Archive for September, 2014

Infinex Financial Group Congratulates United Northeast Financial Advisors for …

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Meriden, CT (PRWEB) September 30, 2014

Congratulations to United Northeast Financial Advisors (formerly Rockville Financial Services, Inc.) for ranking in fourth place as one of the fastest growing Bank Wealth Management Programs by Bank Investment Consultant Magazine. As of the first quarter of 2014, Rockville Financial, Inc. experienced a 206% increase in fee income. David Yaffee, Senior Vice President for United Northeast Financial Advisors at United Bank, credits the support of the Company’s management team, the level of training the Company and Infinex provides their financial advisors and the quality of investment professionals they have been able to recruit as some of the many key reasons for the team’s success in the industry.

“In less than two years, David Yaffee has successfully built a team of high-performing, customer-focused and reputable financial advisors with decades of experience that has helped our financial advisory line of business become a key driver of our Bank’s success. Not only are we proud of being recognized as a Bank with one of the fastest growing wealth management programs, but we’re also very excited about the role United Northeast Financial Advisors has in our vision to make the new United a great bank,” said William H.W. Crawford, IV, CEO of United Bank and United Financial Bancorp, Inc.

“We are proud of United Northeast’s success and growth over the past two years” said Stephen P. Amarante, President CEO of Infinex Financial Group. “The team’s focus on their clients combined with the support of the bank is a recipe for continued success.”

Infinex focuses on serving the investment, insurance, and wealth management needs of financial institutions. Currently, Infinex supports over 160 community based financial institutions and more than 450 advisors. The firm, headquartered in Meriden, CT and Glen Allen, VA has a unique history of being formed by banks, owned by banks, and focused on providing service to financial institutions.

Financial institutions or advisors interested in learning more about Infinex can contact the Business Development Team at 1-800-218-2827 or visit http://www.infinexgroup.com.

For more information about United Northeast Financial Advisors and Rockville Bank, visit http://www.rockvillebank.com. After October 14, please visit United Bank’s new website at http://www.bankatunited.com.

About United Bank:

On April 30, 2014, United Bank (established in 1882) and Rockville Bank (established 1858) completed a transformational merger of equals by bringing together two financially strong, independent-minded institutions to create the premier community bank in New England with more than 50 branches in two states and over $5.0 billion in assets. At this time, Rockville Financial Services, Inc. was renamed United Northeast Financial Advisors. The new United Bank is a state chartered bank headquartered in Glastonbury Conn. with regional offices in Worcester and West Springfield, Massachusetts and South Windsor and Enfield, Connecticut.

Investment and insurance products and services are offered through INFINEX INVESTMENTS, INC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Infinex and the bank are not affiliated. Products and services made available through Infinex are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency of the United States and are not deposits or obligations of nor guaranteed or insured by any bank or bank affiliate. These products are subject to investment risk, including the possible loss of value.

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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 EN No Comments

Trizic Launches Technology Engine for Wealth Management Industry – Virtual

Silicon Valley Firm Empowers Wealth Management Industry With Scalability Through Automation and Ability to Meet Clients’ Digital Demands

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 30, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Trizic, the technology firm providing a powerful wealth management engine, today announced the beta launch of its platform, Trizic Accelerator. Trizic will unveil the platform’s robust capabilities at the FinDEVr Conference in San Francisco on Oct. 1, 2014.

“Wealth management institutions are experiencing the squeeze of fee compression, using outdated technology and feeling the pressure to demonstrate value to clients and engage with them on their terms,” Brad Matthews, CEO and founder of Trizic said. “We’re seeing that clients want to interact with financial firms in a multi-channel way, as they increasingly expect their wealth management relationships to be managed digitally. To meet this demand, Trizic created Accelerator, a wealth management technology engine that redefines and streamlines how financial firms offer investment advice to clients. Trizic Accelerator allows advisors to put their focus squarely on gathering assets and engaging with clients.”

Trizic Accelerator’s intuitive, intelligent and responsive technology engine creates back-end efficiencies by automating time-intensive tasks, such as portfolio management, rebalancing, compliance reporting and client billing. Its elegant client-facing portal meets clients at their preferred channel, online, using a web-enabled device of their choice.

“Our unique approach means advisors now have the ability to efficiently and effectively launch a digital advisory business that meets their own needs and the needs of their clients,” Matthews said.

Trizic Accelerator’s open architecture API platform enables wealth management firms to create their own unique customer experience, using their branding, their messaging, and their financial planning approach. The API allows wealth management firms to seamlessly connect their customized client portal to Trizic’s back-end platform, powering robust portfolio management capabilities. Accelerator accommodates ETFs, mutual funds, and equities, allowing financial firms to implement their own investment approach for their clients.

Trizic’s institutional grade portfolio management platform, responsive customization capabilities, investment agnostic approach, and deep industry expertise set the firm apart from other digital advisory solutions for advisors.

“We’ve heard from our clients over and over again that they appreciate our commitment to empowering, not competing with, them,” Matthews said. “We are not an RIA or a broker-dealer, and our clients find comfort in that partnership compared with other digital advisory services.”

About Trizic

Trizic is a Silicon Valley-based technology company developing easy-to-use software solutions that connect clients, wealth management firms, and the middle office to elevate client satisfaction, efficiency and profitability. Trizic accelerates wealth management firms’ success through deep collaboration, maximum flexibility, and customizable technology platforms built for financial professionals’ and clients’ real-world investment needs. A technology company, not a registered investment advisor or broker-dealer, Trizic partners with, and does not compete with, wealth managers. For more information about Trizic, visit www.trizic.com

CONTACT: Laurine Garrity
         laurine.garrity@trizic.com
         (415) 366-6875
         
         Taylor Smith
         tsmith@csg-pr.com
         (720) 726-5458

(C) Copyright 2014 GlobeNewswire, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 EN No Comments

When a Client’s Failing Business Won’t Sell

The couple owned a nursery located on 1,500 acres of farmland. The owners dreamed of selling it to someone who would continue to employ their 15 workers.

But there was a significant catch: The nursery was always in the red. In fact, the couple kicked in $300,000 of their own money annually just to keep the business afloat.

“They viewed this as a business and it was very valuable to them, but it was a hobby and…

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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 EN No Comments

Betterment Makes Big B2B Pitch to Advisors – Financial

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LOS ANGELES – Betterment is betting financial advisors will make better partners than competitors — and is using a prominent wealth management exec to make the pitch.

Steve Lockshin, the chairman of Convergent Wealth Advisors and founder of platform services provider Fortigent, became an investor in Betterment last year; he says he is now devoting at least half his time to Betterment Institutional — a digital service that the so-called robo advisor will be offering to planners as of this fall.

“We want to shift advisors from thinking about digital advisors as ‘us versus them’ to ‘us and them,’ ” Lockshin says.

In fact, Lockshin believes that Betterment Institutional can reach $500 million in assets under management by the end of 2015. “I think it’s very attainable,” he maintains.

Lockshin is partnering with another industry heavyweight — Marty Bicknell, chief executive of Mariner Wealth Advisors — to distribute Betterment Institutional to RIAs through their jointly owned company, B+ Institutional Services.

THE PITCH

The pitch to advisors is straightforward: For 25 basis points of AUM, Betterment Institutional provides advisory firms access to Betterment’s digital platform under the firm’s own brand. Clients get onboarded digitally and receive a selection of ETF portfolios, with asset allocation, automatic rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting. Billing and reporting are automated and there are no commission costs.

Betterment, which has more than $630 million in AUM through its consumer-facing operation, has no minimum account size. Lockshin says the offering will let advisors offer a service to younger clients who have fewer assets and have the potential to grow into larger accounts.

“Advisors don’t have to pay a custody fee or a transaction fee,” he says. The service’s low costs offers planners the ability to scale and segment a new client base, he argues — something that should help advisors to boost their margins and also give them a “technology hedge,” he says, as digital firms continue to ratchet up the competition.

MIXED REACTION

The idea of partnering with digital firms drew mixed reactions from advisors. “It’s an intriguing proposition,” says Frank Pare, president of Oakland-based PF Wealth Management Group. “There’s a significant need to service individuals who are just starting out, and I would definitely want to look into it seriously. If collaboration is the way to go, then why not?”

John Wolff, chief executive of Capital Fiduciary Advisors in northern Virginia, says he is already in negotiations with Motif, another digital firm, to develop a white-label online-only platform for “emerging clients.”

But other wealth managers are less enthusiastic. Brock Moseley, managing director of Miracle Mile Advisors in Los Angeles, says he is concerned that a digital-only offering would diminish his firm’s reputation for providing “high touch” services.

Similarly, Jeffrey Roof, an advisor in Harrisburg, Pa., says that because his firm has built a reputation for its in-house active investment management strategy, aligning with a robo advisor could potentially “dilute” its brand.

OVER-DIVERSIFICATION OR ACCOMODATION?

Indeed, advisory firms who have built a successful business by specializing in a niche market may risk becoming “over-diversified” with a digital offering, warns Mark Tibergien, chief executive of Pershing Advisory Services.

“If you just sign on for the incremental revenue, you lose your reason for being,” Tibergien says.
But working with digital firms could be part of a smart business strategy, he concedes. “If you’re looking to accommodate clients by leveraging technology, it makes sense,” Tibergien says.

Lockshin, who last year wrote a book on the advisory business, is convinced that digital and traditional advisors will co-exist comfortably in the future. In fact, he launched a new Los Angeles wealth management firm, AdvicePeriod, specializing in tax and estate planning for ultrahigh-net-worth clients, just this spring.

“Brokers are still in business,” he notes. “It’s a very big market out there. RIAs can continue to do very well if they don’t get complacent. If they do, I have just one word: Kodak.”

Read more:

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  • Marketing Tricks to Reach Gen Y
  • Robo Advisor Update: Schwab Plans Affect RIAs, Startups
  • Recruiting Millennials? 4 Things to Keep in Mind

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Monday, September 29th, 2014 EN No Comments

MOVES-Rathbone hires Andrew Clark to head super high net worth client …


Sept 29 (Reuters) – UK wealth manager Rathbone Brothers Plc
said it appointed Andrew Clark, effective immediately,
in a newly created role giving him charge of growth in its super
high net worth client business.

Clark was named chief executive of Rathbone Trust Co in
addition to his role as head of Rathbone Private Office, which
handle clients with between 10 million and 100 million pounds.

Clark joins as part of Rathbone’s acquisition of Jupiter
Asset Management Ltd’s private client and charity investment
management business, a unit Clark was heading. The acquisition
closed on Friday.

Rathbone said on Monday Clark will join the board of
Rathbone Investment Management International in Jersey and
report to Philip Howell, Rathbones’ chief executive.

Clark was previously managing director and head of
discretionary asset management for emerging markets, Europe and
Asia at Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management.

(Reporting by Anet Josline Pinto in Bangalore; Editing by Savio
D’Souza)

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Monday, September 29th, 2014 EN No Comments

North Bay makes list of Financial Times wealth managers

North Bay makes list of Financial Times wealth managers

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NORTH BAY — The North Bay’s Willow Creek Wealth Management with offices in Sebastopol and Santa Rosa has been recognized as one of the best registered independent advisory firms in the United States, by the Financial Times, an international daily newspaper focused on business and economic news.

Bruce Dzieza

The story, ‘Bright lights in tough times,” published in their June 26 edition, noted the best U.S. advisers based on their research of over 2,000 firms.

Willow Creek was one of 46 firms statewide and one of 300 firms nationwide to receive this rating.

According to the Financial Times, “(These findings) are presented as an elite group, not a competitive rating of 1 to 300.”  The article noted the growth in the investment advisory field due to the transition of millions of baby boomers into retirement and the growing complexity of investing.

Bruce Dzieza, founder of Willow Creek Wealth Management says: “We are honored by this international recognition and proud to be included with other best in the business organizations.”

The criteria used by the Financial Times to rate independent wealth management companies included their assets under management, growth of managed assets, tenure in business, compliance record, industry certification and online accessibility.

Willow Creek celebrates their 30th anniversary in business this year.

Other firms making the Financial Times list from the North Bay were: Brouwer Janachowski  LLC, Tiburon; KCM Investments Advisors, San Rafael and Litman Gregory Asset Management, Larkspur.

Copyright © 1988–2014 North Bay Business Journal
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Monday, September 29th, 2014 EN No Comments

Google study heightens fund industry fears

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Sunday, September 28th, 2014 EN No Comments

UAE seems ready for age of asset management

Andrew Haldane, a director at the Bank of England, referred to the “age of asset management” in a speech he gave in London in April. His point was that although asset managers do not carry many of the risks – for example, credit, market and liquidity – faced by banks, the regulators are attuned to the risks posed to the financial system by non-banks, including asset managers, following the shrinking of the banking sector.

This has thrust asset management to the heart of global capital flows. Assets under management are estimated at US$60 trillion to $70tn and growing across the countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and could grow bigger yet globally as incomes and wealth increase across thinly penetrated developing economies.

According to last year’s KPMG Investment Management Industry Outlook Survey, the world’s biggest investment management firms overwhelmingly believe that political and regulatory uncertainty pose the biggest threat to their business models. Understanding and complying with regulations has been painful and, for many firms, has entailed material cost. The regulatory focus on asset management firms brings additional costs of compliance at a time when margins are under pressure because of greater competition from new channels and products. This is causing firms to reorganise themselves with combined compliance and data management programmes while keeping costs competitive through the outsourcing of selected back office functions and direct marketing to consumers.

Where there was once disparity between regulatory initiatives, pan-regional organisations such as the International Organisation of Securities Commissions, the Financial Stability Board and the OECD have started to close the gaps in rule-making in an attempt to create coherence. In time, this should make it easier for the asset management industry to operate globally.

The growing clarity and coherence of regulation are not the only positives for investment managers this year. Much of the substance of regulatory reform is also beneficial. This substance includes greater investor protection, systemic protection and the opportunity to distribute regulated products to a wider client base.

Consistent with what has been witnessed across the GCC region, there has been increased activity on the regulatory agenda in the UAE over recent years. In 2012, the Investment Funds Regulation (IFR) was transposed into UAE law and regulatory responsibilities for the licensing and marketing of investment funds and a number of related activities were transferred from the Central Bank of the UAE to the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA).

It is understood that the UAE is considering implementing a “twin peaks” model of financial services regulation and supervision, and the IFR represents the first move in this direction. Under this model, the Central Bank will be responsible for systemic stability and prudential oversight, while the SCA will be responsible for the conduct of business matters, including markets oversight and consumer protection.

A key aspect of the IFR is that investment funds, which are established within UAE free zones, will be considered foreign. This has been a surprise to the market, in view of the direct impact that these regulations could have on the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and its own regulations, which have attracted a significant number of international financial firms.

The main concern is that by classifying DIFC-based investment funds as foreign, the cost of running a DIFC fund will increase and the benefits decrease. The DIFC has traditionally been seen as the gateway to the Middle East, so by not offering concessions to DIFC-based investment funds the regulation could affect the attractiveness of the UAE as a place to operate investment funds.

The new investment management regulations released by the SCA this year provide greater protection for investors in UAE investment funds.

With the shift of regulation of investment and fund-management activities to the SCA, all existing entities carrying on such activities in the UAE (including banks and investment companies) will be required to obtain a new licence from the SCA by February 28 next year.

The recent amendments create a prudent balance between maintaining retail investor protection, and promoting the UAE as an attractive financial hub for fund sponsors and managers seeking to attract investors. International fund sponsors and managers that operate from, and funds domiciled in, the DIFC are treated as a foreign jurisdiction under the investment management regulations and will benefit from the recent amendments. In particular, the access to the exempt class of investors in the UAE underpins DIFC’s unique selling point as a gateway to the wider UAE.

Ian Gomes is a partner and the head of advisory and markets at KPMG Lower Gulf

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Saturday, September 27th, 2014 EN No Comments

What Is Behind the Art Investment Boom?

Alexander Forbes,
Friday, September 26, 2014

Deloitte is bullish on the art market in 2015 Photo via: Deloitte and ArtTactic Art and Finance Report 2014Deloitte is bullish on the art market in 2015 Photo via: Deloitte and ArtTactic Art and Finance Report 2014

Deloitte is bullish on the art market in 2015
Photo via: Deloitte and ArtTactic Art and Finance Report 2014

In celebration of Luxembourg’s newly opened free port (see “Le Freeport” Opens in Luxembourg“), consulting giant Deloitte released its third Art and Finance Report on Wednesday. The report (which can be downloaded in full here) offers a wealth of new data and insight into the ever-growing art investment sector, as well as some of the motivations of key stakeholders in the fields of art and finance. All told, 261 private banks, family offices, art collectors, and art professionals contributed to this latest study.

Deloitte Luxembourg and ArtTactic, which conducted the research for the report between April and June 2014, found that the average wealthy individual currently allocates approximately 9 percent of his or her portfolio to art and collectibles. However, particularly in the United States, the firm says, wealth managers are forecasting increased portfolio allocations to art as an investable asset class. They say such an increase will provide “fertile ground for Art Finance-related services aimed at protecting, leveraging, and enhancing” wealth allocated to the sector.

Why are you/your clients buying art? Source: Deloitte Luxembourg  ArtTactic Art  Finance Report 2014Why are you/your clients buying art? Source: Deloitte Luxembourg  ArtTactic Art  Finance Report 2014

“Why are you/your clients buying art?”
Source: Deloitte Luxembourg ArtTactic Art and Finance Report 2014 (p. 56)

The vast majority of art buyers may still not look at their purchases as purely investment-motivated. In fact, only 3 percent of collectors surveyed this year said they took an investment view only when purchasing works. But, the number of respondents tuned in to the potential future performance of the works they collect has risen dramatically.

In 2012, 53 percent of collectors took an investment view, to some extent, on their purchases. Just two years later, in the 2014 survey, that cohort has risen to 76 percent of overall respondents. An even greater 81 percent of arts professionals surveyed in 2014 suggested that their clients claim to take the possibility of a future return on investment into consideration when buying art.

Do you think that art and collectibles should be par of a wealth management offering? Source: Deloitte Luxembourg  ArtTactic Art  Finance Report 2014 (p. 56)Do you think that art and collectibles should be par of a wealth management offering? Source: Deloitte Luxembourg  ArtTactic Art  Finance Report 2014 (p. 56)

“Do you think that art and collectibles should be part of a wealth management offering?”
Source: Deloitte Luxembourg ArtTactic Art and Finance Report 2014 (p. 56)

The financial community has been relatively slow to accept art into the fold as a truly viable alternative asset class. Reasons abound. Among them: high transaction costs, little regulation and transparency by which to determine a palatable risk profile, and relatively low liquidity potential.

The percentage of wealth managers who recommend that art take a place in their clients’ portfolios have dropped from an all-time high of 82 percent in 2011 to 63 percent in 2012 and a lower-still 55 percent in 2014. It’s a key indicator that, should the art market want to continue its growth, increased transparency needs to be at the top of its key stakeholders’ agendas.

Simultaneously, however, collector interest is driving smaller private banks and family offices to change their tune. Interest in art as an asset class has jumped 9 percent over the past two years, from 53 to 62 percent. Private banks and family offices have responded accordingly, with 53 percent of the former and 57 percent of the latter stating in the 2014 study that they believe art should play a role in their clients’ portfolios. According to the report, family offices in particular have taken the view that art is a key asset class useful for diversifying families’ holdings and weathering market volatility.

What do you consider the strongest arguments for including art and collectibles in traditional wealth management/private banking? Source: Deloitte Luxembourg  ArtTactic Art and Finance Report 2014 (p. 62)What do you consider the strongest arguments for including art and collectibles in traditional wealth management/private banking? Source: Deloitte Luxembourg  ArtTactic Art and Finance Report 2014 (p. 62)

“What do you consider the strongest arguments for including art and collectibles in traditional wealth management/private banking?”
Source: Deloitte Luxembourg ArtTactic Art and Finance Report 2014 (p. 62)

Beyond the diversification argument, rationales for recommending investments in art include responding to increasing client interest in art-related issues and keeping a competitive hand in the game in order to attract client business.

Should the art market continue to grow—with current compound returns on upper-echelon contemporary art ranging from 10.5–14.9 percent in some cases, according to the report—there will continue to be a knock-on effect of art growing in client’s portfolios relative to other asset classes. Thus, even if those clients haven’t actively expanded their art buying, in certain cases, there will be an increasing need to treat those assets more seriously because they will account for a greater percentage of client wealth.

But, the above chart has a potentially more interesting implication with a more macro outlook to the art market’s future. According to Deloitte’s research, client demand related to the general macro-economic status quo has dropped nearly 20 percent in the last two years, from 53 percent to 34 percent. Other assets are performing well. And thus investors aren’t necessarily as concerned with alternative assets, especially assets as practically complex as art, as they might have been in the heart of the recession. Yet, client demand continues to rise, suggesting a tipping point having been reached in the overall view on art’s role in any individual distribution of wealth across various assets.

Which of the following 'art and wealth management services' do you feel would be most relevant to your clients and/or the institution you represent? Source: Deloitte Luxembourg  ArtTactic Art and Finance Report 2014 (p. 58)Which of the following 'art and wealth management services' do you feel would be most relevant to your clients and/or the institution you represent? Source: Deloitte Luxembourg  ArtTactic Art and Finance Report 2014 (p. 58)

“Which of the following ‘art and wealth management services’ do you feel would be most relevant to your clients and/or the institution you represent?”
Source: Deloitte Luxembourg ArtTactic Art and Finance Report 2014 (p. 58)

So, where is there room for disruption and growth in the art and finance sector? As previously suggested, efforts at creating greater market transparency take the cake. Across the collectors, wealth managers, and art professionals Deloitte surveyed, better art valuation services was the number one request, on average. Requests for improved access to art market research and information followed shortly thereafter, with particularly strong interest from art collectors and industry professionals.

Wealth managers appear to be most interested in art’s potential tax benefits for their clients, expressing the most interest in art philanthropy and estate planning services. That is an area which can, at times, benefit from the art market’s opacity. So, it will be interesting to watch where wealth managers’ interest shifts in the coming years as the structures that bolster that opacity continue to be broken down by innovation.

Follow @AlexanderForbes on Twitter.


Enrique Liberman, President and Member of the Board of Directors, The Art Fund AssociationEnrique Liberman, President and Member of the Board of Directors, The Art Fund Association

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Deloitte Art and Finace Initiative graphicDeloitte Art and Finace Initiative graphic

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1. Pablo Picasso led the list of top-selling artists for the first half of 2014 with $345.8 million in auction sales. Source:artnet1. Pablo Picasso led the list of top-selling artists for the first half of 2014 with $345.8 million in auction sales. Source:artnet

artnet Data Shows Global Art Market Boom Continues

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Saturday, September 27th, 2014 EN No Comments

Outrage: Government wants you to pay them to take photos on public land?

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