There's nothing like continuing education. Because I believe in perpetual learning, I frequently attend financial services industry conferences. And I'm always amazed at what I pick up inside the conference room as well as out in the hallway among attendees.
At two recent conferences about estate planning, I encountered many participants in need of instruction on specific planning tactics. They'd had enough about commonly discussed GRATs, GRUTs and QPRTs. Instead, they desired information on planning techniques for qualified retirement plan benefits and IRAs. They were also curious about developments in estate, gift and income taxation. As well they were concerned about issues of professional responsibility in estate planning.
In last month's issue, contributing writer Tracy Herman consulted a number of well-known authorities in estate planning and presented five popular techniques for passing money. That's just a starting point. As your financial advising duties expand, you will find yourself confronting these and other estate planning issues. I would like to know in greater detail what your information needs are, and how we at Registered Representative can meet them. I look forward to your suggestions.
Shuffling Dividends Clients need to be aware of the trend toward annual versus quarterly dividend payments. In fact, clients may be asked to vote on this issue on proxy statements. Whether the company or its shareholders get more from a switch is at the heart of the debate.
Companies save on the cost of producing and mailing checks annually instead of every three months. Consider firms with millions of small shareholders who get quarterly dividend checks for a dollar or less, and you can see that annual payments make immediate sense. Disney and McDonald's are already using this strategy to save. Plus, a corporation could take quarterly dividends and put them in short-term CDs. Then, the interest earned could go toward debt reduction, R&D, capital improvements or anything to enhance the company's profits or share price.
However, the impact of annual dividend payments on shareholders might be less positive. When checks are issued only once a year, shareholders lose the interest and the opportunity to use that money for necessary purchases. For your clients who may be dividend dependent, this could be a major concern.