Because kids these days just can't do anything on their own, grandparents are more than willing to help foot the bill for their grandchildren's college educations, according to Fidelity Investments' 2016 College Savings Indicator Study. The study found a record 72 percent of American families are saving for their children's higher educations, but only four in 10 high net worth grandparents are helping out. The number could be higher, however, with nearly three-quarters of grandparents willing to help pay college costs. However, only 28 percent have offered to help. At issue is the pride of parents—after all their parents already most likely helped put them through college—and when to initiate the conversation. “We encourage grandparents to discuss their desire to help fund major life milestones immediately, and we even help facilitate family financial conversations around topics like funding college, weddings and first-time home purchases,” said Chris McDermott, senior vice president, Private Wealth Management at Fidelity Investments. “The more families discuss financial planning goals and values around money, the more likely their children and grandchildren will develop an appreciation of their financial positions and their family’s commitment to their future success.” It's not as easy a writing a check, though. The study suggests enlisting a wealth management advisor to determine the proper means of gifting, whether a 529 account owned by the grandparent, a 529 account owned by the parents, establishing a custodial account, paying the university directly or waiting until after graduation and gifting the funds to the grandchild directly.
Schwab Advisor Services is launching a new suite of cybersecurity resources for financial advisors. The program includes regularly updated information about cyber attack trends, regulatory requirements and best practices, as well as an online “Cybersecurity Resource Center” to help guide advisors through the process of securing their digital practices. Nick Georgis, the senior vice president of Schwab Advisor Services, said the suite is in response to a recent study that found 90 percent of independent advisors named cybersecurity as a top compliance concern for 2016. “Cybersecurity is an incredibly important issue for all advisors, and we view this as a critical component of our practice management and consulting support,” said Georgis. “By institutionalizing important practices like vendor due diligence and employee education on data security, firms are in a better position to meet the challenges of cybersecurity today and in the future.”
Charlotte, N.C.-based financial services and consulting firm Innovation Partners, LLC has begun using solutions from Envestnet|Yodlee to offer clients a single, interactive portal for managing their wealth. "Envestnet's ongoing integration with Yodlee ensures that every investor has the tools and data they need to make well-informed decisions that can lead to better outcomes," said Bill Crager, president of Envestnet. Yanique Elaine Lawrence, president and co-chief compliance officer of Innovation Partners, agrees: "Our strategic relationship with Envestnet gives our clients the power to log into one place to obtain a complete picture of their wealth and take control of their financial lives."