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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.

    Dr. David E. Marcinko’s professional memberships included: ASHE, AHIMA, ACHE, ACME, ACPE, MGMA, FMMA, FPA and HIMSS. He was a MSFT Beta tester, Google Scholar, “H” Index favorite and one of LinkedIn’s “Top Cited Voices”.

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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

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Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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***

On the Department of Labor “Fiduciary Rule”

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Rick Kahler MS CFP

By Rick Kahler MSFS CFP®

Both fee-only financial planning firms and companies that sell financial products are beginning to see some unintended consequences from the recent Department of Labor fiduciary rule.

The rule requires that all financial advisors who deal with an investor’s retirement accounts, including those who sell products, be held to a fiduciary standard. In the past, only RIA’s who are regulated by the SEC were held to such a standard.

The DoL intended the rule to discourage financial salespeople from placing high fee and commission products in retirement accounts. For fee-only advisers, one unintended consequence is an increase in documentation and paperwork, which increases the cost of doing business.

Another unintended consequence that could actually end up hurting consumers may be on the issue of churning.

Churning

Churning describes a broker excessively and needlessly making a lot of trades in a client’s account to generate extra commissions. FINRA, the agency that oversees the sale of financial products, has long discouraged churning, though often the practice only comes to light when a consumer files a complaint.

Still, regulators’ success in discouraging churning has given rise to fee-based brokerage and wrap accounts. These accounts do not compensate brokers on the number and frequency of transactions, but on an ongoing management or advisory fee. It can be a flat fee or one that is determined by a percentage of the assets in the account. This mode of compensation takes away a broker’s incentive to churn accounts. That has to be a good thing, right? Well, not necessarily, if you are a regulator.

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Now, according to financial planner and writer Michael Kitces, the regulators are concerned they have been “too successful” in motivating brokers to charge management fees. Kitces notes the new DoL fiduciary rule will continue to spur a massive shift towards various forms of fee-based brokerage and advisory accounts, giving rise to an emerging new problem: reverse churning.

Reverse Churning

He says reverse churning “is where an advisor charges an ongoing investment management fee … but fails to provide any substantive ongoing investment services.” The broker places a consumer in an investment, collects the annual fee, and never touches the account again. Regulators are worried that brokers have gone from too much activity (churning) to not enough (reverse churning).

With the rise in popularity of passive investing, there is growing interest in the use of ETFs, index funds, and other passive investment vehicles. Passive investing is often framed as a “leave it and forget it” strategy that needs little attention. A lot of research validates that a passive investment strategy is usually superior to an active strategy with more buying and selling of securities.

Kitces notes that while the regulatory concern about reverse churning is appropriate, it “raises troubling concerns when paired with the growing popularity of using index funds, ETFs, and passive investment approaches. How is an advisor supposed to justify an ongoing advisory fee when the right thing for the client to do might really be to do nothing? And what if the bulk of the advisor’s AUM fee is actually for other non-investment (i.e., financial planning) services, paired together with an otherwise passive investment portfolio?”

Assessment

Regulators will probably need to address the difference between reverse churning and implementing a prudent passive investment strategy. That won’t happen before there is a lot of confusion that demands clarification. In the meanwhile, fee-only advisors who embrace a passive investment strategy will have to add another layer of busywork by documenting what they actively do for clients on an ongoing basis. Clearly, this will be easier for fiduciary advisors who also provide financial planning than for those who only provide investment 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™

***

Advisor V. Adviser [The Ultimate “Terminology” Fraudster?]

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Anonymous Doctor

[By Anonymous]

Are the US Securities Acts the Ultimate “Terminology” Fraudster?

As a doctor and investor, I have learned thru the internet that Larry Elford, an Investment Misconduct and Malpractice Consultant – and many others – believe that the ultimate terminology fraudster is the US Securities Acts (1935 & 1940) and the Investment Adviser Act. Why?

They have no such category as “advisor” in the Acts.

Industry lawyers know this well, as does FINRA, and may be using this “spelling ruse” to dupe and deceive millions of Americans into believing that their commission sales “broker” is some kind of fiduciary “adviser” professional.

Some even believe it to be an industry pandemic of “bait and switch” to deceive and then shortchange investors.

Source: http://www.investoradvocates.ca/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=193&sid=1cc2690bde2ebdfaa749be1d35395083#p3867

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th

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VIDEO: Here is an under 2 minute glimpse into the Three Card Monte game being played, upon investors, when your Securities Commission proudly tells you to “check your “adviser’s” registration”.

Link: https://youtu.be/zIjt0qRsJKg

Assessment

Is this a mere lexicon conundrum; or truer pathology?

And, did you know that a Certified Medical Planner® is a client fiduciary at all times? Visit: http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

cmp-logo16

Enter the CMPs

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:

***

[PHYSICIAN FOCUSED FINANCIAL PLANNING AND RISK MANAGEMENT COMPANION TEXTBOOK SET]

  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™

[Dr. Cappiello PhD MBA] *** [Foreword Dr. Krieger MD MBA]

Front Matter with Foreword by Jason Dyken MD MBA

***

On New Issues and Securities Stabilization

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A Primer for Physician Investors and Medical Professionals

By: Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

[Editor-in-Chief] http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

[PART 3 OF 8]

NEU Dr. Marcinko

NOTE: This is an eight part ME-P series based on a weekend lecture I gave more than a decade ago to an interested group of graduate, business and medical school students. The material is a bit dated and some facts and specifics may have changed since then. But, the overall thought-leadership information of the essay remains interesting and informative. We trust you will enjoy it.

Introduction

Some securities issues move very well, like traditional blue chips stocks (ie., Wallgreen). Some are dogs, like smaller dot.com companies (iixl.com). Then, there are issues that are former darling, but are now ice cold; like PPMCs (i.e., Phycor) and internet stocks (i.e., Dr. Koop).  How far can an underwriting manager go in nudging along an issue that’s not selling well? SEC rules do permit a certain amount of help by the manager, even if this takes on the appearance of price-fixing. This help is called stabilizing the issue.

Simply put, if shortly after a new offering begins, supply exceeds demand, there will be downward pressure on the price. But, the law requires that all purchasers of the new issue pay the official offering price on the prospectus. If public holders of the stock become willing to bail out and accept a low selling price, the investor looking to buy will find he is able to buy stock of the issuer cheaper in the open market than buying it new from the syndicate members.

To prevent such a decline in the price of a security during a public offering, SEC rules permit the manager to offer to buy shares in \ the open market at a bid price at, or just below, the official offering price of the new issue. This is referred to as stabilizing and his bid price is called the stabilizing bid. There is always the risk, in a firm commitment underwriting, that the underwriters will have difficulty selling the new issue. What they can’t sell, they’re “stuck” with. That’s where the term “sticky issue” comes from.

As a physician executive, or potential investor in a new issue, be aware that the best way to get an issue to sell is to increase the compensation to the sales force (i.e., stock broker or Registered Rep).

Another choice is through stabilization. Stabilizing is a permitted form of market manipulation which tends to protect underwriters against loss. It allows the underwriting syndicate (usually through the efforts of the syndicate manager) to stabilize (peg or fix) the secondary market trading price in a new issue at the published public offering price. It works something like this.

When a new issue is selling slowly, some of the investors who initially purchased, may be dissatisfied with the performance of the stock (if it is selling slowly and the underwriters have plenty to sell at the public offering price, this is anything but a hot issue and the security price will not have risen).

This dissatisfaction with performance leads to these investors desiring to sell the securities they have just purchased. If the underwriters are unable to sell at the public offering price, certainly an individual investor will have to take less when bailing out. As market makers begin to trade the stock in the secondary market, they would only be able to compete with the underwriters by offering the stock at a lower price than the public offering  price. This would make it difficult (if not impossible) for the underwriters to distribute the remaining new shares.

In order to prevent this from happening, the managing underwriter (who is usually the one to assume the role of stabilizing underwriter), agrees to purchase back any of the new shares at or just slightly below the public offering price. That is a higher price than any market maker could, in all practicality, bid for the shares. When the shares are repurchased by the stabilizing underwriter, it is as if the initial trade were annulled and never took place so that these new shares are now placed back into the distribution and are sold as new shares at the public offering price. SEC rules do, however, require disclosure of this practice.

Therefore, no syndicate manager may engage in stabilizing unless the following phrase appears in bold print on the inside front cover page of the prospectus:

IN CONNECTION WITH THIS OFFERING, THE UNDERWRITERS MAY OVER ALLOT OR EFFECT TRANSACTIONS WHICH STABILIZE OR MAINTAIN THE MARKET PRICE OF (XYZ COMPANY) AT A LEVEL ABOVE THAT WHICH MIGHT OTHERWISE PREVAIL IN THE OPEN MARKET. SUCH TRANSACTIONS MAY BE EFFECTED ON (NYSE) STABILIZING, IF COMMENCED, MAY BE DISCONTINUED AT ANY TIME.

Of course, it would be manipulation and, therefore, a violation of law, if this “price-pegging” activity continued after the entire new issue was sold out. This activity costs the syndicate manager money which is recouped by levying a syndicate penalty bid against those members of the syndicate whose clients turn shares in on a stabilizing bid.

One way to avoid stabilization is to over allot  to each of the syndicate members. This is the same concept as “over booking” that’s done by the airlines. Most airlines typically sell 5% to 10% more seats than the airplane has knowing that there will be last minute cancellations and no shows. This tends to ensure that the plan will fly full. In the same manner, managing under-writers frequently over allot an additional 10% to each of their syndicate members so that last minute cancellations should still leave the syndicate with sell orders for 100% of the issue. If there are no “drop outs”, one of two things may happen.

  1. The issuer will issue the additional shares (which results in it raising more money).
  2. The issuer will not issue the additional shares and the syndicate will have to go short. Any losses suffered by the syndicate through taking of this short position are shared proportionately by the syndicate members.

Now, what if market conditions and the fervor surrounding a new issue like e-commerce company Ariba,  in 1999, remain so that the issue doesn’t cool down during the cooling off period? Such hot issues are a mixed blessing to be sure.

On the one hand, the issue is a sure sell-out. On the other hand, just how many healthcare investors are going to be told by brokers that additional shares can not be obtained.

Furthermore, the SEC and the NASD/FINRA are vigorous [or should be] in their scrutiny of  proper distribution channels for hot issues. Just what is a “proper” distribution?  It can be summed up in one sentence. Member firms have an obligation to make a “bona fide” public distribution of all the shares at the public offering price. The key to this rule lies within the definition of bona fide public distribution.

While the underwriting procedures for corporate bonds are almost identical to corporate stock, there are significant differences in the underwriting of municipal securities. Municipal securities are exempt from the registration filing requirements or the Securities Act of 1933. A state or local government, in the issuance of municipal securities, is not required to register the offering with the SEC, so there is no filing of a registration statement and there is no prospectus which would otherwise have to be given to investors.

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  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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Municipal Underwriting

There are two main methods of financing when it comes to municipal securities. One method is known as negotiated. In the case of a negotiated sale, the municipality looking to borrow money would approach an investment bank and negotiate the terms of the offering directly with the firm. This is really not very different from the above equity discussions.

The other type of municipal underwriting is known as competitive bidding. Under the terms of competitive bidding, an issuer announces that it wishes to borrow money and is looking for syndicates to submit competitive bids. The issue will then be sold to the syndicate which submits the best bid, resulting in the municipality having the lowest net interest cost (lowest expense to the issuer).

If the issue is to be done by a competitive bid, the municipality will use a Notice of Sale to announce that fact. The notice of sale will generally include most or all of the following information.

  • Date, time, and place. This does not mean when the bonds will be sold to the public, but when the issue will be awarded (sold) to the syndicate issuing the bid.
  • Description of the issue and the manner in which the bid is to be made (sealed bid or oral). Type of bond (general obligation, revenue, etc.)
  • Semi-annual interest payment dates and the denominations in which the bonds will be printed.
  • Amount of good faith deposit required, if any.
  • Name of the law firm providing the legal opinion and where to acquire a bid form.
  • The basis upon which the bid will  e awarded, generally the lowest net interest cost.

Since municipal securities are not registered with the SEC, the municipality must hire a law firm in order to make sure that they are issuing the securities in compliance with all state, local and federal laws. This is known as the bond attorney, or independent bond counsel. Some functions are included below:

    1. Establishes the exemption from federal income tax by verifying  requirements for the exemption.
    2. Determines proper authority for the bond issuance.
    3. Identifies and monitors proper issuance procedures.
    4. Examines the physical bond  ertificates to make sure that they are proper
    5. Issues the debt and a legal opinion, since municipal bonds are the only securities that require an opinion.
    6. Does not prepare the official statement.

When medical investors purchase new issue municipal securities from syndicate or selling group members, there is no prospectus to be delivered to investors, but there is a document which is provided to purchasers very similar in nature to a prospectus. It is known as an Official Statement. The Official Statement contains all of the information an investor needs to make a prudent decision regarding a proposed municipal bond purchase.

The formation of a municipal underwriting syndicate is very similar to that for a corporate  issue. When there is a negotiated underwriting, an Agreement Among Underwriters (AAU) is used. When the issue is competitive bid, the agreement is known as a Syndicate Letter. In the syndicate letter, the managing underwriter details all of the underwriting agreements among members of the syndicate. Eastern (undivided) and Western (divided) accounts are also used, but there are  several different types of orders in a municipal underwriting. The traditional types of orders, in priority order, are:

Pre-Sale Order: Made before the syndicate actually offers the bonds. They have first priority over any other order turned in.

Syndicate (group net) Order: Made once the offering is under way at the public offering price. The purchase is credited to each syndicate member in proportion to its allotment. An institutional buyer will frequently purchase” group net”, since many of the firms in the syndicate may consider this buyer to be their client and he wishes to please all of them.

Designated Order: Sales to medical investors (usually healthcare institutions) at the public offering price where the investor designates which member or members of the syndicate are to be given credit.

Member Orders: Purchased  by members of  the syndicate at the take-down price (spread). The syndicate member keeps the full take-down if the bonds are sold to investors, or earns the take-down less the concession if the sale is made to a member of the selling group. Should the offering be over-subscribed, and the demand for the new bonds exceeds the supply, the first orders to be filled are the pre-sale orders. Those are followed by the syndicate (sometimes called group net) orders, the designated orders, and the last orders filled are the member’s.

Finally, be aware that the term bond scale, is a listing of coupon rates, maturity dates, and yield or price at which the syndicate is re-offering the bonds to the public. The scale is usually found in the center of a tombstone ad and on the front cover of the official statement.

One of the reasons why the word “scale” is used is, that like the scale on a piano, it normally goes up. A regular or positive scale is one in which the yield to maturity is lowest on the near term maturities and highest on the long term maturities. This is also known as a positive yield curve, since the longer the maturity, the higher the yield. In times of very tight money, such as in 1980-81, one might find a bond offering with a negative scale.

A negative (sometimes called inverted) scale is just the opposite of a positive one, with, yields on the short term maturities are higher than those on the long term maturities.

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A Primer for Physician Investors and Medical Professionals

By: Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

[Editor-in-Chief]

[PART 2 OF 8]

BU Dr. Marcinko

NOTE: This is an eight part ME-P series based on a weekend lecture I gave more than a decade ago to an interested group of graduate, business and medical school students. The material is a bit dated and some facts and specifics may have changed since then. But, the overall thought-leadership information of the essay remains interesting and informative. We trust you will enjoy it.

Introduction

Despite the SEC restrictions, noted in Part I of this series, some idea of potential demand for a new security issue can be gauged and have a bearing on  pricing decisions.

For example, as CEO of a medical instrument company, or interested investor, would you rather see a great deal of interest in a potential new issue or not very much interest?  There is however, one kind of advertisement that the underwriter can publish during the cooling off period. It’s known as a tombstone ad.  The ad makes it clear that it is only an announcement and does not constitute an offer to sell or  solicit the issue, and that such an offering can only be made by  prospectus.  SEC Rule 134 of the 1933 Act  itself, refers to a tombstone ad as “communication not deemed a prospectus”  because it makes reference to the prospectus in the ad. Tombstones have received their name because of the sparse nature of details found in them.

However, the most popular use of the tombstone ad is to announce the effectiveness of a new issue, after it has been successfully issued. This promotes the success of  both he underwriter, as well as the company.

Since distributing securities involves potential liability to the investment bank, it will do everything possible to protect itself.  So, near the end of the cooling off period, a meeting is held between the underwriter and the corporation. It is known as a due diligence meeting. At this meeting they both discuss amendments that are going to be necessary to make the registration statement complete and accurate. The corporate officers, and the underwriters sign, the final registration statement. They have civil liability for damages that result from omissions of material facts or

Mis-statements of fact. They also have criminal liability if the distribution is done by use of fraudulent, manipulative, or deceptive means. Due diligence takes on a whole new meaning when  incarceration from a half-hearted effort underwriting efforts can occur. The investment bank strives to ensure that there have been no material changes to the issuer or the terms of the issue since the registration statement was filed.

Again, as a physician, how would you feel if you were an investment banker raising capital for a new pharmaceutical company that had developed a drug product that was highly marketable. But, on the day after the issue was effective, there was a major news story indicating that the company was being sued for patent infringement? What effect do you think that would have on the market price of this new issue? It would probably plunge. How could this situation have been prevented? The due diligence meeting is more than a cocktail party or a gathering in a smoke filled room. Otherwise, the company would require specially trained people, to do a patent search lessening the likelihood of this scenario. At the due diligence meeting, work is done on the preparation of the final prospectus, but the investment bank does not set the public offering price or the effective date at this meeting. The SEC will eventually set the effective date for the registration and it is on that date that the final offering price will be determined.

Once the SEC sets the effective date, sales may be executed and money can be accepted by the investment bank. It is at this time that the final prospectus, similar to the red herring but without the red ink and with the missing numbers, is issued. A prospectus is an abbreviated form of the registration statement, distributed to purchasers, on and after the effective date of  the registration. It is not the same as the registration statement. A typical registration statement consists of papers that stand more than a foot high; rarely does a prospectus go beyond 40 or 50 pages. All purchasers will receive a final prospectus and then it becomes permissible for the underwriter to provide sales literature.

In addition to the requirement that a prospectus must be delivered to a purchaser of new issues no later than with confirmation of the trade, there are two other requirements that healthcare executives investors should know.

90-day: When an issuer has an initial public offering (IPO), there is generally a lack of publicly available material relating to the operations of that issuer.  Because of this, the SEC requires that all members of the underwriting group make available a prospectus on an IPO for a period of 90 days after the effective date.

4O-day: Once an issuer has gone public, there are a number of routine filings that must be made with the SEC so there is publicly available information regarding the financial condition of that issuer. Since additional information is now available, the SEC requires that, on all issues other than IPOs, any member of the underwriting group must make available a prospectus for a period of 40 days after the effective date.

In the event that the investment bankers misgauged the marketplace, and the issue moves quite slowly, it is possible that information contained in the prospectus would be rendered obsolete by the SEC. Specifically, the SEC requires that any prospectus used more than 9 months after the effective date, may not have any financial information more than 16 months old. It can however, be amended or stickered, with updated information, as needed.

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Syndication Among Underwriters

Because the investment banking firm may be underwriting (distributing) a rather large dollar amount of securities, to spread its risk exposure, it may form a group made up of other investment bankers or underwriters, known as a syndicate. The syndicate is headed by a syndicate manager, or lead underwriter, and it is his job to decide whether to participate in the offering. If so, the managing underwriter will sign a non-binding agreement called a letter of intent. .

If all has gone well and the market place is sufficiently interested in the security, and the SEC has been satisfied with respect to the registration statement, it is time for all parties to the offering to formalize their relationships with a contract including the basic understandings reflected in the letter of intent. Three principal underwriting contracts are involved in the usual public offering, each serving a distinct purpose. These are the: Agreement among Underwriters, Underwriting Agreement, and the Dealer Agreement.

In the Agreement Among Underwriters (AAU), the underwriters committing to a portion of the issue, enter into an agreement establishing the nature and terms of their relationship with each other. It designates the syndicate manager to act on their behalf, particularly to enter into an Underwriting Agreement with the issuer, and to conduct the offering on behalf of each  of them. The AAU will designate the managing underwriter’s compensation (management fee) for managing the offering.

The authority to manage the offering includes the authority to: agree with the issuer as to the public offering price; decide when to commence the offering; modify the offering price and selling commission; control all advertising; and, control the timing and effectiveness of the registration statement by quickly responding to deficiency letters. Each underwriter agrees to purchase a portion of the underwritten securities, which is known as each under-writer’s allotment (allocation).  It is normally signed severally, but not jointly, meaning each underwriter is obligated to sell his allocation but bears no financial obligation for any unsold allotment of another underwriter. This is referred to as a divided account or a Western account. Much less frequently, an undivided or Eastern account, will be used. Each underwriter is responsible for unsold allotments of others, based upon a  proportionate share of the offering.

The above comments referred to firm commitment underwriting. Another type of underwriting commitment  however, is known as best efforts underwriting. Under the terms of  best efforts underwriting, the underwriters make no commitment to buy or sell the issue, they simply do the best they can, acting as an agent for the issuer, and having no liability to the issuer if none of the securities are sold. There is no syndicate formed with a best efforts underwriting. The investment bankers form a selling group, with each member doing his best to sell his allotment. Two variations of a best efforts underwriting are: the all-or-none, and the mini-max (part-or-none) underwriting. Under the provisions of an all-or-none offering, unless all of the shares can be distributed within a specified period of time, the offering will terminate and no subscriptions or orders will be accepted or filled. Under mini-max, unless a set minimum amount is sold, the offering will be terminated.

SEC Rule 15c2-4 requires the underwriter to set up an escrow account for any money received before the closing date, in the event that it is necessary to return the money to prospective purchasers. If the “minimum”, or the “all” contingencies are met, the monies in escrow go to the issuer with the underwriters retaining their appropriate compensation. In order to make sure that investors are properly protected, the escrow account must be maintained at a bank for the benefit of the investors until every appropriate event or contingency has occurred. Then, the funds are properly returned to the investors. If the money is to be placed into an interest bearing account, it must have a maturity date no later than the closing date of the offering, or the account must be redeemable at face with no prepayment penalty as regards principal.

Underwriter Compensation Hierarchy

As we have seen, in a firm commitment the underwriter buys the entire issue from the issuer and then attempts to resell it to the public. The price at which the syndicate offers the securities to the public is known as the public offering price. It is the price printed on the front page of the prospectus.

However, the managing underwriter pays the issuer a lower price than this for the securities. The difference between that lower price and the public offering price is known as the spread or underwriting discount. Everyone involved in the sale of a new issue is compensated by receiving part of the spread. The amount of the spread is the subject of negotiations between the issuer and the managing underwriter, but usually is within a range established by similar transactions between comparable issuers and underwriters. The spread is also subject to NASD [now FINRA] review and approval before sales may commence. The spread is broken down by the underwriters so that a portion of it is paid to the managing underwriter for finding and packaging the issue and managing the offering (usually called the manager’s fee); and a portion is retained by each underwriter (called the underwriting or syndicate allowance) to compensate the syndicate members for their expenses, use of money, and assuming the risk of the underwriting. The remaining portion is allocated to the selling group and is called selling concession. It is often useful to remember the compensation hierarchy pecking order in the following way:

  • Spread (syndicate manager).
  • Underwriters allowance (syndicate members)
  • Selling concession (selling group members)
  • Re-allowance (any other firm)

While the above deal with corporate equity, the only other significant item with respect to corporate debt is the Trust Indenture Act of 1939. This Federal law applies to public issues of debt securities in excess of $5,000,000. The thrust of this act is to require an indenture with an independent trustee (usually a bank or trust company) who will report to the holders of the debt securities on a regular basis.

Successful marketing of a new issue is a marriage between somewhat alien factors: compliance and numerous Federal, state, and self-regulatory rules and statutes; along with finely honed and profit-motivated sales techniques. It’s not too hard to see that there could be a real, or apparent, conflict of interest here. Most successful investment bankers have built their excellent reputations upon their ability to properly balance these two objectives consistently, year after year.

PART ONE:

Understanding investment banking rules, securities markets, brokerage accounts, margin and debt

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Understanding investment banking rules, securities markets, brokerage accounts, margin and debt

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A Primer for Physician Investors and Medical Professionals

By: Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

[Editor-in-Chief] http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

[PART 1 OF 8]

BC Dr. Marcinko

NOTE: This is an eight part ME-P series based on a weekend lecture I gave more than a decade ago to an interested group of graduate, business and medical school students. The material is a bit dated and some facts and specifics may have changed since then. But, the overall thought-leadership information of the essay remains interesting and informative. We trust you will enjoy it.

Introduction

The history, function and processes of the investment banking industry, and the rules and regulations of the securities industry and their respective markets, as well as the use of  brokerage accounts, margin and debt, will be briefly reviewed in this ME-P series.

An understanding of these concepts is required of all doctors and medical professionals as they pursue a personal investment strategy.

INVESTMENT BANKING AND SECURITIES UNDERWRITING

New economy corporate events of the past several years have provided many financial signs and symptoms that indicate a creeping securitization of the for-profit healthcare industrial complex. Similarly, fixed income medical investors should understand how Federal and State regulations impact upon personal and public debt needs. For, without investment banking firms, it would be almost impossible for private industry, medical corporations and government to raise needed capital.

Introduction

When a corporation such as a physician practice management company (PPMC), or similar entity needs, to raise capital for growth or expansion, there are two methods. Raising debt or equity. If equity is used, the corporation can market securities directly to the public by contacting its current stockholders and asking them to purchase the new securities in a  rights offering, by advertising or by hiring salespeople. Although this last example is somewhat exaggerated, it illustrates that there is a cost to selling new securities, which may be considerable if the firm itself undertakes the task.

For this reason, most corporations employ help in marketing new securities by using the services of investment bankers who sell new securities to the general public.  Although the investment banking is an exciting and vital industry, many SEC rules regulating it are not. Nevertheless, it is important for all physician executives to understand basic concepts of the industry if raising public money is ever a possibility or anticipated goal. It is also important for individual healthcare investors  to understand something about securities underwriting to reduce the likelihood of fraudulent investment schemes or ill-conceived transactions which ultimately result in monetary loss.

Fundamentals of the Investment Banking Industry

Investment bankers are not really bankers at all. The fact that the word banker appears in the name is partially responsible for the  false impressions that exist in the medical community regarding the functions they perform.

For example, they are not permitted to accept deposit, provide checking accounts, or perform other activities normally construed to be commercial banking activities. An investment bank is simply a firm that specializes in helping other corporations obtain the money they need under the most advantageous terms possible.

When it comes to the actual process of having securities issued, the corporation approaches an investment banking firm, either directly, or through a competitive selection process and asks it to act as adviser and distributor.  Investment bankers, or under writers, as they are sometimes called, are middlemen in the capital markets for corporate securities.

The medical corporation requiring the funds discuss the amount, type of security to be issued, price and other features of the security, as well as the cost to issuing the securities. All of these factors are negotiated in a process known as known as negotiated underwriting. If mutually acceptable terms are reached, the investment banking firm will be the middle man through which the securities are sold to the general public. Since such firms have many customers, they are able to sell new securities, without the costly search that individual corporations may require to sell its own security. Thus, although the firm in need of  additional capital must pay for the service, it is usually able to raise the additional capital at less expense through the use of an investment banker, than by selling the securities itself.

The agreement between the investment banker and the corporation may be one of two types. The investment bank may agree to purchase, or underwrite, the entire issue of securities and to re-offer them to the general public. This is  known as a firm commitment.

When an investment banker agrees to underwrite such a sale,  it  agrees to supply the corporation with a specified amount of money. The firm buys the securities with the intention to resell them. If it fails to sell the securities, the investment banker must still pay the agreed upon sum. Thus, the risk of selling rests with the underwriter and not with the company issuing the securities.

The alternative agreement is a best efforts agreement in which the investment banker makes his best effort to sell the securities acting on behalf of the issuer, but does not guarantee a specified amount of money will be raised.

When a corporation raises new capital through a public offering of stock, on might inquire from where does the stock come? The only source the corporation has is authorized, but previously un-issued stock. Anytime authorized, but previously un-issued stock (new stock) is issued to the public, it is known as a primary offering. If it’s the very first time the corporation is making the offering, it’s also known as the Initial Public Offering (IPO). Anytime there is a primary offering of stock, the issuing corporation is raising additional equity capital.

A secondary offering, or distribution, on the other hand, is defied as an offering of a large block of outstanding stock. Most frequently, a secondary offering is the sale of a large block of stock owned by one or more stockholders. It is stock that has previously been issued and is now being re-sold by investors. Another case would be when a corporation re-sells its treasury stock.

Prior to any further discussions of investment banking, there are several industry terms that’s should  be defined.

For example, an agent buys or sells securities for the account and risk of another party, and charges a commission. In the securities business, the terms broker and agent are used synonymously. This is not true of the insurance industry.

On the other hand, a principal is one who acts as a dealer rather than an agent or broker. A dealer buys and sells for his own account Finally, the dealer makes money by buying at one price and selling at a higher price. Thus, it is easy to understand how an investment banking firm earns money handling a best efforts offering; they make a commission on every share they sell.

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The Securities Act of 1933 (Act of Full Disclosure)

When a corporation makes a public offering of its stock, it is bound by the provisions of the Securities Act of 1933, which is also known as the Act of Full Disclosure. The primary requirement of  the Act is that the corporation must file a registration statement (full disclosure) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); containing some of the following items:

  • Description of the business entity raising the money.
  • Biographical data regarding officers and directors of the issuer.
  • Listing of share holdings of officers, directors, and holders of more than 10% of the issuer’s securities (insiders).
  • Financial statements including a breakdown of existing capitalization (existing debt and equity structure).
  • Intended use of offering proceeds.
  • Legal proceedings involving the issuer, such as suits, antitrust actions or strikes.

Acting in its capacity as an adviser to the corporation, the investment banking firm files out the registration statement with the SEC. It then takes the SEC a period of time to review the information in the registration statement. This is the “cooling off period” and the issue is said to be “in registration” during this time. When the Act written in 1933, Congress thought that 20 days would be enough time from the filing date, until the effective date the sale of  securities is permitted.

In reality, it frequently takes much longer than 20 days for the SEC to complete its review. But, regardless of how long it lasts, it’s known as the cooling off period. At the end of the cooling off period, the SEC will either accept the issue or they will send a letter back to the issuer, and the underwriter, explaining that there is incomplete information in the registration statement. This letter is known as a deficiency letter. It will postpone the effectiveness of the registration statement until the deficiency is remedied. Even if initially, or eventually approved, an effective registration does not mean that the SEC has approved the issue.

For example, the following well known disclaimer statement written in bold red ink, is required to be placed in capital letters on the front cover page of every prospectus:

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THESE SECURITIES HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR DISAPPROVED BY THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION NOR HAS THE COMMISSION PASSED UPON THE ACCURACY OR ADEQUACY OF THIS PROSPECTUS. ANY REPRESENTATION TO THE CONTRARY IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE.

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During the cooling off period, the investment bank tries to create interest in the market place for the issue. In order to do that, it distributes a preliminary prospectus, more commonly known as a “red herring”. It is known as a red herring because of the red lettering on the front page.  The statement on the very top with the date is printed in red as well as the statements on the left hand margin of the preliminary prospectus.

The cost of printing the red herring is borne by the investment bank, since they are  trying to market it.. The red herring includes information from the registration statement that will be most helpful for potential medical investors trying to make a decision. It describes the company and the securities to be issued; includes the firm’s financial statements; its current activities; the regulatory bodies to which it is subject; the nature of its competition; the management of the corporation, and what the expected proceeds will be used for. Two very important items  missing from the red herring are the public offering price and the effective date of the issue, as neither are known for certain at this point in time.

The public offering price is generally determined on the date that the securities become effective for sale (effective date). Waiting until the last minute enables the investment bankers to price the new issue in line with current market conditions. Since the investment banker uses the red herring to try to create interest in the market place, stock brokers [aka: Registered Representatives (RRs) with a Series # 7 general securities license –  After a 2 hour multiple-choice computerize test, I held this license for a decade ) will send copies of the red herring to their clients for whom they feel the issue is a suitable investment. The SEC is very strict on what can be said about an issue, in registration.

In fact, during the pre-filing period (the time when the negotiations are going on between the issuer\and underwriter), absolutely nothing can be said about it to anyone.  For example, if the regulators find out that your stock broker discussed with you  the fact that his firm was negotiating with an issuer for a possible public offering, he could be fined, or jailed.

During the cooling off period (the time when the red herring is being distributed), nothing may be sent to you; not a research report, nor a recommendation from another firm, or even the sales literature. The only thing you are permitted to receive is the red herring. The red herring is used to acquaint prospects with essential information about the offering. If you are interested in purchasing the security, then you will receive an “indication of interest”, but you can still not make a purchase or send money.

No sales may be made until the effective date; all that can be used to generate interest is the red herring.

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Do Clients Trust Financial Advisors More than Doctors or CPAs?

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I Think … Not in My Universe

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™

[Editor-in-Chief]

www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

Survey after survey has shown that the public does not trust the financial services industry; it was – in fact, the least trusted industry in a recent Rick Edelman survey.

John Hancock?

But, perhaps they were looking at the wrong industries, or maybe investors just don’t trust your firm. A new survey by John Hancock shows that investors with assets of $200,000 or more, trust their financial advisor [FA] more than their primary doctor, accountant, contractor/handyman, boss and real estate agent. It was penned by one young staff writer named Diana Britton.

Link: http://wealthmanagement.com/blog/clients-trust-you-more-doctors-cpas?NL=WM-04&Issue=WM-04_20120611_WM-04_597&YM_RID=marcinkoadvisors%40msn.com&YM_MID=1318408

My View Point is Pretty Unique

Now, I am a doctor and board certified surgeon who held Series #7, #63 and #65 securities licenses, and was a Certified Financial Planner® for more than a decade. I was registered with a BD, SEC and NASD/FINRA, and held life, health and PC insurance licenses. This is the so-called “dual registration” to earn commissions and fees.

And, I’ve got a current partner who is a doctor-CPA who has a Master’s Degree in Accounting.  So, I know from whence I speak.

An Insurance Company!

Now, I resigned all of the above financial services monikers because of their lack of education and fiduciary accountability. These are sales licenses, certifications to hold a certification, and related gimmicks, all. Insurance agents have a duty to the company, not the client. Always ask them to put your best interests ahead of their own – in writing before hire – and watch them run.

Assessment

I suspect this study from an insurance company is less than accurate. How do I know? My gut heuristics tell me. Agency law tells me. No surveys needed or damn statistics for me. How about you? OR, are the marketing and PR gurus winning the public opinion battle with their insurance company advertising chicanery? ie., Hancock’s the future is yours!

If really so, here is my razzy for them.

 
Note: It is for the above reasons, and more, that we started the www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org online education program for financial advisors and management consultants that truly want to be trusted.

Conclusion

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INSURANCE: Risk Management and Insurance Strategies for Physicians and Advisors

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