The next bear market will reveal just how crucial it is for investors to work with actual humans

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The next bear market will reveal just how crucial it is for investors to work with actual humans (Bloomberg)

Robo-advisors have become extremely popular over the last few years. However, it’s notable that their rise has coincided with a multi-year bull run in stocks.

“The nascent industry could face a big test if markets were to turn,” write Bloomberg’s Julie Verhage and Suzanne Woolley. “A bear market would represent a challenge that the ranks of robo-advisers haven’t encountered yet, and it would be the ultimate test of just how crucial, or irrelevant, working with actual humans is to good, long-term investing.”

One particularly interesting thing to see will be whether human interaction is actually necessary to help calm down skittish clients during downturns, or if
robots sending “proactive messages about how volatility is normal” would suffice.

The best ways to reap huge returns when stocks are going nowhere (Business Insider)

Just because stocks are going nowhere doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to reap returns.

“Unfortunately, many investors are not accustomed to this sort of environment, in our view, since market price action has been very ‘directional’ for quite some time,” wrote BMO chief investment strategist Brian Belski in a note to clients, according to Business Insider’s Akin Oyedele.

“Nonetheless, we caution investors not to confuse our indifference regarding market direction as a recommendation to avoid adding exposure to US stocks. Indeed, our work shows that plenty of ‘alpha’ opportunity exists in these sorts of environments.”

Here’s who should file-and-suspend for social security benefits (Nerd’s Eye View)

File and Suspend will no longer be available to new users starting April 30. This strategy allows the higher earner of a couple to file for Social Security retirement benefits when (s)he reaches retirement, and then suspends the claim. The spouse can then claim benefits on the higher earner’s record, while the higher earner can watch their benefits continue to grow until age 70.

“As a result, anyone who has at least met the full retirement age of 66, and is not yet age 70, should be considering whether to submit a file-and-suspend request by April 29,” writes Michael Kitces. “Notably, the tactic is a moot point for anyone who has already claimed benefits, or who doesn’t plan to delay benefits going forward. Nor is file-and-suspend relevant for widows … nor for divorcees.”

Cetera managed to recruit a $200 million firm (

Cetera Financial Group announced that one of its member firms, Cetera Advisor Networks, recruited Empire Asset Management group, a hybrid practice with $200 million in advisory and brokerage client assets, reports Ryan W. Neal.

Notably, this comes at a time when its parent company RCS Capital (RCAP) is undergoing bankruptcy proceedings.

Raymond James’ profits spiked 11% in the first quarter (ThinkAdvisor)

Raymond James announced on Wednesday that it increased profits 11% in the first quarter to $125.8 million, up from $113.5 million a year earlier, reports Janet Levaux.

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