Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the largest money management firm in the world with $4.6 trillion in assets, had nothing but praise for the Department of Labor's new fiduciary rule for advisors to retirement accounts. Speaking to investors during the firm's first quarter earnings call, Fink said it would increase investor confidence, and that means more assets going into growth investments rather than sitting in cash or bonds. "If they believe the DOL rules will give them better transparency, better certainty that they are treated well ... they invest more money for the long run." BlackRock, which owns the iShares suite of exchange-traded funds and recently announced its automated account allocation platform, FutureAdvisor, would be used by independent broker/dealer LPL, will benefit from the decision regardless if the new standards hasten the trend toward passive investment products or not, Fink said.
Texas Tech University has created a summer program for high school students interested in careers in financial planning and wealth management. Dubbed the Financial Planning Academy, the program is supported by a grant from the Charles Schwab Foundation and will host 100 students on the college's campus from June 12-17. The academy is designed to increase financial literacy, sharpen money management skills and generate interest among the students in careers as financial advisors. Among other real-world learning opportunities, the students will compete to create the best financial plan, with the winners getting scholarships and other prizes. For students interested in participating, the deadline is May 2. An application can be found here.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) proposed legislation this week that seeks to streamline and cheapen the process of filing taxes, The Hill reports. Under the proposed bill, the Internal Revenue Service would be required to create and implement a free online tax preparation service and would be barred from entering into agreements with tax-preparation companies that would interfere with the operation of said system. The bill also proposes a return-free option to ease the burden on those with simple tax situations. According to Sen. Warren (via press release), "Congress should be making it easier for Americans to file their taxes each year, not bowing to the interests of the tax prep industry."