If you’re like most Americans, by the time you enter your early 50s you’ll probably have held about a dozen different jobs at nearly as many different employers. ¹It’s a far cry from the 1940s and 1950s, when working your entire life for the same employer was a fairly commonplace occurrence. Today, workers are far more mobile, job skills are far more translatable, and employers tend to be considerably less likely to carry excess labor costs through any sort of prolonged economic downturn



In Memory of Frank Burke

We are saddened to announce that one of our founders, Franklin A. Burke, passed away in Sun City, Arizona this past weekend at age 83 after a brief illness. His wife, Elizabeth, son, Robert, and daughter, Sally, were by his side.

Frank and Nicholas Lawton (d. 1989) co-founded our firm in 1964. The two served in the US Air Force and met when they were stationed together in England. Upon their return to the Philadelphia area, they co-founded “Burke Lawton” – what is now known as BLB&B Advisors, LLC.

From the beginning, Burke Lawton focused on providing clients with what they believed to be the best possible investment advice and brokerage services. In the 1960s, investing was perceived as an activity available only to the wealthy and most investment firms refused to work with investors with only modest sums to invest. Frank and Nick wanted to do things differently and offered investment services specifically to those who were turned down by other investment firms simply because they could not meet the required minimum investment amount.

Frank and Nick had a modest start in a two room office in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. Lots of hard work and a fierce commitment to treating all their clients with respect, while helping them to build assets over time, were key ingredients of the firm’s success. Over the decades, Burke Lawton moved to larger quarters, added additional partners and staff, embraced technological and industry advances, and greatly broadened its service offerings and client base. Today, thanks to the strong foundation laid by Frank and Nick and the purposeful perpetuation of their core values, BLB&B Advisors serves clients in 44 states and out of a universe of 18,225 Independent and Hybrid RIA practices in the country, BLBB Advisors has assets under management in the top 4%.*

Although Frank was a successful entrepreneur, his biggest contributions to the community were his lifelong commitment to education and his philanthropic leadership. Frank had a passion for ensuring that educational opportunities were available to all, regardless of their background or finances. To that end, Frank served for many years as a trustee at the Williamson College of the Trades – a highly regarded and free technical and trade school in suburban Philadelphia – and owned The Omega Institute – a technical institute in Pennsauken, NJ that helped non-traditional students re-enter the workforce. Frank was a key supporter of the Ellis Foundation, a Kansas-based national college scholarship and mentoring program for students, and Kansas State University, his alma mater. All told, Frank and his wife have quietly funded educational opportunities for thousands of students – many of whom they’ve never met.  In addition to Frank’s service on many boards during his 50+ year career, he was also an integral part of the leadership at his church, Pleasantville United Church of Christ in Chalfont, PA.

Although Frank and Elizabeth resided in Arizona in recent years, their ties to suburban Philadelphia remained strong. On April 14, 2018 at 11:00 am, there will be a memorial service honoring Frank’s life at Pleasantville United Church of Christ in Chalfont, PA with a reception to follow at Normandy Farms. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Frank’s honor to the Williamson College of the Trades.    


Given the unprecedented quick passage and signing into law of the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it will likely be many months before tax attorneys and financial analysts are able to accurately and fully gauge the short- and long-term impact of the new legislation – both on individual and corporate taxpayers as well as the economy as a whole. To date, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the myriad opportunities and obstacles the new law will present.


Year-End Giving

As we approach the end of the year, it is important to keep in mind that any charitable gifts you are planning to make must be completed before year-end and must go to qualified charities in order for you to be eligible to receive any 2017 tax deduction for making these gifts.




Planning for Healthcare Costs in Retirement

How much will you need to save?

According to recent data published by the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) the average American couple with median prescription drug expenses will need to save $265,000 in order to have a 90% probability of covering just their out-of-pocket healthcare costs (e.g., Medicare premiums, deductibles and copays, as well as dental, vision and hearing) over the course of their retirement.



Preparing Your Heirs

Don’t put off having an inheritance conversation

Everyone is familiar with Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Yet despite talking excessively about the latter, very few of us ever seem comfortable when it comes to discussing the former. Parents are reluctant to broach the subject because it forces them to contemplate their own mortality. Adult children avoid the topic so as not to appear greedy or insensitive.




Blended Family Finances

Complex planning needs for more complex relationships

Today, approximately 100 million people in the U.S. are members of a blended family.1 What was once a novel plot device for 1970s and 1980s television sitcoms is now everyday life for nearly one in every three Americans who are living as a step-parent or step-child.


Closing out the first half of 2017

As we close out the first half of 2017, many of the major U.S. equity indices are at or very near all-time highs, equity market volatility is exceptionally low (Vix hovering around 10), unemployment, at just 4.3%, is at levels not seen since mid-2001, and inflation, although creeping upwards ever so slightly, remains benign. At the same time, the yield curve is flattening as intermediate and longer term bond yields are trending lower once again as are the prices for some commodities – most notably oil which is now below $44/bbl.



BLB&B Advisors Named to 2017 Financial Times 300 Top RIA

BLB&B Advisors, LLC, is pleased to announce it has been named to the 2017 edition of the Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers. The list recognizes top independent RIA firms from across the U.S. 

BLB&B Advisors, LLC, is one of only 14 firms selected throughout Pennsylvania.

This is the fourth annual FT 300 list, produced independently by the Financial Times in collaboration with Ignites Research, a subsidiary of the FT that provides business intelligence on the investment management industry.

Applicants were graded on six factors: assets under management (AUM); AUM growth rate; years in existence; advanced industry credentials of the firm's advisers; online accessibility; and compliance records. There are no fees or other considerations required of RIAs that apply for the FT 300.

The final FT 300 represents an impressive cohort of elite RIA firms, as the "average" practice in this year's list has been in existence for 24 years and manages $2.7 billion in assets. The FT 300 Top RIAs hail from 37 states and Washington, D.C. 

Read the article at the Financial Times
Download article as a PDF



BLB&B Advisors, LLC, is a Pennsylvania-based investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Adviser Act of 1940. Registration as an investment advisor does not imply a certain level of skill or training. The verbal and written communications of an investment advisor provide you with information you need to determine whether to hire or retain the advisor. Past performance is not indicative of future returns.

The 2017 Financial Times Top 300 Registered Investment Advisors is an independent listing produced by the Financial Times (June, 2017). The FT 300 is based on data gathered from RIA firms, regulatory disclosures, and the FT’s research. This rating is not indicative of future performance. Individual account experience may vary. This material is not financial advice or an offer to sell any product.