When I took Barclays financial personality assessment test, I found out something that didn't surprise me: I have low composure.

Essentially, that means that I don't react well (at all) to market volatility. Specifically, I "will be more unsettled by short-term fluctuations in portfolio values than most people," the test results states. So for me, an optimal portfolio is dominated by cash and bonds. Now, there are other measurements as well that would tweak the customization of my portfolio. However, the bottom line is to give me performance that suits my financial personality.

The Barclays test and other firms' foray into financial behavior is the subject of our cover story by managing editor, Lee Conrad (who also tried on the Barclays test). Beginning on page 30 in "Crossing From the Ivory Tower to the Office Tower," Conrad goes into details about what Barclays and others are attempting to do to benefit their advisors and in turn, their clients.

Our new senior editor Lorie Konish gets a number of experts to discuss what the wealth management world will offer up next year. Although "Time To Move Past Dark Days" may seem to sound like a promo for a Harry Potter movie, the article really talks about competition in the industry and the role of technology in the battle for dominance. So go to page 19 to find out more.

What's become a real tradition is our annual recruiters roundtable. In "Recruiting's Next Big Challenge" on page 36 we bring nine headhunters together-our usual suspects-to pinpoint the size of the deals, argue about which firms stand out, advisor morale, what they are wary about when it comes to regulation of brokers' pay and much, much more.

We have a truly interesting Case Study this month on page 52 where you can find "Manufacturing an Acceptable Outcome." Neal Baumann of Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. goes into details of a business owner-client facing a health crisis and the estate planning that comes with such a situation. Baumann is frank in this case study pointing out how his talks with client grew more intense after the diagnosis and that he found himself in the role of informal advisor to the entire family.

And, on our back page, Life Stories, writer Pat Olsen gets Michael McGrath, head of alternative investments at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, to talk about how his past shaped his future success and especially, the lesson he learned from his first job.

There is much more in this issue, the first of 2011, and the beginning of our 20th year as a publication. We hope that you find these articles in this anniversary year guide you in your quest to better serve your clients and give you the best ideas and greatest insights into your career and your industry.


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