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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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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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About Tombstone Securities Advertising and the “New Issue” Propsectus

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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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Why Doctors Must Consider Fees When Building A Retirement Nest Egg

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Understanding Mutual Fund Share Classes and Costs

[By Rick Kahler MS CFP® ChFC CCIM]

www.KahlerFinancial.com

Doctors – Do you want to add $500,000 or more to your retirement nest egg? Pay attention to the fees that mutual funds charge you for investing your money. Few physicians or small investors understand that the same mutual fund can charge a wide range of fees, depending on the share class you select.

For many medical professionals and most Americans, the best way to build wealth is to live on less than you make and invest 15% to 35% of your paycheck into mutual funds. It’s essential to find funds that are diversified among five or more asset classes.

The Choice After Mutual Fund Selection

Once you’ve found a mutual fund with a mix of appropriate asset classes, there’s one more choice to make. What class of shares should you buy? The most popular classes are A, B, and I shares; however, many funds offer even more classes like C, F, and R shares.

The difference between the classes has nothing to do with the underlying management or structure of the mutual fund. All share classes own the same stocks or bonds. The difference lies in the fees you pay the mutual fund for their services and for commissions to brokers who sell the funds.

Types of Share Classes

Many A shares and almost all B, C, F, and R shares impose sales commissions, often called “loads,” which are based on the amount you invest. For example, A shares usually charge you a one-time commission ranging from 4.0% to 5.75% of your initial investment. With B shares there is no up-front commission, but they will charge you a stiff penalty to sell the funds in the early years and will impose an additional annual commission often ranging from .25% to 1.00% a year. Some discount brokers will waive the upfront commission on A shares for their customers.

Typically the best shares to purchase are the I class, which don’t have any commissions associated with them and offer the lowest management fees of any other share class. The downside is that I shares often require a minimum investment ranging from $10,000 to $1,000,000. Financial advisors often have relationships with discount brokers that allow them to purchase the shares for clients in smaller amounts.

Fee Comparisons

It pays to compare fees.

For example, a comparison of fees available at the website of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (finra.org/fundanalyzer) shows that a $10,000 investment in the Invesco S&P 500 Index fund’s A shares will cost you $129 a year, while the same investment in the C shares will run $163. If instead you invest in the Fidelity Spartan 500 Index fund you will pay just $11.50 annually, which is over 1% less than the Invesco A shares.

The Savings

It’s surprising what a 1% savings means to your retirement nest egg. According to a study by the Vanguard Group reported by Jack Hough in SmartMoney.com, if a 25-year old saves 9% of his pay in a mutual fund, paying .25% a year in expenses versus 1.25% amounts to having an additional $500,000 by age 65.

Assessment

With all that said, most investors don’t have either the knowledge or the time to construct a diversified portfolio of mutual funds that will carry them through to retirement. Paying a fee or commission for advice can ultimately save you a lot of money. There are advisors who will help smaller investors select investments for an hourly or flat fee. Others charge fees based on the size of your portfolio, which normally range from .3% to 1.5%.

Conclusion

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A Recent E-mail that I Received

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA, CMP™

www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

[Editor-in-Chief]

As a former certified financial planner for almost 15 years, I was surprised to recently receive the following unedited e-mail correspondence.

Dear Marcinko,

If you are clever, have a way with people, or are a born salesperson, then becoming financial advisor could be your ticket to paradise.

Maybe not exactly paradise, but you could definitely have a ticket to a rewarding career. If you’re thinking about starting out as a new financial advisor – you may already be half the way there.

Why?

Because it’s an occupation where your life challenges will give you the understanding and empathy needed to work with your clients. Have you ever been in the position where you had to figure out a budget for your children’s education? Or manage an over extended credit card? These life situations will aid an individual on the path to become a financial consultant.

Requirements to Be a Financial Advisor

Even though a formal education is not a necessity to become financial adviser, it helps if you’ve taken certain courses.

What degree do you need to become a financial advisor? A bachelor’s degree in Finance, Economics, Accounting, Commerce, Business or Marketing would be a good start. A degree won’t assure you of a startling career but it may help get your foot in the door.

Rumor has it that a degree in psychology is also an asset as financial advising is as much about counseling as it is about advising. There are a plethora of people with all sorts of emotional entanglements around their financial lives.

Licenses

So, what licenses do you need to be a financial advisor? Some companies will assist a newbie in the financial advisory business and place them into a special program that will help them to obtain the required regulatory licenses such as a Series 66, this license permits them to vend annuities and mutual funds. It’s also possible to manage your own training. You can take part-time courses in order to qualify for the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) exam.

There are roughly over 286 universities and colleges that will assist you in preparing for the CFP exam. How long does it take to become a financial advisor? In order to qualify for the exam you will also need three years full-time working experience with a financial planning establishment.

Statistics state that over 40% regularly fail this all important exam. Its worth the time and effort as with this certification you are deemed as a certified financial planner and demand a higher salary.

Assessment

Hot tip: Stay away from insurance companies for financial employment. They’ll insist that you sign everyone including the dog and your grandmother. Then get rid of you if you don’t procure sufficient business. Banks are better they will bring in the clients for you.

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Are financial advisors true professionals; or a truely professional sales force?

Please 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. Are financial advisors true professionals, or a professional sales force?

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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

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Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

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The One-Woman Physician Investors Should Not Trust

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Why We Should “Run” from the SEC’s Mary Schapiro

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]

OK, I’ve opined about fiduciary accountability for stock brokers, FAs and FPs – as well as Mary Schapiro [Chairman of the SEC] before – on this ME-P. And usually, in not so glowing terms!

But now, Mary really chaps my ethical and linguistic sensibilities.

Why I’m So P…… Off!

According to Bloomberg, and Advisor One [a financial services industry trade magazine], the chairwoman is considering something called the “business model neutral” rule that retains proprietary financial products, and brokerage sales commissions.

This concept of ‘business neutral’ is the one sought by many in the brokerage and insurance industry in order to redefine the term ‘fiduciary’ as an enhanced form of ‘suitability’ with opt-out provisions.

But, it is not sought by me, and should not be accepted by physicians.

Definitions

Suitability Rule – According to the Free Dictionary:

A stated or implied requirement by a regulatory body that a broker or investment adviser must reasonably believe that a certain investment decision will benefit a client before making a recommendation to him/her. That is, the broker or investment adviser must act in good faith, and may not knowingly recommend bad investments. Different regulators and self-regulating organizations incorporate suitable rules in different places in their bylaws. Two commonly referenced suitability rules are Rule 2310 for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and Rule 405 for the NYSE. See also: Due diligence, Prudent-person rule, Twisting.

Fiduciary Rule – According to the Free Dictionary:

A uniform standard for financial advisors that requires them to put retail customer interests ahead of their own financial interests.

This is clearly a higher duty [level of care] than suitability. Insurance agents, stock brokers, BDs and most “financial advisors” hate it.

Link: http://www.advisorone.com/2011/12/09/reaction-to-schapiro-comments-on-fiduciary-rule-ar?ref=hp

“Suitability on Steroids”

Some pundits suggest we think of this new “business model neutral” rule as “suitability on steroids.”

However, as most of us in medicine know, steroids are not a panacea and are typically used as a quick fix for short term gain, only.

Otherwise, the excessive use of anabolic steroids is bad for our physical health. Just like Mary Schapiro is bad for our fiscal health. But, a Certified Medical Planner™ is a fiduciary at all times http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

More: Enter the CMPs

Assessment       

And so, your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. I was an insurance agent and certified financial planner for almost 15 years [Series 7, 63 and 65] before I resigned all – in disgust over the fiduciary flap.

Doctors are fiduciaries. I am a fiduciary, a doctor, and a financial advisor. Shouldn’t all physician-investors demand same from their own financial advisors [NASD-FINRA, RIAs, RIA-Reps]?

But hey – I’m just a medical provider.

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

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[BY DOCTORS – FOR DOCTORS – PEER REVIEWED – NICHE FOCUSED]

***

What is Variable Life Insurance and How Does it Work?

Insurance Basics for Medical Professionals

By Jeffrey H. Rattiner, CPA, CFP®, MBA

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After determining the need for insurance and the amount to purchase, the doctor-client and financial planner’s next task is to match those needs to the doctor-client’s objectives to determine what type of policy the client should purchase. The life insurance industry features more products today than ever before. One reason for this change is that, clearly, the insurance industry has expanded its product base to become more competitive. Another reason is that clients’ needs are constantly changing and the insurance companies must keep up with those needs or run the risk of having funds withdrawn from their companies. New and different types of life insurance products are here to stay. Since life insurance represents a significant part of a client’s risk-management program, planners have to be versed in the specifics of the varied product base.

Variable Life Insurance

A variable life insurance policy is similar to a whole life policy. It was designed as a solution to the problem of the decline in purchasing power that accompanies inflation. The premium is fixed, and the face amount of the policy varies with the type of investment. For example, the cash value within a variable life policy may increase substantially due to the types of investment selected for that policy. Further, because IRC regulations require that the cash value not exceed a specified percentage of the death benefit, an increase in cash value may also increase the face amount of the policy so that it is in compliance.

Cash Value Not Guaranteed

The cash value of the policy is not guaranteed. The death benefit never goes below the original face amount. In other words, there is a built-in guaranteed death benefit. Variable life policy funds are in a separate account of the company. If the company should go into receivership, insureds who have their policies in a separate account are unaffected by what happens to the general account of the insurance company. When the insured takes out a loan, the equity from the account becomes collateralized. The insurance company then transfers an amount equal to the loan to the general account. The collateralized equity stays in the general account until the loan is paid off.

Advantages of Direction

The ability to direct the account value to the investment of the policyholder’s choice is the key advantage of variable life insurance policies. The sale of one fund and the purchase of another within the contract is not a taxable event. The premium can never be raised, no matter how poor the investment is. The policy must be registered under the Securities Act of 1933 as a security and sold with a prospectus. The agent selling the policy must be licensed under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and in most states must pass the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD-FINRA) series 6 and 63 examination. Because of the uncertain nature of the investments in variable life policies, policyholders sometimes are given a limited option to return to a fixed life type of policy (called the 6E-2 Rule). A disadvantage to variable life policies is the limited number of fund choices available to the policyholder.

Assessment

Variable life insurance is most appropriate for younger individuals, people with moderate-to-high risk tolerance, people who want to control their investment account over the long term, and people who do not necessarily have to rely on their account balance.

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. What kind of life insurance do you have doctor, and is it enough? 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 and http://www.springerpub.com/Search/marcinko

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Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

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   Product Details 

About the Covestor Mutual Fund Portfolio Sharing Service

Certified Medical Planner

What it is – How it works

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]

Covestor, with offices in New York and London, is a web platform started by entrepreneurs Perry Blancher, Richard Tachta and Simon Veingard http://www.covestor.com. Their belief was that salaried mutual fund managers have no monopoly on investment talent and shouldn’t have a lock on the rewards that come with investment success. As financial services, and online netizens, they also believed in democratizing the investment management industry and helping proven self-investors compete with the large institutions. This is known as the power of “crowd-sourcing.” All core philosophies seem to be shared by this ME-P.

What it is

According to their website, Covestor is both a portfolio sharing service for proven self-investors and for those wishing to track them; where data is private, secure and anonymous. With Covestor, one can coat-tail successful investors and follow their real trade activity. Or, have their moves auto-traded for you by Covestor Investment Management. Members can also keep track of their investments andBuild a free track record comparable to professional mutual funds. Members earn fees for their hard work, and Manage a model that their clients can mirror thru shared management fees.

Profit Sharing Investors

Covestor investors sharing portfolios include professionals, full time amateurs and industry specialists. They are a serious bunch with an average reported portfolio size of over $200,000 (excluding cash). Positions are typically held in over 5,000 different equities; are based in 50 countries and span the full range of ages, backgrounds and styles.

Issues

As a doctor-investor, health economist and former certified financial planner, there are at least three issues needed to be raised about this firm.

The first is SEC/NASD/FINRA rules and applicable SRO and state regulations for brokers, RIAs, FAs and related others? The status of suitability versus fiduciary accountability for ERISA regulated plans is also questioned. The third [and least important] is the potential negative impact on traditional financial services “professionals.”

In other words, is this another example of how technology will flatten the “intermediary curve” and reduce the profit of middle sales-men and sales-women? Oh! What about medical specificity for our target audience?

www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

Assessment

I am sure there are other issues as well. Your thoughts and comments on this ME-Pare appreciated; especially from financial services “professionals”, lawyers and FAs, etc, Give em’ a click and tell us what you think http://www.covestor.com?

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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FINANCE: Financial Planning for Physicians and Advisors
INSURANCE: Risk Management and Insurance Strategies for Physicians and Advisors

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About the New Video-Launch of InvestorGov.com

Do You Trust Mary?

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA

[Publisher-in-Chief]Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA

Did you know that according to this new website, the mission of the US Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation?

Well, I did, but during the last two years you might surmise that the SEC didn’t.

So – What’s an Inept Government to Do?

Launch a new website, of course, with these tab menus:

1. Invest Wisely

2. Avoid Fraud

3. Plan for Your Future

4. How the SEC Helps

A FINRA Re-Deux

Much information on the site is from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority [FINRA/NASD]. Of course, SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro is the former chief executive of that organization, and we all know how they protected us from Bernie Madoff and his ilk, don’t we.

Assessment

Nevertheless, take a look at this video from Mary Schapiro. She sure looks serious, doesn’t she?

Video Link: http://investor.gov/welcome-message-from-chairman-schapiro/

Conclusion

Click to play :

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. What do you think about the new site? Oh, by the way, my answer to the posed question is No! But, feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

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Impact of Performance Fees on Mutual Funds and Physician Portfolios

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More Complex than Realized by Some Doctors

[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; FACFAS, MBA, CMP™]

[By Professor Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA, CMP™]dave-and-hope4

Physician-investors may find themselves paying advisory fees, brokerage commissions, and other sales charges and expenses. All of these layers of expense can reduce or eliminate the advantage of professional management, if not monitored carefully. Also, fees can have a major impact on investment results. As a percentage of the portfolio, they normally range from low of 15–30 basis points (or .15% to .30%, a basis point is one one-hundredth of one percent) to a high of 300–400 basis points or even higher.

Charges are Universal

All portfolio managers, mutual funds, and investment advisors charge fees in one form or another. Ultimately, they must justify their fees by creating value added, or they would not be in business. Value added includes tangibles, such as greater investment return, as well as intangibles, such as assurance that the investment plan is successfully implemented and monitored, investor convenience, and professional service.

Comparisons Required

Always compare investment performance of funds or managed accounts after fees are deducted; only then can adequate comparisons be made. Also, compare fees within asset classes. Management fees and expenses of investing in bonds or bond funds are much different than the fees of investing in, for example, small companies or emerging market stocks. Whereas 100–200 basis points of fees may be appropriate for an equity portfolio or fund, similar charges may offset the advantages of a managed bond portfolio. With managed bond portfolios, real bond returns have limited long-term potential, because returns are ultimately based on interest rates. For example, if a 3% real (i.e., after inflation) return is expected, 200 basis points in fees may produce a negative after-tax result: 3% real return minus 2% fees minus 10% taxes equals a negative 9% total return.fp-book22

Sales Charges

Mutual funds (and some private portfolio managers) charge sales charges to sell or “distribute” the product. Investors who buy funds through the advice of brokers or “commission based” financial planners will pay a sales load. The many combinations of sales charges fall into three basic categories: front-end, deferred (or back-end), and continuous.

Front-End Fees

Front-end fees are a direct assessment against the initial investment and are limited to a maximum of 8.5%. They usually are stated either as a percentage of the investment or as a percentage of the investment, net of sales charges. For example, a 6% charge on a $10,000 investment is really a $600 charge to invest $9,400 or a real charge of 6.4%. Many low-load funds charge in the range of 1% to 3%. Rather than pay brokers or other purveyors, these fund companies or sponsors use the charges to offset selling or distribution costs. Although rare, some funds charge a load against reinvested dividends.

Deferred Charges

Deferred charges (or back-end loads, or redemption fees) come in many forms. Often, the longer the investor stays with the fund the smaller the charge is upon fund redemption. A typical sliding scale used for deferred charges may be 5-4-3-2-1, where redemption in year 1 is charged 5%, and redemption in year 5 is charged 1%; after year 5, there are no sales charges. Sometimes deferred charges are combined with front-end charges.

Redemption Fees

Certain quoted redemption fees may not apply after a period, such as one year. Funds often use such fees to discourage the trading of funds. Frequently, these charges are paid to the fund itself rather than to the fund management company; or broker. Long-term physician investors actually benefit from this fee structure; short-term shareholders who redeem shares bear the additional liquidation costs to satisfy redemption requests.

Continuous Charges

Continuous sales charges, known as 12b-1 fees for the SEC rule governing such charges, represent ongoing charges to pay distribution costs, including those of brokers who sell and maintain accounts, in which case they are known as “trail commissions.” The fund company may be reimbursed for distribution costs as well. In the prospectus, funds quote 12b-1 charges in the form of a maximum charge. This does not mean that the full charge is incurred, however. For example, a fund with a .75% 12b-1 approved plan may actually incur much lower expenses than .75%. Compared to front-end charges, a .75% per year sales charge of this type could be more costly to investment performance, given enough time.

Sales Loads

Portfolio managers can charge sales loads as well, usually in the form of a traditional WRAP fee arrangement (the investor pays a broker an all-inclusive fee that covers portfolio manager fees and transactions costs). No-load funds can be purchased through brokers or discount brokerage firms. The broker charges a commission for such purchases or sales.

Management Advisory Fees

Private account managers and mutual funds charge a fee for managing the portfolio. These fees typically range between 25 and 150 basis points. Bond funds tend to charge in the range of 25 to 100 basis points, and equity funds charge 75 to 150 basis points. Fees charged by private account managers usually are higher because of the direct attention given to a single doctor client. These managers do not pass along additional administrative costs, however, because they pay them out of the management fee. These management fees come in many forms. Tiered fees can charge smaller accounts a higher fee than larger accounts. Mutual funds often charge “group fees”: a fund family may tier its fee structure to encompass all funds offered by the fund family or by a group of similar funds (such as all international equity funds). Performance fees, although subject to SEC regulations, may be charged as well. A performance fee may be charged if the manager exceeds a certain return or outperforms a particular index or benchmark portfolio.

Administrative Expenses and Expense Ratios

Most private managers are compensated with higher management fees, as mentioned above. Therefore, many private accounts usually do not incur separate administrative expenses. Some management firms charge custodial fees or similar account maintenance fees. Mutual funds incur a number of administrative expenses, including shareholder servicing, prospectuses, reporting, legal and auditing costs, and registration and custodial costs. Mutual funds report these expenses and management fees as an expense ratio—the ratio of expenses to the average net assets of the fund. Expense ratios also include distribution costs or 12b-1 charges.insurance-book10 

Brokerage Commissions

Almost all buyers and sellers of securities incur brokerage commissions. Private “wealth managers” usually provide commission schedules to prospective physician-investors or current clients. Some private managers charge higher management fees and a discounted commission schedule, while others charge lower fees and higher commissions. These combinations of management and commission fees make comparison of prospective managers’ cost structures a difficult task. Most portfolio managers obtain research from brokerage firms, which can affect the commission relationship between broker and manager. Reduced commission schedules exchanged for information are known as “soft dollar costs.” Mutual funds may negotiate similar reduced commission schedules. In this regard, more-competitive brokerage firms can charge lower fees to investors. Commissions are not part of the expense ratio, because they are a part of the security cost basis. Firms with higher portfolio turnover are more likely to have higher commission costs than those with low turnover. Asset class impacts such costs as well. For example, small-cap stocks may be more expensive than large-cap stocks, or foreign bonds may be more expensive than domestic bonds.

Total Cost Approach

To arrive at a relevant comparison of fees among funds and managers, and to see what the total effect of fees on investment performance is, analyze the various charges on a net present value basis. Begin with a given investment amount (e.g., $10,000) and factor in fees over time to arrive at the present value of those fees. Present the comparisons in an easy-to-use table.

Sources of Fee Information

Consult the mutual fund prospectus for fee information. The prospectus has a fund expenses section that summarizes sales charges, expense ratios, and management fees; it does not cover commissions, however. Expense ratios usually are reported for the past 10 years. Commission or brokerage fees are more difficult to find. The statement of additional information and often the annual report disclose the annual amounts paid for commissions. When the total commission paid is divided by average asset values a sense of commission costs can be determined. Private wealth managers disclose fee structures in the ADV I filed with the SEC. Managers must disclose these fees to potential and current clients by providing either ADV Part II or equivalent form to the investor.

Reporting Services

Reporting services, such as Morningstar and Lipper, provide similar information from their own research of mutual funds. These services can be extremely beneficial, because fee information is summarized and often accounted for in the reports’ investment return calculations. This helps the investor and planner make good comparisons of funds. Information services that cover private managers provide information, primarily about management fees.

Assessment

To the extent that online trading, deep discount brokerages, lack of SEC and FINRA oversight, and the recent financial, insurance and banking meltdown has affected the above, it is left up to your discretion and personal situation. Generally, all fess are, and should be, negotiable.

Disclaimer: Both contributors are former licensed insurance agents and financial advisors.

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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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

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***

Events-Planner: April 2009

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Events-Planner: APRIL 2009

Staff Writers

“Keeping track of important health economics and financial industry meetings, conferences and summits”

Welcome to this issue of the Medical Executive-Post and our Events-Planner. It contains the latest information on conferences, news, and relevant resources in healthcare finance, economics, research and development, business management, pharmaceutical pricing, and physician/entity reimbursement!  Watch for a new Events-Planner each month.

First, a little about us! The Executive-Post is still a newcomer. But today, we have almost 15,000 visitors and readers each month from all over the country, in addition to our growing subscriber base. We have been a successful collaborative effort, thanks to your contributions.  As a result, we are adding new resources daily.  And, we hope the website continues to provide the best place to go for journals, books, conferences, educational resources, tools, and other things you need to establish the value your healthcare consulting and financial advisory intervention. And so, enjoy the Executive-Post and our monthly Events-Planner with our compliments. 

 

A Look Ahead this Month

 

April 1: Print Edition Healthcare Journalism: If you would like to “step-up-your-game” and be considered as a peer-reviewed contributor to the third print edition of: The Business of Medical Practice [Advanced Profit Maximizing Techniques for Savvy Doctors]; contact Ann at: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com. There are several chapter topics still available. Now, the important dates:

April 1-3: Adv. Modeling Methods for Health Economic Evaluation, York, UK.

April 4-8: HIMSS Annual Conference, Chicago, IL.

April 6: Premier Forum on Medication Therapy Management and Patient Compliance Programs. CBI; Las Vegas, NV

April 7: FINRA Small Conference Series, New York, NY.

April 14: World health Care Congress; Washington, DC.

April 15-16: Tiburon CEO Summit, Ritz Carlton, New York, NY.

April 15-18: Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s 21st Annual Meeting and Showcase, Orlando, FL.

April 16-18: TIPAAA Annual Conference, Marriott River Center, San Antonio, TX.

April 20-24: Health Economics of Pharmaceuticals and Other Medical Interventions. Nice (Cannes) France.

April 21-22: Market Access Strategies for Personalized Medicines and Companion Diagnostics, Brussels, Belgium.

April 21-23: Introduction to Applied Health Economics: Methods for analysis of healthcare utilization and expenditure, University of York.
April 23-25: AIP Conference on Philanthropy, Rosemont, Ill.

April 25-29:  Society for Pain Practice Management Meeting, Phoenix, AZ.

April 26-29:  Wound Healing Society Symposium, Dallas, TX. 

Apr 27-28: 8th Annual Forum on Patient Compliance, Adherence and Persistency, Philadelphia, PA.

April 27-29: Workshop on Health Technology Assessment From Theory to Evidence to Policy, Toronto, CANADA.

April 28-May 1: Pharma Pricing and Market Access Outlook Europe, 2009, London.

April 29-May 2: American Geriatric Society Meeting, Chicago, IL.

 

Please send in your meetings and dates for listing in the next issue of our Events-Planner.

MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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

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Recent Elder Housing Updates

Legal Protections, Home Equity Resources and Housing Options

By Staff Reporters

insurance-book1

Recently, significant updates and expanded coverage of the housing market for the elderly has occurred. Several items include efforts to protect consumers, and senior medical professionals, from current difficulties in the housing market. For example, these include the following three updates:

1. FINRA on Reverse Mortgages

An alert issued by the Financial Industry National Regulatory Authority (FINRA), warns that:

“as more Americans near retirement age, some financial institutions are aggressively marketing reverse mortgages as an easy, cost-free way for retirees to finance lifestyles – or to pay for risky investments  that can jeopardize their financial futures.” 

FINRA’s position is that such vehicles should be used only as a last resort.

2. HECM on Primary Residences

The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Demonstration (HECM) program, which was first authorized by Congress in 1987, helps elderly homeowners meet their financial needs and provides borrowers with insurance against lender default. Now, homeowners can also use a HECM to purchase a primary residence if they are able to use cash on hand to pay the difference between the HECM proceeds and the sales price plus closing costs for the property they are purchasing.

3. ERA Home-Keeper Program

As a result of the passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, Fannie Mae announced the discontinuance of its Home Keeper reverse mortgage program, effective as of December 31, 2008.  Some state programs encourage the use of reverse mortgages, in contrast to federal warnings, as a financial tool to help elderly homeowners pay for home and community services so they can “age in place.”

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated, as we follow-up our four part series on: At Home or Nursing Home Care for Long Term Care. Comments from physicians and LTC insurance agents are especially valued.

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

Our Other Print Books and Related Information Sources:

Practice Management: http://www.springerpub.com/prod.aspx?prod_id=23759

Physician Financial Planning: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763745790

Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

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About RRs and RIAs

Understanding Financial Sales “Titles”

Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™dr-david-marcinko1

Registered Representative

A retail or discount stock broker, regardless of compensation schedule, is also known as a registered representative [RR]. Other names include financial advisor, financial consultant, financial planner, Vice President, Wealth Manager, etc. Typically, the less than rigorous national test known as a Series #7 (General Securities License) test, and state specific Series #63 license is needed, along with Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) registration through the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) to become a stockbroker [now Financial Industry Regulatory Authority – FINRA]. Since a commission may be involved, and performance based incentives are allowed, be aware of costs.

Registered Investment Advisor

This securities license, obtained after passing the Series # 65 examination, allows the designee to charge for giving “unbiased” securities advice on retirement plans and portfolio management, although not necessarily sell securities or insurance products. An RIA is also usually a fiduciary, while a RR, financial consultant or stockbroker is not.

About FINRA BrokerCheck

FINRA BrokerCheck is a free online tool to help investors check the professional background of current and former FINRA-registered securities firms and brokers. It should be the first-line resource when a physician or other investor is choosing whether to do business with a particular broker or brokerage firm www.FINRA.org

 

Features of FINRA BrokerCheck include:

Assessment

Do you seek “professional” assistance with your investing endeavors, or are you a DIY physician-investor?

Conclusion

And so, as a former holder of all the above titles, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated.  

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

Our Other Print Books and Related Information Sources:

Practice Management: http://www.springerpub.com/prod.aspx?prod_id=23759

Physician Financial Planning: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763745790

Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

Subscribe Now: Did you like this Medical Executive-Post, or find it helpful, interesting and informative? Want to get the latest E-Ps delivered to your email box each morning? Just subscribe using the link below. You can unsubscribe at any time. Security is assured.

Link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/HealthcareFinancialsthePostForcxos

iMBA Inc, Secret Shopper Service

For Healthcare Consulting Practices56400711

Staff Writers

Are you worried about what your insurance agents, accountants, RIA Reps, attorneys, benefits managers, RRs, 401[k] or 403[b] administrators, or stock-brokers are telling potential lay and physician clients? [sins of commission]. Or; worse-yet – not telling them? [sins of omission].

If so, why not use our Secret Professional Client-Shopper Services so you can breathe easier?

Our staff is available to attend seminars and to pose as potential clients and customers. Services range from walk-ins, to in-depth BD compliance investigations. 

Contact

Just email Ann for more information: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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

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Annuity Insurance Products

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A Brief Overview of Annuities for Physicians

[By Gary A. Cook, MSFS, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, RHU, LUTCF, CMP™ (Hon)]

[By Kathy D. Belteau, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, FLMI]

[By Philip E. Taylor, CLU, ChFC, FLMI]fp-book1

 Introduction

Annuities were reportedly first used by Babylonian landowners to set aside income from a specific piece of farmland to reward soldiers or loyal assistants for the rest of their lives.

Today’s annuities substitute cash for farmland; however the concept is the same. In 1770, the first annuities were sold in the United States and were issued by church corporations for the benefit of ministers and their families. Annuities have grown on a tax-deferred basis since enactment of the Federal Income Tax Code in 1913.  They began to gain widespread acceptance in the early 1980s when interest rates credited exceeded 10%.  During the last two decades, annuities have been the fastest growing sector of premiums for life insurance companies.

Nevertheless, are they actually “needed” by contemporary physicians – – or merely “sold” to them? 

An annuity is a legal contract between an insurance company and the owner of the contract. The insurance company makes specific guarantees in consideration of money being deposited with the company.

Annuities are generally classified as fixed or variable – deferred or immediate.  As their names indicate, deferred annuities are designed as saving funds to accumulate for future use.They are growth-oriented products where the tax on the interest earned is deferred until the money is withdrawn.  An immediate annuity is used for systematically withdrawing money without concern for the money lasting until the end.  The insurance company assumes this risk.

Deferred Annuities

The deferred annuity contract, like a permanent life insurance policy, has been found by some to be a convenient method of accumulating wealth.  Funds can be placed in deferred annuities in a lump sum, called Single Premium Deferred Annuities, or periodically over time, called Flexible Premium Deferred Annuities.  Either way, the funds placed in a deferred annuity grow without current taxation (tax-deferred).  .

Fixed Deferred Annuity

Fixed deferred annuities provide a guaranteed minimum return of return (usually around 3 percent per year) and typically credit a higher, competitive rate based on the current economic conditions.

Fixed annuities are usually considered conservative investments as the principal (premium) is guaranteed not to vary in value. Insurance companies are required by state insurance laws to maintain a reserve fund equal to the total value of fixed annuities.  Fixed annuities are also protected by State Guaranty Fund Laws. 

Example: 

Dr. Park, a retired physician, desires a safe financial vehicle for $100,000 of her excess savings.  She doesn’t need the earnings of this investment for current income and also wants to reduce her income tax liability.  She decides to purchase a fixed deferred annuity with her $100,000.  The annuity guarantees a 3 percent annual return and the current rate is 6 percent. 

After the first year, $6,000 of interest is credited to the annuity and Dr. Park has no current income taxes as a result.  If the 6 percent interest rate does not change, after 3 years, the annuity will have $119,102 of value.

Variable Deferred Annuity

Recently, variable deferred annuities have become very popular.  Like fixed annuities, variable deferred annuities offer tax-deferred growth, but this is where the similarities end.  Variable annuities are not guaranteed.  The appreciation or depreciation in value is totally dependent on market conditions.

Variable deferred annuities assets are maintained in separate accounts (similar to mutual funds) that provide different investment opportunities.  Most of the separate accounts have stock market exposure, and therefore, variable annuities do not offer a guaranteed rate of return.

But, the upside potential is typically much greater than that of a fixed annuity. The value of a variable deferred annuity will fluctuate with the values of the investments within the chosen separate accounts.  Although similar to mutual funds, there are some key differences.  These include:

·  A variable annuity provides tax deferral whereas a regular mutual fund does not

·  If a variable annuity loses money because of poor separate account performance, and the owner dies, most annuities guarantee at least a return of principal to the heirs.  This guarantee of principal only applies if the annuity owner dies.  If the annuity value decreases below the amount paid in, and the annuity is surrendered while the owner is alive, the actual cash value is all that is available.

·  When money is eventually withdrawn from a deferred annuity, it is taxable at ordinary income tax rates.  With taxable mutual funds, they can be liquidated and taxed at lower, capital gains rates.

·  There is also a 10 percent penalty if the annuity owner is under 59½ when money is withdrawn.  There is no such charge for withdrawals from a mutual fund.

· The fees charged inside of a variable annuity (called mortality and expense charges) are typically more than the fees charged by a regular mutual fund. 

Assessment

Variable deferred annuities are sensible for physicians who want stock market exposure while minimizing taxes.  Most financial advisors and Certified Medical Planners™ [CMP™] recommend regular mutual funds when the investment time horizon is under 10 years.  But if the time horizon is more than 10 years, variable annuities may occasionally become more attractive because of the additional earnings from tax-deferral. 

Both types of deferred annuities are subject to surrender charges.  Surrender charges are applied if the annuity owner surrenders the policy during the surrender period, which typically run for 5 to 10 years from the purchase date.  The charge usually decreases each year until it reaches zero.  The purpose of the charge is to discourage early surrender of the annuity. 

Equity Index Annuity 

The equity index annuity combines the basic elements of both the variable and the fixed annuity. The credited interest earnings are generally linked to a percent of increase in an index, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Composite Stock Price Index (S&P 500). This percentage is called the Participation Rate and may be guaranteed for a specified period of up to 10 years or adjusted annually. Thus, the physician annuity owner is able to participate in a portion of market gains while limiting the risk of loss. 

Typically, the indexed annuity has a fixed principal, with the insurance company and contract owner sharing the investment risk.  If the S&P 500 Index goes up, so do interest earnings.  If it declines, the insurance company guarantees the principal.   

So, the physician contract owner accepts the risk of an unknown interest yield based on the growth or decline of the S&P 500.  Medical professionals and healthcare practitioners should pay particular attention to surrender penalties, asset management fees and any monthly caps on appreciation. 

Immediate Annuities

Immediate annuities provide a guaranteed income stream.  An immediate annuity can be purchased with a single deposit of funds, possibly from savings or a pension distribution, or it can be the end result of the deferred annuity, commonly referred to as annuitization.  Just like deferred annuities, immediate annuities can also be fixed or variable.  

Immediate annuities can be set up to provide periodic payments to the policy owner annually, semiannually, quarterly or monthly.  The annuity payments can be paid over life or for a finite number of years.  They can also be paid over the life of a single individual or over two lives. 

Insurance Agent Commissions

Immediate Fixed Annuity

Immediate fixed annuities typically pay a specified amount of money for as long as the annuitant lives.They may also be arranged to only pay for a specified period of time, i.e., 20 years.  They often contain a guaranteed payout period, such that, if the annuitant lives less than the guaranteed number of years, the heirs will receive the remainder of the guaranteed payments. 

A note of caution here, as the selection of an immediate annuity is an irrevocable decision! 

Example: 

Dr. Jones is 70 years old and retired.  He is only of average wealth, but is concerned that if he lives too long, he could deplete his savings.  He decides to use $100,000 and purchase a lifetime immediate annuity with 20 years certain.  The insurance company promises to pay him $7,000 per year as long as he lives. If Dr. Jones dies four years after purchase, he would only have received $28,000 out of a $100,000 investment.  However, his heirs will receive $7,000 for the next 16 years.  If Dr. Jones survives to the age of 98, he would have received $196,000 (or 28 years of $7,000).

Immediate Variable Annuity

Immediate variable annuities provide income payments to the annuitant that fluctuates with the returns of the separate accounts chosen.  The theory is that since the stock market has historically risen over time, the annuity payments will rise over time and keep pace with inflation.   If this is indeed what happens, it is a good purchase, but it cannot be guaranteed. 

Some companies will, at a minimum, provide a guarantee of a low minimum monthly payment no matter how poorly the separate accounts perform.

Split annuities

A popular method of adding income and yet still accumulating savings is through the use of two separate annuity policies.  Part of the funds is placed in an immediate annuity to provide monthly income.  The balance is placed in a deferred annuity grows to the total value of the premium paid for both annuities.  

The income that is received from the Immediate Annuity includes a portion of the initial premium, as well as the taxable interest earned.   Only the portion of income that is interest is taxable. The ratio between the annuity principal and interest being paid out is called an Exclusion Ratio. 

Example:

Dr. Jeanne Jones has put $100,000 into a 5-year non-tax deferred vehicle at 5%. The earnings to supplement Jeanne’s retirement is $25,000.  With a combined federal and state tax of 33%, the net after tax income would be $16,750. Jeanne takes the same $100,000 using the split annuity concept she would receive $24,444 over the 5 years.  Based on an exclusion ration of 89%, her total taxable amount is $2,797.  This would yield $923 in taxes at the same 33% tax rate.  Jeanne would have $23,521 of spendable income with the split annuity compared to the $16,750.

Qualified Annuities

The term qualified refers to those annuities which permit tax-deductible contributions under one of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) sections, i.e., § 408 Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), § 403(b) Tax Sheltered Annuities, § 401(k) Voluntary Profit Savings Plans.  Qualified annuities can also result from a rollover from such a plan.  

Assessment

Currently, there is much lively debate in the industry as to whether an annuity, which is tax-deferred by nature, should be used as a funding vehicle within a tax-qualified plan, i.e., a tax-shelter within a tax-shelter.  Since the investment options within the annuity are also generally available to the plan participant without the additional management expenses of the annuity policy, it is felt this could be a breach of fiduciary responsibility. And, most insurance agents are not fiduciaries. 

Both the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have gone on record as criticizing these sales.  

However, there are numerous examples of deferred annuities that have outperformed similar investment-category mutual funds, even after taking the annuity expenses into account. 

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

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