Orion releases a fee-benchmarking tool to help with new DOL rules and a 2016 year in review video for your enjoyment in today's Orion Weekly.
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Get your fill of Orion app updates with our final walkthrough of November software release enhancements including Reporting, Trading, and Data Queries.
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Content provided by Robyn Murray, Freelance Writer
Five years ago, Bryan Gelster found himself overturned in his vehicle at the bottom of a 100-foot ditch, partially submerged in water.
He made it out, and he knows how lucky he is to say that he did. He wears a wristband with the date of the accident inscribed on it as a constant reminder. “It caused me to grow up pretty quickly and re-evaluate some things,” Gelster said. “I realized that if it happened to me, it could happen to anyone. It could happen to a family member or a friend.”
Gelster often thinks about how quickly things can change, in his personal life and at work — and what people will think of the life he led when he’s gone. That’s why he’s determined to do the right thing and why he’s found a home at CLS.
Gelster grew up about five minutes from the CLS Investments office in Omaha, Neb. where he now works as an internal wholesaler. He went to middle and high school a few blocks away, and attended college a little further south at Bellevue University. He didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do in his career, so he left his options open with a major in business administration. During college, he worked at Kids Network, an after-school program where he planned activities for dozens of children each day. By the time he’d worked his way up to site director, where he was responsible for a staff of 25 and a group of about 175 kids, he knew he’d had his fill.
Gelster’s grandfather was the president of a small bank in southeast Nebraska, and he often heard him talk about the markets with his parents. He looked up to his grandfather and had always found the subject of finance intriguing. Out of a desire to understand the industry more, he took a position at Pioneer Investments, a firm based in Boston that has a call center in Omaha. “It was my first ‘real job’ as my dad would say,” Gelster said. “I didn’t really know what it was going to lead me to.”
At Pioneer, Gelster took calls from clients and financial advisors and headed a team of specialists. He went through extensive training at the firm, which guided him through the fundamentals of the financial industry. In 2011, shortly after the accident, he switched to CLS Investments, starting out in client services and working his way to internal sales. Today, he’s found a home where he is constantly challenged to learn and grow and where he finds fulfillment helping financial advisors and their clients succeed. Gelster works with Mike Nixon, an external wholesaler who covers the Midwest and a good partner for what Gelster considers most important: the company’s integrity. “We’re here to do what’s in the best interest of the client,” he said, “not what’s going to make Bryan and Mike the most money.”
Doing the right thing is a lesson Gelster took from his close call – finding himself submerged in a creek and carried by paramedics on a stretcher through the snow. He was released from hospital the next day and recovered fully — and he’s acutely aware not everyone who has experienced an accident like that lives to talk about it. “Every time I hear one of those stories,” he said, “it makes me pause and wonder, ‘Why did I make it out?’” Gelster says he constantly examines his actions and the life he’s living — asking himself each day what he could have done better. “I want to make sure I’m doing things the right way,” he said, “because I learned it can all go away pretty quickly.”
Outside of work, Gelster and his wife try to find opportunities to get out and experience the world as often as possible. They were married in Mexico, and they return there — or another warm and tropical spot — as often as possible to lounge on the beach, unwind and read a book. They also travel frequently for sports and concerts (Gelster’s next Dave Matthews Band show will be his 20th), stemming from Gelster’s determination that he won’t look back on his life and have any regrets.
“It’s important to live life to the fullest, have as much fun and as many experiences as possible,” he said. “Life is short — if you blink, you may miss something.”
In today's Orion Weekly, make sure you get ready for quarter-end with Ascent checkpoints to help guide your way to a better process.
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Content provided by Robyn Murray, Freelance Writer
Melissa with her husband, Brad Kulus and daughter, Lainey Kulus
When Melissa Kulus was a little girl, she drew a picture of her future self. Outside a tall building, framed by a big-city skyline, she stood dressed in a suit holding a briefcase. “I wanted to be a businesswoman in a big city,” Kulus recalled.
Today, Kulus’s dreams have changed slightly. She’s got a new baby girl and being around family has become more important than living in a big city. But she still has the suit — she’s a successful internal wholesaler at CLS and wants, even more now, to be that savvy businesswoman for her daughter.
Kulus grew up in Columbus, NE, a city of about 20,000 people with three high schools and small classes. She attended a private Catholic school and says she always tried to get to know everybody. The youngest of four siblings (she has three older brothers), she took her grades seriously and strived to make her parents proud.
Kulus had always enjoyed math, and she often spent time helping her father, a CPA, with taxes and payroll accounting. She grew up thinking her path ahead was working with her dad as an accountant. But when she enrolled in college, at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, her thinking changed. She took classes in finance that presented new possibilities, and she saw her generation of students struggling to pay their tuition. She realized the importance of budgeting and saving and the impact she could make on people’s lives by helping them manage their finances. “I wanted to be more of an advocate for people,” she said. She also enjoyed building relationships, getting people to talk and open up. “I realized accounting was more about the numbers and being behind a desk,” she said. “Finance had more of a personal touch to it.”
After college, Kulus decided to strike out on her own. A friend was moving to Denver, and she decided to go too. It was the furthest and longest she’d been away from her tight-knit family, but she saw it as an opportunity to begin a new career. “I just wanted to see what was out there,” she said. It was a city she’d visited often and one that — in the back of her mind — looked similar to the one she drew as a girl.
For a few months, Kulus stayed on her friend’s couch and started her new life from scratch. It was a humbling experience. She didn’t know many people, and she spent many nights wondering if she’d made a mistake. But she kept going. Soon, she was offered a position as a processor at Oppenheimer Funds, and a few months later, on New Year’s Eve, she met her husband.
That’s when the Denver plan took a detour. He was from Grand Island, NE and missed his home state. “He brought me back to my Nebraska roots,” Kulus said. Eventually, the two decided to move back to Nebraska to be close to their families.
In 2014, Kulus took a job at CLS Investments as an internal wholesaler, a position she holds now. It’s her first sales gig, and she says it challenges her in a way that has built her confidence. “It pushes me a lot more, and I’m also able to learn a lot more,” she said. “It’s helped me get out of my shell a bit.” Kulus loves getting into the nitty gritty of the markets with the portfolio managers and building relationships with advisors. Her goal, she says, is to make them smile. “If I can get someone to laugh, I’ve done a good job,” she said.
For Kulus, her position is about the people behind every transaction and decision. “I think it’s important to remember that for the clients, the investors – that portfolio is their livelihood, their futures, their families,” she said.
Nine months ago, Kulus’s own family life changed. She gave birth to her first child, her daughter, Lainey. She was home for three months on maternity leave, and she loved the bonding time. “It was mindboggling and amazing,” she said. And while she now experiences an urge that many new parents feel, to be at home with their child, she also feels it has placed more importance on succeeding in her career. “As a mom, it’s always a struggle,” she said. “You want to be with her when you’re away, and when you’re with her, you feel like you should be providing for her.” That tug in each direction has made Kulus want to work harder at work and be more present at home. A tricky balance, but one that has become her most important goal.
So while she’s got the business suit, she still doesn’t have the big-city skyline. But that’s OK. Kulus says she loves her position at CLS and can’t imagine raising her child without her and her husband’s family nearby.
“Denver will always have a special place in our hearts. It’s where we met and where our careers started,” she said. “But this is home.”
Alma Piscitello, SVP and head of strategic relationships for Northern Lights Distributors, LLC article, “Examine Your Product Line Now to be DOL-Ready” was published in Ignites.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
There is speculation whether the Department of Labor’s conflict of interest rule will be repealed under the new administration. Should enforcement of the rule persist, mutual fund complexes will need to revamp their distribution methods in response to the Department of Labor’s conflict-of-interest rule. Alma Piscitello of Northern Lights Distributors, LLC outlines which share classes are poised to do best, how fees will be impacted and what the rule will mean for managers’ relationships with financial advisors.
The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule is poised to usher in a lot of changes for mutual fund managers, many related to distribution, starting April 10, 2017.
Streamlining Share Classes
The current share-class alphabet soup causes much confusion among investors. The fiduciary rule is poised to streamline share classes as it expedites the shift from commission-based to fee-based product sales. This would greatly benefit investors, who will have greater transparency and potentially lower costs.
But while investors may benefit, managers should brace for potentially higher platform fees and other costs.
To read the full article, click here.
Gemini Alternative Funds, LLC President, David Young recently contributed an article to the HedgeWeek Special report regarding, “The Evolution of Alternative Investment Strategies.”
Allocations to alternative investment strategies have continued to evolve as asset owners – in particular pensions, endowments and family offices – have become more knowledgeable about, and comfortable with, these strategies.
Direct investments into hedge funds, funds of hedge funds and alternative mutual funds are not meeting the increasingly complex needs of today’s institutional investors, where flexibility, tailored reporting, transparency and cost efficiency are key factors.
Today, asset owners are searching for the appropriate structure and relationships that will provide them with the services and controls that meet their individual, committee and board requirements. The need for more control and governance, reduced fees, increased transparency and flexibility is only expected to increase over time.
To read the rest of David’s article, click here.