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Hearsay Social Expands Content Exchange Platform, Providing the Most Comprehensive Pre-Approved Content Library for Social Media

Social Media Publishing Is “Plug and Play” With Hearsay Social’s Content Exchange; Partnering With Industry-Leading Content Providers Broadridge Financial Solutions, Life Happens, NewsCred, and Trapit to Provide Timely, Relevant and Pre-Approved Content for Financial Services Professionals.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – May 28, 2014) – Hearsay Social, provider of the leading social business platform for the financial services industry, today announced new Content Exchange partnerships with Broadridge Financial Solutions, Life Happens, NewsCred, and Trapit in order to seamlessly source and effectively facilitate the publishing of high-quality, relevant content through social media.

Regularly publishing content to social networks is crucial to maintaining an active presence and staying top of mind with current and prospective clients. The Hearsay Social Content Exchange helps advisors and other financial representatives easily create, curate, and manage social content across their personal and professional networks. Through these newly announced partnerships, Hearsay Social is delivering high-quality, client-relevant, and pre-approved content for financial advisors to share value-added information with their customers across social networks.

Read more @ http://finance.yahoo.com/news/hearsay-social-expands-content-exchange-133300315.html

National Small Business Week Kicks Off May 12th. Three new CE Exams available.

Online registration is now open for National Small Business Week, a series of events scheduled to take place at select cities throughout the United States. Sponsored by the Small Business Administration, National Small Business Week is an annual event designed to help entrepreneurs launch and manage successful business endeavors.

Forefield has created a Client Alert to make your business owner clients aware of the event and the registration details.
Log in to Forefield to view the complete client alert and then share it with your cleints.

Also, we’ve recently added three new CE Exams that cover:
College Savings Options I
Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s
529 Plans

Introduction to Bitcoin and Its Challenges

What if someone told you about an investment that has made some people millionaires overnight and has both a number of high-profile supporters and a global reach? Would you be tempted to invest? Now what if someone told you that the same investment also could lose most or all of its value almost overnight, and that you might not have access to your money when you need it? How does it sound now?

You’ve just confronted the debate surrounding the five-year-old digital phenomenon known as Bitcoin. An alternative currency that exists strictly as digital code, Bitcoin has received a lot of attention, especially in the last year. In part that’s because speculation in Bitcoin has resulted in wild gyrations in its value.

Is Bitcoin an investment? A scam? A network of computers? The future of currency? If you’re unclear on what all the fuss is about, log in to http://www.forefield.com for a brief introduction to just what it is, how it works, and what’s been happening in the Bitcoin world lately, as well as some of the potential pitfalls it presents.

April is Financial Literacy Awareness Week

April is Financial Literacy Awareness Month–the perfect time to help your clients get on track with their saving and investing goals. We offer several concept pieces and videos that you may find useful in communicating with your clients and prospects during Financial Literacy Awareness Month. Log into http://www.forefield.com for free to access all of our content including:

-Financial Planning: Helping You See the Big Picture (concept video)
-Financial Planning–Helping You See the Big Picture
-Women and Money: Taking Control of Your Finances

In addition, Composer subscribers, look for our Financial Literacy Awareness Month greeting cards, which can be personalized with your own title and message.

Keep your clients informed with help from Forefield.

Choose articles from below to build your own client newsletter:

-The Fed’s Great Unwind and Your Portfolio

After more than five years of unprecedented support for the economy, the Federal Reserve Board has begun to reduce its purchases of bonds. And though the Fed has said interest rates may stay low even after unemployment has fallen to 6.5%, higher rates increasingly seem to be a question of timing. Both of those actions can affect your portfolio. Read on at Forefield.com.

-Spring Cleaning Your Debt

It’s springtime–time for you to take stock of your surroundings and get rid of the dirt and clutter that you’ve accumulated during this past year.
In addition to typical spring cleaning tasks, you may want to take this time to focus on your finances. In particular, now may be as good a time as ever to evaluate your debt situation and try to reduce and/or eliminate any debt obligations you may have. Log into Forefield.com for tips to get your clients started.

-Saving through Your Retirement Plan at Work? Don’t Let These Five Risks Derail Your Progress

As a participant in your work-sponsored retirement savings plan, you’ve made a very important commitment to yourself and your family: to prepare for your future. Congratulations! Making that commitment is an important first step in your pursuit of a successful retirement. Now it’s important to stay focused–and be aware of a few key risks that could derail your progress along the way. Risks outlined in detail at Forefield.com.

Exciting News for Forefield Clients!

Today, Broadridge Financial Solutions announced that it has expanded its offerings to financial advisors through its acquisition of Emerald Connect, a leading provider of solutions-based marketing tools that assist financial advisors in prospecting for new business, retaining existing clients and branding their practices.

Emerald Connect’s website solutions, as well as its customized branding, marketing, retention and client communication tools, will be integrated with our suite of sales, education and client communication capabilities to create the industry’s leading financial advisor client communications solution. We are excited about this development, as financial advisors will have a single, robust and comprehensive offering enabling them to educate and communicate with their clients, and position and grow their businesses.

There will be no immediate changes to the products and services you currently purchase from Forefield. Over time, we will merge the Forefield and Emerald Connect platforms to create a combined product offering that will provide enhanced marketing and productivity services. Adding Emerald Connect to Broadridge’s wealth advisor solutions portfolio demonstrates Broadridge’s growing presence in the wealth management industry and its commitment to provide high-quality services to financial advisors.

We look forward to our continued relationship, and welcome you to read the press announcement regarding the acquisition.

Easy Money Winds Down, Markets React

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 2013 at a new all-time record, and the S&P 500 reached its all-time closing high two weeks later. The Federal Reserve is confident enough that in December it announced it would begin reducing the bond purchases that have helped fuel economic recovery.

But fast-forward to the end of January and things look a little different. The Dow lost 5.6% during the month–its worst January since 2009–and the S&P 500 went from an all-time high to a monthly loss in just over two weeks. What in the world has been going on?

As it turns out, “what in the world” is exactly the right phrase. The recent turmoil demonstrates just how tightly linked global markets are now. The shift in Fed policy coupled with internal problems in a number of emerging-market countries have given financial markets around the world the jitters. After 2013′s stellar run for equities, many investors have decided to back away from risk for a while, and that has hurt not only emerging markets but also U.S. stocks.

If you’re unclear about why a headline like “Argentina devalues its peso” can have an impact on equities around the world, you’re not alone. Here’s a brief look at how Fed policy and emerging-market currencies have combined to wreak havoc on global markets recently.

Good news, bad news from the Fed

Since November 2008, policies by both the Federal Reserve and other central banks have kept interest rates low; to combat the recession, they injected money into the global economy and made it easier to obtain credit. Emerging markets benefitted from that easy money. Investors who grew impatient with the Fed’s historically low interest rates turned to investments paying a higher return. In many cases, those investments were overseas, and that influx of money helped fuel growth in emerging markets.

However, that dynamic began to show signs of reversing last June after the Fed announced its plans for winding down its economic support. Investors who had sought the higher interest rates that emerging markets had to pay on their debt began to rethink their strategy, anticipating the end of rock-bottom rates on U.S. Treasuries and a stronger dollar. Once the Fed actually began cutting its bond purchases last month, currencies such as the Brazilian real, the Indian rupee, the South African rand, and the Turkish lira began to lose value even more rapidly. As a country’s currency weakened and each real or lira bought less and less, higher prices set in, especially for goods valued in stronger currencies such as the dollar.

That kind of inflation, coupled with high budget deficits in many cases, has contributed to political instability in some countries. Many emerging-market leaders have been faced with a difficult choice. Do they raise interest rates to try to fight inflation and keep investment assets from leaving the country for bigger returns elsewhere–at the risk of hurting what may be an already fragile economy by making credit tougher to get? Or do they devalue their currency further, hoping that less-expensive exports will improve sales, but also risking greater inflation and the anger of citizens suffering from soaring prices? That uncertainty has brought on double-digit losses in the stock markets of some developing economies such as Brazil and Turkey.

The Fed isn’t the only reason for emerging-market problems

The beginning of tighter Fed policy in January was followed by a second trigger for the current turmoil: a survey of purchasing managers in China that suggested that the manufacturing sector there was slowing. China has announced plans to rein its so-called “shadow banking” system–unregulated lending that has helped fuel a frenzy of development there in recent years. China’s manufacturing sector, which serves as the factory floor for much of the world, is an important customer for the commodity exports that are vital to many emerging economies; lower demand for commodities could have a substantial impact on countries whose economies depend on exporting them. If Chinese manufacturing catches a cold, economies that depend on exports to those manufacturers could get the flu, and the disease could take the biggest toll on countries whose economies are already sick or that have low reserves of U.S. dollars in their coffers.

Concerns about such problems have come to a head in the last few weeks as countries have taken various approaches to try to deal with their problems. Argentina stunned global markets when it devalued its peso by almost 20% in an attempt to help pay the country’s debts, while Venezuela imposed indirect currency controls. Turkey nearly doubled its key interest rate, while central banks in Brazil, India, and South Africa also have raised interest rates in the last couple of weeks.

Why does any of this matter to U.S. equities?

There are two reasons why the turmoil in emerging markets has had an impact domestically. First, many large U.S. companies derive a substantial percentage of their revenues overseas. Weaker currencies abroad can cut into those companies’ revenues as American goods become more unaffordable for customers overseas and sales made in a weakened currency are worth less to a company’s bottom line. Headwinds from exchange rates and lower sales could affect corporate profits.

Also, it wasn’t so long ago that global financial institutions were at serious risk of being hurt by bad investments in struggling countries. Memories of Greece and other struggling eurozone countries in 2011-2012 are helping to fuel a global “risk off” mentality among investors already on edge about how aggressively the Fed will tighten and how the U.S. economy will respond.

Keep some perspective in the face of turbulence

The events of recent weeks are a reminder that emerging markets are typically more volatile than those of more developed economies, and that in addition to being subject to the usual risks that apply to all equities, foreign investments are subject to the currency and political risks that are an inherent part of investing internationally. However, it’s also worth remembering that the International Monetary Fund recently raised its forecast for global economic growth this year to an annual rate of 3.7%*. Also, one of the reasons for the Fed’s monetary tightening is that its outlook for the U.S. economy is more encouraging. The Fed also has left itself plenty of room to maintain its support; in 2010, it halted bond purchases because the economy was growing, only to renew them a couple of months later. The Fed won’t meet again until the end of March, so markets will have a little time to digest its most recent decision.

Don’t let every twist and turn derail a carefully constructed investment game plan. If you’re focused on a long-term goal, remember that your personal circumstances are just as important as external events, and ups and downs in the market are to be expected. Though the S&P 500 lost 3.6% in January, that came on the heels of a 29.6% price gain in 2013, and many experts have argued that some retrenchment in an almost five-year bull market is to be expected. However, it might be worth exploring how various asset classes in your portfolio could be affected by Fed actions and global volatility, and whether there are ways to hedge your exposure. And if you’ve been keeping a substantial cash position, volatility also may present buying opportunities.

*World Economic Outlook Update, January 2014, http://www.imf.org, as of 2/3/2014.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized on February 7, 2014. Edit

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