This previously published article is part of 12 Days of Wealth Management: The Year in Review.
It's easy to live in a world of information overload.
Emails are nonstop. You carry two cell phones in your pockets. You feel pressure to set up a Twitter account, because everyone else seems to be doing it.
One helpful way to cope with information overload is to filter. So, to add a filter to your day, here are 10 of some of the most influential bloggers for financial advisors.
This is surely not an exhaustive list. The number of blogs that have flourished in recent years, fueled largely by the questions and concerns that emerged following the financial crisis, are numerous. These bloggers, however, may serve to help you keep a better pulse on your industry day-to-day.
How were they chosen? Through a host of discussions with industry peers, assessing their industry footprints through their contributions to academic and professional literature, frequency of media appearances and their blog posts, influence at conferences and other events, and general accessibility (i.e. Twitter presence).
Many of these blogs you may already read, and others may be fresh names. To add to the discussion, I’d love to hear your view on the blogs you read, or plan to read, daily – ones that help you do your job better and why. (I’m just waiting for a financial advisor to pitch me PerezHilton.com.)
Fiduciary advocate Rhoades, program chair of the Alfred State Financial Planning Program – takes a more academic view with his blog, The Scholarly Financial Planner.
“I try to discuss concepts that may influence the debate on fiduciary standards and how financial planners should be regulated. I seek to promote the application of the fiduciary standard to all financial and investment advice,” he says.
Rhoades notes that he would love to see financial planning and investment advisor services become a profession regulated with peer review. As of today, however, he says that is simply a utopia, largely due to the disparate and often-inappropriate regulatory structures set up by the SEC, FINRA, and state securities regulators.
A look at one of his most popular blog posts: A New Paradigm for Regulation and Enforcement, which discuss flaws in the SEC examination process and outline changes to the regulatory structures that he says could improve the oversight of investment advisers.
Roche says he fell into the industry after working at Merrill Lynch for three years managing $500 million for clients, and becoming "disillusioned with the business model.”
"I had hoped I could build a business model that was more client-driven, so I started my own business as a registered independent advisor. Now, I do pure consulting for institutions and retail clients, and conduct macro research."
Like many other bloggers on this list, Roche's website, Pragmatic Capitalism, grew out of the financial crisis. Where did the traction come from? "I was extremely worried about the housing bubble between 2005 and 2008. My background has come from understanding the monetary system, getting down into the mechanics of the banking system, and I viewed what was going on in a different way from other people."
He continues: "I started working from the premise that the government was misinterpreting what was going on in the crisis because the diagnosis of the problem was wrong and the response was therefore misguided."
One of the reasons Roche transitioned to becoming an independent advisor was because of his perceived conflict of interests that exist at big Wall Street firms. "Those big firms are revenue-driven – they're fee generators. They're not able to do what's in their clients' best interest – a lot of the time the best interest of the client is to reduce fees," he notes. According to Roche, the financial advisor model needs to change, with more and more advisors needing to act as independent consultants or fee-only advisors. "I think the conflict comes mostly from the big wirehouses: public companies that need to maximize profits – profits largely derived from generating fees from clients,” he concludes.
Perhaps the most widely read by financial advisors in the country, Brown – a New York City-based financial advisor at Fusion Analytics -- began The Reformed Broker in November 2008, a date sandwiched in between Lehman's collapse and the Madoff scandal.
"I started writing to help people makes sense of what's going on," says Brown, also the author of Backstage Wall Street. "I'm a guy in the trenches, trying to understand like anyone else. I admit that I don't know what's going to happen, but I say 'look, here are three knowledgeable people who might have a better idea.'"