The new tax law will no longer allow clients who itemize their deductions to deduct the cost of interest on home equity lines of credit. These instruments may still make sense for some clients, but cash-out refinances may now be better choices for others.
Advisory firms are dealing with pressure to adapt to the changing regulatory and legislative environment while implementing new technology and operating models. Changing fee models, blockchain technology and the spread of holistic planning are among the trends that could affect financial advisers this year.
Serving on a US bank board requires a greater focus on cultural factors such as "conduct risk," and guidance from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency calls for boards to provide a "credible challenge" to bank executives' actions, write John Carey and Kathlyn Farrell of Treliant Risk Advisors. "Should the board have concerns about areas of the bank that are not highlighted by management, commissioning either an internal audit or external review of those areas will help ensure that appropriate light is cast on potential areas of risk," they write.
The UK Financial Reporting Council has revised an accounting standard to decrease the number of entities that are deemed financial institutions. The regulator said it "expects there to be an overall cost saving to preparers as a result of these changes when measured over the lifetime of their implementation, without impacting significantly on the usefulness of the resulting information for users of the financial statements."
KFC Canada has created the Bitcoin Bucket, a menu item that can be purchased only with bitcoin. "Sure, we don't know exactly what Bitcoins are, or how they work, but that shouldn't come between you and some finger lickin' good chicken," the company tweeted.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board has issued a staff Q&A explaining that private companies and not-for-profits that choose to apply Securities and Exchange Commission Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 118 must apply all relevant aspects.
The Internal Revenue Service has issued tax withholding tables for 2018 to be used to implement changes to the tax law enacted last month. The IRS has asked employers to use the tables as soon as possible but no later than Feb. 15.