Last week, Mike and I were at the 2016 Raymond James National Conference for Professional Development. It was a very enriching week with literally hundreds of courses available for us to attend and a tremendous variety of topics. We picked the courses to attend with you in mind. We thought you might want to hear a bit about some of these. If so, keep reading!
The courses we took really fell into four categories: 1) Client Service Enhancements, 2) Technical Knowledge, 3) Political/Regulatory/Economic Forecasts, and 4) Personal/Business Development.
Let’s start with Client Service Enhancements, as that’s really the most directly observed by and most important to you. First of all, over the month of May, we will be rolling out The Vault. The Vault is secure document storage, available at no charge as an add-on to your Investor Access login. It is safe and secure. You can create, arrange, and share your folders however you see fit. For example, you could create a folder for tax documents and allow your tax preparer access to that folder. If you aren’t already using Investor Access, please sign up now; Investor Access. In addition to secure document storage and access to your account information, you can also play with your financial plan. Some clients even use it for online banking and bill payment services. Call us; we are happy to help you use it to your advantage.
I think it is important here to mention the Raymond James Security Promise; “We will reimburse you for actual losses in any of your Raymond James accounts due to unauthorized access to a Raymond James system that occurs through no fault of your own.”1As far as I know, we are the only firm offering such a direct promise.
Next, remote check deposit via mobile app will be coming out towards the end of 2016. You will be able to take a picture of a check, and it will then be deposited to your account directly from your phone.
I can say that both Mike and I are never satisfied. We carried the conversation over to the head experts as to what else we want next for our clients. Thankfully, several of the things are “on the roadmap” for development.
Now on to Technical Knowledge. There were multiple sessions on working with people with diminished capacity, such as Alzheimer’s and Special Needs. Both of these topics are incredibly important and complicated, each worthy of much longer discussion. You will see more information on our website, about these issues, in the future.
Next we have Political/Regulatory/Economic changes. A fantastic session was put on by Jeff Saut, our MD Chief Investment Strategist; Investment Strategy. He had a lot to say, but it really boiled down to this: Our economy is strong, and he sees no major systematic problems to indicate that we are headed for any trouble.
We had a wonderful presentation from Andy Friedman; about Andy Friedman. He generally felt that Hillary will win the presidential election, and Democrats are likely to take the Senate while Republicans are likely to keep the House.
Meanwhile, the largest regulatory change to financial advice, having just come about and taking effect over the next year, is the Department of Labor (affectionately known as “DOL”) Fiduciary Rule. Generally, the intention of the rule is that all financial advisors must act in the best interest of their clients on retirement accounts. Who can argue with that? We think this is fantastic. Of course, that is not the end of the story as the rule is over 1,000 pages long. The nuances and details are likely to have some unintended negative consequences. Those nuances and negative consequences are still being reviewed by the professionals at Raymond James to determine how to minimize them. Again, however, the intent of the new regulation is right in line with our view that the client’s best interests should always be first.
In the realm of Personal, Professional and Business Development, both Mike and I attended a few sessions on better prioritization, productivity, focus, and execution. These sessions mostly reinforced concepts that we already knew. The sessions provided a well-timed reminder of some things we should and will be doing, both for your success and ours. You may notice incremental positive changes over the next few months as we implement specific changes.
If you want to discuss any of the things we have learned on your behalf, please reach out to us anytime.
In service to you,
Opinions expressed are those of Patrick Stoa and are not necessarily those of Raymond James. All opinions are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Investing involves risk, investors may incur a profit or a loss. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.
1Raymond James brochure: “Keeping Your Account and Personal Information Secure,” 2015.