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How Small Financial Advisories can Prevent Sexual Harassment

The dominoes keep falling—allegations of sexual harassment are rampant.  Who is next?  The wounds are open, and it is time to start healing.  Before we can do that, though, we have to wonder why we have not seen more reports out of the wealth management industry recently.  In part, I believe it is because our male-heavy finance culture went through a slew of sexual harassment cases in the 90’s, including th ...

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Tech Trends to Watch in 2018

Wealth management firms of all sizes are trying to streamline their operations to benefit clients, and mobile is a prime example, according to the recent Financial Planning Tech Survey.  Forty percent of respondents cited mobile apps as a potential difference maker for the industry.  This article will cite which technologies offer the most promise to advisors, and which could fall by the wayside. To read th ...

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Blockchain Considerations for Management and Auditors

Members of the accounting profession are being challenged to gain a deep understanding of how ledger technology and digital currencies work.  As the use cases for blockchain multiply, accountants and auditors need to consider how the existing accounting and auditing rules relate to distributed ledger technology. To read the full article in the Journal of Accountancy, click: Blockchain Considerations for Man ...

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Advisor Gets Prison Time After Pleading Guilty to Bilking Client for $911K

A financial planner who admitted to defrauding his client out of nearly $1 million through a signature-forging scheme received a prison sentence of four-and-a-half years.  William P. Carlson Jr. pleaded guilty to mail fraud in the U.S. District Court in Chicago and agreed to pay restitution of $911,000 in connection with the five-year scam. To read the full article in FinancialPlanning, click: Advisor Gets ...

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Corporate Venture Capital and ASU 2016-01: Best Practices for Equity Investments

Accounting Standards Update 2016-01 has generally flown under the radar since it was released almost two years ago.  However, this accounting update has the potential to significantly affect financial reporting by public and private companies with minority equity investments—including corporate entities with a portfolio of venture capital investments.  This whitepaper provides an overview of the accounting ...

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Get a Tax-Smart Plan for In-Retirement Withdrawals: Retirement Scan

Retirees with multiple retirement accounts are advised to have a tax-efficient way of tapping into these accounts to minimize the tax bite, writes Morningstar's Christine Benz.  Retirees who have reached the age of 70 1/2 should take required minimum distributions from tax-deferred accounts, while those who are younger should draw from their taxable accounts, selling assets with the highest cost basis first ...

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Changes Coming to Corporate Venture Capital Investment Reporting

Accounting Standards Update 2016-01 has generally flown under the radar since it was released almost two years ago.  However, this accounting update has the potential to significantly affect financial reporting.  Mercer Capital’s forthcoming whitepaper on ASU 2016-01 will provide an overview of the accounting standards changes as they pertain to companies with equity investments and a few best practice cons ...

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Regulators Want Firms to Ramp Up Fintech Accountability

Officials at the SEC and FINRA have been talking a lot lately about how they have been ramping up their use of sophisticated technologies to root out questionable conduct among the firms they regulate.  It turns out that they are expecting advisors and brokers to do the same. To read the full article in FinancialPlanning, click: Regulators Want Firms to Ramp Up Fintech Accountability. ...

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When Your Vendor is Hacked, Doing Nothing Won’t Cut it

Even firms that believe they are too small to matter should think again.  If a cyberattack happens at the firm's outsourced CRM partner, portfolio management vendor or custodian, and clients' personal information is compromised, where is your client going to turn first to demand an explanation? To read the full article in FinancialPlanning, click: When Your Vendor is Hacked, Doing Nothing Won't Cut it. ...

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Barron’s Goes Unicorn Hunting

In Barron’s November 20 cover story, “The Trouble with Unicorns,” Alex Eule discusses some of the finer points of venture-stage valuation that are often overlooked in the press.  Travis Harms, Mercer Capital’s Financial Reporting Valuation Group Lead, explains that this article is prompted by the dual observations that (1) a large number of venture-backed companies are achieving unicorn status, and (2) desp ...

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To Woo Advisors, Betterment Takes to Hybrid Approach

Priding itself on being a technology company first, Betterment has learned it needs a deeper human touch to sustain its advisor platform.  RIAs are often impressed by the slick interface of Betterment for Advisors, its contemporary user experience and the way it helps speed onboarding and back office tasks.  But, the young firm can’t scale on technology alone. To read the full article in FinancialPlanning, ...

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Clients Build Defensive Cash Positions Even as Bullishness Rises

Clients are boosting their cash positions by taking gains off the table as they hedge against the possibility of a selloff, according to the latest Retirement Advisor Confidence Index—Financial Planning’s barometer of business conditions for wealth managers. To read the full article in FinancialPlanning, click: Clients Build Defensive Cash Positions Even as Bullishness Rises. ...

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Developing Your B2B Website

Key Strategies and Steps In the November 2, 2017 article, the author shared some thoughts on what to avoid when developing your website. In this article, the author focuses on the positive: strategies and steps to get you where you want to go. ...

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Win Some, and Then Some: Equity Compensation Tax Reform

In this week’s blog post, we present a select reading list that has helped us keep up with recent legislative developments around equity and executive compensation. To read the full article in Mercer Capital's Financial Reporting Blog, click: Win Some, and Then Some: Equity Compensation Tax Reform. This article is republished from Mercer Capital's Financial Reporting Blog.  It is reprinted with permission.  ...

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Rules Would Allow Truncated Taxpayer IDs on Forms W-2

In an effort to reduce identity theft, the IRS issued proposed regulations that would permit employers to use truncated taxpayer identification numbers (TTINs) on Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, issued to employees. To read the full article in The Tax Adviser, click: Rules Would Allow Truncated Taxpayer IDs on Forms W-2. ...

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Stay Up on Medicare Enrollment with Annual Reviews

Why Annual Medicare Coverage Reviews Benefit Clients Annual reviews can ensure clients who are Medicare beneficiaries have the coverage they need.  During the Medicare Open Enrollment period, which starts Oct. 15, clients can select different prescription drug coverage, move to a Medicare Advantage plan, or make other changes to their coverage.  PFP/PFS Section members can access over 100 ready-to-go, clien ...

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Early Purchase Price Allocation Estimates Help Avoid EPS Surprises

For public companies, it is increasingly necessary to disclose a preliminary allocation of purchase price in the 10-Q or 10-K immediately following the closing date.  Although M&A activity slowed in the first nine months of 2017 compared to 2016, valuation multiples have continued to rise and major stock market indices marched steadily higher.  Lucas Parris, senior member of Mercer Capital’s Financial R ...

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Reliance on Tax Software Does Not Let Taxpayer Off the Hook

A taxpayer cannot blame tax preparation software for inaccuracies that lead to penalties.  A recent Tax Court case provides a cautionary tale for taxpayers who rely on do-it-yourself tax preparation software to prepare their tax returns.  Craig Smalley provides some insight into this. To read the full article in The Tax Adviser, click: Reliance on Tax Software Does Not Let Taxpayer Off the Hook. ...

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Republicans Unveil Tax Reform Framework

Republican lawmakers released a framework for tax reform, announcing that their goals are to cut tax rates, simplify the Internal Revenue Code, and provide a more competitive environment for business.  The framework generally reiterates proposals made in April.  Alistair Nevius, JofA’s editor in chief, explains. To read the full article in the Journal of Accountancy, click: Republicans Unveil Tax Reform Fra ...

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