Incident With U.S. Marshals At Spangler Sentencing Was Simply A Misunderstanding edit
Tuesday, April 01, 2014 13:27

You may already have read reports about my recent arrest in Seattle. In the spirit of transparency, I want to share with you my side of the story in my failed effort at getting a jailhouse interview with disgraced former NAPFA chairman, Mark Spangler. The whole thing was actually just an embarrassing  misunderstanding.

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Spangler was sentenced March 12 to 16 years in federal prison for diverting about half of the approximately $100 million in assets his financial planning firm managed into two risky startups he controlled, TeraHop Networks, a Spangler venture that went belly-up, and Tamarac Software, a successful venture that makes portfolio rebalancing, client reporting, and CRM software used by hundreds of RIAs.
The events leading up to my arrest in the U.S. District Court building in Seattle unfolded quickly, just seconds after U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez threw the book at Spangler.
When Spangler exited the courtroom in handcuffs, I followed him and the two U.S. Marshals escorting him. Spangler was taken into the men’s room to compose himself and I approached the two U.S. Marshals blocking entry to the men’s room. This is where the misunderstanding occurred.
When I approached the two federal agents, I had no intention of offering them a bribe to let me into the men’s room. I was holding two $50 bills  because I was about to leave for the airport and was checking to see if I had enough cash on hand to pay the cab fare.

Please read my attorney's response to the federal charges, which won't hold up in court.

Why Is A4A Providing An Audience Of CFPs With Ideas From CFA Institute? edit
Thursday, March 20, 2014 13:25

Tags: investment fiduciaries | portfolio management | Portfolio Management Software | practice management | profession


It was 1998 and I was standing in my old office, talking on the phone with Tom Connelly, a CFP with a Master’s Degree in Financial Planning, a CFA charterholder, and founder of an $800 AUM RIA, Versant Capital Management.
Tom told me something that has influenced my work ever since. He said the financial planning world was a “small pond” in the ocean of knowledge that a professional needs to manage other people’s financial affairs properly.

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At that point in my career, I had been writing about financial planning daily for 15 years, and Tom was telling me there was a whole other universe that I needed to learn about.
I knew that the financial services universe was separated by advisors who specialized in insurance, tax, investment, or financial planning. However, Tom’s words made me see that all of these worlds were drawing closer together and would eventually become one solar system. He specifically raved about the CFA Institute’s educational programs.

In 1998, CFA Institute was a world apart from the financial planning world I knew so well. It was dominated by research analysts at brokerages and institutional investors, and it was driven by a global vision for the CFA designation. Then the mutual fund scandals of the 2000’s led to a fundamental change.
Wall Street’s legion of analysts were suddenly unwanted because Wall Street research was a joke, larded with undisclosed conflicts of interests. Wall Street was forced to lay off a lot of CFAs serving as research analysts on Wall Street. Seemingly overnight, CFA Institute and CFA charterholders around the country had to figure out what to do for a living. The answer: advise wealthy individuals.  
CFA Institute has reinvented itself over the past 10 or 12 years. CFA Institute’s Private Wealth section — 15 years ago a stepchild in an organization dominated by Wall Street and institutional investors — is now far more influential among CFA charterholders. The educational curriculum has changed to ensure CFA charterholders are qualified to advise individuals.
However, because CFA Institute’s knowledge base is largely derived from large institutions with virtually unlimited resources, the quality of its research, data, and best practice ideas for professionals is very advanced.
So there you have it. That’s why A4A is inviting CFPs to hear about their distant cousins, CFAs. I have come to see that the CFP world is provincial in thinking that it owns the higher moral ground or best ideas in financial advising. And the CFP world's provincial outlook is rivalled in its myopia by the worlds of CPAs, CIMAs, ChFCs and other serious professional designations. They all seemingly pretend the others do not exist. They fail to capitalize on each other's strengths because they are competing with each other. So A4A is doing things a bit differently by bringing you voices from all of these different spheres.     
And Horan happens to a brilliant guy. He's one of the top executives in CFA Institute and previously ran the private wealth section. He holds a Ph.D. in Finance and Economics from SUNY at Buffalo, and Certificate In Investment Performance Measurement as well a CFA designation.
I wrote about the CIPM recently because I believe transparency will come to be more important to RIAs serving UHNWIs in the years ahead, and CIPMs can help RIAs create a track record compliant with the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS). Steve Horan will talk about how CIPMs can help RIAs create a GIPS-compliant track record that can be used in marketing and advertising materials.
Point is, connecting A4A members, who are predominantly financial planners, with best practices from outside the CFP world, makes me happy. Let me know if it has the same affect on you.
Stephen Horan’s webinar on Friday will be eligible for continuing professional education credit for CPAs, CFPs, CIMAs, and other financial advice designations. If you’re an A4A member ($60 annually), you can see all sessions 24/7 and receive many other benefits.
Because of the glowing praise I have lavished on CFA Institute, I want to point out that CFA Institute is not perfect. CFAs have no annual professional education requirement and that’s something CFPs will want to ask Horan about at the session Friday. He will also be speaking about CFA Institute initiatives for all kinds of advisors—including those who are not CFA charterholders.


Why Did A4A Stop Sending The Daily Digest? Because Sometimes Less Is More edit
Tuesday, February 04, 2014 15:45

Tags: client education

Some months ago, Advisors4Advisors stopped sending the Daily Digest, a daily summary of top stories we thought advisors needed to read. My decision to stop sending an email daily to registered users came shortly after I decided to stop aggregating news from other industry websites and sharing it with you on the A4A home page.

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A daily bombardment of emails and content has made it nearly impossible to distinguish good content from nonsense. We're all overwhlemed by it. I do not want to be part of that.  So I’m taking a different approach.


I’m writing only when I have something to say that’s important. I’m not curating content because my time and A4A’s resources are better spent creating less content that is not very important and spending more of my time and resources on creating content that’s important.


Producing less content and emailing advisors less  seems to have worked. A4A’s paid membership doubled last year. Sometimes less really is more.


How CFP, CIMA, CIMC, CPWA, And CPA Professionals Receive Continuing Professional Education By Joining Advisors4Advisors edit
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 20:23

Advisors4Advisors is a continuing education sponsor for CFP, CPA, CIMA, CIMC, and CPWA professionals. A4A members receive credit by following the instructions below.

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Weekly continuing professional education webinars, 24/7 replays of webinars, and continuing education credit are free to A4A members ($60 annually). Live sessions are held Fridays at 4 ET.


Please turn off any popup blockers. The contuing education quizzes for 24/7 replays and the post-webinar form to fill in your professioal certification information relies on popups. Your browser's security settings may require you to add as a trusted site. 



Obtain CFP CE For Live-Webinar Attendance
To receive continuing education credit for attending a live session, enter your CFP® ID number in the post-webinar survey. Be sure pop-up blockers are turned off. A4A files for CFP® credit with the CFP Board once a month.
Obtain CFP® CE For 24/7 Webinar Replays
To receive continuing education credit for attending a webinar replay, CFP Board requires you pass a post-webinar quiz. The quiz will pop up at the end of the webinar replay, and after you take the quiz an approval letter is generated automatically. Log in to A4A and click on “View Profile,” where you’ll find the approval letter under the “CE Credit” tab. Present the letter to CFP Board as proof of completion.

Obtain CPA CPE For Live-Webinar Attendance
If you attend a live session, you’ll be emailed a certificate of completion from GoToWebinar after the session.  CPAs currently only receive for attending live sessions and not for replays.
Advisors4Advisors is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. 


CIMAs®, CIMCs®, and CPWAs®
Obtain CIMA, CIMC, CPWA CE For Live-Webinar Attendance
To receive continuing education credit for attending a live session, enter your CIMA®, CIMC®, or CPWA® ID number in the post-webinar survey. Be sure pop-up blockers are turned off. A4A files for credit with the IMCA on your behalf.
Obtain CIMA®, CIMC®, CPWA® CE For 24/7 Webinar Replays
To receive continuing education credit for attending a webinar replay, IMCA requires you pass a post-webinar quiz. The quiz will pop up at the end of the webinar replay, and after you take the quiz an approval letter is generated automatically. Log in to A4A and click on “View Profile,” where you’ll find the approval letter under the “CE Credit” tab. Questions? Please email "bresnik at" requesting the course ID and present the letter to CFP Board as proof of completion.




Fritz Meyer’s Economic Update Webinar: Some Advisor Reviews Were Harsh But The Crowd-Sourced 4.8 Star-Rating Tells The Real Story edit
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 12:41

Tags: economy | Fritz Meyer | Social Media

An observation about the comments from advisors who attended Fritz Meyer’s November economic update: A number of the commenters were pretty harsh, but Fritz nonethless scored an incrediblly high 4.8 star-rating.  


Fritz’s high star-rating is an example of how crowd-sourced data can give you a very accurate picture of people’s preferences and attitudes about anything.

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This ties in with what I wrote earlier this week about why the SEC must update the rule prohibiting the use of testimonials to allow consumers to benefit from crowd-sourced “likes” on Facebook, recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn, and followers on Twitter.
The harsh comments from reviewers of Fritz's session give you one picture about how well the webinar was received by advisors. But the star-rating really tells you the full story. That single statistic discounts all information, which is why it is so very powerful. SEC is so wrongheaded and out-of-step with how to harness the power of the Internet to help investors.
Back to Fritz, though. A few commenters criticized Fritz for going too long, and a few of the critics don’t mind Fritz going on past the 5 p.m. EST scheduled end-time of the session. However, they want to be able to schedule the extra time or get continuing education credit for it. Good feedback! Thanks. Fritz and I will talk about it.
I especially appreciate this commenter’s indignant tone:  “I continue to tell many of my advisor friends and colleagues about Fritz' and Bob Keebler's webinars, but many of them are foolishly electing not to participate. They are doing themselves and their clients a great disservice.” Thanks, dude!
You can view all of A4A's weekly professional education videos for financial advisors and get CFP Board or IMCA continuing education credits for most sessions if you have paid A4A’s $60 annual membership fee, and you can also view Fritz’s highly-rated November 2013 economic update.
  • Fritz always goes long, way beyond the 50 minutes need for 1 CPE hour.  Why not have Fritz go an 1 hr 40 min?  This would give him more time and allow for 2 hours of CPE credit instead of loosing 25 minutes of time when Fritz goes long.
  • I heard him for the first time and being an educator loved his presentation and research.
  • Very informative - would like to see an area be focused in - more in-depth analysis of a particular area and where the number are coming from.  If you look at slide #53 - Social security is flat in the future - perhaps if Fritz explains that Medicare Part B & D is eating away at the monthly social security check it would make for a more effective withdrawal strategy.
  • Fritz needs to pick top presentation priorities and stick to the alloted time.
  • As always - very informative and entertaining...........
  • Allocate more time for the webinar.  The material is worth it, and it's easier to schedule.
  • Fritz is great with the facts and at debunking the hype!
  • reat at usual
  • Excellent analysis - as usual. I must admit I am worried that the markets have gone too far too fast (now over 2 years since even a correction). Yet Fritz gives us a rational basis to understand WHY even these current elevated markets can be rationally justified for the long-term investor.
  • I normally look forward to these calls monthly, today was no exception. However, I was bothered by how long the call went today (and it started late also) and how much time was devoted to teaching about asset allocation and active/passive mgmgt at the end. This is something I have no interest in (being an Investment Advisor and Active manager already), but I certainly appreciate the slides on Sector bets being difficult to make (we are sector neutral ourselves).
  • Fritz is always up to the game.
  • Andy, Fritz, perhaps this is beginning to sound like a broken record, but thank you to Fritz for cutting through all the media noise and hype and getting the word out to advisors about the true state of the markets and the economy. I continue to tell many of my advisor friends and colleagues about Fritz' and Bob Keebler's webinars, but many of them are foolishly electing not to participate. They are doing themselves and their clients a great disservice.
  • Too much info or not enough time
  • I think that they agendas are too ambitious, and we'd take more away with a narrower discussion.
  • Fritz should cut some of the slides out and make it a little less voluminous solely so he may complete the presentation.  It's all excellent but obviously difficult for him to complete within an hour.
  • Timely economic update; terrific!
  • Good, would suggest cutting out slides that do not show change from previous presentation and focus more time on those that did.
  • Great as usual.  Please post Rick Ferri's questions and Fritz's responses.
  • Excellent market & economic update.
  • Great, as usual!
  • I try to attend Frtiz's webinar whenever possible.  I find the information valuable and he has a way of making dry numbers and technical information understandable and interesting.
  • Again, to much material.  Get to the point or allow for a longer presentation.
  • Fascinating as always, but too much too fast for my pea brain.  Seriously, I took away a great deal, but felt like I missed getting my head around some charts and commentary.  But thanks to Andy's web set-up, I can go back and review.  Now if I can just make the time...
  • I appreciated Fritz's comments at the end of his presentation regarding applying the economic information to portfolio allocation.  Making that transition and how to do so is what most advisors hope to take away from comments on the economy.
  • Fritz. The FundQUEST bnp paribas study suffers from survivorship bais.


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