PWC SURVEY FINDS BOARD MEMBERS CONCERNED ABOUT FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS: Nearly 75 percent of board members at U.S. financial services firms said that the increasing use of sophisticated financial instruments such as derivatives will be the next big area of regulatory focus for the financial industry, according to a survey conducted by Big Four firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.Meanwhile, a near-unanimous 97 percent of board members polled said that the level of due diligence and understanding of sophisticated financial instruments being used in the market should be a major concern for board members.

The survey of 300 board members representing a cross-section of the financial services industry, including the banking, brokerage, investment management, insurance and real estate sectors, was conducted in October at PwC's 2006 Financial Services Audit Committee Forum in New York.

Succession planning also was identified as an area that may need greater board focus. While six in 10 boards have recognized that succession planning for the management team is a board priority and should be a board-led initiative, roughly one quarter (28 percent) have actually approved a succession plan.

WEALTH MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS UPGRADES ROLLOVER PROGRAM: Wealth Management Systems Inc., a provider of technology-based rollover products and services, has upgraded its mandatory rollover program to support rollovers from a Roth 401(k) to an individual Roth IRA account. WMSI said that firms currently utilizing its Mandatory Rollover Services are now able to provide the new services.

WMSI, which has been processing mandatory rollovers for roughly a year, also released the following inception-to-date statistics on the program:

* The average mandatory rollover has been $3,300;

* 85 percent of mandatory rollovers are still with the provider that received the assets; and,

* 16 percent of accounts opened via WMSI's mandatory rollover processing were ultimately activated by the participant.

PRINCIPAL SURVEY SAYS MANY BEGIN SAVING TOO LATE: Nearly half of American adult workers and a third of retirees say that their biggest financial planning regret was starting to save too late, according to a survey from Principal Financial Group. In fact, a quarter of respondents felt sorry for saving too little in their early working years. Others emphasized regret over going it alone and managing a financial plan on their own. When questioned about the best lesson they have learned from financial planning assistance, the greatest number of respondents answered "portfolio diversification."

GLOBAL WEALTH SHOWS STRONG GAINS: Wealth managers have benefited from growth, but must develop a deeper understanding of clients in order to sustain this success, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group.

The report said that global wealth grew at a faster pace in 2005 than in 2004, to reach $88.3 trillion in assets under management, and that wealth managers benefited not only from that growth but also from their own efforts to improve performance, such as restructuring and cost-cutting initiatives. However, it said that trading style and disposition toward risk emerged as telling indicators of the services that investors need and expect from a wealth manager.

MORNINGSTAR INTRODUCES ONLINE PERSONAL RETURNS: Investment research provider Morningstar Inc. said that investors can now obtain their personal returns for stock and fund investments on Morningstar.com. The company said that the service is available within its Portfolio Manager.

Registered users of Morningstar.com can access their personal returns in the newly created "My Performance" section of the site's Portfolio Manager tool. Portfolio Manager is under the Portfolio tab of Morningstar.com. Users who do not currently track their personal portfolios on Morningstar.com will be prompted to enter their holdings.

Recently, the company introduced the Morningstar Investor Return, which estimates the return earned collectively by all investors in open-end mutual funds or exchange-traded funds.

Morningstar's new personal returns give investors their individual performance and allow them to measure that performance over customized time periods.

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