Maybe it's not the technology that gives robo advisors an edge in the marketplace. Maybe it's trust. Mike Kane, a co-founder of Hedgeable, says he is confident in his company because of how little trust most people have in financial companies, especially in the wake of the recession. Kane argues that the traditional financial services companies would be better off acquiring startups and operating them as separate brands (like Northwestern Mutual appears to be doing with Learnvest) than trying to mimic their technology. “Who cares if big financial players get into the market to compete with us,” Kane said. “The headwinds are great, but the tailwinds will produce life changing results for the people who matter most- the customer. We know it, the banks know it, it is time those in the industry catch on.”
Have you used phrases like “educate your clients” or "take financial issues off their hands" when talking about your value proposition? They’re common messages and many advisor websites feature some variations on those themes. But as Fifth Set Investment Advisors recently discovered, the talking points were a real turn off to clients and some even felt they were condescending and demeaning. Moral of the story? Advisors should test out their message with current clients to see what works…and what doesn’t.
According to the New York Post, a therapist is being accused of seducing a patient, forcing that patient to disinherit her family and leave her entire $7 million estate to her instead. Amy Blumenthal, a successful attorney who suffered from an unspecified psychological disorder, saw Dr. Susan Turner, the accused, professionally for about 5 months before Turner allegedly issued “a firm ultimatum … to begin a romantic relationship” or sever their professional one. Things escalated quickly; Turner moved into Blumenthal’s apartment; Blumenthal lavished Turner with expensive gifts, including a country home. In April of 2013, Blumenthal completely cut her family out of her will, leaving nearly everything to Turner. Blumenthal died suddenly of unspecified causes in 2014. Blumenthal’s brother, Randy, alleges that his sister expressed doubts to him about her own judgment before she signed the documents. Turner counters that Randy is only bringing this claim because of a separate dispute between the two over trust funds left by the Blumenthals’ mother.
China's stock market took a hit in July, and the country apparently is soothing their pain with ... ice cream. According to London research firm Mintel, China blew by the U.S. in ice cream sales for the first time ever this year. The total market value for ice cream in China nearly doubled between 2008 and 2014, up to $11.4 billion. The U.S. grew by only 15 percent, now at $11.2 billion. The reason behind the shift? Disposable income rising in China, coupled with Americans becoming more sugar and health conscious. On a per-capita basis, however, the U.S. is still number one: Americans ate 18.4 liters of ice cream per person, compared to 4 liters for the Chinese.