August is a popular month for vacations, and I hope you are getting some R&R. Here at Financial Advisor magazine, we see that the advisory business is doing anything but slowing down. Change is all around, and we can feel the warm wind carrying more this way.

As Senior Editor Eric Rasmussen noted in his article accompanying our annual RIA survey last month, giddy merger activity in the RIA space is echoing that of the insurance and brokerage giants 10 years ago. Bigger players want to take part, with one of the most landscape-altering deals being Goldman Sachs’s purchase of United Capital for $750 million.

This month, beginning on page 34, Eric takes an in-depth look at recruiting activity in the independent B-D world. There’s a war for talent, and b-ds are stepping up their game to corral new recruits, he writes. In fact, some of the biggest B-Ds are knocking down fees that a sought-after advisor will pay for the services that these firms provide them. A lot of B-Ds are trying to build scale faster by going after bigger teams, which have more leverage to negotiate good deals to move. Advisors also want high-quality service and the latest technology—including client portals, cloud access and robust platforms—so B-Ds must constantly innovate and keep tools current to attract top talent.

Meanwhile, RIAs, broker-dealers and just about everyone else in the advice business are downplaying investment advice as it continues to become more commoditized, digital and cheaper. Advisors are exploring and discussing new kinds of issues with clients who face different challenges than previous generations—not the least of which is that many of them may live into the triple digits. On page 23, Dawn Doebler and Michael J. Nathanson of The Colony Group explore “The Risk And Impact of Living Longer” and present ideas on how advisors can talk with clients about risks that may include outliving income, late-in-life divorce and delayed or dissipated inheritances. Even more important, the two offer ideas for advisors on how they can help clients manage those risks.

For advisors making major business decisions as well as for clients in charge of their own, potentially long, later lives, uncertainty can be very unsettling, if not downright unnerving. For both groups, getting good advice, careful analysis and ongoing encouragement can build optimism and go a long way toward relieving the anxiety that often comes from facing uncertain changes. Advisors who repeatedly provide those three things to clients will be irreplaceable.     

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