President Biden’s 2023 federal budget levy’s a new ultra-wealthy tax that would apply 20% total income tax on those with a net worth of more than $100 million. Notably in the deal, it opens the window to tax unrealized capital gains or any asset growth. The bill is expected to meet a brick wall in congress however as even moderate Dems will have a difficult time supporting it. Biden’s selling point is the expected $360 billion in payments toward the deficit in the next decade. However, the senate proposed a very similar bill last year that was shut down by congress.
Finsum: Taxing unrealized gains is a slippery slope, and hopefully would never trickle down to different wealth classes.
Annuities have been one of the hottest topics since the Secure Act 1.0, allowing them to be a part of retirement plans, and that could be ramping up. The House of Representatives has approved the Secure Act 2.0 with an overwhelming majority of 414-5. Provision 201 would allow the minimum requirements distribution age to be increased from 72 to 75. Another key part of the bill is the automatic enrollment in 401(k)s with a very high contribution percentage. Life insurers are ecstatic about the bill and many believe this will drastically increase the demand and supply of annuities.
Finsum: Most investors underate these small changes to legislation that really open the gates for investments and spur lots of interest.
Special purpose acquisition vehicles (Spacs) have been one of the go-to alternatives for high-income investors in the last year, but for Goldman Sachs that could be changing. The SEC is proposing reforms to Spacs in order to improve transparency and align with traditional investments. Goldman will pause their Spac offerings in response. GS was one of the largest underwriters for Spacs in 2021 and raised almost $16 billion. This isn’t expected to be an isolated event for GS, other Wall Street firms are expected to follow suit as regulation will make these less attractive ventures.
Finsum: Biden’s SEC has been a not-so-quiet regulator when it comes to alternatives where they are quickly expanding scope to come down on these sub-industries
Model portfolios continue to grow in prominence among advisors. Every quarter, a higher percentage of advisors are adopting models and AUM has been growing considerably. Some evidence suggests a lot of the AUM growth is coming from some “power users” but the movement is still broad-based. On the back of that growth, Fidelity is expanding its suite of popular model portfolios. The company has launched Fidelity Target Allocation Tax-Aware Model Portfolios, which include nine equity and fixed income mixes, each versioned for I and Z share classes. The models are available through its managed account platform, Fidelity Managed Account Xchange (FMAX), and the Envestnet platform.
FINSUM: Models are making it easier and easier for advisors to manage money and save time, which boosts margins and enhances client service overall.
There are several threats that are targeting portfolios right now in terms of volatility. The first is inflation, and investors need to make considerations like planning ahead for the near term for big financial costs. Advisors can also help investors with rising interest rates. Rising interest rates mean variable debt will become more costly so more payments are better in the short run, and locking in fixed rates could be smart before yields climb too high. Finally, concerning general volatility due to slowing growth, it really depends on demographics. For young investors, advisors should steer them through market difficulty by bringing their experience with it previously. For more seasoned investors nearer to retirement, investors should consider pivoting to safer assets in order to avoid sharp losses in market swings.
Finsum: There are intricate strategies or specific funds to help in terms of volatility that advisors should consider.
Direct Indexing is being heralded as the next big wave of investment products, as it gives investors the power to take advantage of tax-loss harvesting and customize it to their interests. However, the dual objectives that they propose could come to compete with each other and undermine investor interests. If investors maximize the tax-alpha they aren’t really aligned with their interests which younger investors are holding as a high priority. Riding a portfolio of all ‘greenwashers’ gives investors few options for tax purposes and deviates too far from the underlying index. The most effective solution might be for financial advisors to develop a better understanding of client interests rather than leaning on a magical new product.
Finsum: Some are calling direct indexing active management in disguise, but investors trying to capitalize on either customization or tax loss might still find it an attractive option.