A weekly roundup of advice from financial advisors and other industry peers. 

From the impact of volatility on client portfolios to uncertainty in North Korea, here are eight timely tidbits of information that financial advisors should be aware of this week.

CREATE A BUSINESS

"Financial advisors need to think about how to transition from a practice to a business that will have a future -- and a large part of this comes from knowing how to market more effectively. Advisors often leave this important factor to the wayside."

Scott Hanson, senior partner and founding principal of Hanson McClain Advisors

OPPORTUNITIES WITH VOLATILITY

"The recent uptick in volatility provides a good opportunity for advisors to rebalance or make tactical allocation shifts. The relative under-performance of emerging markets, with attractive valuations vs. US equities (a 12% disparity for the year) could quickly reverse itself as the global economy continues to improve over the summer. Preferred equities and other yield oriented asset classes are also good bets in cushioning any correction and in generating income given the dismal yields in the bond markets."

Duncan Rolph, managing director of Miracle Mile Advisors

WORRIES OVER GOLD

"All that glitters is not gold, which is down around 18% from its high in August 2011, as investors have moved into equities amid signs of a global economic recovery. The precious metal is down 7.4% this year while the MSCI Global Equity indices are up 5%. Even the recent developments in Italy and Cyprus have not been a catalyst for the metal to move higher. Watch what happens if the exodus from gold continues to gather steam."

Andrew Goodman, chief investment officer at CIC Wealth Management Group

PREMIER IMPORTANCE: THE CLIENT

"We get bombarded everyday with information on how to market better, how to use technology more efficiently, and how to implement the newest products. We spend so much time learning how to do everything better. What matters is what matters to our clients. Ask these questions before someone becomes a client and throughout the client relationship: ‘What values are important to you?’ ‘Who is impacted by your decisions?’ ‘How do you define success?’

Alfred Kalahati founder and principal of Kona Retirement LLC

UMBRELLA POLICY

"If advisors are doing a thorough job they should be asking their clients if they have had their property and casualty reviewed recently. One area I find that sometimes falls short is having an inadequate personal umbrella policy. I have seen many cases where, as an example, the client or prospect may have a $5 million in net worth but only allocates $1 million of that amount toward a personal umbrella policy. Frivolous lawsuits have become more prevalent and having this first line of defense in place can make a tremendous difference."

Michael Conway, president and CEO at Conway Wealth Group

FIXED-INCOME CAUTION

"Many clients are asking for higher yielding fixed income investments given the Fed-induced low interest rate environment. A word of caution to our clients and to advisers would be to ‘be careful what you wish for.’ Reaching for yield by going to lower credit debt or extending the duration could have significant consequences in a recession or in a rapidly rising interest rate environment."

Michael Conway, president and CEO at Conway Wealth Group

IT'S TAX SEASON

“It is tax season time, and we are getting down to crunch time where many people are looking for ways to save tax dollars. With the fear of tax rate increases in the future, the goal for pre-retirees and retirees is to become as tax efficient as possible. This is a challenge because most people have saved their retirement savings in traditional plans like a 401(k) or IRA.  These plans gave you a tax deduction on the contribution, but are completely taxable upon withdrawal. This has created a ‘tax bomb’ for many people. The goal is to figure out a way to develop strategies to reduce or eliminate this tax bomb problem by implementing a tax management plan. A tax management plan is the process of diffusing the ‘tax bomb’ issue on pre-tax retirement plans by getting money out of taxable plans and into tax free plans. One example of this would be a Roth IRA conversion. In many situations we encourage our clients to do partial conversions of an amount that maximizes their current tax bracket without pushing them into the next bracket.  This strategy can get you more tax efficient each year by decreasing your taxable pocket and increasing your tax free pocket.”

T. Brian Hayes, founder and CEO of Hayes Advisory Group

UNCERTAINTY IN NORTH KOREA

“Although the market appears to be handling the situation in North Korea calmly, there is still a lot of uncertainty. Major industrial companies and investors of commodities and/or with a heavy multi-national approach should monitor the state of affairs in that region closely.”

Susan Fulton, founder of FBB Capital Partners

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