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Wealth Management

(Washington)

It has largely faded from the news, but Americans in high tax states are feeling the pinch from the SALT cap limits. States are currently mounting a last ditch attempt to stop the new limit through a highly creative legal argument that relies on court precedent from as far back as the Civil War. However, early indications are that the push will fail, finally sounding a death knell for any hopes the cap would be overturned.


FINSUM: As one of our esteemed readers pointed out to us, this SALT cap has much more significant implications than real estate prices or asset allocations. The bigger worry is that the tax-home migration of the wealthy could hollow out the public finances of already precarious state and local governments.

(New York)

Wirehouse business may have gotten a boost from the demise of the fiduciary rule, but its decline has been uninterrupted for years. New data from 2018 is in and shows that wirehouses shed 5.7% of their client assets during the year. Advisor headcount also dropped by 403 advisors, brining the total to 54,030. According to the study, put out by Aite Group, “Wirehouses have steadily ceded market share from 2008 to 2018 … The segment has lost a total of 10 percentage points over that time period. As wirehouses continue to rationalize the size of clients they serve in advisory relationships, they also continue to see an outflow of advisors into other industry channels”.


FINSUM: RIAs and IBDs have been taking market share from wirehouses for years and the reasons why are obvious—better selling points for clients and better compensation. We think it is also a product of the demographics of the industry—as advisors get more senior and established the economics of going independent become more alluring.

(New York)

ETFs are obviously the biggest financial product of the decade, and have been very broadly adopted by advisors. However, how advisors actually use them varies greatly, partly due to the diversity of the asset class. There are around 2,200 ETFs covering a seemingly endless variety of niches. But within that cornucopia of offerings, which can be dizzying, lays the opportunity to personalize. Specifically, the large variety of highly specialized approaches allows advisors to be very tactical with portfolios without the need to buy specific stocks. Further, since ETFs are replicating a benchmark, they do not suffer from “style drift” like mutual funds do. In that way, the sectors/niches they track are more reliable and can be depended on for the role they play in a portfolio.


FINSUM: This might be obvious to some, but there are many out there who still only use ETFs are ultra-cheap trackers. Some of the new offerings provide really interesting exposure to specific areas—part of the reason they have been heavily adopted by hedge funds.

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