More families are saving for college than ever before. The 10th edition of Fidelity Investments’ “College Savings Indicator Study” found that 72 percent of U.S. families are currently saving for college, an all-time high and a 24 percent increase since 2007. The study also saw an increase in the use of dedicated college savings accounts, which hit a new high, and families considering strategies to manage costs and generate more income, and saving more each year. Matt Golden, the vice president of Fidelity Institutional Asset Management, said these trends open up opportunities for advisors to engage with families. “Advisors can play a valuable role in initiating and guiding these intergenerational conversations, whether driven by parents or grandparents,” Golden said. “These discussions, along with helping parents optimize their investment strategy, are growing topics of guidance for the advisor community.”
Portfolios for a Post-DOL World
Lockwood Advisors, Pershing’s turnkey asset management provider, has introduced a new suite of mutual fund and ETF portfolios that feature a minimum balance of $10,000. The new strategies are aimed at smaller investors, and Lockwood says the offering will help registered reps transition from a commission-based to fee-based model. In this way, the offering could help reps continue to serve small clients that they may have otherwise not wanted to serve under the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule. The Lockwood WealthStart Portfolios include several asset allocation strategies that can be accessed through diversified risk-based model portfolios. "Emerging and mass affluent investors can now have greater access to professionally managed investment solutions," said Joel Hempel, chief operating officer of Lockwood. "These investors represent a large, often underserved market. By offering a suite of diversified risk-based portfolios to this segment, advisors and registered reps can serve new clients and take advantage of cross-generational opportunities."
Meb Faber Launches Robo Advisor
Meb Faber has long investigated the investing performance of robo advisors, but now he’s launching his own. Cambria Investment Management, where Faber serves as chief investment officer, announced Monday the launch of Cambria Digital Advisor, a program described as “a people-powered solution with no management fees.” Like other robo advisors, Faber’s relies on low-cost ETFs, but adds in an active management component that Faber said will help the robo adapt to changing market environments, produce better returns and reduce downside risk. The program is built using Betterment Institutional, Betterment’s white-label version of its robo technology. Though there are no management fees, clients do pay a 0.15 percent technology fee and the underlying fund costs.