Friday, April 24, 2009

No Apologies Here

"Because the fee-only approach (which not all CFPs embrace), and NAPFA's pr and outreach efforts in recent years, has a slightly self-righteous air to it."

"NAPFA planners place themselves above it all, on a higher plain of ethics and practice. I took it on faith that NAPFA planners were safe. But at the end of the day, it's just a membership organization, not a regulatory body. There are crooks and alleged crooks everywhere, in journalism, in NAPFA, all over the place."

These are direct statements from someone who felt betrayed by their financial advisor . The particular advisor has the CFP mark, was a Registered Investment Advisor and was a fairly well placed member of NAPFA's hierarchy having spent a few years on various Boards.

The person does not mean the remarks as anti- NAPFA however from the second sentence they believed all the hype. While I don't agree with all the hype that comes from NAPFA I can say that given the choice I would rather aim high than aim low. In the ideal world I think it’s best to aim true.

It is incredibly hard to read about brethren who fail to serve their clients well and causes some remorse. However I am not responsible for their actions and everyone who knows me is aware that although I embrace a fiduciary standard it is just a legal term and does not mean that I am a saint.

I made that point a year ago and if you want to hear that podcast click here. I work hard for all of my clients, don't let my interests get ahead of theirs and pretty much pay my own way to due diligence meetings. I know advisors who let their airfare, hotel and entertainment be comped and for me that doesn’t work.

I follow a process in planning and do my homework (due diligence) on investments that I choose.

In spite of my own knowledge that I am Mr. Dudley Do Right in disguise I would never ask for nor accept the ability to move client's money to an account that was not already linked up to the investment account. In fact when I was using Fidelity as a custodian they came up with an option to have the ability to move money to a third party without pre-arranging a link. I would never even ask a client for the authority because I would hate the responsibility if the custodian blew a transfer.

While I am sorry that someone felt betrayed by their advisor my main concern is my clients and their advisor (me). Do I think that the industry can be improved? Sure I do and my blogs reflect it.

President Obama has made reform of the financial services industry one of many priorities and I hope that he comes through on his promise and doesn't blow the shot from the foul line.

Dear President Obama:
In order to make the financial services industry better as it applies to the field of financial planning and investment advice I think that you should ( fill in the comment box and have some fun)