A listing on Medical Economics Magazine’s 2013 list of the “Best Financial Advisors For Doctors” was offered to financial planning gadly Allan Roth, CFP, if he paid the magazine’s publishing company $750--and as long as no public complaints had been filed against him, according to a report by Roth published in today's CBS MoneyWatch.com.
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Moreover, Roth reports
, after he told a Medical Economics Magazine
sales representative over the phone that he wanted to purchase a slot on the “best-advisor” list for a friend, Maxwell Tailwagger, Roth reports that his five-year-old dachshund, Max, was invited also to join the Medical Economics list of the best advisors for doctors. Roth says he did not send the $750 to get the dog listed.
I’ve railed against these top advisor lists for a long time
. In May 2009, NAPFA members got angry at me for faulting them for playing up these best-advisor lists and or “five-star” advisor ratings in marketing their services on the Web. It’s common for advisors to prominently post being named to a best-advisor list years after they are named by the organization.
Media outlets have figured out that they can make money by making lists of top advisors because advisors are clamoring for any sort of third-party endorsement they can get. Posting the logo for Medical Economics, Worth magazine, or Barron’s on your website shows that these respected magazines think you’re a swell guy. This has become a respected seal of approval when, in reality, it’s little more than a cheap trick being played on consumers.
I predicted in May 2009 that “a reporter in the consumer press will write about the idiocy of these ‘top financial advisor’ lists, which sell magazines but stink at figuring out which advisors are really the best.”
It just never occurred to me that the “reporter” would be a CFP.
While Roth is not trained as a reporter, his stories in the Wall Street Journal
occasionally blow the whistle on advisors and their most sacred institutions. In fact, this is not Max the dog's first brush with fame. Roth registered Max for an award from the Consumers' Research Council of America, and Max made that group's 2009 edition of the "Guide to America's Top Financial Planners
Roth is a gadfly and may actually be the real deal. He seems not so interested in the marketing value of his work in the media, which has to be good for his practice, but more about telling consumers and advisors terrible truths about the financial advice business.
Apart from his canine capers, Roth in the past has targeted the CFP Board on more serious issues. In one scathing column blasting the CFP Board, Roth accused CFP Board of giving little more than lip service
in requiring CFPs to act in their clients’ best interests.
An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Allan Roth's article was published in The Wall Street Journal. While Roth has written for WSJ occasionally, this latest article was published on CBS MoneyWatch.com.