Week’s Best: Why DIY Investors Should Consider Hiring an Advisor


Physical fitness goals are a favorite focus of New Year’s resolutions, but what about financial health? As people advance in life, their finances tend to get more complicated, which could suggest that a DIY strategy no longer makes sense and that it might be time to enlist a professional to help think through investment strategies and how to achieve short- and long-term goals. Here we offer seven areas where an advisor might be able to help self-directed investors improve their financial picture, from preparing for negative events to negotiating competing priorities among family members.

In other most-read wealth management articles this week: 

A ‘golden age’ for bonds? When bond yields pace equities in historical returns, and do so without all the inherent risk that comes with the stock market, investors find themselves in a golden age for bonds, our guest columnist writes. He argues that the rising yields that followed the issuance of many of the currently available investment-grade and high-yield bonds have created a ripe environment for an active fixed-income strategy. While the rise in passive investing over the past decade has sharply decreased the cost of bond investing, it has also created significant opportunities for active investors to exploit, he writes.

Fisher Not for Sale? Fisher Investments is disputing a news report that it is in talks about selling itself to private-equity shop Advent International, saying the article in The Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources, was solely based on “rumors.” Fisher, one of the nation’s largest registered investment advisor firms, issued a press release denying the report, saying it isn’t selling to Advent, “or anyone else.” 

If advisors made resolutions for their clients… Financial advisors know all too well that dispensing thoughtful advice is only part of the job—getting clients to follow it is another matter. But what if advisors could make resolutions for their clients? We asked several top advisors what resolutions they would draw up for their client in this week’s Big Q feature. We heard about carving out stretch goals, taking chances, and taking a step back from market fluctuations to update their long-term financial plan.

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DOL gets an earful on retirement rule. The Department of Labor knew a lot of financial professionals and investors would want to weigh in when it took a fresh stab at expanding fiduciary obligations to cover more retirement advisors. After all, the department set off a firestorm in the industry in 2016 when it enacted a similar rule (which was ultimately struck down in court). The department this week received the last of more than 19,000 comments for its latest proposal. The feedback ranged from vigorous support from fiduciary advocates to full-throated criticism from industry groups that warn the rule would compel many advisors to simply abandon the retirement market.

Ringing in the new year with more M&A deals. After a slight drop-off in M&A activity in the registered investment advisor space at the end of 2023 (following multiple sequential record-setting years), the first few days of 2024 saw at least four new deal announcements. The largest of the deals was Waverly Advisors’ acquisition of the $1.5 billion firm StrategIQ Financial Group, but announcements also came from Dakota Wealth Management, Mercer Advisors, and Mariner Wealth Advisors. Advisor M&A expert David DeVoe thinks 2024 will bring about a rebound in deal activity as lower interest rates could free up access to capital.

Also this week, we caught up with Mike Durbin, the former Fidelity executive who took the CEO’s reins at Cetera Holdings last May. In an in-depth interview, Durbin explains the rationale for Cetera’s purchases last year of Securian’s retail wealth management business, Avantax, and The Retirement Planning Group. He also lays out Cetera’s goals in the RIA custody space and shares what private-equity shop Genstar’s recent reinvestment in Cetera means for the company’s future. 

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Have a great weekend. 

Write to advisor.editors@barrons.com


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