FA Insights is a daily newsletter from Business Insider that delivers the top news and commentary for financial advisors.
The US retirement picture is darkening (Financial Advisor)
A recent study by the National Institute on Retirement Security concluded 40 million, or 45%, of Americans do not have a single penny saved for retirement. Those who do have money saved up have an average of $US2,500 put away, a 16.7% drop from 2013. The statistics are particularly troubling for those nearing retirement, aged 55 to 64, as the median account balance for the group is just $US14,500. “It’s no wonder Americans believe the nation faces a retirement crisis [because] the evidence is irrefutable that the hope of retirement is out of reach for millions of middle-class Americans,” noted Diane Oakley, NIRS executive director.
The Fed warns rate hikes will be slower and lower (Charles Schwab)
The Federal Open Market Committee removed ‘patient’ from Wednesday’s Statement, and noted it must have ‘reasonable confidence’ inflation near the 2% target before it goes ahead and raises the Fed Funds Rate. In Charles Schwab’s view, the current pace of economic growth remains too weak for a June rate hike, and instead suggests the Fed will move at some point in the second half of the year. Kathy A. Jones, Senior Vice President and Chief Fixed Income Strategist of Schwab Center for Financial Research suggest, “Most notable in the Fed’s release was the sharp drop in the expected path of rate hikes over the next few years.” She continued, “The median projection for the Fed funds rate at the end of 2015 declined from 1.125% to 0.625%, while each subsequent year’s estimate declined by 50 basis points or more.”
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FINRA to crack down on brokers with undisclosed liens and judgements (Wealth Management)
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is reportedly strengthening its efforts to enforce undisclosed liens and judgements. Wealth Management notes FINRA is seeking “information on 3,400 separate instances of unreported Form U4 issues within 30 days” from one broker dealer, even looking at cases as dating back to 1986. Richard Roth of the Roth Law Firm says, “The concept makes sense, but there’s got to be a limitation.” He continued, “That’s the problem; there’s no time or scope limitations — if it’s customer complaint-related, go back six years.”
A class action lawsuit filed against Northwestern Mutual over a 1985 change to the way it calculated dividend payments for fixed income annuities has been settled. The company has agreed to pay investors $US84 million after using “dividends based on the yields from short-term bonds, instead of a dividend based on the overall performance of the mutual company.” The settlement will be shared between the current 4,000 and previous 29,000 annuity owners.
What women want in a financial plan (Financial Planning)
More and more women are becoming their families’ breadwinners, but advisors have been slow to provide them with the type of financial plan they want. Specifically, women are looking for a plan that is tailored to their needs, as opposed to the cookie cutter plans that most advisors offer. “When you’re an analytical person, its easy to jump to conclusions about what a client needs after just a few seconds of talking,” she says. “But you’re seeing them through your own lens. You have to take the time to look under the hood and really get the whole picture,” says Eileen O’Connor of Hemington Wealth Management.
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