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UK regulator looking closely at whether platforms offer investors value for money
While the areas of focus of the Investment Platforms Market Study are wide-ranging, writes Mike Barrett, most of them come down to one topic - the impact of vertical integration on the market and investors

UK regulator looking into conflict of interest in platforms
Forcing asset managers to offer the same price to all platforms could drive up costs to consumers, Bella Caridade-Ferreira has warned after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) initiated its Investment Platforms Market Study today.

US advisors gear up for DOL fiduciary rules implementation
The Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Rule is a new ruling, originally scheduled to be phased in April 10, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2018, but delayed until June 9, 2017, including a transition period for the application of certain exemptions to the rule extending through Jan. 1, 2018. The rule expands the “investment advice fiduciary” definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). If this sweeping legislation (1,023 pages in length) is not stopped outright, it will automatically elevate all financial professionals who work with retirement plans or provide retirement planning advice to the level of a fiduciary, bound legally and ethically to meet the standards of that status. While the new rules are likely to have at least some impact on all financial advisors, it is expected that those who work on commission, such as brokers and insurance agents, will be impacted the most.

Don’t be scared of giving the right advice
Advisers should not shy away from giving advice they themselves would not follow for fear of what the regulator might think, Rory Percival has said.

New Canadian research suggests trail commissions do more harm than good
In essence, the regulators signalled that the issue of trailing commissions' legitimacy has reached a defining moment and, from this point forward, there will be no tolerance for the casting of bogus doubts on scientific proof pertaining to that matter. Such tactics will not be allowed to disrupt development of regulatory policy on the reform of mutual fund fees. This is especially relevant to the question of whether trailing commissions are harmful and should be banned.

Product suitability "checklists" are counterproductive
The regulator will not issue checklists for advisers to allow them to stick to a particular protocol when assessing product suitability for their clients because they are "counterproductive", technical specialist Rory Percival has said.

What Advisors Can Learn From Apple
The marketers at Apple have earned another fist bump for their new iPhone 6 campaign. I love how they stay grounded in what is known (we like our phones) while also making it clear they have moved the product to the next level to something truly new. Smartphones have become incredibly personal and indispensable to us, and with the iPhone 6 ads, the product is portrayed as more responsive, insightful and intuitive, like a friend. With the new features, “The only thing that’s changed is everything!” We can learn a lot from this campaign if we want our industry to be better

You’ve Got Style: Why And How You Must Let It Shine
Sure, your business must be built on substance—a strong and growing client base, effective communication with clients and a knowledgeable, efficient staff under your competent leadership. But style matters too. And whether you know it or not, you have a style, and it’s vital to emphasize it in order to set yourself apart in a way that is appealing to current and new clients. There’s another word for style: personality.

Robo-advice: Report detects 'elephant in the room'
The biggest obstacle blocking robo-advisers' path to prominence is the same problem that plagues the entire financial services sector - the almighty cost of acquiring clients, according to an eye-opening report.

The Wise Woman And The Millennial
What follows is an interview by Paul Ellis, a well-known advisor and consultant on sustainable investing strategies, with Geri Pell, a Barron's Top 100 Women Advisor and CEO of Pell Wealth Partners, and Katherine "Katie" Burstein McGinn, an advisor at Pell's firm, that provides insight on bringing more women and millennials into financial planning careers.

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