In The News – 2019

How Women Shoppers Can Beat the Pink Tax

12/16/2019

Products marketed to women are often more expensive than similar products and services for males. From haircuts to medication, gender-based pricing is problematic for female and male consumers alike, and it’s costing tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.

Guide to internal controls in business combinations released

12/09/2019

Financial Executives International and its Committee on Corporate Reporting have released a new guide on internal control considerations for business combinations.

SEC Flags Cash-Flow Measure That Made WeWork Look Profitable (1)

12/03/2019

The parent of WeWork, Lyft Inc., and Peloton Interactive Inc. have all been touting a cash-flow metric that shows that their core services are profitable—after subtracting key costs like rent, marketing, and stock compensation.

Schwab-TD Ameritrade deal shifts ‘balance of power’ in digital advice

11/21/2019

A multibillion-dollar deal places custodians firmly in control of the future of digital wealth management, a dramatic reversal of disruption predictions from just a decade ago.

FASB makes deferral official for leases, CECL, hedging and insurance standards

11/15/2019

The Financial Accounting Standards Board officially delayed the effective dates of its accounting standards for leases, credit losses, hedging and long-duration insurance contracts by issuing a pair of accounting standards updates Friday.

FASB approves guidance to help with LIBOR transition

11/13/2019

The Financial Accounting Standards Board approved an accounting standards update Wednesday to help companies make the transition from the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, to newer reference rates like the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR.

Finance projects often fail, but they don’t have to

11/12/2019

Nearly 87 percent of the most recent projects undertaken by financial executives failed to meet either their original timeline or scope, according to a new report.

FASB clarifies hedge accounting standard

11/12/2019

The Financial Accounting Standards Board released a proposed accounting standards update Tuesday aimed at clarifying some areas of its 2017 hedging standard for derivatives.

Regulator Considers Adjusting Rules Guiding Audit Firms on Quality Control

11/12/2019

Changes in technology and the structure of audit firms have prompted a U.S. regulator to consider tweaking rules governing the controls audit firms use to determine the quality of their audits.

SEC Adds Extended Audit Report to Disclosure Review List

11/12/2019

The Securities and Exchange Commission has already started reviewing the new extended auditor reports that began trickling out in August.

Proposal Aims to Simplify, Expand Hedge Accounting

11/12/2019

Companies using derivatives to manage earnings fluctuations could get easier accounting treatment.  The Financial Accounting Standards Board on Nov. 12 released a proposal that seeks to simplify and expand hedge accounting, the specialized accounting technique that allows business balance sheets to reflect how they manage risk and keep swings out of earnings.

SEC: Talk to Us Before Using Adjusted Loan Loss Numbers

11/12/2019

If a business about to adopt the biggest change to bank accounting in decades plans to use non-sanctioned accounting to report its finances once the new rules start to apply, it needs to talk to the SEC first, agency officials advise.

Two PCAOB Members Indicate ‘Cultural Change’ Is Goal

11/12/2019

Two members of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) remained mum on reports of infighting, politicization and a remarkable dropoff in inspection activities, but they did say that what observers are witnessing is a long-term effort to change the organization’s broader culture, according to Accounting Today.

Your Loved One Just Made a Huge Money Mistake — Now What?

11/11/2019

Finances can be a touchy subject, so when a family member, friend or romantic partner comes to you with their money problems, it can be tough to know the right way to approach it. Should you offer advice or just be a good listener? Should you ever lend money or give financial help to a loved one, or will this make things too complicated?

Your Loved One Just Made a Huge Money Mistake — Now What?

11/11/2019

Finances can be a touchy subject, so when a family member, friend or romantic partner comes to you with their money problems, it can be tough to know the right way to approach it. Should you offer advice or just be a good listener? Should you ever lend money or give financial help to a loved one, or will this make things too complicated?

FASB issues accounting update for share-based payments

11/11/2019

The Financial Accounting Standards Board issued an accounting standards update Monday to simplify and increase the comparability of accounting for nonemployee share-based payments, specifically those made to customers.

U.S. Audit Overseer Focuses on Quality, Defends Inspections

11/11/2019

Two leaders of the U.S. audit regulator tried to tamp down concerns that the agency has become too political and could lead to weaker auditor oversight.

PCAOB considering further overhaul

11/11/2019

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board could be making more changes ahead as the audit firm regulator deals with a tumultuous series of transformations in the past two years with an all new set of board members, an overhaul of much of its staff, and the recent replacement of one of its board members with a White House aide.

Will Vanguard’s new robo squeeze out smaller players?

9/19/2019

Vanguard’s planned low-cost robo advisor could represent one of the greatest threats to the independents that spawned the automated advice movement in the first place.

What Do Most 401k Plan Sponsors Use: a 3(38) or a 3(21) Adviser?

8/20/2019

We previously outlined the differences (and similarities) between a 401k adviser acting in a 3(38) capacity vs. acting in a 3(21) capacity (see “What’s the Difference Between 3(38) and 3(21) 401k Advisers?” FiduciaryNews.com, August 6, 2019). Delineating these comparisons leaves open the obvious questions: What do most 401k plan sponsors do? Moreover, are we witnessing a change in preference as new state and federal laws and regulations have slowly been introduced into the marketplace?

Does An Inverted Yield Curve Always Predict A Recession?

8/16/2019

Headlines blared when a rare anomaly occurred in the bond market. While the yield curve has been inverted in a general sense for some time, for a brief moment the yield of the 10-year Treasury dipped below the yield of the 2-year Treasury. This hasn’t happened since the depths of the 2008/2009 recession. The news was enough to cause our roller-coaster markets to suffer its worst drop this year.

Paid blogging is ‘big business’ for robo advisors

8/14/2019

In the digital advice arms race, the biggest independent brands have embraced what some call a questionable marketing tactic to win clients: paid bloggers.

The strategy of online affiliate marketing – tapping parent companies and paid bloggers to attract prospective clients and paying for new prospects – is legal, and the industry’s leading independent players openly disclose their use of such marketers.

Finance execs face hiring and automation challenges

7/31/2019

Financial executives in the U.S. and Canada are having trouble finding skilled professionals who can handle both financial and data management, according to a new report.  The report, from the Financial Education & Research Foundation, a nonprofit research affiliate of Financial Executives International, and the global staffing firm Robert Half, found that while 78 percent of the over 1,600 survey respondents believe their current staffing is adequate, only 33 percent in the U.S. and 26 percent in Canada think they are staffed appropriately to manage unexpected projects.

Finance Leaders Embrace Cloud, Automation Amid Talent Crunch

7/30/2019

Technology investments for the finance and accounting departments are starting to pay off.  The quicker turnaround of quarterly and annual reports coupled with a shorter workweek reflect the expanding use of cloud technology and automation, said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half.

Finance Chiefs Still Struggling to Hire Skilled Personnel

7/30/2019

Finance executives continue to struggle with finding skilled personnel to bring aboard.  Acquiring qualified workers in a tight labor market, relying more on recruitment firms to assist in the process, and spending additional money retaining consultants equipped to tackle special projects have been some of the concerns facing chief financial officers in recent years. CFOs have found it particularly difficult to find qualified applicants with both financial- and data-management experience.

Using The Tax Protection Triangle To Help Clients Limit The Impact Of Taxes

7/10/2019

The old adage about investing remains the gold standard for portfolio management—“it’s not what you make, it’s what you keep.” Each year, as clients receive 1099s for their investment accounts, the issue of taxes from investment holdings—capital gains, income, mutual fund distributions, etc.—generate a discussion with their advisor.

CPAJ News Briefs

7/01/2019

Chief accountants and controllers from some of the nation’s largest companies have told FASB that it should backpedal on a proposal that would require them to disclose more details about their income tax payments overseas. The potential changes would be costly to prepare, and some of the resulting information could confuse investors, a technical committee of Financial Executives International (FEI) told the board.

Without financial knowledge, will operations managers lose their seat at the table?

6/25/2019

Managing overhead costs are more important than ever, as companies look for ways to fund expansions or enter new markets.

Best Robo-Advisor Returns YTD – June 2019

6/19/2019

Investors love lists of the best robo-advisor returns and robo advisor performance data. If your robo receives a good robo advisor ranking then you’re happy because you believe that you made the “right” investment choice.

Here Are The Best Global Robo Advisors 2019

6/10/2019

Robo advisors are all the rage the these days, promising access to wealth management tools to the masses that was previously only available to an elite few.

With so many robo advisors out there in the market answer the question “which is the best robo-advisor in the market” can be quite difficult.

Top Performing Robo-Advisor Portfolios in 2019

6/10/2019

Nummo, a personal financial management platform, on Friday reported the best 2019 year-to-date performers among some 250 robo-advisor portfolios.

Companies, Investors Pan Planned Income Tax Disclosures

6/10/2019

It’s hard to find anyone happy about a plan to force companies to reveal more accounting details about the income taxes they pay.

Multinational companies from the Walt Disney Co. to Microsoft Corp. say the information requested by the Financial Accounting Standards Board will be a pain to compile and misleading to the public.

How to Modernize the Treasury Department

5/31/2019

Treasury departments can provide advanced value to companies by aiding with planning and meeting goals for efficient operations, innovative credit and cash management, and other market opportunities.

The $1.26T digital milestone that may spell trouble for Vanguard

5/29/2019

Vanguard’s robo advisor may soon have competition at the top.

The firm’s Personal Advisor Services still claims the largest portion of digital client assets, topping $106 billion in AUM last year. But competing offerings from discount brokerages — like Schwab’s Intelligent Portfolio — may soon vie for the crown, according to the latest study of digital platforms by Aite Group.

How to Gift Stocks and Bonds

5/24/2019

BEING FORTUNATE ENOUGH to make financial gifts to loved ones or charities is a blessing, but in the case of stocks, bonds, and securities, there are special considerations investors should make before doing so.

Voices Bridging the finance generation gap

4/26/2019

Senior-level financial executives are looking for new skills and abilities from the next generation of accounting and financial reporting professionals. In fact, a combination of strong soft skills (like communication and creativity) along with a background in new technologies (such as data analytics and artificial intelligence) are the most highly valued traits sought after by finance organizations, according to the Financial Education & Research Foundation and Robert Half’s 2018 Benchmarking Accounting and Finance Functions report.

Tax Law Fallout Yields These Five Fiduciary Facts For Retirement Savings

4/23/2019

Just as accounting firms and the CPAs that inhabit them can finally breathe a sigh of relief, a sudden realization has overtaken their tried-and-true maxims. The calculus for retirement saving has shifted dramatically. This can bear heavily on the retirement plan fiduciary. Why? Because it may no longer in some people’s best interest to save for retirement in the manner they’ve grown accustomed to.

In a challenged sector, how one IBD is navigating a barrage of changes

4/22/2019

Jack Oujo admits he may have flubbed the initial call. The 26-year HD Vest Financial Services advisor and former minor league baseball umpire first balked at the largest tax-focused independent broker-dealer’s clearing switch to Fidelity’s National Financial Services. Upon further review, he says, it looks much better, thanks to tools like eMoney and a new client portal.

Why You Should Be Investing in Commodities

4/17/2019

Investors seeking the perfect stock market hedge just might find it by investing in commodities. Commodities are the raw materials that are either consumed or used to build other products. From orange juice, to timber, oil and gas or gold, commodities take many forms.

Robos survived a volatile year. What happens when it’s worse?

4/10/2019

Buoyed by a decade-long bull market, robo advisory firms have made significant inroads in the U.S. wealth management market since the financial crisis — assets on digital platforms are now expected to top $1 trillion by next year.

Robos survived a volatile year. What happens when it’s worse?

4/10/2019

Buoyed by a decade-long bull market, robo advisory firms have made significant inroads in the U.S. wealth management market since the financial crisis — assets on digital platforms are now expected to top $1 trillion by next year.

Voices Private companies should proceed cautiously as filing deadline approaches

4/08/2019

Many private companies will benefit from the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act thanks to a key provision of the law that provides certain private businesses with a 20 percent deduction for certain qualified pass-through business income.

1st Global president prepares for HD Vest, Blucora deal

4/04/2019

David Knoch, the president of 1st Global, is getting ready for the close of the acquisition of his financial advisory firm by Blucora, the parent company of HD Vest, and is making plans for aligning with a former rival.

How 401k Plan Sponsors Can Mitigate Fiduciary Liability Associated with Target Date Funds

4/02/2019

Previously, we outlined and examined the often unanticipated problems that can bedevil unsuspecting 401k plan sponsors (“5 Areas Where Target Date Funds Increase 401k Plan Sponsors’ Fiduciary Liability,” FiduciaryNews.com, March 26, 2019). If these represent the poison, what antidotes can be help save 401k plan sponsors from that unwanted fiduciary liability?

5 Areas Where Target Date Funds Increase 401k Plan Sponsors’ Fiduciary Liability

3/26/2019

In his best-selling book Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion, behavioral psychologist Robert Cialdini describes a half dozen “weapons of influence.” He defines one of these – “Social Proof” – as the condition in which “we view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.” With Target Date Funds (“TDFs”) growing by more than 10 times in roughly 10 years to exceed a trillion dollars in defined contribution assets, you don’t need much more evidence to conclude we have Social Proof.

Voices Which business entity your clients have matters a lot to their taxes

3/21/2019

While there was a lot of hype and media coverage of the anxieties of individual taxpayers this year, the small business owner need not feel overlooked. That is because the 30 million or so small businesses across America were all asking the same question: Am I operating in the correct entity to maximize tax savings?

2019 Latest Robo-Advisor News from Robo-Advisor Pros

3/13/2019

This month brought with it a variety of robo-advisor news. From new offerings for UAE residents to reminders about how successful diverse portfolios can be, February brought a lot of updates to the robo-advisor world.

How QDIAs Have Changed the Fiduciary Role of 401k Plan Sponsors

3/12/2019

Target date funds are the fastest growing segment on the 401k investment menu. In the more than ten years since they’ve become a default staple in 401k plans, target date funds have certainly changed the retirement prospects for employees. How have these investment vehicles changed the roles, responsibilities, and even the fiduciary liability of the plan sponsor?

Has New Tax Law Twisted Business Owners Best Interests When It Comes to Retirement Savings Plans?

2/26/2019

Small businesses make up the vast bulk of the businesses in America. They may be full-time businesses, or they may be side hustles that bring in a few extra bucks during the moonlight hours. Many of these businesses are family-owned, especially the part-time businesses.

Taxpayers turning to accountants to help navigate new tax law

2/22/2019

Consumers are confused this year about how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will affect them and are asking tax professionals for assistance with their taxes, according to a new survey.

Tech Innovation Catch-Up Tops CFO To-Do List in 2019

2/20/2019

Innovations like data analytics and automation aren’t reaching corporate finance as quickly as CFOs and controllers would like, prompting them to make a big tech push in 2019.

Corporate Controllers Step Into the Spotlight as CFO Role Evolves

2/20/2019

The role of the corporate controller, often the finance chief’s second-in-command, is expanding as CFOs delegate more of their traditional finance leadership work—a stressful evolution for some finance veterans who are stretching beyond their historic focus on process and efficiency.

Here’s How Robo-Advisors Performed During Stock Market Turmoil

2/15/2019

Robo-advisors have exploded through the previous few years, with the promise to handle and develop your cash based mostly on algorithms and know-how whereas providing cheaper pricing in comparison with conventional human choices.

3 Cases for Annuities in a Turbulent Market

2/12/2019

While there’s nothing unusual about volatility in stock markets, the big swings up and down we’ve experienced recently can amplify anxiety for those clients who are nearing retirement.

February 2019 Robo-Advisor News – Wealthfront, Bonds + More

2/04/2019

This month brought with it a variety of robo-advisor news. From new offerings for UAE residents to reminders about how successful diverse portfolios can be, February brought a lot of updates to the robo-advisor world.

Best Robo-Advisor Performance 2019 – Plus

1/28/2019

As a multi-decade investor I know the pull of high investment returns. It’s wonderful to imagine that a fund’s 20% one-year returns will continue into the future. Many investors make that assumption and jump in to the funds with top returns.

Tipping the Scales: Could Unit-e Finally Break Blockchain’s Scalability Impasse?

1/24/2019

Amid a seemingly constant stream of new concepts claiming to be key to crypto to breaking through to the financial mainstream, one immovable issue remains ever-present: scalability. The crypto community is abuzz with new projects relating to the issue, from the Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network to a brand new cryptocurrency designed by some of the top names in crypto and American academia.

MIT, Stanford and others to build blockchain payments network to rival VisaNet

1/22/2019

Seven major universities are working together to develop a digital currency network that solves blockchain’s scalability and performance problems before public confidence in the technology erodes.

Distributed Technologies Research: Swiss Blockchain and Decentralization Foundation

1/18/2019

Distributed Technologies Research, found online at DTR.org, is a non-profit organization that aims to promote research and decentralize the future.

MIT, Stanford Academics Design Cryptocurrency to Better Bitcoin

1/17/2019

Some of the brightest minds in America are pooling their brain power to create a cryptocurrency that’s designed to do what Bitcoin has proved incapable of: processing thousands of transactions a second.

Best Robo-Advisor Performance 2019 – Plus

1/09/2019

As a multi-decade investor I know the pull of high investment returns. It’s wonderful to imagine that a fund’s 20% one-year returns will continue into the future. Many investors make that assumption and jump in to the funds with top returns.

New study sheds light on how robo-advisors perform during market turmoil

1/09/2019

Robo-advisors have exploded during the past few years, with the promise to manage and grow your money based on algorithms and technology while offering cheaper pricing compared to traditional human options.

Here’s How Robo-Advisors Performed During Stock Market Turmoil

1/09/2019

Robo-advisors have exploded during the past few years, with the promise to manage and grow your money based on algorithms and technology while offering cheaper pricing compared to traditional human options.

New study sheds light on how robo-advisors perform during market turmoil

1/08/2019

Robo-advisors have exploded during the past few years, with the promise to manage and grow your money based on algorithms and technology while offering cheaper pricing compared to traditional human options.