Every year, REP. busts out the crystal ball to come up with 10 individuals who are going to have the greatest impact on you advisors over the next year. It always involves making some kind of call—on the markets, on regulation, on technology, on the evolution of advisor business models, etc. And while we’re not in the business of making predictions, we would argue—given our daily interactions with the most plugged-in individuals in the advisor world—that we know a thing or two about where the wealth management industry is headed, and who will blaze the trail.
Over the years, we haven’t done too shabbily. Last year, for example, we chose the outspoken fiduciary standard advocate Phyllis Borzi of the Department of Labor. Well-known in political circles, Borzi was less of a fixture in the advisor world until this year. Since our profile, Borzi has gained broad-based support for her fiduciary rule and a proposal is due out any month now. And she’s made quite a name for the DOL as the new sheriff in town for FAs.
But we’re not always right. Charles Goldman, who had co-founded a membership organization for RIAs called Advizent, didn’t get the investment needed to keep the consortium alive and had to shut down its operations. The industry awaits his next move.
This year, we chose individuals who are not necessarily household names in wealth management, but likely will be very soon. For example, Joe Lonsdale of Addepar and Zohar Swaine may not ring any bells. Lonsdale is working on a data aggregation tool for RIAs—one with the engineering firepower of Silicon Valley. Swaine was crucial to the development of inStream, a better mousetrap for drafting and implementing personal financial plans. Needless to say, technology will again be a huge driver of change this year.
Of course, there are some well-known names on the list, including Michael Piwowar, the expected incoming commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Janet Yellen, vice chairman of the Board of Governors at the Federal Reserve and the top contender to succeed Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman. Judd Gregg, CEO of Wall Street’s biggest lobbying group SIFMA, also holds notoriety with advisors.
Illustrations by Pablo.