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    As a state licensed life, P&C and health insurance agent; and dual SEC registered investment advisor and representative, Marcinko was Founding Dean of the fiduciary and niche focused CERTIFIED MEDICAL PLANNER® chartered professional designation education program; as well as Chief Editor of the three print format HEALTH DICTIONARY SERIES® and online Wiki Project.

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HOW THE “FIDUCIARY CONUNDRUM” DEFIES PHYSICS?

And … How We Can Fix It

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA MEd CMP®

www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

The Rules As I Understand Them

Securities industry Regulations and Regulators recognize that (registered) investment advisors give advice, while stock brokers sell brokerage products. Thus, the Series 65 license is required to become a financial advisor, while Series 7 licensed stock-brokers are not (and cannot) be fiduciary advisors.

So, advice is subject to a fiduciary duty, while product sales (brokerage) activity is not. The ratio of fiduciary advice to brokerage sales is about 1:99. So, what does that tell you?

A Contentious and Complicated Issue

This issue is so contentious and complicated today that lawyers are needed to define each and every term, engagement, transaction, brokerage or advisory contract, etc. It is far too amazingly contorted and complicated for most; including me; and we have even discussed the industry machinations and political double-talk on this ME-P previously; from some vary sharp industry experts, too.

The Fiduciary Conundrum

The “work-around” for these rules is industry “dual-registration”. Simply put, just get licensed to do both; as I did. Charge a commission when selling stuff and charge a fee for advice. And ideally, do both at the same time; while getting paid for both sides.

As a naïve luddite, I learned this little truism in financial planning school decades ago, and as a doctor and fiduciary for my patients at all times, almost vomited.

Of course, there were more sophisticated students in our classes who regurgitated the standard industry opinion: “We’ll give the client a financial plan for free IF we can sell commissioned products.”

Ideally this meant a fat and fully commissioned wrap account, whole-life insurance policy, LTCI policy; etc. Or, sell products and collect fat ongoing, and often unrecognizable AUM fees [fee-only], too!

From the stock broker-advisor’s POV, it was “Heads I win – tails you loose” for the client. Now, you know why I am a former or reformed certified financial planner.

The Physics Split

Know that as a pre-medical college student years earlier, I leaned about the Werner Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, in physics class.

Of course,  true Advice – is not Sales …  and Sales is not Advice. Both should never be; simultaneously. So, let’s ditch dual registration and decide which to pursue … and then proceed accordingly. Both sales and advice have risks and benefits to client and producer; both have advantages and disadvantages to both; as well.

WHY? Just like the Werner Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle; it shouldn’t [shan’t] be both; at once.

NOTE: In quantum mechanics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle is any of a variety of mathematical inequalities asserting a fundamental limit to the precision with which certain pairs of physical properties of a particle, known as complementary variables, such as position x and momentum p, can be known simultaneously.

So, in physics, I can tell you where you are -OR- how fast you are going; but not both. Thus, if it is product sales; it is not advice.

Today, since “dual registration” is still allowed, my suggestion to clients is to seek a fiduciary in all matters 24/7/354; get it in writing, and try  to avoid arbitration and “best interest” or BICE clauses! Run from [fee-based and fee-only] AUM fees, too.

PS: I am not against Series #7 representatives and product sales. Salesmen/women often provide a valuable service and should be appropriately compensated. I only object when fees, costs, charges and commissions are duplicative, excessive and/or not fully disclosed to the client. Since excessive is an arbitrary term; full disclosure is the key ingredient.

Assessment

So – How am I wrong, mistaken and/or what did I miss? Do tell! Should We – Can We – Ditch Dual Registration [DDR]?

Oh! In the future, I also hope that State fiduciary standards will potentially cover both non-ERISA and ERISA situations, and employee plan participants will have access to full discovery rights, the one thing the industry fears most.

But, that’s a discussion for another day and time.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. https://medicalexecutivepost.com/dr-david-marcinkos-bookings/

Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

BOOKS

https://www.crcpress.com/Risk-Management-Liability-Insurance-and-Asset-Protection-Strategies-for/Marcinko-Hetico/p/book/9781498725989

Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

https://www.crcpress.com/Comprehensive-Financial-Planning-Strategies-for-Doctors-and-Advisors-Best/Marcinko-Hetico/p/book/9781482240283

***

What is a Financial Fiduciary?

Fiduciary Trust 101 – For Consumers and Insiders

***

***

Assessment

For the financial services industry: An Interview with Bennett Aikin AIF®

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. https://medicalexecutivepost.com/dr-david-marcinkos-bookings/

Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

https://www.crcpress.com/Comprehensive-Financial-Planning-Strategies-for-Doctors-and-Advisors-Best/Marcinko-Hetico/p/book/9781482240283

***

The New DOL Rule Survey

A Conversation?

[By Rick Kahler MS CFP®]

I recently learned about an unexpected response to the new Department of Labor rule which mandates that all financial advisors and brokers act as fiduciaries (that is, in the best interest of the consumer) when dealing with customers’ retirement plans.

This means brokers will be discouraged from selling high fee and commission products to a customer’s IRA or similar retirement plan. The ruling may force many brokers to revamp for IRA products that have lower fees and commissions.

The Survey

However, according to a J. D. Power survey as reported in Financial Planning, customers are not happy with their brokers charging them lower fees. While the survey found that the clients of fee-only advisors were “generally more satisfied with what they pay their firm,” it also found that commission-based clients are going to leave in droves if their advisors switch to a lower-cost, fee-only model.

Let me get this straight

A broker who until now has owed no fiduciary duty to the customer, and who sells high fee and commission products to that customer, will now be forced by their company to place the consumer’s interest first. When dealing with the customer’s IRA, the broker cannot receive commissions and can only earn a lower fee. The broker places a low-fee product in the client’s IRA.

The result?

The client is so upset they will take their business to another firm.

According to J. D. Powers, that is correct. Their survey says around 60% of the customers of brokerage firms that may have to switch to fee-only when dealing with customer’s IRAs will “probably” or “definitely” take their business to another firm.

***

***

I am imagining the following conversation between a customer and a broker

Broker:

“Because of the new DOL regulations I can no longer sell you a high fee and commission variable annuity to be owned by your IRA. To comply with the ruling, my company has eliminated the 7% upfront commission on this annuity; we will now charge you a 1% annual fee. They also reduced the annual management expenses from 3% to 1%. Plus, now any advice I give you or product I recommend must be in your best interests.”

Customer:

“So you are eliminating the upfront 7% commission and replacing that with a 1% annual fee, which means 7% more of my money immediately goes to work for me in the investment, right?”

Broker:

“That’s right.”

Customer:

 “And instead of the upfront commission you are charging a new 1% annual fee, but reducing the annual management costs of the investments from 3% to 1%. So I’ll still make an additional 1% every year I own this, in addition to saving 7% up front, right?”

Broker:

“That’s right.”

Customer:

 “And further, you’re now going to look out for my best interests rather than the best interests of your company.”

Broker:

 “Yep.”

Customer:

“This is ridiculous. I’m outta here!”

Broker:

“Where are you going?”

Customer:

“To find a firm that will continue to sell me high commission, high fee products for my IRA and that will work against my best interests!”

Broker:

“You probably won’t find any. Every financial company selling investment products to IRAs has to comply.”

Customer:

 “I’ll find someone, somewhere. Goodbye!”

Assessment

This defies all logic. I can only make up stories as to why the survey found the majority of brokerage customers would leave. Might some believe the new fees would cost them more than they currently pay?

My best assumption is that there was no explanation of what “fee-only” or “fiduciary” meant. So, if the results of the J. D. Power survey don’t make a lot of sense to you, join the crowd.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, urls and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: marcinkoadvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

***

Why we cannot assume CFP® equals “Fiduciary”

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Rick Kahler MS CFP

By Rick Kahler MS CFP®

One of the most important ways to find competent and trustworthy investment advisers is to be sure they owe you a fiduciary duty.

This means the advisers’ legal and ethical responsibility is to act in your best interests, not their own or their employer’s.

An ongoing legal case featured in an October 31 article by Ann Marsh in the online Financial Planning magazine highlights both the importance and the difficulty of finding a fiduciary adviser. (Disclosure: I am one of several advisers quoted in the article.)

The whistleblower case against J. P. Morgan involves an adviser and former J. P. Morgan employee, Johnny Burris, who says he was fired after refusing to give in to pressure to sell some of his employer’s high-priced products that he did not believe to be in his clients’ best interest.

Importance?

Here is why this case is important to anyone looking for financial advice: many advisers at investment firms like J. P. Morgan hold the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. According to the website of the CFP Board of Standards, the organization that awards the certification, CFP’s are required “to put your interests ahead of their own at all times and to provide their financial planning services as a ‘fiduciary’—acting in the best interest of their financial planning clients.”

This sounds straightforward enough. Since 2008, the CFP Board has positioned the CFP designation as an indicator that an adviser will put clients’ interest first.

Unfortunately, that isn’t quite accurate.

Here is the tricky part: Advisers who sell financial products are allowed to “wear two hats” in their interaction with consumers. Any time they are giving financial advice and acting as financial planners (as defined by the CFP Board), they are expected to act in the best interest of the client/customer.

Yet if they don’t give any financial advice other than what is ancillary to the sale (a very confusing concept) of financial products to the same client/customer, that fiduciary requirement does not apply. The consumer is apparently expected to have the exceptional discernment and knowledge to know which hat is being worn at any given time.

As a consumer, you can assume that advisers holding the CFP® designation have completed many hours of education and passed tests to assess their professional competence.

However, because of the CFP Board’s hairsplitting, you cannot assume “CFP” equals “fiduciary.”

You still have to ask two essential questions:

The first is “In this engagement with me, who are you primarily responsible to, me or your company?” An adviser employed by a brokerage house or investment bank is very likely to be held most responsible to their company and expected to sell that firm’s financial products. This sets up a conflict of interest, in that the products with the highest fees will make the most money for the firm and the adviser, while those with lower fees may well be in the best interest of the clients.

A CFP® adviser who works for an independent financial planning firm may be less likely to be pressured to sell a given line of products. They also may do enough financial planning to be required to be a fiduciary.

However, you still need to ask the second question: “How do you get paid?” Any adviser who receives income from selling financial products cannot fully represent clients as a fiduciary without first overcoming an inherent conflict of interest.

***

stock market

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Assessment

An adviser who doesn’t sell any products, who gives investment advice, and whose income comes solely from client fees is answerable and responsible to those clients as a fiduciary. You can trust that such a fee-only adviser will genuinely put your interests first. 

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™     Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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It’s Still Harder to Become a Hairdresser than a Financial Adviser?

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How Come and Why?

[By Jason Zweig]

****

The great journalist H.L. Mencken wrote decades ago
,

“The essence of a genuine professional man is that he cannot be bought.”

And that, in turn, can spring only from a culture of exhaustive training and the highest standards of conduct.

Professions like accounting, law and medicine took decades, often centuries, to advance to the point of requiring rigorous education and licensing for all their members.

***

vintage-beauty-salon-equipment-9

***

Assessment

The field of investment advice remains a long way from being able to call itself a profession.

More: http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2016/04/08/how-come-its-still-harder-to-become-a-hairdresser-than-a-financial-adviser/

On Wall Street’s Suitability, Prudence and Fiduciary Accountability

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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Do Commisson-Based Fiduciary Financial Advisors EVEN Exist?

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Sometimes the Case?

By Rick Kahler MS CFP http://www.KahlerFinancial.com

Rick Kahler MS CFPCan a financial advisor represent your best interests and still earn a commission? Surprisingly, this can sometimes be the case.

But … It’s up to you to find out.

Fiduciary

Being required to put the consumer’s interest first, which means representing a client rather than selling products and services to a customer is called having a fiduciary duty. While fee-only planners are inherently fiduciaries, they don’t exclusively own the fiduciary domain. The definition of a fiduciary duty does not inherently ban receiving commissions. Numerous statutes and applications of common law can require someone receiving a commission from selling a financial product to act in a fiduciary capacity.

One such circumstance was discussed in a blog post at http://www.kitces.com by Duane Thompson, president of Potomac Strategies, LLC, a legislative and public relations consulting firm.

Registered Investment Advisor

Those registered with the SEC as Registered Investment Advisors (RIA) under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 are required to uphold a fiduciary standard of care. Advisors must register as RIAs if they, “for compensation, engage in the business of advising others” about investing in securities and as a central part of the business.

The 1940 Act has almost nothing to say about linking compensation to fiduciary responsibility. While large firms selling financial products can argue whether they must register as RIAs, it is clear that anyone registered as an RIA is held to a fiduciary standard, regardless of their compensation structure.

That said, the chances are an advisor who is compensated 100% by commissions is not an RIA and not held to a fiduciary standard. Of the 11,475 adviser firms registered with the SEC, only four are commission only, according to Thompson. Of the remainder, those that receive  a commission also charge some type of fee.

The Odds

The overwhelming odds are that, if you don’t pay a fee to a company giving investment advice or selling a financial product, they are not legally required to look after your best interests.

Even though an RIA who is totally or in part compensated by commissions has a legal obligation to put your interests first, they may still have a conflict of interest, which the SEC requires them to disclose. The size of that conflict of interest depends on the percentage of an adviser’s revenue derived from selling financial products.

Example:

For example, a RIA receiving 90% of their revenue from the sale of financial products has a large conflict of interest. The sustainability of the company and advisers’ careers depends upon sales. Arguably it’s going to be very difficult for an adviser to remain unbiased, especially if what may be in the client’s best interest is a no-load, low cost index mutual fund or variable annuity; which pay no commission.

Conversely, an advisor receiving 99% of their revenue from fees and 1% from commissions on the sale of low-cost term life insurance has almost no conflict. The sale of the insurance is most likely a convenience for clients and has an insignificant financial impact to the adviser.

face-off

[Fiduciary Advisor versus Sales Man/Woman] 

In order to find out the likelihood of advisers upholding a fiduciary standard, first ask whether they are a RIA with the SEC. If not, they owe you no fiduciary responsibility. You are a customer.

Assessment

If an adviser is an RIA, however, don’t assume there is no conflict of interest that may taint the fiduciary relationship. Ask how much of the firm’s gross revenue comes from commissions on the sale of financial products and how much comes from fees paid directly by clients. The higher the percentage of revenue that comes from fees, the lower the conflict of interest and the greater the chance you will receive unbiased, client-centered advice.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners(TM)

Do You Consider Yourself a Fiduciary – Are You?

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2015 IBD Report Card

By Diana Britton of WealthManagement

Why and How to Become a Certified Medical Planner™

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IBDRC-fiduciary

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Link: http://wealthmanagement.com/ibd-report-card

How This Survey Was Conducted: Between Jan. 14 and Feb. 25, 2015, REP. magazine emailed invitations to participate in an online survey to print subscribers and advisors in the Meridian-IQ database at over 80 independent broker/dealers. By Feb. 25, a total of 2,069 completed responses were received. Brokers rated their current employers on several items related to their satisfaction. Ratings are based on a 1-to-10 scale, with 10 representing the highest satisfaction level.

Note: Large IBDs, over 2,000 advisors: Cambridge, Cetera Advisor Networks, Commonwealth, LPL, Raymond James Financial Services, Securities America and Voya. Small IBDs, fewer than 2,000 advisors: CUNA Brokerage Services, Independent Financial Group, Investacorp, Investors Capital, NFP, Securities Service Network, Sigma, Signator, Summit, The Investment Center, United Planners and VSR.

More:

Read even more:

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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cmp-program1

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners(TM)

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