SYM News

SYM Financial Advisors announces new South Bend office location

South Bend, IN - Sixteen years after first opening a South Bend office location, Winona Lake-based SYM Financial Advisors announces a move to the Leighton Plaza Office Building, 130 S. Main St, Suite 325, South Bend.   

 

For SYM Financial, a Registered Investment Advisory firm managing $1.8 billion in assets for individuals, business owners, not-for-profit organizations, the medical community and retirement plans, the move represents an opportunity to continue to grow and evolve while keeping pace with clients’ needs.

 

“Truly, this move is an extension of the outstanding working relationships SYM is known for,” stated George Wolfson, Managing Partner of the South Bend office, SYM Senior Vice President and Chief Fixed Income Strategist. “We look forward to serving our clients and the professional community from our new location in the heart of this beautiful city.”

 

SYM Financial Advisors’ South Bend phone and fax numbers remain the same. The mailing address is now 130 S. Main Street, Suite 325, South Bend, IN, 46601.

 

SYM Financial Advisors is among the Midwest’s largest independent wealth management firms. In addition to the South Bend location, SYM maintains offices in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Winona Lake, Indiana and also in Midland, Michigan. The firm delivers unique, goals-based portfolio management solutions, wealth management, and a completely transparent and investor focused 401(k) solution.

 

For additional information, please call 800.888.7968 or visit www.sym.com.

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Fellowship Missions holds Soles for Souls shoe and sock drive now through Memorial Day

Warsaw, IN –Eric Lane, founder and executive director of Fellowship Missions Homeless Shelter in Warsaw, has found that well-fitting, clean shoes and socks are some of the most basic necessities that go unnoticed for people on the margins.

 

That’s why Fellowship Missions, in partnership with the annual Tracey Yeager Memorial 5K Run/Walk, is hosting Soles for Souls shoe and sock drive during the month of May, cumulating on Memorial Day at Winona Park.

 

Children’s and adult athletic shoes, work shoes, and shoes of all kinds and sizes are needed.  “Kids need shoes for school, shoes for gym class, and then you add sports – football cleats, baseball, basketball, soccer shoes.  Kids and adults who experience homelessness often don’t participate in sports and activities, simply because they can’t afford to get the right gear,” said Lane.

 

All shoes that are clean and with good life left in them are welcomed.  In particular, Lane notes that extra-large sizes are always in high demand.  Donated socks should be new or like-new.  “Socks, any undergarments, and clean ones, are something that a lot of us take for granted sometimes, “said Lane.  “But something as simple as a new, clean pair of socks works to remind a homeless individual that they’re not forgotten.’”

 

Donated items may be dropped off on Memorial Day during TYM5K in Winona Lake Park, or at any participating race sponsor in the weeks leading up to the race.  SYM Financial Advisors, coordinators of TYM5K, will also accept donations at their office: 801 Park Ave, Winona Lake.

 

2016 will be the first year for Soles for Souls, but local sponsors hope to see the movement grow. “What really speaks to us at SYM is the way Eric and his team shepherd their residents with wisdom and love, and at extremely low costs compared to other homeless shelters,” said Jerry Yeager, SYM Financial Advisors CEO, expressing appreciation to the Mission for putting each dollar to its best use.  “The life impact per dollar donated is truly a strong value for philanthropists."

 

Please contact Eric Lane at Fellowship Missions to place a drop box at your place of business, gather donations from within your group, or to host Eric Lane at your organization for a short presentation about the Soles for Soles drive.  Eric may be reached at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 574-268-9555.

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A Step in the Right Direction – The DOL’s Revised Fiduciary Rule

On April 6, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) released its new fiduciary rule. Discussed and debated for almost a year, the final provisions offer a stricter interpretation of who in the financial industry must serve as a fiduciary and how disclosures must be made to investors. Implementation of the new guidelines is scheduled to take place between April of 2017 and January of 2018.


Up to this point, some players in the investment industry have been allowed to abide by what is referred to as the suitability standard. At its worst, the suitability standard of service permits almost any type of recommendation to be made as long as the advisor does not knowingly harm the client. Put another way, in lieu of making a choice to place a customer’s best interests above their own, financial professionals could comply with the suitability standard by simply relying on their own reasonable belief that the recommendations they made were well-suited to the client’s financial needs, objectives and unique circumstances.


Because their advice only had to be deemed suitable, brokers would reasonably argue their primary responsibility was to the broker-dealer and the products they represented. This left plenty of room for conflict, and allowed many financial professionals to charge undisclosed fees or to favor investments with hidden commissions. The advertisement and promotion of higher-cost/higher-commission funds over equally or better-suited funds that paid less in commission to the seller is a common example of the fruit of the suitability standard. Though these actions may have met the legal definition of suitability, they do not go so far as to be considered in the client’s best interest. 


Previously allowed under the suitability standard, such practices will no longer be acceptable under the new fiduciary standard of care. As a result of the DOL’s ruling, the fiduciary standard will shortly become the new paradigm in the advice industry. However, not all segments of the investment advisor population will be equally affected by the change. While many advisors happily conducted business under the less stringent suitability standard, an elective fiduciary standard has also been in existence since the Investment Advisors Act of 1940. This preexisting fiduciary act clearly instructs advisors to place personal interests below those of the client, and identifies particular loyalty and duty of care obligations that further build out the overarching directive:  All actions taken by a fiduciary advisor must serve the best interests of their client. Moving forward, advisors who already operated by these standards will make few or no changes in preparation for April 2017. Other advisors will have to rethink the concepts of cost containment, full disclosure and their parameters for positioning a client’s investments, all concepts that were fully addressed all along for each and every client of a fiduciary investor.


While the new fiduciary standard will demand monumental change for a number of financial professionals and institutions, at SYM we already abide by the fiduciary standard and have done so for years. In addition, we applaud the Department of Labor’s action and feel it will lead to greater opportunity for people to achieve their retirement, investment, philanthropic, and legacy goals. If you have questions about the new rule or know someone who could benefit from a relationship with SYM, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Source:  http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-government-rule-rewrites-retirement-savings-1459762202
Source:  http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/conflictsofinterest.html

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Even More So in 2016, Beware of Fake Filers

Each tax year, the risk of identity theft is highlighted in the news as scammers adopt new methods to separate people from their money and credit. 

 

Some sources estimate up to $21 billion will be claimed on fake tax returns in 2016. In order to propagate this ruse, thieves steal an individual’s Social Security number and file electronic returns, sending refunds electronically to fictitious bank accounts also opened with the stolen Social Security number.

 

Most people find out they have been a target when they attempt to file their own return and have it rejected, or when they receive a suspicious filing notice from the IRS. If this happens to you or someone you know, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit by phone at 800-908-4490 and then download Form 14039, the “Identity Theft Affidavit,” and submit it when you file your actual tax return. Once the IRS has resolved your situation, they will provide an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) to be used for all future tax return filings. Without this number your future tax returns will not be accepted. If you are the victim of fraud, you also have the right to obtain a copy of the fraudulent return to see what was claimed on your behalf. To do so, visit www.irs.gov and search for “Instructions for Requesting a Copy of Fraudulent Returns.” As a final step, notify the three major credit agencies, Equifax, Experian and Transunion, of the fraud to avoid negative reporting consequences.

 

Your advisor is ready to help you with this process should you find yourself a victim. 

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Certainties

The first three and a half months of every year often provide a reminder of the maxim “nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Our fear of taxes (or the IRS) and the regularity of filing returns drives most of us to be punctual, prepared, and accurate in our annual preparation for the inevitable.

 

It’s not uncommon for those who approach tax season with precision to take a more cavalier attitude toward that other certainty. Perhaps this is because the basic information and steps necessary to file our income tax return are well known to all of us. We are less likely to be familiar with the financial and legal steps which, taken in advance, may ease burdens at the death of a loved one. 

 

Though many people prefer to avoid discussions of such sensitive subjects, advance preparation is obviously the key. While not an exhaustive list, let’s take a look at some basics.

 

  • A critical first step is to choose a person to be in charge of your assets once you’re gone. This personal representative (often referred to as executor) should be someone who is financially stable, trustworthy and willing to accept the responsibility the role entails. Be sure to document your decision in writing and make sure to revisit your selection on a regular basis in case there is a reason to make a change.
  • When you hire a new CPA, you intuitively know to provide the relevant details of your finances.  Likewise, don’t neglect to inform your personal representative of personal matters.  Inform them of the location of important documents and give them a general sense of your possessions. This will help later, because one of this person’s first tasks after your passing will be to inventory the estate.
  • Keep your belongings organized. Many people get all tidied up once only to let things get out of control again as years go by. If it helps, think of the execution of your estate as “the great audit.” Organize your records, make accurate accounting of your assets, and tell people how locate these items and information. 
  • Keep your family informed of your choices, particularly if you selected a specific member of the family or an outside person to take charge. Blindsiding loved ones about your choice of a personal representative often leads to a disordered estate, uncomfortable feelings and damaged relationships.
  • Unlike April 15, no one knows exactly when, or in what fashion, a personal representative will need to fulfill their duty. Extended illness is one example of a situation that takes a toll on everyone involved. To ensure your wishes are honored, nothing is more effective than having appropriate medical directives and powers of attorney in place - before they are needed.
  • Don’t let important estate documents become stale or inaccurate. Wills and trusts should undergo review whenever there is a significant life event (or in the absence of that, every four or five years). Advance medical directives and powers of attorney should be updated more frequently. We recommend a review every three years in order to keep pace with changing legal requirements.

 

If you haven’t covered this topic with your SYM Advisor in a while, we would encourage you to do so.

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