Your clients will get the following letter when you change to a new firm:

Issues to consider when your broker changes firms
You’re receiving this notice because your broker has changed firms. If you’re thinking about whether to follow your broker or stay with your current firm, it’s a good idea to examine key issues that will help you make an informed decision. A good relationship with your broker is surely valuable to you, but it’s not the only factor in determining what’s in your best interest.
Before making a final decision, talk to your broker or someone at your current firm about the following questions, and make sure you’re comfortable with the answers.

Could financial incentives create a conflict of interest for your broker?
In general, you should discuss the reasons your broker decided to change firms. Some firms pay brokers financial incentives when they join, which could include bonuses based on customer assets the broker brings in, incentives for selling in-house products or a higher share of commissions. Similarly, some firms pay financial incentives to retain brokers or customers. While there’s nothing wrong with these incentives in either case, they can create a conflict of interest for the broker. Whether you stay or go, you should carefully consider whether your broker’s advice is aligned with your investment strategy and goals.

Can you transfer all your holdings to the new firm? What are the implications and costs if you can’t?
Some products, such as certain mutual funds and annuities, may not be transferable if that’s the case, you’ll face an additional decision if you follow your broker to the new firm: whether to liquidate the non-transferable holdings or keep just these holdings at your current firm. Either way, there couId be costs to you, such as fees or taxes if you liquidate,
or different service fees if you leave some assets at the current firm. Your broker should be able to explain the implications and costs of each scenario.

What costs will you pay, both in the short term and ongoing if you change firms? In addition to liquidation fees or taxes if you sell non-transferable assets, you may have to pay account termination or transfer fees if you close your current account , or account opening fees at the new firm.(Even if the new firm waives its fees as an incentive to transfer, that wouldn’t reduce any transfer or closure costs at your current firm.) Moving forward, the new firm may have a different pricing structure for maintaining your account or making transactions (such as fee-based instead of commissions ,or vice versa),which could increase or lower your account costs.Your broker should be able to explain the pricing structure of the new firm and how your ongoing costs would compare.

How do the products at the new firm compare with your current firm?
Of course, not all firms offer the same products. There may be some types of investments you’ve purchased in the past or are considering for the future that aren’t available at the new firm.
If that happens, you should feel comfortable with the products they offer as alternatives If you tend to keep a lot of cash in your account, ask what investment vehicles are available at the new firm for the cash sweep account and whether the interest rate would have an effect on your return.

What level of service will you have?
Whether you follow your broker to the new firm or choose another broker at your current firm, consider whether you’ll have access to the types of service, support and online resources that meet your needs.

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Excluding the players in the World Series, there are many contenders for a baseball list that no one wants to be a part of…..

The toughest question for the general manager of any baseball team is whether to pull the trigger and offer a player coming off a big year a huge contract. No matter what fans think there’s no way to tell for sure if a player will continue at the top of his game after re-signing. The World Series features two teams, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, who eschewed off-season splurges and relied on smaller contracts and young, untested, players — particularly the Royals.

Read full article here.

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The Occupy Wall Street movement is occupying the minds of many financial advisors these days. RegisteredRep.com has some advice on how to handle the issue.

Here are some key things to remember. After the 2008 financial crisis, a survey of investors who had more than $1 million each in investments showed that 27% held Wall Street to blame, and 20% blamed the government. So blaming their financial advisor wasn’t on their radar then, and it’s not the case now. In fact, RegisteredRep.com reports that the Oechsli Institute found that financial advisors are considered the most “highly accurate” source of information.

But it’s still important to craft a message regarding Occupy Wall Street if your customers ask. Here are three tips from RegisteredRep.com

  • Stay above the political fray. “Do not be defensive—this isn’t about you. And don’t trash the protestors,” the article notes.
  • Be an “indispensible advisor to your clients” by giving great service efficiently.
  • Craft two messages – one for your current clients, and one for “Affluent Prospects & COIs.” The clients should be reminded that you are being “extremely vigilant in monitoring your family’s portfolio and protecting your family’s assets from all of this craziness.”

The prospects should be told that you are “working feverishly making the adjustments and protecting our clients from all of this, whether it’s Wall Street, the government, or our clients themselves.” In fact, some investors are even discovering that the Occupy Wall Street issue is turning into a “viral marketing campaign for elite advisors.”

Written by Lisa Swan

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InvestmentNews.com reports that the Occupy Wall Street protest “isn’t just a young person’s movement anymore” and that “it’s gathering momentum.” The news site interviewed people of varying ages who have been showing up in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to join in on the protests.

Colin Offenhartz, a 68-year-old retired businessman from Chappaqua, New York, came down to Manhattan with friend Ed Ozols, 67, to participate in the Occupy Wall Street movement. “This is a crisis the banks built; they had fraudulent securities and sold short — and now they want taxpayers to bail them out,” Offenhartz told InvestmentNews. “You can’t destroy the middle class to survive.”

David Intrator, 55, a communications expert, also joined the protests, saying, “Corporate America is undergoing a crisis of legitimacy.” He said he believed in “more regulated capitalism, stricter regulation of Wall Street and the enforcement of laws.” Intrator said he had friends who worked at hedge funds, and said that many of them also supported increased regulation.

And one college professor said that Occupy Wall Street could possibly become the “Tea Party of the Left.” Brayden King, a professor at Northwestern University, told InvestmentNews that the Occupy Wall Street protestors “have to figure out what it is they are about in order to become the force of change in the Democratic Party like the Tea Party has been in the Republican Party.” He said that “without that, it will be hard for politicians to figure out how to position themselves without just saying: ‘We’re mad, too.’”

Written by Lisa Swan

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Is the New York Stock Exchange about to be attacked by some “Anonymous”mischief-makers? That’s what the digital sabotage group “Anonymous Hackers” is threatening for this week, On Wall Street reports.

The group recently posted two YouTube videos threatening mayhem against the NYSE.  In the video addressed to the media, Anonymous claims that “on October 10, NYSE shall be erased from the Internet. On October 10, expect a day that shall never, ever be forgot.” The video claims that the group will target NYSE.com at 3:30 p.m. on that day.  However, as InvestmentNews.com notes, NYSE.com is a news site that simply contains information about the company, and does not facilitate trading activities. The actual trading system is run through computers from Mahwah, New Jersey.

The second video, addressed to “the brave citizens of New York,” appears to connect Anonymous’ planned actions as being in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protests. The video claims that ordinary citizens have unwittingly given a “multibillion dollar credit line to the companies and banks that continue to systematically abuse us,” saying that “this is our chance to show them the people will not allow this to continue.”

Written by Lisa Swan

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While the biggest rivals on Wall Street share a common disdain for new constraints on financial risk-taking, they’re fighting over exactly how to tame the sprawling regulatory overhaul.

Major industry lobbyists like the Chamber of Commerce and the American Bankers Association are split on crucial rules stemming from the Dodd-Frank Act, including restrictions on lending and the $600 trillion derivatives market, two areas at the center of the financial crisis. As federal officials flesh out some 300 new regulations, top companies and trade groups are squabbling over the fine print, each cheerleading for policies that suit their own businesses.

“On almost every issue, competitors are fighting over the outcome of regulations,” said Mark D. Young, a former regulator who is now a lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Some level of discord is expected. The Dodd-Frank law, which spans some 2,300 pages, is as huge and disparate as the industry it polices.

But a few industry debates have grown hostile. Firms are taking aim at competitors, and regulators are stuck in the awkward position of picking winners and losers — all of which has delayed new rules.

“Our charge as regulators is to ensure market integrity and an open and competitive marketplace for all market participants,” said Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The nation’s biggest banks, at odds with their smaller brethren, are pushing Mr. Gensler to soften proposed rules that would create broader competition in the derivatives industry, according to several people close to the agency who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the rules are not yet finished. The banks, including Morgan Stanley, worry that smaller players may not have the financial fortitude to take on potential risks, concerns echoed earlier this year by a European regulator.

Click link to view full article at NY Times Dealbook 

By Ben Protess NY Times Dealbook
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Financial advisers’ responses to the seismic shifts shaking Wall Street, and Main Street, have depended in part on where the advisers work.

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