June 27, 2013 by Kyle Pieper
Have you toyed around with the idea of becoming securities licensed?
If the process seems overwhelming, or you’re wondering what the benefits would be to your practice to take on the responsibilities of providing investment advice for a fee, consider these five reasons to make the jump into becoming an investment adviser representative (IAR).
An IAR is a Series 65 licensed individual who can provide fee-based investment advice. That includes:
- Collecting a fee for hourly advice.
- Collecting fees for managing portfolios.
- Collecting fees for a financial plan that includes investment advice.
Number one: Reduce your risk. The Arkansas and Iowa insurance divisions already have ruled that insurance professionals who talk to their clients about using securities products could be in violation of state securities rules and therefore subject to fines. Industry experts expect other states to move to adopting the same rules. Earning a Series 65 license allows you to discuss securities products.
Number two: Become a more well-rounded resource for your clients. An IAR has the ability to look at a client’s entire financial picture, rather than just from insurance or accounting perspective. An IAR becomes a comprehensive adviser and more importantly, can develop a much deeper relationship with that client.
Number three: Build relationships. Having the ability to offer your clients a broad array of advice and solutions gives you the chance to build a lasting relationship with them, and could mitigate the risk that they’ll take their financial planning business elsewhere. Give them a reason to think of you as more than an insurance professional or accountant.
Number four: A recurring revenue stream. Once you begin to earn the fees associated with your assets under management (AUM), you have created an annual revenue stream. Even if those assets have little to no growth, you continue to earn a percentage of the AUM.
Number five: A retirement strategy. Take a look inward and ask yourself if you’ve properly prepared for your own retirement. Will you be able to sell your business when it’s time to retire? Income for commission-based sales stops the day that you stop selling. In contrast, a fee-based business builds equity over time, increasing its value when you’re ready to sell.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the process of becoming registered as an IAR. Instead, give me a call and we can talk about whether making this transition is right for you and more importantly, if it’s right for your clients.
Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Panora, Iowa. Member FINRA/SIPC. Brokers International Financial Services is a strategic partner of Brokers International, Ltd.
June 20, 2013 by Pat Lanigan
We have three questions in this month’s Q&A with answers provided by Sheryl Moore, President and CEO at Moore Market Intelligence.
Pat: Let’s start with Caps, how can one company offer higher caps than another company and are they sustainable over the long haul?
Sheryl: Insurance companies are able to effectively “subsidize” their caps on IUL by making their profit through other features such as premium loads, policy fees, per thousand charges, or COIs. However, all things being equal between two different IULs, if one has substantially higher caps than the other, you do need to ask if that rate is sustainable. When the insurance companies buy the options that provide the caps/index-linked potential, it is comparable to buying a bar of soap at K-Mart versus Wal-Mart. No insurance company has some “secret source” of incredibly discounted options. Often companies that claim to have such efficiencies are merely subsidizing their first-year caps, by dropping their renewal rate caps once the policy is in force.
Pat: Assuming the viability of maintaining higher caps, will this significantly improve the policy performance over the long haul?
Sheryl: There are many things that will affect the performance of an indexed UL over a long period of time. Will the caps remain level? Will the insurance charges stay the same? How will the market perform? Generally, insurance products are priced to return 1% – 2% greater interest than fixed products. So, if traditional ULs are crediting 4.5% today, IUL issued today could earn 5.5% – 6.5% over the life of the policy. Some years, the policyholder may receive zero credited interest. Other times, they may receive double-digit gains and “cap out.” Ultimately, what is most likely to happen is somewhere in between and could average out to be 1% – 2% greater than what fixed ULs were crediting at the time of policy issue. This is regardless of crediting method, index used, or moving part used to limit the indexed interest.
Pat: How relevant are the minimum guaranteed interest rates for IUL?
Sheryl: The guaranteed minimum rates and floors on indexed life are generally not going to be very relevant. All that it takes is one solid year of gains on the contract and these minimums are a moot point.
Guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing company.
June 18, 2013 by Rebecca Prescott
The word audit makes most people grimace. It triggers an underlying fear of punishment. It’s similar to the feeling many teenagers experience when a parent enters their room to discover what really happens behind the sacred door.
It’s the fear that someone will see what you are doing and be disappointed.
But, conducting an audit on your brand can have a positive result. It helps unveil a true picture of your company as your customer sees it.
When is the last time that you sat down and honestly assessed your brand, and thought about how it relates to the customer experience? If you’re overdue, this blog and accompanying worksheet will help you complete a brand audit.
Sometimes the word brand is a catchall to describe the collateral used to promote your company (logos, colors, websites, merchandise) but the scope is wider. In my last blog, Branding and coffee; A supercharged combination, you learned that your brand is really your “promise”.
To know your brand requires an honest assessment. Strengths come to light, and opportunities become goals. And if you have an open mind, your business will grow.
Try this simplified process to help audit your current brand. Look at it from three perspectives:
- Strategy: What is your company’s ultimate purpose?
- Recognition: What does your company look like to the naked eye/new customer?
- Promotion: How will you tell the rest of the world about your brand?
Consider each perspective as a section of a triangle. Individually, the pieces aren’t very strong. Collectively, they make up a cohesive and holistic brand strategy. Together they can withstand internal or external forces of change.
Now grab your laptop, download this worksheet, and conduct a brand audit. Get the basics on paper for now. We’ll get into the details in subsequent blog posts.
Just remember that no matter what you find, you’re not in trouble!
June 13, 2013 by Brokers International
By Kristi Piehl
Founder/CEO Media Minefield, Inc.
Why am I talking about this? There’s a question I’m surprised I don’t hear more often.
Here at Media Minefield, we place clients in television news interviews. There, they have the opportunity to increase their visibility in their community, and reinforce their reputation as someone who is knowledgeable in their profession. But, that doesn’t always mean they’re talking about something directly related to annuities, stocks or bonds.
For example, at the office, our financial industry clients typically focus their efforts on helping people who are in or near retirement with investments. Outside the office, those same clients have been on TV talking about everything from document shredding to cell phone bills, and even motherly financial advice for Mother’s Day.
That’s where the question comes in. “Why am I talking about this?”
The answer we give our clients about TV appearances can also apply to other forms of non-traditional marketing, like seminars.
While the topics they’re on TV talking about may not be at the core of what they do for their customers, their knowledge is still valuable to the interviewer and to the viewer. And, if they think they don’t have anything more to add to the topic than the average person, they underestimate themselves. Many of the topics our financial clients are interviewed about deal with protecting or saving money. Financial professionals are qualified to talk about the importance of being smart when it comes to money. They help customers with money every day, and see the cumulative impact of a lifetime of financial choices.
Some may also wonder, “What’s in it for me?”
In traditional marketing, you say who you are, what you do, and why you’re better than your competition. You’re paying for the time so you get to control the message. It’s advertising, and the audience knows it.
With non-traditional marketing, the message typically isn’t as direct, but the women and men we work with have found it to be effective. Providing information helps guide people to make smarter decisions can build your reputation as someone who is knowledgeable and helpful. Being likable and showing off a little personality can help seal the deal, letting the viewer know you’re a real person who’s approachable and friendly. When someone in the audience needs the services of someone in your profession, they’ll remember you.