CG Advisory Services, a registered investment advisor managing $3.1 billion in client assets, has recently determined that Schwab's custody platform is not a suitable fit for their firm. As a result, they have begun the process of transitioning their assets to Axos Advisor Services—a smaller platform that has received praise from CGAS for its advanced technology and banking tools. It's important to note, however, that CGAS is still utilizing LPL Financial as its primary custodian and will not completely sever ties with Schwab.

Exploring Alternatives to the 529 Plan

When parents are preparing for their children's college education, they often turn to the popular 529 plan as their first option. While this plan offers undeniable tax advantages and flexibility, it should not be seen as the only solution. In this week's Big Q feature, we reached out to a group of knowledgeable professionals to gather alternative ideas for financing college. They provided insights into various strategies such as prepaid college plans, custodial accounts, health and education exclusion trusts, and more.

Regulatory Actions by the SEC

In recent developments, Wells Fargo and several other brokers have been fined a total of $549 million by federal regulators for their failure to preserve messages exchanged by advisors on communication channels like WhatsApp. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have imposed these fines as part of their ongoing efforts to penalize brokers and advisors who engage in off-channel communications that do not get captured in a firm's electronic records. The list of firms being fined includes BNP Paribas Securities, SG Americas Securities, BMO Capital Markets, Mizuho Securities, Houlihan Lokey Capital, Moelis & Co., Wedbush Securities, and SMBC Nikko Securities America.

LPL Adds Direct Indexing

LPL Financial is joining other major financial companies in providing direct-indexing capabilities to its advisors. This new feature allows advisors to personalize stock indexes for their clients, responding to increasing demands for customization in investment portfolios. Direct indexing is also seen as a valuable tool for tax-loss harvesting. Other firms, such as Schwab, Fidelity, and Morningstar, have already rolled out similar direct-indexing services.

RBC Opens New Branch with $1.1 Billion Team

RBC Wealth Management continues to make significant recruitment efforts in the wirehouse market. The company has recently attracted a team from UBS that manages $1.1 billion in client assets. The James, Ford & Duble Wealth Partners team will establish a new office in Columbus, Ohio, joining RBC's existing offices in Toledo, Westlake, and Cleveland. This move follows RBC's previous recruitment of advisors from First Republic.

Attorney Pleads Guilty for Swindling NFL Retirees

A disbarred attorney in Florida, Phillip Howard, has pleaded guilty to racketeering charges involving wire fraud and money laundering. Howard represented retired NFL players who were seeking compensation from the league's concussion settlement. In addition to his legal representation, Howard solicited the players to invest in companies that he controlled. He used their money deceitfully and withheld crucial information about the company's structure. Howard is scheduled to be sentenced on November 6th and could face a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Advisor Q&A with Top-Ranked Financial Advisor Joey Small

In our weekly Advisor Q&A, we spoke with Joey Small, the highest-ranked financial advisor in Arkansas. Small, who works for Ameriprise, shared how his previous experience working for logistics companies like UPS and FedEx equipped him with the organizational and interpersonal skills that have contributed to his success as an advisor.

Enjoy your weekend.

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