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7 Responses

  1. Less Trust in Financial Advisors and Experts?

    About 40% of those surveyed by Prudential aren’t seeking the help of a financial adviser. And 53% don’t think an adviser is helpful, even in extreme market conditions.

    And, here’s an item that Prudential probably doesn’t like — 62% can’t think of a single financial services company they would trust.


    And then again, how do we define FA and “expert?”

    Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™


  2. Former Wachovia Manager Gets 7 Years For Wealth Management Scheme

    A former Wachovia manager who stole $14.1 million through a fake wealth-management scheme and bought a helicopter and zebras with the proceeds has been sentenced to prison.




  3. States: [Financial Advisers violating rules by using ‘RIA’]

    Signatures on letters often followed by ‘RIA,’ implying earned designation; it’s not


    This topic has long been a pet peeve of mine.

    Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP


  4. Commissions and “Advice”

    It has long been debated in this industry whether commission-based advisors are doing what’s in the best interest of their clients, or simply piling them into the investments that gives them the most fees.


    Now the debate has gone national, with a new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) on an audit by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).


    Any thoughts?



  5. 3 Reasons to Fire Your Planner

    It has been a terrible year. Your investments got clobbered, and you have no idea where you stand in terms of your overall financial plan.Is it time to fire your financial adviser? Maybe.


    The above link with reality checks will help you decide; basic but vital.



  6. STOCK Act Reversal Signed by President

    President Obama has just signed a rollback of key transparency provisions of the STOCK Act as the Senate gutted the disclosure requirements by approving S.716, an act amending the requirements of the 2011 law.


    The bill doesn’t just eliminate a controversial requirement that personal financial disclosures of tens of thousands of high level federal employees be made publicly accessible online. It also reverses two critical components of the original STOCK act: mandatory electronic filing of PFDs by the president, his cabinet and members of Congress; and the creation of a publicly accessible database.

    Any thoughts?



  7. Designation Letters?

    If you’re in search of financial advisers, pay attention to the designation letters behind their names. For a financial planner, look for a CFP (Certified Financial Planner), ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant), or MSFP (masters in financial planning). For an investment adviser, add a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation.

    This is advice I’ve given readers forever. (Advice which may seem self-serving, since I hold most of these designations.) But is there any evidence that financial planning designations really matter? Professionals who hold them will say yes; those who don’t hold them will tell you they don’t make much difference.

    A new study by financial planner Jeff Camarda, published as “Do professional designations matter?” in Financial Planning on May 26, 2017, finds that designations do matter when it comes to finding someone with a high probability of delivering competent financial planning advice to consumers.


    It may seem intuitive that someone who has had to complete a series of educational courses, meet minimal experience requirements, and pass a rigorous exam would probably deliver more competent advice than someone who has not. Yet Camarda found very little research on whether designations give consumers higher quality financial planning. He decided to base the dissertation for his PhD in financial planning on answering this question.

    The challenge was how to accurately measure whether consumers actually received higher quality advice from those holding the designations. Camarda used disclosed complaints of misconduct against FINRA Registered Representative advisers who sold financial products. His study was confined to 27,000 such advisers in the state of Florida who had passed the federal licensing requirements to sell financial products.

    Amazingly, of this group, only 12% had at least one professional designation. Camarda compared these advisers to those that didn’t have a designation, using 18 statistical techniques and tests to verify his findings. He discovered that much lower misconduct was associated with having one of the designations and concluded advisers holding a designation offered a higher standard of advice. The Financial Planning article did not include specific numbers, but the academic version of the study is under review for publication by the journal Financial Services Review.

    The study underscores what I’ve found to be true: that just because someone holds a license to engage in a specific service for consumers does not mean the person is competent. Licensing tests notoriously set the bar low for the entrance into almost any field.

    It’s important to note that Camarda’s research only included advisers who sold products. It would be interesting to see a similar study of fee-only advisers to see if the same holds true; my hunch is that it would. The challenge would be to query a database of fee-only advisers that includes those who don’t have professional designations and then compare SEC complaints.

    Since financial planning and investment designations give consumers higher quality advice than does simply taking the federal licensing exams, it would seem that federal regulators could give the public better service at lower cost by abandoning their licensing exams, instead requiring those selling financial products to obtain a designation.

    Of course, such a move would produce an outcry from the many salespeople with licenses but not professional designations who work for Wall Street firms and insurance companies. Since they have the money to influence their members of Congress (those high fees and commissions go somewhere!), this won’t happen anytime soon.

    As a consumer, you will continue to need to do your own research to increase the odds that anyone giving you financial advice and selling you an investment really knows the territory. The best place to start is to look at their designations.

    Rick Kahler CFP®


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