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Key platform switch criteria revealed in new report

Financial advisers are placing more focus on financial strength when considering switching platforms, according to a new study.

The report by analysts AKG suggests that financial strength is becoming a more important factor for advisers when selecting a new platform.

Despite this only just over half said it had been an important criteria when choosing their existing platform. The research suggests that financial strength may be the most “under considered” factor when initially selecting a platform.

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AKG, which provides financial strength ratings and other financial analysis, said the study suggested the financial strength of a platform was becoming more important to advisers when switching platform.

Overall, advisers were most likely to have chosen their existing platform based on charges, investment options and online functionality.

CRITERIA FOR SELECTION1 – TOP 5

BIGGEST CONCERNS WHEN ISSUES ARISE – TOP 5

Charges – 74%

Charges – 66%

Investment options –

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The 2020 election’s polling errors are eerily similar to four years ago

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Joe Biden was forecast to win the election comfortably with wide margins. And while he did pull out a victory—claiming 306 electors—the state-level results are much closer than expected: The Democratic nominee was forecast by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight to win Wisconsin by 8.3 percentage points and Pennsylvania by 4.7 points, however, he only took the states by 0.6 points and 1.2 points, respectively.

So just how far off are pollsters and forecasters?

Now that most states have certified their election results, Fortune calculated 2020 model/polling errors. The difference between a battleground state’s projected margin and the final result is its “polling error.”

We found that polling errors this cycle are on par with 2016. In the 14 battleground states, FiveThirtyEight was off by an average margin … Read the rest

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Chartered Financial Planner secures bigger HQ

Expanding Chartered Financial Planning firm Equilibrium has shown confidence in the future by taking a 15 year lease on a new HQ office building for its 89 staff.

The Cheshire-based firm has moved from two older buildings to 23,000 square feet of new premises in Ascot House, Handforth.

The company manages £1bn worth of assets and has a turnover of over £10m. Recently the firm announced it would invest client money only in fund groups that meet ESG criteria.

Equilibrium was founded in 1995 by Colin Lawson and specialises in all areas of wealth management, including Financial Planning, investment management, pensions, tax planning and estate planning. 

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Managing partner Gaynor Rigby says that the relocation will provide space for further expansion.

She said: “We’ve been in our old office for nearly 15 years, and we really made it our home – the whole team has some great memories there,

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The biggest tech news you missed over Thanksgiving

Good morning, Term Sheet readers. I’m glad to be back from Thanksgiving break, when I finally gave up trying to like turkey and opted for lasagna.

Much like lasagna (forgive the pun), the news layered on over the long U.S. holiday as investors continued to take advantage of these strange market conditions to IPO or merge with other businesses.

Here are five things you need to know to jumpstart your week:

(FINANCIAL) DATA IS EVERYTHING: In a mega Monday merger, S&P Global agreed to acquire market data provider IHS Markit for an eye-popping $44 billion, including $4.8 billion in debt. The transaction will be completed entirely in S&P Global stock. Meanwhile, the London Stock Exchange is seeking clearance for its plans to acquire data provider Refinitiv for $27 billion.

AIRBNB AND DOORDASH SEEK EVEN HIGHER VALUATIONS: Airbnb, which was valued at $31 billion in 2017 before succumbing to … Read the rest

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Unbiased reveals award-winning advisers

 

Online adviser directory provider Unbiased has revealed the first winners of its new Trusted Professional Annual Awards.

The awards are for financial advisers, mortgage brokers and accountants and were presented at an online ceremony this week. Entrants were nominated by clients and peers.

The top award, the Unbiased Excellence Award, went to IFA Antony Cotchobos of Aurum Capital.

He received a particularly high number of nominations from clients, Unbiased said. One client praised his “clarity and transparency.” He was also highly rated for presenting multiple options and patiently explaining the features of each one.

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The client said: “With Antony, I always had the feeling he was working for me. A very positive, really professional experience.”

The winners were:

Unbiased Excellence Award: Antony Cotchobos, Aurum Capital London

Financial Adviser of the Year: Mary Hemingway, Truly Independent (highly rated for helping a client who feared he had lost all his

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These 5 major gym chains still make it annoyingly hard to quit

Gyms have been among COVID-19’s most dramatically impacted victims, due to the transmission risks of packing heavily breathing people into a confined space for hours at a time. But there’s one thing the pandemic hasn’t changed: It’s still exasperatingly difficult to get out of a gym contract.

Fitness clubs have long relied on long-term membership agreements to prevent flighty customers from abandoning their New Year’s resolutions without a financial penalty. But given the public health considerations of the coronavirus pandemic, gyms’ generally stringent membership cancelation policies—specifically, requirements that members must visit a physical location or send a certified letter to terminate their contracts—have come into relief.

Information on outbreaks linked to gyms paints a hazy picture. Since the summer, numerous COVID-19 outbreaks have been tied to fitness centers, including ones in Elmhurt, Ill., San Diego, and Hawaii’s Oahu island.

Data released by the Minnesota Department of Health … Read the rest

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Family Office buys Isle of Man fiduciary IQE

Boston Multi Family Office has completed its acquisition of IQE, an Isle of Man fiduciary, following approval by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority.

The deal is the first acquisition since the management buyout at Boston in 2019.

All of IQE’s services and clients will transfer to Boston’s Isle of Man headquarters.

IQE Limited directors David Karran, Moira McHarrie and Anne Couper Woods have joined Katherine Ellis, Alex McNee and Sarah Ingrassia on the Boston board, with other IQE staff also transferring to Boston’s Hill Street offices.

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Boston CEO Katherine Ellis said: “We are delighted to welcome our new colleagues and clients to the Boston family. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this acquisition was, by necessity, managed entirely remotely so it is very pleasing that we can now work together as one team.

“I would like to acknowledge the professionalism of staff at both companies in bringing

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Tony Hsieh, retired Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh, the retired CEO of Las Vegas-based online shoe retailer Zappos.com who spent years working to transform the city’s downtown area, has died. He was 46.

Hsieh was with family when he died Friday, according to a statement from DTP Companies, which he founded. Downtown Partnership spokesperson Megan Fazio said Hsieh passed away in Connecticut, KLAS-TV reported.

Puoy Premsrirut, a lawyer for Hsieh, told news outlets that Hsieh had been injured in a house fire while visiting Connecticut. Additional details weren’t immediately released. An official cause of death wasn’t announced.

“Tony’s kindness and generosity touched the lives of everyone around him, and forever brightened the world,” a DTP Companies statement said. “Delivering happiness was always his mantra, so instead of mourning his transition, we ask you to join us in celebrating his life.”

Hsieh recently retired from Zappos after 20 years leading the company. The online shoe retailer shared … Read the rest

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Editor’s Column: Ominous failure of PI-hit adviser

 

Sceptics may have questioned warnings that the soaring cost of Professional Indemnity Insurance would put some advisory firms out of business. They may have to eat their words.

This week we learned that wealth manager Harwood had placed its subsidiary, appointed rep adviser firm Network Direct, into voluntary administration due in part to rising Professional Indemnity insurance costs.

It’s one of the first cases of an adviser firm being put out of business due to PI costs. Fortunately in this case another firm, Adviser Services Holdings Limited (ASHL), has swooped in to take over the remnants of Network Direct and offer its advisers new contracts.

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Network Direct’s advisers have been fortunate in this instance. Others in the future may not be.

Some may see Network Direct as a weak business and guilty of its own misfortune but it’s been around for 10 years and its advisers operated as

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Gift Guide: How to turn your outdoor space into a year-round living room

Winter came especially early this year to Chicago—the first snowflakes were spotted on October 26th, to be exact. In this part of the country people are already used to braving the elements, but with COVID still running rampant, having an outdoor space that is usable (no matter what the temperature) has become the best way to ensure you can keep socializing with other humans during the darkest and coldest months of the year. Here, we tracked down six essentials for making your outdoor space feel like your favorite indoor space this winter.

Solo Stove Bonfire, $284

You may have thought most of society’s great leaps forward in terms of innovation recently have been in gene editing, or perhaps app design. But don’t underestimate fire pits, particularly the Solo Stove’s “smokeless” model. As the company explains it, “Strategically placed holes in the double-wall structure suck the air from the bottom … Read the rest