Inside ETF News

etf.comInside ETFs is the world’s largest ETF Conference. It’s going on now, until tomorrow, in Hollywood, Florida. Generally, it sounds like a love fest within an industry that is exploding. The ETF revolution is just getting started. It’s a 1.7 trillion industry now, set to grow to to 15.5 trillion.  Tax advantages of ETFs are superior to mutual funds due to structure. People tend to pile out of mutual funds in December and into ETFs that same month. It’s a tax-driven strategy to avoid year end mutual funds tax distributions.

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Why Advisors Need LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the richest social media networkLinkedIn has always been my favorite social network. It requires minimum maintenance and it offers highly relevant professional connections. There are 100 million members but it hasn’t been over-commercialized … yet. It is the ‘richest’ social media channel (see graph left).

And in the last year or so it has been steadily adding very impressive promotional, marketing, and networking applications.

What can an advisor do to take full advantage of LinkedIn? Complete your profile, link to everybody you know and respect professionally, issue consistent updates, link your blog and Twitter to your LinkedIn profile, post a LinkedIn badge on your web site or blog.

In the last year or so, probably in prep for its IPO, LinkedIn has been behaving more like a social network rather than a glorified resume.  If you are a company (including sole proprietorship), you can promote your company background and individual services. See screen capture below.

Related: LinkedIn introduces news component.

InfluenceAdvisor LinkedIn Services

InfluenceAdvisor Services as it Appears on LinkedIn Services

Clients in News: Dow Jones

Congratulations to InfluenceAdvisor client Aaron Schindler for his recent quotes in a Dow Jones Newswire story on finding investment bargains after recent turmoil in Japan and the Middle East. Aaron discusses investments in ETFs – a country index and a commodities play. See the quote on Aaron’s web site that we developed for him.

Aaron is a New York City-based Certified Financial Planner with Wealth Advisory Group LLC. Aaron specializes in investments, insurance and financial planning for professionals, families, and businesses. We assist Aaron with media relations, editorial services, marketing, and new business development. Can we help you?

FINRA to Issue More Social Media Guidance

Financial Advisors using social media YouTube Twitter Facebook Digg Twitter FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) will be examining social media again, convening a Task Force next month to explore use among advisors. FINRA intends to issue more guidance later in the year.  Last year, FINRA released its first regulatory notice with guidance on blogs and social networking websites (See FINRA press release).

With more Americans using the Internet and social networking sites growing in popularity, how to regulate has become a big question. Along with more general regulation questions, there is confusion over the  responsibilities of firms. In particular, FINRA has stipulated that advisors must archive social media communication for six years. This has lead to a cottage industry of social media compliance solutions for advisors.

linkedFA is a social network for financial advisors to communicate with their investors.  Cloud Preservation is a “fully automated web archive service” that claims to easily assure compliance in social media for as little as $15/month. Website Archiving captures screen shots for regulatory compliance.

Advisors are Tweeting up a storm (see AdvisorTweets), sharing information through the web (see Advisors4Advisors), blogging, Facebooking, LinkingIn – exploring the full range of Internet-based marketing options open to other industries.

I’m glad the FINRA will take a closer look at social media and offer clarity to replace the fear about social media that now permeates the financial industry. Advisors, like other professionals, should be allowed to use social media to their full advantage, as long as they are compliant.

Related: SEC Targeting Advisors Without Social Networking Policies, Financial Advisor, 2/22/2011  | How to Embrace Social Media and Stay Compliant, Financial Planning, 1/25/2011 | Companies are adopting Facebook as an official investor forum. See IR web story. |FINRA Guide to the Internet for Registered Representatives

Social Media Leads to Mass Affluent Clients

social media icons Facebook LinkedIn TwitterHow do advisors penetrate the mass affluent market (between $1 – $5 million in assets?).

The story in Financial Planning magazine An Advisor’s Guide To Hunting For The Next Generation of Nouveau Riche wisely highlights the benefits or reaching tech-savvy mass affluent clients through social media channels. If your clients are clued into their mobile for work and pleasure, and they follow news, shop, and do their work through social media channels, you should be there too. It’s the smart, effective way for advisors to build client confidence and network in the right circles.

Potential clients will automatically search your background on the web. What will they find through a Google search, on LinkedIn, your blog, or third-party news stories. More and more, advisors are successfully integrating Internet-based marketing into their daily activities.

From the broker-dealer and financial advisor perspective, getting to these coveted clients requires not only an appreciation for the social media in which they’re so deeply entrenched, but a willingness to actively participate in it.

“You have to be where they are,” Haefele said. “Be on LinkedIn and Facebook. They’re telling you a lot about themselves in these channels. These are great resources for building up a prospect pool and finding out how you’re already connected to them.”

Financial advisors who may be spooked by FINRA’s guidelines for social media participation need to get over it and just make sure they have the IT platform in place to monitor and save all their social media dispatches.

Haefele suggests reading these potential clients’ blogs — or perhaps starting one of your own and posting comments linking back to yours on their sites — and doing everything possible to elevate your profile so you show up prominently on any Google search for financial advisor and the like. See the Financial Planning story.

Want to be a Video Star?

YouTubeProving that anything can be interesting if it’s well presented Bill Winterberg at FPPad comes out with his latest video report on technology for advisors (video below). Talk about a niche subject. Bill delivers this line with a straight face: “Next up. A fascinating case study from a large RIA about its search for a robust electronic document management solution.”

But … as it happens, I was wondering about why my Microsoft SkyDrive has become the Microsoft OneDrive and what it all means.  Bill clears it up, sort of, although I never trust where Microsoft may actually be leading me.

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Blumenthal on the Fed and Tactical Investing

Steve Blumenthal, CEO, CMG Capital Management Group, on WSJ LiveSteve Blumenthal, CMG Capital Management Group CEO, joined Markets Hub at the WSJ Live to talk about the Fed and tactical investment strategies. See video below or on WSJ Live: Markets Ask: Will the Fed Pull it Off?.

CMG Capital Management Group has approximately $432 million AUM in tactically managed accounts for individuals and advisors.  CMG investment strategies are also available in a Variable Annuity through Jefferson National.

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Trends in Wealth Management

Dow Jones Wealth AdviserKevin Noblet, managing editor of WSJ Wealth Management, discusses two key trends in wealth management. Expect continued growth of independent advisors, taking market share from big brokerages. All the big wirehouses have been delivering high, steady revenue recently, but they have not yet figured out how to deal with the steady growth of independent advisors. Pardon the brief lead-in advertisement to this video.