Preqin data show hedge funds have earned positive returns for eight consecutive months and have had their most robust first half since 2009. Assets of the top 100 asset managers worldwide reached $4 trillion last year, a 10% increase, according to a Willis Towers Watson survey.
A survey by the Tiger 21 network for high-net-worth investors shows respondents had an average of 33% of their portfolio in real estate at the conclusion of the second quarter. That is the highest percentage since data gathering began 10 years ago, while hedge fund investment has dropped to a low of 4% on average.
Andrew Bailey, head of the UK Financial Conduct Authority, has criticized the European Securities and Markets Authority's guidance that regulators increase scrutiny of UK asset managers looking to establish regulated entities in the EU while retaining key portfolio and risk-management functions in London. The EU has not provided evidence for treating the UK differently from other third countries regarding this issue, Bailey says.
Establishment of a financial-transaction tax across Europe could be impeded by UK banks' move to the EU as a result of Brexit. France and Germany have cooled on the proposed tax, which could counteract their efforts to attract UK institutions.
The Labor Department is likely to further postpone full enforcement of its new fiduciary rule, but that doesn't mean the agency will drop it entirely, members of a panel convened by The American College of Financial Services agreed. When the Labor Department finishes its review, it could revise its prohibited transactions exemptions to be more compatible with the financial products that are on the market, said Jamie Hopkins, director of retirement planning at The American College.
The amount that employers contribute to employees' retirement funds, as a percentage of worker pay, dropped 25% between 2001 and 2015 as businesses shifted away from pension plans and toward defined-benefit plans, according to Willis Towers Watson. However, some employers have been raising the amount they match in 401(k)s in a bid to attract top talent.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and other lawmakers are calling on the Labor Department to issue guidance on the applicability of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to the auto-portability of retirement savings. They said in a letter to Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta that the Employee Benefit Research Institute found a clearinghouse automatically rolling over plan balances to new employers' plans could produce an extra $2 trillion of retirement savings by the time workers reached age 65.
A survey by Aite Group found that 51% of advisors don't anticipate having to raise fees for their retirement-account clients if the current version of the Labor Department's fiduciary rule goes into full effect. Twenty-eight percent of advisors surveyed said they anticipate a moderate increase in fees, while 16% expect a moderate decrease in fees.
The Labor Department's new fiduciary rule doesn't offer much guidance on transferring individual retirement accounts from one financial firm to another, writes Fred Reish, a lawyer with Drinker Biddle & Reath. Adequate documentation is important regardless of what approach the advisor takes, he writes.
Managed accounts present an interesting set of issues for 401(k) advisors, mainly because their unique nature makes them difficult to monitor and benchmark. "We spend all this time benchmarking target-date providers, and managed-account providers kind of have a free pass right now, partly because it's hard to benchmark," said Matt Gulseth, partner at Channel Financial.
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