Murder, Ponzi Schemes, And Lack Of Regulatory Effectiveness Point To Need For Investor Education Hot

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In both of these cases, regulatory agencies should have spotted trouble. The NASD (now FINRA) had looked at Stanford’s operations multiple times since 2004. They basically slapped Stanford’s hand. After employees alerted the authority of possible Ponzi-like dealings at the firm in 2006, the SEC discovered that one of its offices in Texas had suspected such since 1997.
Becerril was still running an operation as a financial advisor in 2012 despite the fact that his registration with FINRA had not been current since 2009.
Out of all this has come the Dodd-Frank legislation. It points to the never mentioned fact that the risk levels investors have faced over the past decade lay primarily in areas other than the capital markets. These are areas investors are ill equipped to assess. Capital markets risk is the most obvious. Ironically in many cases, it is the least threatening.
With the regulatory landscape currently in flux, advisors have an opportunity to differentiate themselves by educating clients and becoming their most trusted ally.
Stanford, Becerril, and Madoff are highly publicized, most egregious cases. They certainly are not the only instances. Trust-level differentiation is an opportunity to educate clients on conducting their own due diligence. They need to be educated on what they should look for in an advisor. They need to be pointed to sources to find the right information. And the first place they should start is with you.
This means reexamining your practice. It means measuring yourself against the standards—officially adopted or not—investors should be applying to you. It means becoming the kind of advisor investors clamor for but rarely find.
The first question to ask is, “If I were an investor, what would I look for in an advisor?” Since you are an ‘insider,’ it should be pretty easy for you to come up with a list of criteria. This list should include basic things which tend to be taken for granted. Things such as registrations, licenses held, capitalization of your firm, your reporting process, where to check for violations of securities laws, how often they should check these sources. You should also update them on the proposed regulatory changes. Some of these changes may cost your clients money because it will be costly for your firm to implement them.
The next step is to open a discussion as a firm about what these changes will mean to your clients and how to discuss them in a responsible way.
Step three is to open the conversation with your client. They may have heard of the Dodd-Frank legislation. They most certainly have heard of people like Madoff and Stanford. Although highly publicized, these cases were not narrowly contained. Action on Dodd-Frank has slowed, yet these matters are still very much in the forefront.
The SEC is looking at commentary it has received on various proposals. Only 20 percent of the 75 proposals made have actually been enacted. There are proposals ranging from a ban on proprietary trading at banks to discovering the origins of metals instigating violence in Africa. You can also talk about the proposed fiduciary standard and how your firm already acts on clients’ behalf.
You can position this conversation as an educational one. You can position yourself as a guide through what may be a confusing landscape for them. You can encourage your firm to provide educational programs on regulatory developments.
Especially if a proposed rule would affect the way your firm does business, you should be talking to your clients to get their input. In this way, you and your firm become advocates for your clients at a high level of trust. And we all know that giving clients what they need at a high level of trust is the very best way to get clients and keep them.


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With classes approved for over a decade by the CFP Board, IWI, and NASBA, Advisors4Advisors CE classes are an optimal knowledge stream for CFP®, CIMA®, CPA, CPA/PFS®, CFA®, and other practitioners. It's not a grab bag of speakers willing to sponsor CE content. Nor is it a one-man CE course. It's a group of subject matter experts with amazing communication skills and a history of thought leadership that, together, give advisors a well-rounded knowledge system for running a professional practice ethically and intelligently.

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"Keebler usually talks tax way above my level, but this time everything was explained clearly to non-tax nerds. :-)"
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"Timely topic - will look forward to more on 2.0"
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It is not possible for me to overstate the cumulative value that Craig, Bob and Fritz have added for over 10 years to my investment advisory practice, as well as for personal and family financial planning. A4A gets my highest recommendation
Lynn Najman, CFP®
I’ve subscribed to A4A since its inception, and always find it intellectually stimulating and on point. It’s one of the few CE solutions out there that doesn’t waste my time by pushing product or talking down to me.


Pete Deacon, CPA, CFP®
A4A has had a profound effect on my business. Since 2009, I’ve relied on the consistent messaging and updates to run my business successfully. Being able to present the information from Bob, Fritz, and Craig's ongoing CE webinars has been a significant benefit.


Fredric Mayerson, MBA, PhD, CFP®
I've been a financial professional and professor of finance for 35 years and find Fritz Meyer and Robert Keebler to be among the most engaging, incredibly knowledgeable, and experienced presenters I’ve encountered. They deliver an extraordinary amount of information in an extremely interesting way — sequentially and developmentally, utilizing pedagogical tools and techniques that few possess.  A4A to is the most consistently excellent CE program available.  
Ron Roge, MS, CFP®
I’ve been attending A4A many years because the CE classes are outstanding, and my time is valuable. Though I have over 35 years of experience, I’m always learning something new on A4A. I attend fewer conferences now because the CE is generally not advanced. If you want to learn from the best, in a faster, easier, and less expensive way, I highly recommend A4A.

John R. Day, CPA/PFS®

I’ve been a member since 2011 and never miss the monthly webinars with Fritz Meyer. I appreciate Fritz’s independent views on the economy and markets and Bob Keebler keeps me updated on excellent tax planning ideas. A4A is a great value!


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Dan Hawley, CFP® 

A4A, for over a decade, has been a great resource for useful and accurate information and CE. A4A and Advisor Products are bargains for an advisory practice. 


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I get CPA CE credit and CFP credit for the webinars.  But not only that, the A4A content is terrific