InsurMark INSIGHTS Summer 2022

The new reality. Are you positioned for the new reality with inflation, volatility and global reallocation? “The FIA structure should provide stable returns in stressful economic conditions. By combining a principal guarantee with a degress of stock market participation, FIAs offer a risk/reward profile that differs from either bonds or stocks alone. FIA returns have been less correlated to the economy than either bonds or stocks, potentially making them additive to a portfolio mix when added with other assets.”

INDEX STRATEGIES Laurence Black, founder of The Index Standard InsurMark’s Jack Martin recently asked Laurence Black to share insight on the changes he anticipates in the financial markets ( catch the entire podcast here ) and how his company The Index Standard makes it easier for advisors to help clients “generate better returns and retire better” by recommending robust, well-designed indices and forecasting expected returns. JM: Your career in investments and indices spans over two decades, with stints at Barclays, RBS and Lehman Brothers among others. What spurred you to choose that path? LB: I was born in Zimbabwe and my parents moved around to England, Spain and South Africa, so I had a bit of a varied childhood. But when I was a kid, my key characteristic was that I absolutely loved and was obsessed with sports (rugby, field hockey), even to the detriment of my school work. Sports taught me so much, winning, losing and working as a team. I learned a lot of amazing life lessons as well. Later, I bought some options on gold that didn’t do so well. That kind of spurred me to dig in and learn a little more. I’ve always had a general interest in financial markets, and when I finished university I was lucky enough to go to London and become a bond trader at a big investment bank. That really kick started my career. JM: You founded The Index Standard in 2019. What was your motivation for launching the firm? LB: As a kid I always dreamt of owning my own business, that was one of my goals. Five years into my career I thought in the next five years I should break away and start my own business, but the good and the bad is I got sucked into investment banking longer than I expected. I was lucky to have a very successful career, meet amazing people, and work with Professor Schiller but I wished I started my own business sooner. So, I was delighted to found The Index Standard. Of course, I’m trying to build a business but for me, my partner Jay Watson and our team, we have a real mission, and our mission is to help people retire better. Our guiding principle when we’re thinking about designing

a new product—whether it’s a new rating or forecast—is we want to design something we would recommend for our grandmothers, so that’s our North Star. From my point of view, it’s such a wonderful experience to build a business and actually believe we can help people do better, which is really important to me. JM: How does your firm help advisors help their clients through your association with InsurMark? LB: Our objective is to provide valuable tools to help companies like InsurMark and their advisors generate better returns, and we do that by trying to find indices that are robust and well designed, number one. And number two, we help forecast expected returns, so advisors can pick products that will do well. That’s the key thing we do to help people do better. We help advisors find indices that are robust and well designed. And we help forecast expected returns so advisors can pick products that do well.

We also want to arm the advisor with better knowledge so they can have better conversations with their clients. We provide descriptions of the indices and how they work, so the advisor can deliver those insights to their clients. We also want to help advisors have good conversations with their end clients because we don’t want them to have to apologize—we want to help them generate good, diverse and better returns. As I mentioned on the podcast, what we’ve seen generate high returns in the last 10 years is not going to be the same moving forward. It’s a difficult environment, so we’re trying to help people think about the future with our forecasted returns. JM: Your association with famed economist and Nobel Prize winner Robert Schiller is well known. What do you like most about collaborating with him? LB: He’s a Nobel Prize winner and very smart but if he does not understand something, he says “I do not understand that, explain it again and explain it again.” One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from him is to really dig in and make sure you understand things because a lot of people gloss over things. He is not shy about saying he doesn’t understand something.

Learn more from Laurence Black on the Breakthrough Advisor Podcast. >>

— Dr. Robert Shiller

Nobel Prize Laureate










Transparency Not considered by competitors

Robustness In-depth vs competitors


Efficiency In-depth vs competitors


Attractiveness Not considered by competitors

Captial At Risk Not considered by competitors

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