2021 Outlook: A Rousing Recovery
While COVID-19 rendered many 2020 forecasts obsolete within the first few months of the year, several of BMO Global Asset Management’s key calls proved accurate. Though 2020 was a year of many challenges, we are optimistic for 2021 and expect improved economic conditions and better times ahead.
Global Investment Forum Summary Report 2019
From September 10-12, a select group of our investment managers, economists and strategists congregated in London for our annual Global Investment Forum (GIF). The GIF is designed to tune out the day-to-day market noise and focus on key market drivers over the medium term.
Pension Lump Sums: Thoughtful Considerations for Plan Sponsors and Retirees
The IRS recently altered course and announced that it will no longer stop employers from offering retirees a lump sum payment in exchange for their pensions. Initial reactions have been that this is very bad — comparing lump sum cash-outs to cigarettes — legal, liked and bad for you.
Developing the next generation of financial advisors
It’s no secret that the advisor workforce is aging, and the old ways of recruiting and retaining advisors hasn’t been sufficient in meeting demand for new talent in the industry. Some firms have turned to new, unique ways of advisor development and are seeing successful outcomes for their business.
Modern marketing: The secrets to a successful blog
Consistent client communications can be a challenge, but doing so can help bolster the relationship an advisor can have with their clients. What if that communication could potentially increase the visibility of your firm to potential new clients at the same time? A blog may be the answer.
The do’s and don’ts of investment policy statements
An investment policy statement is an important way to document goals and the plans to achieve them. While they are not a requirement as part of an investment plan, having one in place can help keep a plan on course during times of stress and uncertainty.
Derek Sasveld joins the podcast to break down the basics of investment policy statements, including the four components of a well-written investment policy statement.
Tax strategies to optimize your client conversations
April 15th has come and gone. And with changes to the tax code taking effect in 2018, advisors and individuals may have had a different experience than in years past. Your clients may even be turning to you for advice on how to better manage their tax planning for 2019.
Rick Kollauf joins the podcast to discuss the details of the new tax rules. Plus, he shares how getting the tax conversation right can strengthen the relationship between advisor and client.
Power of the pipeline: Client acquisition strategies to grow your practice
In this episode, we explore strategies for building an effective pipeline system and improving your client acquisition efforts.
Our guest is Michael Salmon, founder of Salmon Academy and author of Winning More Business in Financial Services. He shares the concrete, actionable steps that you can take today to overcome your hurdles to growth, including the five strategies to meet your client acquisition goals and the importance of building and managing your pipeline.
Funding education with a 529 plan
The cost of higher education has been climbing for many years, making it harder for families to afford to send their children to college. Most advisors are familiar with what a 529 plan is, yet only about 18% of children have these plans in place.
Mark Kantrowitz of SavingForCollege.com joins the podcast to discuss how advisors can bridge the gap and become advocates for creating college savings plans. Plus, we discuss the importance of starting early in a child’s life, even in small increments, rather than waiting until high school.
Beyond the hype: Blockchain technology
Blockchain technology is a hot topic in the financial world. What is it, and how may this technology impact the wealth management industry in the years to come?
We’re joined in this podcast episode by Professor Lamont Black from DePaul University and Aditya Shanker from BMO Capital Markets, who both have been researching blockchain and its potential implications for financial professionals. They discuss the differences between the often-associated blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, plus why it is important to keep an eye on how these technologies become adopted in the near future.
Financial considerations for families with special needs
According to a 2016 Return on Disability Group report, over 56 million people in the United States identified themselves as having a disability. This demographic, along with their caretakers, requires specialized financial planning, but are often left underserved by their advisors.
Talking trade: From NAFTA to USMCA
In November of 2018, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, also known as USMCA, was signed as a show of intention to replace NAFTA. What does this potential new trade agreement mean for markets, both domestically and globally? And what impact will it have for your clients?
Our guest this episode is Michael Gregory, Deputy Chief Economist for BMO Capital Markets. We discuss the importance that trade agreements, historically with NAFTA and looking forward to USMCA, have on North American economies, including the sectors that benefit the most from these agreements. Plus, Michael discusses the impact that USMCA may have on investors and advisors.
Designing the best approach to conferences
Attending a conference is a great way to network, learn about the latest trends, and to just escape from your day-to-day routine. But how do you go about selecting which conferences you should be attending? And how do you maximize what you can get out of each conference to the benefit of you and your team?
Ben Jones and Emily Larsen hosted a roundtable discussion at IMPACT® 2018 to discuss how attendees are maximizing conferences for their practice. Our roundtable guests discuss the strategies they employ for their practices, such as networking while eating, and share their tips for how to get the most of your conference attendance.
Charitable giving: Wealth management strategies for the ultra high net worth
Charitable giving is something that touches many of our clients from large to small. For many ultra high net worth (UHNW) clients, philanthropic endeavors have also become a pillar in their wealth management strategy, serving a unique and individualized need.
Susanna Poon, Director of Philanthropy Services at CTC myCFO, a part of BMO Financial Group, joins the podcast to explain how financial advisors can be the bridge between UHNW individuals with excess capital and organizations in need of capital. Assisting with this part of a client’s wealth lifecycle can help build a stronger relationship and better potential outcomes for the client and the charitable impact they would like to make.
The delicacy of dialogue: Helping clients talk openly about money
For some people, talking about money can be a frightening task. But being more open about money with spouses and family members – and financial advisors, too – can lead to better outcomes for all parties.
Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, a wealth psychology expert and author of Breaking Money Silence, joins the podcast to discuss how advisors can dispel some common myths that clients believe about money. Plus, she shares tips on how to open up a dialogue with clients who may be hesitant to talk about their finances.
Creating more precision with life expectancy planning
As life expectancy numbers continue to increase, the need for more careful and more precise financial planning for retirement has increased with it. A startup called Genivity, one of the winners of BMO’s 1871 FinTech partnership program in 2017, is helping financial advisors have better conversations with their clients by incorporating health history insights into the financial planning process.
Heather Holmes, founder and CEO of Genivity, joins the podcast to discuss common misconceptions about longevity and the financial planning process that has historically surrounded it. Plus, she discusses Ben’s and Emily’s results of Genivity’s HALO assessment, where clients fill out information related to their health, family history and more to help advisors set a framework for the client’s retirement plan.
Outlook for 2019 — I can see clearly now...
Studies have shown over the years that most economic rate projections are terribly inaccurate with forecasts bunched together from crowd behavior. So what to do? Run multiple scenarios, assign probabilities and spit out the most likely base case at that point in time.
BMO Global Investment Forum Summary Report
Over three days a selection of our investment managers, economists and strategists congregated in London for our annual Global Investment Forum (GIF). The GIF is designed to tune out the day-to-day market noise and focus on key market drivers over the medium term.
A Bond Bear Market? Bring It On!
After years of declarations that the bull market in bonds is over and the rise in interest rates was imminent, are we finally there? The move in rates on 10 year Treasuries again prompted this question in the first quarter; rates rose by over 50 basis points during the quarter, before settling in to a more modest 30 basis point increase.
Market Perspectives: Five-Year Outlook
The world economy has reached an unusual state of stability. Almost every country is seeing positive growth –but nowhere is growth booming out of control. Inflation is also firmly in ‘goldilocks’ territory.
The U.S. Wage Growth Quandary
The lack of wage growth in the U.S. labor market has been a frequent topic during our global multi-asset investment calls. Typically at this point in the economic cycle (mid-to-late cycle), wages are growing at a 4%+ pace. However, wage growth has been very modest over the past few years (2%-3% growth), puzzling many investors and frustrating many workers who have expected larger increases.
Protectionism: Is Anyone Playing a Fair International Game?
The revolving door at the White House continued its rapid rotation during August. The Trump inner circle is now almost unrecognizable from the team surrounding him in January. If the White House was in the private sector the shareholders would be calling for the scalp of the CEO – and probably well before now. Soon everyone will be required to wear name tags. It is beyond fiction.
Fight Night: Boxing, Voting and Investing in 2017
UFC and mixed martial arts (MMA) have seen their popularity grow in recent years from relative obscurity, banned in many states, to the mainstream. Does the current fight represent a view of the future (e.g. the NFL and the upstart AFL) or a novelty (e.g. the XFL)? The fight highlights the topic of convergence and its current poignancy, from boxing to politics to investments.
On the World Stage: Political Posturing and Economic Nuances
At the time of writing (July 25) equity markets are generally up for the month – not massively (most less than 1% based on MSCI local currency price indices) but this modest appreciation contributes to a healthy run in 2017. The US and UK indices are both up more than 1% month-to-date.
Miscalculations from Number 10 Downing Street
We are not suggesting that the UK economy has been performing in a stellar fashion. Far from it. But in a low-growth world (mired in what the OECD likes to refer to as a “low-growth trap”) the UK hasn’t been anywhere near bottom of the table.
China in Focus
Historically, we have not been able to find many interesting, really high quality companies in China which has largely centered on our discomfort with corporate structures, governance and alignment between majority and minority shareholders. While this continues to be the case, recent trips by members of the team have certainly provided plenty of food for thought.
International equities climb despite month of mayhem and mutterings
It would be pleasing to see a month go by without a terrorist atrocity somewhere in the world but, sadly, May was not going to be one of those months. The Manchester abomination is just one more in a string of similar attacks. It is difficult for the authorities anywhere to protect citizens from extremists who operate alone, wear no uniform and are prepared to die for their beliefs. There will, undoubtedly, be many more unhappy months.
Active vs. Passive – Is the Tide Turning?
One of the most common questions that we’ve heard/received from clients over the past year has been our view on active versus passive management. Active management has come under significant pressure due to its underperformance relative to passive over the past few years, particularly in the very competitive US large cap space, as well as the broader theme of fee compression in the industry. This theme is well illustrated by mutual fund flows over the past couple of years. According to Morningstar, passive fund strategies in the U.S. experienced inflows of $505 billion in 2016, while active funds saw outflows of $340 billion. Will this trend continue, or will active management again have its day in the sun?
Is the Fed Moonlighting or Are We Still in La La Land? The Envelope Please...
With markets seeking to avoid similar toe-stubbing in the policy arena, we examine the drivers of the fixed income markets for the near term. In doing so, we consider President Trump’s fiscal policy influence, Janet Yellen’s monetary policy impacts and evolving exogenous geopolitical dynamics. So, who or what will determine the market’s course moving forward?
Unabashedly Unaffordable: Global Housing Markets on the Edge
The housing market evokes a strong, and often emotional, reaction. This is usually because vested interests (owners, investors, speculators, politicians, lenders, real estate agents and others) can’t bear to think of the consequences of a decline in house prices. Politicians constantly talk about making housing more “affordable” but, by definition, this means lower prices.
Risk: What Really Matters
Recent months have been unusually eventful, characterized by a swing in the global political landscape, U.S. dollar strength, geopolitical flash points, demonetization in India and military coups in Turkey (among many others), all feeding into general market nervousness and a significant rise in volatility. This was certainly the case in emerging markets.
Alexa, Invest in Fixed Income
One of the hottest gifts of the recent holiday season was the Amazon Echo, which offers to ease the lives of customers by directing the system with its famous command “Alexa…” This move toward the automation of a greater percentage of our lives has a parallel in the investing world.
US Debt: A Concern But Not A Crisis
One topic noticeably absent from the recent presidential election was the U.S. government debt. In fact, the topic seems to have fallen from public consciousness. In the medium term we do not expect current debt levels to cause a shock, but the longer-term effects could drag on growth, especially with an aging population and sluggish economic growth.