Wealth Management

(Washington)

The reality of the political situation in the US is that markets and the media are betting that Biden is going to win the presidency. Many also think the Democrats have a fair shot at sweeping Congress and the presidency. If either eventuality happens, especially the latter, tax hikes look likely. Biden formally announced his plan to do so recently. Therefore, a rise in corporation tax and a hike in the top tax bracket back to Obama-era levels seems highly probable.


FINSUM: The tax hikes that seem most likely will create a host of considerations for high earners. For instance, a reversion to previous tax levels would change the utility of certain pass-through entities versus other types of businesses.

(New York)

The huge market volatility that accompanied COVID has laid the state of American retirement very bare. Not only are countless people under-capitalized for retirement, but many pulled money out in March, missed the big recovery and are now sitting with considerably smaller portfolios. This has led even the most ardent anti-Annuities advisors—mostly RIAs—to start recommending the products to some clients. Annuities can lock in income that is very hard to get elsewhere right now given ultra-low rates. Annuities ae complicated products and there are many different varieties, ranging from immediate income to variable annuities to fixed income annuities with income riders. For fixed index annuities, check out joint-life policies from Protective Life, Minnesota Life, and Delaware life. For variable annuities, look at Jackson National Life, Transamerica life, and BrightHouse Financial.


FINSUM: Annuities can be a good choice right now depending on the state of a client’s preparedness for retirement and the other assets in their portfolios. Just pay attention to the fact that most annuities providers have significantly cut payouts recently because of the Fed’s actions on rates.

(Washington)

Brokers all over the country have been nervous about enforcement of the new Reg BI rule since its implementation a couple weeks ago. While the law itself is understood, enforcement of its particulars is not, as there is no precedent or real world examples to go on. For its part, FINRA recently made comments about its forthcoming enforcement policy. According to the Associate General Counsel of FINRA, “by and large, we're going to be looking at the compliance obligations of policies procedures and training, and we're not looking at it to say
‘did a firm do everything the way that we would have done it,’ or ‘did they do everything perfectly.’ We're looking to see do they understand the obligations, and do they make a good faith effort to implement the changes that needed to be made and incorporate those in their policies procedures and training.”


FINSUM: This is generally what firms have been expecting because it is what has been broadcast, but this is a little more comforting than previous efforts out of other regulators.

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