FPA Scorecard Reveals Regional Variations
The Financial Planning Association (FPA) and McLagan Partners have produced the first of what is planned to be an annual Practice Management Scorecard that examines regional differences in the U.S. financial planning industry. The scorecard is aimed at helping participating financial planners make changes or future business plans based on how their competitors operate in their particular geographic area.
Profit margins, employee compensation, total practice revenue, net effective payout for owners and opportunities for growth vary markedly from the New York metropolitan area, to California, to the mid-west. "National benchmarks are not relevant in different areas of the country," says Peter Keuls, head of private client management for McLagan Partners in Stamford, Conn. "Several large firms, such as Fidelity, found the geographic-based information so valuable, they are purchasing it for their representatives."
"Two key components of the scorecard were the localization and the customization, which enables participants to easily compare their rankings with others in their market," says Todd Crowley, head of broker productivity and compensation for McLagan Partners in Chicago.
"Being part of the scorecard helped me understand my business and will help me decide if I want to get rid of the insurance part and concentrate solely on financial planning," explains Leon Rousso, CFP, president of Leon Rousso and Associates, in Ventura, Calif.
Information on purchasing scorecard information is available at https://fpascorecard.mclagan.com or by contacting Todd Crowley of McLagan Partners at (312) 381-9706.

Barclays Creates New iShares Funds
Barclays Global Investors is now licensed to create five new iShares exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by FTSE Group, a global index provider.
Four of the new funds will track the international FTSE EPRA/NAREIT real estate indexes. They are Global Real Estate ex-U.S. Index Fund (IFGL), Asia Index Fund (IFAS), Europe Index Fund (IDFEU) and North America Index Fund (IFNA). The fifth will track the FTSE Developed Small Cap ex-North America Index Fund (IFSM).
The new funds complement a series of iShares launched on the NYSE in May that track the domestic real estate sub-sectors of residential, industrial/office, retail, mortgage REIT and real estate 50.

Black Wealth Network Launched
Black Wealth Network version 2.0 is being launched by BWN Media, LLC, an African-American owned media company in Washington, D.C. BWN‚s partners in the enterprise are SaveDaily.com, an electronic mutual fund and ETF distribution services provider and SBK-Brooks Investment Corp., an African-American owned investment banking and securities firm.
The network offers new financial services technologies and interactive communications tools to promote long-term investing using African-American money managers and firms that employ African-Americans in significant numbers.

PriceMetrix And Pusateri Form Partnership
PriceMetrix, a provider of training and management tools for investment firms and financial planners, and Pusateri Consulting and Training, a boutique sales training firm in Buffalo, N.Y., are partnering to create new training and management tools for their mutual clients.
Pusateri trains wealth management firms to distinguish their individual services, while PriceMetrix aims at increasing firms‚ productivity and assets. Together their goal is to create products to identify firms‚ differences that can increase their revenues.

National Financial Expands Broker Platform
Seven major insurance carriers are joining National Financial‚s annuity program, enabling broker-dealers to now automate the processing of annuity products from more than 20 carriers integrated through National Financial‚s Web-based Streetscape workstation.
Broker-dealers of National Financial, a Fidelity Investment company, can now handle annuity products from the largest carriers, representing 80% of the top 20 issuers of individual annuities. The automatic processing reduces costs and minimizes time associated with buying annuities.

XShares Adds Lower-cost ETFs
XShares Advisors, sponsor of a family of ETFs based in New York City, is partnering with RPG Consultants to add lower-cost ETFs to retirement accounts.
RPG, also based in New York, offers administration and consulting services for retirement plan providers. Its open architecture platform will enable planners to offer XShares diversified ETFs portfolios that automatically rebalance themselves as they approach a specific target retirement date.