Traditional financial advisors provide portfolio management coupled with financial planning services. Clients meet face-to-face with a dedicated financial planner to discuss their overall financial picture and inventory assets and liabilities. You can hire a financial advisor to craft an overall financial plan or one to achieve specific goals, such as investing for higher education. The office may outsource some of the tasks (and some even use robo-advisors to manage customer investment accounts).

An enduring problem is whether to measure before-tax or after-tax performance. After-tax measurement represents the benefit to the investor, but investors' tax positions may vary. Before-tax measurement can be misleading, especially in regimens that tax realised capital gains (and not unrealised). It is thus possible that successful active managers (measured before tax) may produce miserable after-tax results. One possible solution is to report the after-tax position of some standard taxpayer.
The planner might have a specialty in investments, taxes, retirement, and/or estate planning. Further, the financial planner may hold various licenses or designations, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), or Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA), among others. To obtain each of these licensures, the financial planner must complete a different set of education, examination, and work history requirements.
Against the background of the asset allocation, fund managers consider the degree of diversification that makes sense for a given client (given its risk preferences) and construct a list of planned holdings accordingly. The list will indicate what percentage of the fund should be invested in each particular stock or bond. The theory of portfolio diversification was originated by Markowitz (and many others). Effective diversification requires management of the correlation between the asset returns and the liability returns, issues internal to the portfolio (individual holdings volatility), and cross-correlations between the returns.
Many financial advisors in Canada call themselves financial planners yet only hold licences to sell personal financial products (primarily investments and insurance), or use non-expiring qualifications with no monitoring or public accountability process (such as the Personal Financial Planner / PFP designation).[9] There are only two publicly monitored and fully regulated financial planning designations outside of Quebec – the CFP (Certified Financial Planner)[10] and the R.F.P. (Registered Financial Planner)[11] designations.
Home purchase. It's "staggering" to discover how many individuals and couples don't look into life insurance when there is a home purchase, Mehta says. "You have just acquired a major liability, and you need to ensure the insurance at least offsets the mortgage amount. Without proper insurance planning, the family could potentially lose the home, face major setbacks in their credit and deal with major financial hurdles on the road to recovery."

If your finances are simple, you may be able to take a DIY approach. But financial planners can provide an objective prospective, and bring expertise to decisions about how you should invest your money, what your financial priorities should be and what sort of insurance coverage and other protections you need. A financial planner can be especially helpful when you’re faced with a life change  — think marriage, a divorce or an inheritance.
The different asset class definitions are widely debated, but four common divisions are stocks, bonds, real estate and commodities. The exercise of allocating funds among these assets (and among individual securities within each asset class) is what investment management firms are paid for. Asset classes exhibit different market dynamics, and different interaction effects; thus, the allocation of the money among asset classes will have a significant effect on the performance of the fund. Some research suggests that allocation among asset classes has more predictive power than the choice of individual holdings in determining portfolio return. Arguably, the skill of a successful investment manager resides in constructing the asset allocation, and separate individual holdings, so as to outperform certain benchmarks (e.g., the peer group of competing funds, bond and stock indices).
The manager’s investment decisions are based on a variety of factors, starting with your savings goals (retirement, education, a large purchase) and time frame. You’ll also answer questions to help them assess your risk tolerance, or your ability to endure swings in investment returns and stock market fluctuations. Market conditions, historical performance, tax efficiency and investment fees also inform the manager’s investing strategy.

Conventional assets under management of the global fund management industry increased by 10% in 2010, to $79.3 trillion. Pension assets accounted for $29.9 trillion of the total, with $24.7 trillion invested in mutual funds and $24.6 trillion in insurance funds. Together with alternative assets (sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, private equity funds and exchange traded funds) and funds of wealthy individuals, assets of the global fund management industry totalled around $117 trillion. Growth in 2010 followed a 14% increase in the previous year and was due both to the recovery in equity markets during the year and an inflow of new funds.


An investment manager is a person or company that manages an investment portfolio on behalf of a client. Investment managers come up with an investment strategy to meet a client’s goals, then use that strategy to decide how to divide the client’s portfolio among different types of investments, such as stocks and bonds. The manager buys and sells those investments for the client as needed, and monitors the portfolio’s overall performance.
Some institutions have been more vocal and active in pursuing such matters; for instance, some firms believe that there are investment advantages to accumulating substantial minority shareholdings (i.e. 10% or more) and putting pressure on management to implement significant changes in the business. In some cases, institutions with minority holdings work together to force management change. Perhaps more frequent is the sustained pressure that large institutions bring to bear on management teams through persuasive discourse and PR. On the other hand, some of the largest investment managers—such as BlackRock and Vanguard—advocate simply owning every company, reducing the incentive to influence management teams. A reason for this last strategy is that the investment manager prefers a closer, more open and honest relationship with a company's management team than would exist if they exercised control; allowing them to make a better investment decision.

You can certainly go it alone when it comes to managing your money. But you could also try to do it yourself when it comes to auto repair. In both areas, doing it yourself is a brilliant idea for some, and a flawed plan for many, many others. Mastering personal finance requires many hours of research and learning. For most, it’s not worth the time and ongoing effort.
In general, investment managers who have at least $25 million in assets under management (AUM) or who provide advice to investment companies offering mutual funds are required to be registered investment advisors (RIA). As a registered advisor, they must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and state securities administrators. It also means they accept the fiduciary duty to their clients. As a fiduciary, these advisors promise to act in their client's best interests or face criminal liability. Firms or advisors managing less than $25 million in assets typically register only in their states of operation.
Look for a fiduciary. In short, this means the planner has pledged to act in a client’s best interests at all times. Investment professionals who aren’t fiduciaries are often held to a lesser standard, the so-called sustainability standard. That means that anything they sell you merely has to be suitable for you, not necessarily ideal or in your best interest. This point is critical, and should be a deal breaker if a prospective planner is not a fiduciary.
Against the background of the asset allocation, fund managers consider the degree of diversification that makes sense for a given client (given its risk preferences) and construct a list of planned holdings accordingly. The list will indicate what percentage of the fund should be invested in each particular stock or bond. The theory of portfolio diversification was originated by Markowitz (and many others). Effective diversification requires management of the correlation between the asset returns and the liability returns, issues internal to the portfolio (individual holdings volatility), and cross-correlations between the returns.
Managing a client’s investments has its challenges: Investment management isn’t a precise science, and often even the pros fail to accurately predict the market. Despite this, a client’s anger may be directed at their advisor in times of financial turmoil, especially if their portfolio takes a dive. The investment management industry is also facing new challenges from the rise of robo-advisors, which offer a less expensive alternative to traditional investment management.
Consumer includes our lending, savings, credit card and financial tools teams, collectively working towards creating the leading platform for millions of customers to take control of their financial lives. Through the use of intuitive design, we provide customers with powerful tools and products that are grounded in value, transparency and simplicity. Within our Consumer business, we are primarily looking for candidates with the following skillsets:
Ayco provides company-sponsored financial counseling to employees across Corporate America. Ayco advisors educate and guide implementation across a broad range of financial topics, including employee benefits. Ayco believes companies best serve their stakeholders and the greater economy when their employees’ financial lives are clear, understood and in their control.
Process refers to the way in which the overall philosophy is implemented. For example: (i) Which universe of assets is explored before particular assets are chosen as suitable investments? (ii) How does the manager decide what to buy and when? (iii) How does the manager decide what to sell and when? (iv) Who takes the decisions and are they taken by committee? (v) What controls are in place to ensure that a rogue fund (one very different from others and from what is intended) cannot arise?
It is probably appropriate for an investment firm to persuade its clients to assess performance over longer periods (e.g., 3 to 5 years) to smooth out very short-term fluctuations in performance and the influence of the business cycle. This can be difficult however and, industry wide, there is a serious preoccupation with short-term numbers and the effect on the relationship with clients (and resultant business risks for the institutions).

A financial planner guides you in meeting your current financial needs and long-term goals. That typically means assessing your financial situation, understanding what you want your money to do for you (both now and in the future) and helping create a plan to get you there. Financial planners can help you reduce spending, pay off debt, and save and invest for the future.
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