Folio Investing and Folio Institutional announced Tuesday that it would be the first broker/dealer to offer NextShares, the actively managed funds that look like exchange-traded funds, directly to individual investors, advisors and institutions. ALPS, a Denver-based asset manager, also said it would launch their own NextShares trust. The announcements follow news that Envestment is making NextShares available on its wealth management platform. Navigate Fund Solutions, the subsidiary of Eaton Vance that developed NextShares, hopes the funds will launch before the end of the year, though has not named a specific date.
A new report this week from Slate explores the extraordinarily high stockpiles of money that elite, expensive universities have accumulated for their endowments and asks whether this money should either be taxed or be spent at a higher rate. The story acknowledges that some of the bigger institutions in the U.S. have endowments in the billions (Harvard with $36.4 billion, Yale with $23.9 billion), and while lawmakers have fought for reform in the past, the question is whether the financial largess thrown off by these non-profit institutions, essentially subsidized by everyday American taxpayers, still deserve their favorable tax status. “The joke about Harvard is that it’s a hedge fund with a university attached to it,” said Mark Schneider, a former Department of Education official and current fellow at the American Institutes for Research. One of the arguments against non-taxed endowments for big research institutions? Tuition for students across the board continues to climb, and state colleges, conversely suffering from deep budget cuts, are increasingly unaffordable for less affluent families; taxing the piles of cash accumulating inside the nation's most expensive schools may make some sense. Wealthy universities argue that much of the money is restricted to specific uses by the donors. They also note that the money needs to keep growing to ensure that professors can "keep conducting cutting-edge research."
As the population ages, some businesses will inevitably see an uptick in importance. Consider the business of estate sales. According to a recent article in the Detroit Free Press, when a will distributes property the focus is usually on the more substantial and interesting items -- the kind that people are willing to fight over. However, there’s usually still alot of stuff left over that the heirs don't really care about owning; liquidating that property can be daunting, and companies that will come in and do it for the heirs are set to benefit from the trend. "It can take weeks, months or even years for a family to sort through all the things lovingly stored in a home ... It can be a complicated process, riddled with family feuds and loaded with emotion, if left to the courts or heirs, so more are turning to companies that organize estate sales," according to the article.
Financial advisors might not have the best of reputations, but the good ones out there (you know who you are) play a vital role for their clients when it comes to retirement. David A. Dedman, president and founder, Lexington Wealth Management, writes on the Huffington Post that FAs are worth their weight in gold when it comes to helping clients modify their investing behavior, especially the transition of living without that steady paycheck coming in anymore. Advisors are there to be their clients' subconscious, to do the heavy lifting on the number-crunching, to be a check and balance if dementia hits and to keep clients' emotions out of their money-making decisions.