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Episode 29 - Hurricanes, Earthquakes, and Rodents of Unusual Size - Business Continuity, with Cindi Hill

All three items mentioned in this episode's title are terrifying in their own way. And you'd better make sure you have some sort of business continuity plan in case your firm is impacted by any of them, especially the Rodents of Unusual Size. Compliance expert Cindi Hill of Hill Compliance Advisors walks us through some important considerations for business continuity and disaster recovery in light of Roger's recent experience with Hurricane Irma.

In this episode, we touch on:

  • Establishing policies for when the office will close. Consider following the lead of a local institution, like a nearby university
  • Regulatory requirements for business continuity and disaster recovery plans, including the death or disability of the owner or other key employees
  • Important questions to cover in such plans, including:
    • Who will wind down the business?
    • Who will reimburse clients (if necessary)?
    • How will clients be notified?
    • How will your office be up and running within 48 hours of any shutdown?
    • What supplies would you need to purchase to quickly put your office back together?
    • What will you do if the US mail service isn't operating? No, really. This happened.
  • Roger also explains the origins of the city of Houston. It's riveting.

Towards the end, Cindi mentions two programs that allow folks to set up up Virtual Private Networks, so that they can use free WI-FI networks without worrying about people snooping. We've listed links to both below:

Mac users: Cloak

PC users: Golden Frog

Episode 28 - Conference Recap - 2017 Bob Veres Insiders Forum

We've got another Investment News "40 Under 40" member on the show! Friend of the podcast Bethany Griffith from Abacus Planning Group in Columbia, SC, joins Roger and Ben to provide a recap of the 2017 Bob Veres Insider's Forum conference.

As with our other conference recap episodes, Bethany wasn't able to attend every session. But she took great notes and came away with some key insights from a number of sessions, including:

  • Structuring Internal Equity Transitions (Roy Ballentine)
  • Bob Veres peering into the future of the planning profession
  • G2: Developing Your Firm's Next Generation Leaders (Philip Palaveev)
  • Designing Processes for Growing your Firm (Cheryl Holland, Bethany Griffith and Scotty Scott, all from Abacus). This led to another ZebraSmash first - a conference recap from someone who actually presented at the conference.
  • Creative & Effective Recruiting, Vetting & Hiring for your Human Talent (Luke Dean, Utah Valley University; Ginny Hudgens, The Strategic Implementer; Hunter Judson, Jr, The Judson Group)
  • The Platform of the Future (Rich Cancro of AdvisorEngine)

We cover a lot of ground in this episode, some which will probably find its way to future ZebraSmash episode. We also talk about an incredibly old printing press, which Bethany swears was really cool.

Also: stay tuned for more details for the ZebraSmash LIVE event at the 2017 NAPFA National Conference in Orlando, FL. Live podcasts...does it get much better than that? We're truly living in a Golden Age.

Episode 27 - Modern Portfolio Theory [CFP CE Credit Eligible]

Stephen Craffen of Stonegate Wealth Management in Oakland, NJ joins Roger and Ben to discuss Modern Portfolio Theory, from its humble origins as a scrappy idea cooked up in a back room at the University of Chicago through its ascendancy and eventual dominance on every CFP and CFA multiple choice exam. And you thought you were done with this stuff!

We touch on a number of critical concepts, including:

  • The creation and important takeaways of Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT)
  • Thenecessary assumptions that make MPT "work" and the limitations thereof
  • Possible updates to Modern Portfolio Theory, including the Black-Litterman approach of portfolio allocation and making use of concepts like Conditional Value at Risk
  • Fat tails, extreme events (like 2008) and the challenge of serial correlation
  • Roger riffing on the Gaussian distribution

Links to Neat Things We Talk About

  • Stephen mentions the seminal work of Roger Ibbotsen and asset allocation. His regularly updated book on the returns of asset classes over time is a widely known, but did you know that the name of his current firm is Zebra Capital Management? How did we not know this! We're ZebraSmash!

  • Roger Lowenstein's When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management is another classic. It's always fun to read about how the economic system almost came crashing down.

Episode 26 - Risks in Advanced Age [CFP CE Credit Eligible]

We invited not one, but two academics in the field of financial planning to a panel discussion. Drs. Nathan Harness and Michael Guillemette joined us to talk about a paper Dr. Guillemette just finished up on the subject of aging clients. There's a lot of research on the subject of how client behavior changes as they reach more advanced years, and Michael took on the herculean task of trying to make sense of it all.

In this episode, we walk through the sections of the paper, with Ben and Roger offering up examples from everyday practice in the field of financial planning. Some elements of the research rung true, while other elements got a little pushback. That's right! This wasn't one of those panel discussions where everybody just agrees with each other.

If you're interested in checking out the paper we discussed, here is a copy. NOTE - This was not the final draft that went to print! We discussed a version that was not quite final.

Risks in Advanced Age - Michael Guillemette

(We'll link the final version of the paper once it's published.)

For more information on our panelists:

Dr. Michael Guillemette

Dr. Nathan Harness (Also a guest on Episode 13!)

Episode 25 - Financial Journalism, with Bob Veres

Bob Veres is one of the most easily recognized writers and commentators in the financial advisory world, and we were lucky to chat with him on the evolution, current state and (dare I say it?) future of financial journalism.

Bob tells us his story, from when he was a freelance writer in Atlanta known as the "writer of last resort," to his ascendancy to editing and resurrecting both Air Cargo and then The Financial Planner (known now as simply Financial Planning), and then finally to the creation of his Inside Information newsletter and other services.

Stay tuned to the end, when Bob Veres definitely says that Ben and Roger are, "...not doofuses." From your lips to God's ears, Bob!

Learn more about Inside Information and Bob's annual conference (Insider's Forum) at www.bobveres.com and the Insider's Forum website, and follow Bob on Twitter (@BobVeres).