Normally this is the time of year for top 10 lists, but as industry guru Ric Edelman and countless others much less famous in TVland and Twitterdom have noted, there is a shortage of powerful, electrifying issues for financial advisors.
So we’re down to five:
1. Heed the wisdom of another vaunted financial advisor, Rip Van Winkle, and tune out the rehash about the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule for retirement plan advisors until it is finalized in 2016 -- which it will be.
The fiduciary rule will happen will happen because President Obama has made clear he sees the rule as a cornerstone of his legacy. Fiduciary will happen because industry and Republican opponents failed in their best chance to kill the proposal in Congress when the budget bill passed last week without language to stop it.
The biggest potential changes in the proposed DOL rule could be lengthening the implementation time and explicit permission for professionals to be compensated by the sale of financial products rather than just earning their keep from a flat fee.
Again, save your time; use your brain cells for more productive pursuits until the final rule comes out. The fiduciary rule has become one of the most boring issues in Washington. Everything that could be said about it has been said 1,000 times over.
2. Who will succeed Rich Ketchum as CEO of Finra?
Washington was built on idle speculation so who am I to be a contrarian? Pundits have to eat as do their cocker spaniels, so here goes.
Will Finra choose an insider or an outsider? And if it is an outsider, will the American Medical Association-, American Bar Association-like industry regulator go for a politician or someone very politically connected, like recently resigned Republican Securities and Exchange Commissioner Dan Gallagher? Right after Ketchum announced he was stepping down, rumors Gallagher would succeed him stepped up -- big time.
Will Ketchum’s successor put RK’s on-again, off-again campaign to have Finra oversee financial advisors back on the front burner? Finra could use extra money from fees as the advisor space has been expanding while companies that are broker-only have been contracting as hybrids have become the norm.
Will the new CEO go with the flow, as in status quo, or will the new chief start barking loudly about his or her own new pet projects?