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Sep 15, 2009 3:14 pm

I believe most of my peers who I talk with on a regular basis are a little concerned about the industry outlook.

I would like to guage where this forum believes our industry will be in 3 years.

A. Completely different on a fiduciary level.

B. Business will be slow.   C. There will be less advisors.   D. There will be more advisors and life will be much like it was in 04-05.   E. About the same as it is now.
Sep 15, 2009 3:36 pm

All of the above. It just depends on who you are.

Sep 15, 2009 4:47 pm

A. There will be a greater movement towards fiduciary advice.  However, not everyone needs/wants/wants to pay for fiduciary advice.  There will always be people that want to buys stocks and bonds at a bricks and mortar office (vs. the internet or 800- number).

But this will lead to (C), less advisors.  Although I think there will continue to be more insurance-agent and CPA-type advisors just servicing smaller in-house accounts.   I think there will be a continued movement towards independance (espically RIAs).  My guess is that 10 years from now, you will see many LARGE RIA firms hiring smaller advisors.  I don't think you will see 100 little independant shops open up in every town.  I think 25 years down the road, there will be "wirehouses" of the RIA world - RIA firms with offices all over the country.   Wirehouses will likely introduce their own "indy channels" (sort of like Wachovia?) to keep big producing teams from leaving, and allow them to brand themselves independant of the wirehouse.  I think gone are the days of the big branded Bull on the front of the towering skyscrapers, and 250 "brokers" packed into 5 floors.  Firms like Merrill and Morgan (BAC and MSSB) will just be the "back office" for big teams of advisors.  You can locate anywhere you want.   Our industry is changing....hang on.
Sep 15, 2009 6:11 pm

A couple of things that drive our industry; Demographics, technology, Gov’t oversight. 

Demographics..population growth will continue, albeit we are getting older as a total population.  More bilingual advisors will be needed.  Savings(investing)more vs Less Debt will continue.  Social security will be slammed, so people will see the need to invest more. If we do move to a more fee based advisory type business, fees will be driven down, more clients needed per advisor = less advisors..because of attrition and competition.    Technology already allows for an easy transition from captive to a more independent model.  Indy allows for higher payouts, which makes success of an advisor more likely.    I doubt we see a more fiduciary movement, only because it would hold us up to more litigation and the internet/800 companies do carry some clout.  I am concerned about gov't run IRA's and here's why.  A few years back, a lawsuit was brought against IBM(I believe) by a retired IBM employee.  THe just of the lawsuit was that IBM didn't provide proper training in regards to there 401k plan and the employee didn't have as much saved at retirement as the hypos being shown on their website.  In all cases before this, the employee lost.  This case the employee won.  The labor dept put out a paper saying they would not legislate more training, BUT the lawsuit set in motion for more lawsuits.    The Bush administration put into some new law that we could advise on 401k's, it was just repealed by Obama Admin.  I could see it being to much liability for companies to offer 401k's and then the Fed gov't would come in and take it on...just another way for them to bring money into the coffers, just like the healthcare debate today.   The only reason, in my mind, we are having this healthcare debate is because the gov't has raped Social Security and its, along with Medicare, about to run dry.  So, all they're looking for is another source of incoming revenue without a tax.   Gov't run 401k's would be an almost absolute end to our industry..except for a very few. 
Sep 15, 2009 6:19 pm

Spears, I agree. I didn’t think about it in this context, but the whole government-run defined contribution plan scares the bejesus out of me.  The only upside would be that we wouldn’t have to deal with 50K IRA rollovers anymore - we would only be dealing with people with serious money - everyone else would have an ObamaIRA.

  The other thing holding back an over-concentration of indies would be lack of training/direction.  It's pretty tough to start out indy, so most FA's will still have to either start at a bank, wirehouse, or large indy shop that could train them.  I sort of compare it to starting out as a lawyer or CPA - most start by working for someone else out of college and then open shop themselves once they know what the heck they're doing.  Nothing will change with the fact that this is a tough business to break into.  And with wirehouses dying a slow death, there will be fewer and fewer trainees with salaries to get started.
Sep 15, 2009 7:23 pm

I never thought of the government intervention to the point of taking over IRA money.

Love the insight about Social Security an Medicare. I have been telling some friends that it wouldn't shock me if they came out soon and said... "Oops Social Security will run out in 2014.    
Sep 16, 2009 1:18 am

I agree, lower fees for clients and more fiduciary responsibility.  I would not be surpirsed to see the industry require more education, licenses, designations, ect…

Sep 16, 2009 1:34 am
LA Broker:

I agree, lower fees for clients and more fiduciary responsibility. I would not be surpirsed to see the industry require more education, licenses, designations, ect…

I agree. Everybody should have to get dual Ph.D's - one in Financial Planning (I hear Texas Tech has one) and Quantitative Finance.