Nearly half of North American consumers are open to robo advice for banking services, according to a new report by Accenture. The study defined "robo advice" as "computer-generated advice and services, independent of a human advisor," and 79 percent of the 4,000 American and Canadian retail bank customers surveyed said they would welcome robo advice to determine how to allocate investments. Three-quarters said they would let robo advice recommend the type of bank account to open, and another 69 percent said they would use one for retirement planning, though U.S. consumers indicated they were slightly more open to robo advice than Canadians. David Edmondson, the senior managing director of Accenture's North American Banking practice, said the results indicate that automated advice is catching on in banking as it already has in wealth management.
IFP is in charge.
Independent Financial Partners, a hybrid RIA based in Tampa, Fla., will become an office of supervisory jurisdiction under LPL Financial. Under the new structure, the firm's 460 advisors will deal directly with the RIA's central team, instead of LPL's home office. The firm also beefed up its staff to improve advisor services, bringing on Chris Cokinis as its new chief compliance officer of brokerage as well as three compliance analysts. Previously, the firm had eight people who handled compliance on the RIA side, led by Chief Compliance Officer John Whisenant. Under the new structure, Whisenant will continue to handle RIA compliance. "We offer direct support for nearly every other aspect of our advisors' businesses, so it made sense to bring OSJ services back to IFP," said IFP President and CEO William Hamm. In recent years, many OSJs have morphed into full-service practice management powerhouses, providing innovative marketing support, professional business consultants and powerful recruiting and transition programs for breakaway advisors — or retiring ones looking to sell their practice and offload their clients.
Now offering impact investing courses.
Impact investing has been around for more than half a century, but it's only started to catch on in the last decade at America's top business schools. Now, the most prestigious of all, Harvard Business School, will launch its first impact investment course, joining Columbia Business School, which has been offering similar courses for more than a decade, and Duke's Fuqua School of Business, according to Fortune. The schools with already robust impact investing curriculum, like Duke's Fuqua, offer up to 18 impact investing-related credits to go with traditional finance courses. In addition, the schools have developed socially responsible funds run by students. At Fuqua, there's the CASE i3 Initiative on Impact Investing; University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School has the $500,000, 60-student Wharton Social Venture Fund and the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business has the Michigan Ross Social Venture Fund. Columbia has two funds: Microcolumbia, which gives MBAs the opportunity to consult and make investments in companies' existing "under-banked" populations, and the Impact Investing Initiative, a multi-disciplinary fund made up of four Columbia schools, including the business school and Earth Institute.