portfolios to fit investors’ needs

We wrap up with three final articles, all about seizing opportunities, even if there is a risk of failure:

  • Why taking positive asymmetrical risks can lead to personal and professional success
  • How striving for excellence rather than perfection can lead to more creativity
  • The importance of momentum, and why temporarily skipping over challenging tasks and NOT checking every task on a to-do list can make it more likely a larger goal is achieved

Enjoy the ‘light’ reading!

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