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Engage Distant Clients with Cisco TelePresence

CamIncreased Internet bandwidth, webcams, and conference technology has definitely impacted an adviser’s ability to engage clients that may be located in another state, country, or even continent.  Cisco has taken video conferencing technology even further with its introduction of On-Stage TelePresence

I watched a seamless presentation of this technology here.

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Schwab IMPACT Award® Nomination Deadline Approaching

ImpactIn the event that you have not been contacted by Schwab, 2008 IMPACT Award® nominations can be made through June 13.

Nominations for firms can be submitted by visiting the following link: http://www.impactawards.schwab.com/

IMPACT Awards are available for three categories: Best-in-Business, Best-in-Tech, and Pacesetter Award.

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Boarding the Twitter Bandwagon

TwitterA few days ago I encountered an article on TechRepublic by Jason Hiner.  He mused as to whether or not Twitter is the most important web development of 2008.

Jason’s article incited a flurry of comments as to the relevance of such a simple application, but there doesn’t appear to be an overwhelming consensus arguing a particular side.  On the one hand, Twitter provides a super-quick way to post updates on current user activities.  On the other, Twitter provides an outlet for updates on any topic, from business activities to what’s cooking for dinner.  Personally, I’m not captivated by knowing what’s on my friends’ culinary menu.

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Adviser Technology in 10 Years

crystal ballDavis Janowski from Investment News posted a thought-provoking question on LinkedIn.com this week.  He asked:

Looking into your crystal ball what do you see as the technology needs, trends, challenges, and milestones that lay ahead for financial advisers and the industry at large over the coming decade?

Click here to see the variety of answers given so far, including mine regarding the advent of mass collaboration and wikis.

What technology-related issues do you think advisers face in the future?  Share your comments below or over at LinkedIn.

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Tibergien Podcast on Practice Management

PuzzlePart of my semi-daily web browsing habit is to check out the podcasts available at the Investment Advisor magazine website.  Recently added is a podcast of an interview with Mark Tibergien, the current CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions.

02/23/2012: The content has been removed. Click here to listen to the Tibergien podcast on IA’s website. (opens an embedded audio player)

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Schwab Portfolio Rebalancer Enhancements

Schwab RebalancerSchwab Institutional recently announced updates to its online Portfolio Rebalancer utility.  In response to feedback from advisers, Schwab added several new features to the rebalancing tool.

Holding Information View

The first feature added is the ability to view holding information for a client either by account or in aggregate from the primary step.  This option saves a few clicks so the user can quickly identify the relevant holdings for any given client.

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Free Practice Lifecycle Access

circleHere’s another announcement from Financial Advisor magazine: Practice Lifecycle is now offering free access to their website and related content.

In an email to FA newsletter subscribers I received this morning, Practice Lifecycle founders David Drucker and Kristofor Behn have waived the $199 yearly subscription fee, citing a decision to convert to a revenue model based on website advertisements (e.g. Google AdWords and the like).

Drucker was quoted in the email as saying:

Too many advisors need access to the practice building information and other professional resources available through this truly innovative practice management portal. We can’t let price become a barrier. 

I invite you to visit the site and register.  I will be doing so over the course of the week and will post feedback here (and likely to the PL website, too) as appropriate.

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Mint.com Adds Investment Tracking

Mint!Lifehacker.com recently announced Mint.com has added investment tracking to its list of features.  A highly requested and attractive feature, investment tracking should dramatically increase this service provider’s already rapid adoption in the market.

Mint.com is a free online personal finance management application that users can configure to track expenses by aggregating transactions from checking, savings, and credit card accounts.  Now that investment accounts have been added, Mint.com is getting closer to a complete personal finance product to compete with the likes of computer-based (as opposed to web-based) Quicken and Microsoft Money.  Note that Quicken does have an ASP-based product of Quicken Online, free for 30 days, then $2.99/month thereafter.

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CFP® Certification Requirements Changing

PencilFinancial Advisor Magazine is reporting today that the CFP® Certification requirements are going to “get tougher.”  I read through the brief article but I didn’t get the sense that the obtaining and maintaining the certification is necessarily going to become more difficult.

From the article, Dr. Ivan C. Roten, CFP®, director of the Financial Planning Center at Appalachian State University had this to say:

Since education is one of the four cornerstones of the certification process, we intend to provide an unshakeable foundation for CFP certificants to apply their financial planning knowledge most effectively to their clients’ ever-changing financial situations.

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Don’t Leave Clients Under Insured

LossThe rising cost of goods and services impacts clients in more ways than just their cash flow. Last week I referenced an inflation graphic published by the New York Times that illustrates the effect of inflation on various spending categories. Rising inflation not only leads to potential changes to spending, it can also leave clients under insured by surprise.

 

 

Rising Replacement Costs

According to data published by the BLS, material prices for construction projects (including diesel fuel) have increased a cumulative of 30.2 percent from December 2003 to January 2008.  This is more than double the reported increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 14.5 percent for the same period.

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