11 Most Read Articles of the Week!

1. What to Make of S&P 500 Valuations

Something that's being brought time and again this year is that domestic stocks are expensive, but not exorbitantly so. The S&P 500 trades at 25.21x earnings and 17.74x cash flow. High multiples to be sure, but nothing to get worked up about. At least not yet. Plus, advisors know valuation alone isn't a reason to buy or sell a security. Even technology, often home to high valuations, isn't all that expensive relative to historical norms. — Todd Shriber

2. The Key to Turning Clients into Advocates

The key to turning satisfied and loyal clients into advocates is what I like to call “the business friendship.” Your client relationship goes way beyond the core work that you do. You’ve gotten to know each other on a deeper level. Enter client appreciation events, personalized gifts, and other things you and your team can do to start and nurture these business friendships. — Bill Cates

3. Santa Claus Rally Is Coming, But Will Markets Correct First?

Investors have high hopes for the annual “Santa Claus” rally. But, could there be a correction before “Santa visits Broad and Wall?” At the moment, investors are “making their list, and checking it twice.” Sure, prices remain near all-time highs, but the Fed is remaining accommodative (at least for now.) Earnings remain very “nice,” and the market largely views “pandemic” related risks largely priced in. Yes, inflation is “naughty,” but the market seems convinced it will be transient. Furthermore, companies seem to be able to pass costs along to consumers, at least for now. Hopes are high that profit margins will continue to be strong, and eventually, earnings will catch up to valuations. — Lance Roberts

4. The Process Most Important for Advisors To Ensure Client Loyalty

Small business owners have unique and complex decisions to make regarding estate planning….and it’s easy for them to ignore these challenges as long as possible because they are busy running their business and because of the complicated decisions that need to be made as part of the process.  While Spectrem Group has done extensive research on investing and the estate planning process, having recently experienced this particular process brings clarity to how the decision-making really works and how financial advisors can assist with the process. — Catherine McBreen

5. The Hidden Danger of the AUM Model for Financial Advisors: Looking Just Like Everyone Else

I teased this one a little bit last week and was honored at the engagement I got from #financialadvisors and #financialplanners on the post. It is a fact that the majority of the advisors using the AUM (assets under management) business model (charging a percentage of the assets) aren't worth what their clients are paying them. The Wall Street Journal did an article highlighting how easy it would be for clients to 'beg the question' when it comes to whether or not what they are paying is fair: The Problem With How Many Financial Advisors Set Their Fees. — Mike Garrison

6. Coinbase vs. Robinhood: Which New-Age Broker Stock Is a Better Investment?

In the last few years, Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) and Robinhood (NASDAQ: HOOD) have managed to onboard investors as well as traders at a rapid clip. Coinbase is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the world while Robinhood is a discount broker that has recently entered the crypto-trading space. Here, we take a look at both the companies to see which stock is a better investment right now. — Finscreener

7. Deal Fatigue: Top Factors for Fatigue and How To Minimize Them

Wealth management firms seeking rapid growth are increasingly turning to mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”) as a solution.  As such, we are seeing a lot of M&A activity involving firms with multiple owners, staff, and even real property. Many practices are looking to be acquired or merge with a larger business to spur growth, to benefit from economies of scale, to offload compliance and day-to-day operations, to increase bandwidth and offerings to clients, or to assist with the retirement of one or more senior owners/partners, among other reasons. Given these complicating factors, negotiating and documenting these M&A transactions can often be more time consuming than the parties expect, which creates the perfect incubator for deal fatigue. — FP Transitions

8. Can You Explain Your Financial Advice Philosophy?

Any adviser who has studied or has years of experience probably has a financial advice philosophy, even if they’ve never really thought of it as a philosophy. But it is what you believe. Most experienced professional advisers have formed views and opinions about the right way to do things for clients.  They form beliefs, or philosophies about how things should be. — Tony Vidler

9. If Being Involved Leads to Business, How Involved Should I Be?

“You’ve got to be in it to win it.” May actually be bad advice.  This will require some explaining. Here’s the Problem: There are advisors who join the Chamber or a local community organization, stop there and wonder why they aren’t getting any business.  During live trainings I would ask “How many of you have joined a Chamber of Commerce?”  Many hands go up.  Then I ask: “Who has gotten a really big piece of business through their Chamber involvement?”  Maybe one hand goes up. — Bryce Sanders

10. Rethink: Moving Firms – Captive vs IBD vs RIA featuring Ryan Shanks

A common question in the industry is what type of firm is best for a financial professional in today’s advisory world. Is it captive or independent? Is it insurance, wealth management or registered investment advisor? Is it a hybrid? Is it some combination? — Adam Holt & Derek Notman

11. Did Zillow’s $300 Million Flop Prove Me Wrong?

Every homeowner loves browsing Zillow (ZG)… Zillow is America’s go-to website to look at homes for sale. And we’ve all checked out “Zestimate,” which estimates how much your house is worth. But a few years ago, Zillow jumped into a new business… The business of buying and selling homes instantly, sight unseen. I’m talking about “iBuying”… Imagine selling your home without listing it on the market? — Stephen McBride