Financial Adviser Specialty: Gay and Lesbian Clients - Smart Money Financial Adviser Specialty: Gay and Lesbian Clients - Smart Money

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Financial Adviser Specialty: Gay and Lesbian Clients - Smart Money

Financial Adviser Specialty: Gay and Lesbian Clients - Smart Money

In recent years, there has been an explosion in the number of credentials financial advisers use to market their services to clients. Add one more to the mix. The Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor (ADPA) program.

Created about three years ago, this program seeks to educate financial advisers on “the unique needs of clients” who are LGBT, an acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

According to a recent survey by Wells Fargo Advisors, which helped design the program, 61% of those who are LGBT say they are confident they will be able to save enough to afford the retirement lifestyle they desire, versus 53% of the general population. Still, there is a “disconnect” between that confidence level and the actual savings LGBT individuals have amassed, says Kyle Young a financial adviser and vice president at Wells Fargo Advisors.

Indeed, the median amount LGBT individuals have saved is only 17% of the $900,000 they believe they will need.

For LGBT individuals, saving for retirement is even more critical than it is for heterosexual, married couples, Mr. Young says. That’s because although LGBT individuals are able to legally marry in several states, they are not able to inherit one another’s Social Security and may not be able to inherit a  defined benefit pension benefit. Nor are they able to pass unlimited assets to one another free of gift and estate taxes. Yet another potential problem: Fewer LGBT couples have children to help them in their old age, making long-term-care insurance even more critical.

The net effect, says Mr. Young, is that “the cost of living for a LGTB couple is far greater than for a heterosexual couple.” Perhaps as a result, the LGBT respondents to the Wells Fargo survey project they will need $900,000 to retire, versus $300,000 for heterosexual couples, he adds.

If you are LGBT, should you seek out one of the 200-or-so financial advisers nationwide–many of whom work for Wells Fargo–who have earned an Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor (ADPA) designation? Not necessarily. Many financial advisers should have the expertise in subjects including insurance and gift and estate taxes to be able to help a LGBT individual or couple plan for the future.  But if you don’t have an adviser you like–or if you don’t think your current adviser is sensitive to the financial risks you and your partner face–you might consider it.

To earn an ADPA designation, an adviser must have one of ten well-established credentials. These include the certified public accountant, chartered financial analyst, and certified financial planner designations that each require a rigorous course of study, as well as continuing education and adherence to codes of ethics. The ADPA, which was created by Wells Fargo in partnership with the well-respected College for Financial Planning, requires four additional courses and a passing grade on a multiple choice exam.

Advisers with the designation learn how to help couples insure themselves against the potential loss of a spouse’s Social Security or other benefits. They are also schooled in gifting strategies to enable couples with unequal wealth ensure the survivor has adequate financial resources.

Be aware that not all financial designations are equal. According to an article by my colleagues Jason Zweig and Mary Pilon:

“In recent years the number of financial credentials has soared. According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which oversees how investments are marketed to the public, there are at least 95 different professional designations for financial advisers—nearly double the 48 it listed in 2005. Many newer credentials, however, require comparatively little effort on the part of the students.” Moreover, the article adds, “The Wall Street Journal has found at least 115 others that aren’t tracked by Finra.”

Roma Financial Corporation Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend -

ROBBINSVILLE, N.J., June 21, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Roma Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:ROMA) (the Company), the holding company of Roma Bank, announced today that its Board of Directors (the Board) declared the Company's twenty-second consecutive quarterly cash dividend. A dividend of $.04 per share will be paid on or about July 18, 2012 to stockholders of record on July 3, 2012.

As a result of new regulations recently implemented by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (commonly referred to as "Regulation MM"), the Company is restricted in its ability to continue to pay dividends to its public stockholders unless it also pays dividends at the same rate on the 22,584,994 shares that Roma Financial Corporation, MHC owns, which represents 74.5% of the total outstanding shares of Roma Financial Corporation. This modification of banking regulations limits Roma Financial Corporation, MHC's right to waive dividends without incurring significant expense associated with meeting all of the requirements for such waiver. Roma Financial Corporation, MHC has elected not to incur such expenses at this time. Because of the increased number of shares that must receive the dividend payout, the Company has approved payment of this quarterly dividend at the reduced amount of $0.04 per share. "Based on the closing price of the Company's stock on June 20th of $8.73 per share, the declared quarterly dividend represents an annual yield of 1.8%," noted Peter A. Inverso, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. He further commented, "Although the Company's Board of Directors has declared this cash dividend, Regulation MM will require the Board of Directors to re-evaluate the Company's dividend policy on a quarterly basis. As a result of such regulatory considerations, the Company can make no assurances that it will continue to declare regular quarterly cash dividends or that its dividend policy will not change in the future. We will continue to work with staff at the Federal Reserve to see if compliance with Regulation MM by Roma Financial Corporation, MHC may be done in a manner that will be less costly and cumbersome."

"The payment and amount of future dividends will also continue to be predicated on the Board's assessment of the Company's financial condition, earnings and capital requirements," he concluded.

Inverso added, "This dividend, in conjunction with the previously announced stock repurchase program, reflects two initiatives of the Company to return value to its shareholders."

Roma Financial Corporation is the holding company of Roma Bank, a community bank headquartered in Robbinsville, New Jersey, and RomAsia Bank headquartered in South Brunswick, New Jersey. Roma Bank has been serving families, businesses and the communities of Central New Jersey for over 90 years with a complete line of financial products and services. Roma Bank has branch locations in Mercer, Burlington, Camden and Ocean counties in New Jersey. Visit Roma online at , or RomAsia Bank at . RomAsia Bank has two branch locations in Middlesex County, New Jersey.

Forward Looking Statements

The foregoing material contains forward-looking statements concerning the Company. We caution that such statements are subject to a number of uncertainties and readers should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake, and specifically disclaims, any obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions that may be made to any forward-looking statements to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events or circumstances after the date of such statements. 

CONTACT: Peter A. Inverso, President & CEO           609 223-8310

© Copyright 2012, GlobeNewswire, Inc. All Rights Reserved

An introduction to emerging markets financial sector investing - NASDAQ

While global markets ebb and flow on a weekly basis reacting to the ongoing, and possibly terminal problems in the European Union, emerging markets continue to provide an alternative.

[caption id="attachment_64488" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The Shanghai Stock Exchange, Pudong"] Public Domain image courtesy Alex Needham: [/caption]

Not absent challenges, and plagued by positive correlation to the rest of the world (see chart below), the financial services sector does offer growth opportunities.

New mutual funds and ETFs are being introduced that provide easy access both to more-developed and some less-developed emerging markets. Similarly, individual stock investing in emerging markets is becoming more accessible thanks to a more bountiful selection of ADRs, and the ability to invest directly in some emerging markets through brokerage firms with direct access capabilities.

Let's look at a few funds, their allocations and the stocks they own.

The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Financials Index Fund ( EMFN , quote ) is a free float-adjusted and market capitalization-weighted index designed to measure the combined equity market performance of the financial sector of emerging markets countries.

Holdings include banks, diversified financial companies, insurance companies, and real estate companies. EMFN offers exposure to many emerging markets and yields almost 7%. Diversified as it is, three countries represent more than half of the portfolio: China 27.97%, Brazil 12.07% and South Africa 10.99%. Other countries represented in the fund include Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Russia.

The EGShares Financials GEMS ETF ( FGEM , quote ) tracks the price and yield performance (before fees) of the Dow Jones Emerging Markets Financials Titans 30 Index. The fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets in emerging markets financial securities, but expects to be more substantially invested at most times, with at least 95% of its net assets invested.

The index is designed to represent 30 of the largest emerging-market companies in the financial industry as defined by the Industry Classification Benchmark (ICB). The fund is most heavily weighted in the same two countries as EMFN: China and Brazil with 35.4% and 17.5% respectively. That's 52.9% of the fund's total allocation; a bit heavy - but that also tells us something.

Given the bias these funds have toward China and Brazil, a more hands-on emerging market investor can choose to target these countries individually. Country and region-specific sector ETFs can easily help accomplish this goal.

The Global X China Financials ETF ( CHIX , quote ) is designed to reflect the performance of China's financial sector. It's comprised of selected companies that have their main business operations in the financial sector, and are domiciled in China or have their main business operations there. Plagued by volatility (thanks in large part to Europe), the fund is still up 7% year to date.

In many ways, as with China, so goes Brazil. The Global X Brazil Financials ETF ( BRAF , quote ) provides targeted access to Brazil's financial services sector. BRAF seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Solactive Brazil Financials Index. Down year to date, the fund is not performing as well as CHIX, but for the less faint-of-heart and believers in Brazil's future growth, the fund may prove to be a good choice.

Another consideration is individual stock investing. A brief look at these funds' individual stock holdings shows many similarities, which speaks to the problem of overlap in a portfolio. Numerous ADRs are represented in most of the funds mentioned: China Construction Bank-H, Itau Unibanco Hldng-Pref ADR, Shinhan Financial Group-ADR and more. Owners of multiple funds should regularly look at the individual stock holdings to ensure accidental overlap doesn't negatively affect your portfolio performance.

Finally, there are exciting new funds being introduced on the fixed income side as well. Diversified emerging market debt funds as well as currency-specific debt funds are being introduced. One recent addition is the Guinness Atkinson Renminbi Yuan & Bond Fund ( GARBX , quote ).

GARBX invests in debt and cash instruments denominated in the Chinese Renminbi. These debt instruments may be issued by the Chinese government or agencies, Chinese corporations, or non-Chinese corporations which includes multinational corporations. This enables investors to gain exposure and diversify currency concentration in US dollars, while gaining access to debt instruments not normally accessible. A large percentage of GARBX is invested in Chinese certificates of deposit.

There is no shortage of opportunities in the emerging market financial services sector and the menu of options continues to grow. While the global financial system struggles with the fear of impending doom some markets are adversely affected that may not deserve it. This could be a buying opportunity - and these funds may be the solution.

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