Understanding NYSE / NASD Minimum Credit Requirements

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A Primer for Physician Investors and Medical Professionals

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

[Editor-in-Chief]

[PART 8 OF 8]

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

We have seen that there are rules which stipulate that no brokerage firm may arrange for any credit to any client whose margin account does not have an equity of at least $2,000. The principal application of this rule is to initial transactions in newly opened margin accounts, however, it does apply at all times. 

Example: A doctor buys 100 shares, at $15, in a new margin account. His margin call is $1,500.

Rationale: $2,000 would be too much to require as it exceeds the total purchase price. However, a loan to the doctor isn’t allowed to be extended until, and unless, the account has equity of $2,000. The trade is simply paid in full -100% of the purchase price is the margin call. 

Example: A doctor buys 200 shares, at $15, in a new margin account (assume Regulation T = 60%).

His margin call is $2,000 

Rational: Regulation T 60% would be $1,800 (60% x $3,000). Since this would be $200 shy of the minimum equity level of $2,000, the call is the $2,000 minimum equity. 

Example: A doctor buys 300 shares, at $15, in a new margin account. (assume Regulation T = 60%) His margin call is $2, 700. 

Rationale: The account will have equity of $2, 700 (60% x $4,500), which is more than the $2,000 minimum. Therefore, the Regulation T initial requirement prevails.

The important points to remember about minimum credit requirements are:

1. You are not called upon to pay more than the purchase price.

2. You cannot be granted a loan until the account has an equity of at least $2,000.

3. If a decline in the market value of an existing account puts the equity below $2,000, there is no requirement to bring the equity back up to $2,000.

4. You may not withdraw money or securities from the account, if in doing so, you either:

  1. bring the equity below $ 2,000, or
  2. bring the equity below the maintenance level

These are the only times SMA may not be withdrawn from an account

The Short Sale

Selling short is engaged in by medical professionals who anticipate a market decline. By selling borrowed property (shares of stock) at the current market value, the doctor expects to return the borrowed property (shares of the same issuer bought in the marketplace) to the lender, normally the investor’s brokerage firm, when the market price is lower, thus profiting from the drop in price.

Essentially this is the buy low, and sell high philosophy. However, when executing a short sale one is selling high initially, then buying low later to “cover”, or close out the deal by buying low and selling high in the reverse order .

Bear in mind that the short seller is borrowing property, not money. However, due to the high degree of risk inherent in short selling, it is permitted only in a margin account. A Regulation T call is required as a show of good faith, a way the client demonstrates the financial wherewithal to buy back the property. Let’s look at a short sale transaction and the subsequent effects of market fluctuations on equity, as we did previously with buying on margin (long margin).

Credit Balance and Equity

A doctor shorts (sells short) 100 shares at $100 per share with Regulation T at 60%. The margin account would be credited with the proceeds of the sale, though the doctor has no access to these monies at this point in the deal. The account should also be credited with the doctor’s required Regulation T margin call. Therefore, the credit balance in a doctor’s margin account is the sum of the  proceeds of the short sale, plus the Regulation T margin call. This number will not change, regardless of future market fluctuations. The credit balance in a short margin account is a constant.

What does change with market fluctuations?

  1. the cost of buying back the borrowed property to cover the short sale.
  2. the equity in the account.

Equity in a short margin account is computed as follows:

Credit of  $ 16,000 – CMV  $10,000 equals $ 6,000 equity.

Now, let’s evaluate the effect of appreciation in the market price

If the stock rises to $120 per share, then the credit of $16,000 – CMV $ 2, 000, equals $ 4,000 equity.

Remember, the credit balance does not change when CMV fluctuates. The equity in this account is no longer Regulation T.

Let’s determine the amount by which the account is restricted (remember, any margin account with equity below Regulation T is restricted). Or, 60% X $12,000 = $ 7,200 – $ 4,000 = $ 3,200

Also, it should be clear, the equity percentage of this account is less than 60%, by the formula:

Equity / CMV = $ 4,000/$ 12,000 = 33.33%

This is the basic principle of the short sale; as the market price of the shorted stock increases, the equity decreases. The reverse is also true; as the price declines, the equity rises. Remember, short sellers are anticipating a market decline. Also, when buying long, or selling short, any change in market value causes a dollar for dollar change in equity.

Minimum Maintenance Requirements (Short) 

If the market continues to appreciate to $160 per share, the equity drops to zero.

Suppose that the market price rose to its theoretical maximum, or infinity? The doctor’s loss would be infinite. Remember, the maximum potential loss on a short sale is unlimited!

To protect against such an occurrence, industry Self Regulatory Organizations (SROs) developed regarding the minimum equity that must be maintained in a margin account. The minimum maintenance in a short account is equity of 30% of CMV. Note that this is higher than the 25 % figure for long margin accounts due to the nature of extreme risk of loss in the short sale.

Given that the CMV has risen to $160 per share ($16,000 total CMV), the minimum equity required to be maintained under SRO rules is 30% x CMV or  $4,800 equity. The doctor would receive a $4,800 maintenance call to bring his equity from -0- to the $4,800 minimum.

Remember, as in (cash) long accounts, there is no requirement to bring a margin account up to Regulation T equity. The maintenance equity is the percentage up to which the account must be brought when and if equity drops below the 25% or 30% levels.

Excess Equity (SMA) and Buying Power

We have seen what market appreciation does to a short seller. Let’s evaluate the effects of market depreciation in value. If the declines to $85, per share, then $ 16,000 credit – CMV $ 8,500 = $ 7,500 equity. Again, market fluctuations don’t affect credit balance. The equity in the account is now higher than Regulation T, and SMA (excess equity) has just been created.

And, as before, excess equity (SMA) can be used to buy more securities. Couldn’t it also be used as the Regulation T down payment on another sale? Yes, this is another use of SMA that is called shorting power or “selling power”. The formula for buying power as well as shorting power is exactly the same: Remember, it’s SMA / RT to use buying power.

In this case, $2,400 / 60% = $4,000 of buying (shorting) power after the decline to $85, the doctor could buy long or sell short another $4,000 worth of stock and use his SMA to meet his 60% ($2,400) Regulation T Margin call. Recall, the margin call for a short sale is the same as for a long purchase.

Cheap Stock Rule

The SROs created a set of special maintenance rules in short margin accounts to protect against unreasonable risk in low-priced issues. These rules are appropriately labeled the “cheap stock” rules.

At all times, a doctor must maintain equity in a short margin account of the greater of the following:

  1. 30% of the CMV (SRO Minimum Maintenance Requirement)
  2. $2,000 (SRO Minimum Credit Requirement)

3.   Equity as required under the rules  below

The cheap stock rules are as follows:

Stock Price                                     Minimum Maintained Equity

0 – $2.50 per share             $ 2.50 per share

$2.50 – $5.00 per share      100% of per share price

$5.00 per share and up       $ 5.00 per share

Example: A doctor shorts 1,000 shares of a $1.50 per share stock. How much must he deposit initially and how much must be maintained in the account?

First, since Regulation T won’t come into play until equity hits $2,000, the SRO minimum credit requirement of $2,000 should come into play. However, since this is a cheap stock, we determine if the requirements of those special rules require more than $2,000. They do, and require a minimum be maintained in this short margin account of at least $2.50 per share sold short (1,000 shares at $2.50 each = $2,500 minimum that needs to be in this account at all times to comply with SRO rules).

Furthermore, if the market begins to rise, the cheap stock rules would require that at all times the amount of money in the account be at least 100% of the price per share until the stock hits $5. For example, if the stock rose to $4 per share, the doctor would have to have $4,000 in the account to carry the position (1,000 shares times 100% of CMV, $4 per share in this case).

Day Trading and the Internet

Internet day trading has become something of an, investment bubble of late, suggesting that something lighter than air can pop and disappear in an instant. This has occurred despite the fact that most lay and healthcare professionals who engage in such activities, do not appreciated even the basic rules of margin and debt, as reviewed review. History is filled with examples: from the tulip mania of 1630 Holland and the British South Sea Bubble of the 1700’s; to the Florida land boom of the roaring twenties and the Great Crash of 1929; and to $ 875 an ounce gold in the eighties and to the collapse of Japans stock and real estate market in  early 1990’s. To this list, one might now add day Internet trading

The cost of compulsive gambling, arising from internet day trading activities, may be high for the physician, his family and society at large. Compulsive gamblers, in the desperation phase of their gambling, exhibit high suicide ideation, as in the case of Mark O Barton’s the murderous day-trader in Atlanta. His idea actually became a final act of desperation. Less dramatically is a marked increase in subtle illegal activity. These acts include fraud, embezzlement, CPT up-coding, medical over utilization, excessive full risk HMO contracting, and other “alleged white collar crimes.”  Higher healthcare and social costs in police, judiciary (civil and criminal) and corrections result because of compulsive gambling. The impact on family members is devastating. Compulsive gamblers cause havoc and pain to all family members. The spouses and other family members also go through progressive deterioration in their lives. In this desperation phase, dysfunctional families are left with a legacy of anger, resentment, isolation and in many instances, outright hate.

Recent Updates

Since most people, including medical professions,  initially loose at day trading, they give up and decide not to do it anymore. As there is a minimum amount of money, about $ 25,000-50,000 of trading capital needed to start, this loss is a powerful de-motivator. Still, scared by the Barton incident, the NASD and NYSE have recently proposed new rules for those who engage in questionable day trading activities.  One proposal would provide that a minimum equity of $ 25,000 be maintained at all times, versus the current $ 2,000 for other margin accounts. If the amount of a pattern day trader fell below the new threshold, no further trading would be permitted until the threshold was maintained.

Options Trading

Stock options are contracts that obligate medical investors to either buy or sell a stock at a specific price, by a specific date. For example, a put option is a bet on falling prices. Let’s suppose Dr. Jane Smith holds a put option on XYZ stock, with a $ 50 exercise price, and the stock falls to $ 45. The value of the put rises in the options market because it lets her sell a $ 50 share, which is above the market price. A call option, on the other hand, is a bet on rising prices. Again, Dr. Smith holds a call option on XYZ stock, with an exercise price of $ 50. If the share rises to $ 55, the value of the option increase since she may buy for $ 50, a stock now worth $ 55.

In 1999, Charles Schwab, the biggest on-line brokerage executed more than 30 million option trades. Due to this demand, Schwab launched other complex services, such as the on-line simultaneous buying and selling of options. Also crowding the options field, are new upstart on-line brokerages, such as: Interactive Brokers, Preferred Capital Markets Technology and CyberCorp. They provide powerful software which will allow options in the future to trade as effortlessly and efficiently as stocks.

In  mid-2000 the Reuters Group PLC Instinet Corporation, the electronic network most widely used by institutional investors, opened an Internet brokerage aimed at consumers, including healthcare practitioners. Instinet will let retail clients place orders alongside institutions, and will offer access to charts, news and research. Thus, artificially empowering the individual investor, as well as again tempting the compulsive prone addict.

Acknowledgements

The assistance Mr. James Nash, of the Investment Training Institute, in Tucker, GA is acknowledged in the preparation of this ME-P.

Conclusion

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Web Sites of Interest

http://www.tradehard.com

The ultimate super site for investment bankers and traders. Started by a group of well known stockbrokers, day traders, and money managers. This site offers advice about how to work the market to your advantage.

http://www.internetinvesting.com

This is an investor’s guide to on-line brokers, discount brokers, day trading and after hours investing. The site offers stock quotes, financial news, investment banking strategies, a book list and daily commentary about the market. This is a serious text heavy resource.

References and Readings

  • Atkinson,  W., and Crawford, AJ.:  On-line investing raises questions about suitability. Wall Street Journal, November, 28, 1999.
  • Farrell, C.: Day Trade On-line. John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1999.
  • Friedfertig, M.: Electronic Day Trader’s Secretes. McGraw-Hill, New York, 1999.
  • Gibowicz, Peter: Registered Representative (Study Program ,Volume II). Edward Fleur Financial Education Corporation, New York, 1998.
  • Gibowicz, Peter: Quick Seven. Edward Fleur Financial Education Corporation, New York, 1998.
  • Gibowicz, Peter: Registered Representative (Study Program, Volume I). Edward Fleur Financial Education Corporation, New York, 1998.
  • Kadlec, CW.: Dow 100,000: Fact or Fiction. New York Institute of Finance, New York, 1999
  • Nash, J: Securities Markets. In, Nash, J: (International Training Institute Manual). Atlanta, 1999.
  • Nassar, DS: How to Get Started in Electronic Day Trading. McGraw-Hill, New York,
  • 1999.
  • Schmuckler, E:  The Addictive Personality. In, Marcinko, DE (2001 Financial Planning for Medical Professionals. Harcourt Professional Publishing, New York, 2000. 

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Financial Advisory Reform Going Down in Flames

A [False] Hobson’s Choice*

By Staff Reporters

In political Washington DC, according to Ian Salisbury, almost anything will fly if you can make an argument it will benefit the middle class. It worked in the fight against requiring advisors to act in clients’ best interests … Say what?

Is this the case of a classic Hobson’s choice?

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=bank+reform&iid=8227139″ src=”c/3/0/3/Sen_Dodd_Discusses_655e.jpg?adImageId=12270785&imageId=8227139″ width=”380″ height=”570″ /]

The Strategy

Yep, its true! At least, this strategy worked for the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors [NAIFA], which fought a recent proposal that would have made all financial advisors act in clients’ best interests … you know – the “F” word.

Assessment

It seems that there are few protections for the public from unscrupulous FAs, stockbrokers, and insurance agents. And, few wish to become fiduciaries.

http://www.fa-mag.com/online-extras/5406-a-phony-argument.html

*A Hobson’s choice is a free, usually economic, choice in which only one option is offered.

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Please visit: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

As former certified financial planner, insurance agent, stockbroker, surgeon and this ME-P publisher Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA, CMP™ has always opined to physician colleagues: it is “buyer-beware” out there!

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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Doctor – Does your Broker Make the Grade?

[By Staff Reporters]Medical staff

Dear Colleagues,

Does your stock-broker or brokerage firm make the grade?

Be sure to participate in the annual broker report cards survey. And, if you work for Merrill Lynch, UBS, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Wells Fargo Advisors or Edward Jones, this trade magazine [Registered Rep] survey is for you.

Assessment

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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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Do Financial Advisors Add Value to Retail Portfolios?

Some Consultants Emphatically Say … No!

By Staff Reportersfp-book1

Nope! So says Andre’ Cappon, Guy Manual, Stephan Mignot and Seth Varnhagen of the CBM Group, Inc; a consulting firm in Manhattan, New York. In fact, while writing in Registered Rep – a trade magazine for FAs in September 2009 – they estimate that long-term real (adjusted for inflation), actual (after taxes, fees and market timing) returns for the average retail investor, to be around 0 percent. That’s right; not the 8-12 percent usually attributed to long term investing trends.

Or; do you simply have the wrong type of Financial Advisor [FA]?

Visit: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com Do you need a fiduciary advisor? Who really knows for sure?

About the CBM Group

Founded in 1992, the CBM Group is a general management consulting firm specialized in the financial services industry. Their goal is to help leading financial institutions, and their financial advisors, create and sustain the competitive advantages necessary to thrive in the global marketplace.

Link: www.theCBMGroup.com

Assessment

Despite the math, and numerics like Ibbotson charts showing impressive long-term gains, on average retail investors — like doctors, medical professionals and ME-P readers — have made very little actual return on their savings; according to CMB.

Link: http://registeredrep.com/advisorland/marketing_selling/0901-small-investment-return/index.html

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Does your FA add value to his/her fees of 1-3%; or are they a drag on your portfolio’s performance. Ever consider “doing it yourself”  like some medical institutions www.HealthcareFinancials.com 

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Upcoming Health Economics Interview with Dr. David Marcinko

Coming Soon from Medical Business News, Inc

By Ann Miller; RN, MHA

ME-P Executive-Directordr-david-marcinko22

Medical Business News, Inc., the publisher of Medical News of Arkansas, is a leading source for healthcare industry news that is truly useful. With a professional readership comprised of physicians and key industry decision makers, Medical News publications are devoted entirely to healthcare issues that impact both clinical and administrative best practices. Written and edited specifically for healthcare professionals, MBN writers work with experts at the local, regional and national level to keep stakeholders informed about the ever-evolving healthcare system.

Out Reach

It is no wonder then, why local market MNA editor Jennifer Boulden recently contacted us to arrange an interview with Dr. David Edward Marcinko, our Publisher-in-Chief, who is also a former insurance agent, registered investment advisor, health economist and Certified Financial Planner™

Link: www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com  

Interview Topics

The wide open topic in this environment of medically specific lethargy and macro economic insecurity – personal and business planning for physicians. Of course, since this is a broad field, we will use the rating and ranking system of this blog to help Jennifer and her staff, winnow down categories to top-of-mind concerns of our ME-P subscribers and her MNA readers.

Link: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Assessment

But, we also ask you to send in any particular issues that you may have in order to make the interview helpful and exciting for all concerned.

Link: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated.

Link: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.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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Financial Product Sales, Communication and Management

Techniques-of-Art for Financial Advisors

By Robert Ayrer and ME-P Staff Writers

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Before any piece of work that requires communication can be understood, the context must be established.  Without context, words have very little reality; and without reality, there can be no communication. Communication is the “transfer of meaning.”

Introduction

The lack of a definitive role of the marketing function (and the sales function, and the difference between the two) for financial advisors [FAs], has contributed to the lack of clarity required for the achievement of sales targets. The fuzzy line between “targets” and “goals” has left most financial product salesmen, OSJs [Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction] and sales managers without the “tools to manage.” In this context, we will define the financial sales person’s role as the “person responsible for the execution of the corporate, or personal, sales plan, which includes the short term marketing of the company.”

Marketing versus Sales

Long term strategic marketing is a very sophisticated process, requiring highly trained people that are not involved with the mundane, day-to-day activities of the enterprise.  Unfortunately, this type of “marketing” is done by too few businesses, RIAs, BDs, and FAs.

The “marketing plan”, as defined by Malcolm H. B. McDonald, Director of the Cranfield Marketing Planning Centre, of the Cranfield School of Management, is a comprehensive business plan, incorporating and integrating all of the elements of business; the four “P’s” — Product, Price, Place and Promotion. More often than not, financial sales organizations and RIAs are run by people with “Director of Sales & Marketing” titles.  This use of the “marketing” title often confuses the difference between marketing and sales. For our purposes, we will include the very short term marketing function in the sales department’s role.

Dirty Ear Marketing

This “very short term marketing” required of the FA or sales person is what is called “The dirty ear” marketing.  The “dirty ear” comes from “keeping an ear to the ground” to detect changes in the market that would affect the assumptions that support the marketing plan and the company sales plan.

It has been said that the American plains Indians could drive a stick into the ground, put the end of the stick to their ear and tell if the buffalo herd was within twenty miles — and, by bending the stick, tell in which direction.  The more sophisticated tracker could tell whether the herd was approaching or going away.

It is this short term, close in, change in direction of the market (herd) upon which the assumptions of the marketing and sales plan are based, that should be the concern of the sales department or financial advisor and business owners. 

Of Bull and Bear Markets

For example, during times of economic expansion, and bull markets, the purchasing authority for many items is transferred down the reporting chain to the lowest possible responsible level of management. At this level a sales person or FA may only require one or two calls to complete the selling process with a buying authority. This authority level would dictate the activity of sales people in achieving their personal sales plan and achieving their targets and goals. 

During a recession however, as is occurring now, authority to buy may be withdrawn from the customary buying level, designating someone at a higher level as the “buyer.” The financial sales person still must go through the traditional contact at the lower level. These contacts can now only say “no”. They cannot say “yes.” By adding another level of decision making to the buying process, additional activity will be required to make the average sale. You cannot double the activity required to make a sale and make the same number of sales!  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that working harder is the answer, as there is only a finite amount of time available to get to your prospects. Your options are; change the plan; adjust the sales budget; add more sales representatives.

The Sales Cycle

Continuing a sales plan based upon the assumption of a two-call sales cycle when the market requires a three or four call cycle will take your sales plan out of reality.  The key to both a good marketing plan and a good sales plan is “reality.”  It is the FA or sales manager’s prime function to see that the sales organization is working in “reality” by constantly testing the basic assumptions of the sales plan.

The challenge to every financial services business owner, sales manager and every FA sales person is to stay focused on the prime objective of a sales person – processing the sale.  To maintain focus on the sales objective, the activities of a sales person should be looked at in two categories; “tasks” and “selling objectives.”  The tasks are those activities that all sales people are required to do to service clients – handle back-charges, warranty claims, stocking services, point of sale maintenance, etc.  The selling objectives are defined by the sales progression used in the sales strategy.

Processing the Sale

To give better understanding to this concept, consider the following.  If you find a local bank that offers a certificate of deposit that is paying a good return, and you put $10,000 on deposit, you have made an “investment.”  It is an “investment” because you expect your money back with a profit.  To find this investment opportunity you must be focused externally (not within your own business).  And, investments are a source of new capital.

If, on the other hand you take the $10,000 and purchase a car for your business, your focus is internal to your business, solving a problem of transportation, and you will only realize gain by reducing an existing or potential expense. You will not realize any new capital from this expenditure.  This use of the $10,000 is an “expense.”

Internal and External Focus

To generalize, if your focus is external and you are seeking to generate new capital by exploiting new opportunities, this is an investment.  If your focus is internal, and you are solving problems (the activities that come after the sale), the time and money spent is an expense.

Tasks and Objectives

Sales people sometimes lose sight of the difference between the “tasks” (internally focused after sales activities that are expenses to the company) and the sales “objectives” (opportunity seeking activity that will result in generating new capital through sales). Although we must service the task items, we can avoid “buying” the customer’s problem (forgetting that the customer’s problem is our opportunity).  The way we make sure we maintain focus on the opportunity rather than the problem – is to link every task with a sales objective. 

Management Reporting

Historically, we have asked sales people and FAs to report to management through an activity report that usually records the “task” items but ignores the opportunity items. To use the reporting system as a training and management tool, stop requiring the typical activity and expense reports.

Instead, ask your sales people fill out an “Opportunity” report and an “Investment” report.  It is true; “What gets measured gets improved!”  If you want your sales people to be externally focused and seek opportunities, investing in accounts rather than “solving problems” and spending money (“expense” items), measure and report on the opportunities and investments.  It is more positive to run an investment department for your business rather than a cost center.

Managing For Results

Peter Drucker observes that “… there are no profit centers in a business; there are only cost centers.”  The profits centers are external.  Again, quoting Drucker; “Results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems!”

Assessment

The above offering is intended to help financial advisors and sales people “manage” themselves, and for the sales people who have assumed the mantle of OSJ or “manager”, etc

Conclusion

And so, 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 Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com 

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A Due-Diligence ‘Condom’ for Physician Investors

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Using Financial Advisors with Increased Safety

[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™]dr-david-marcinko8

Following the Bernie Madoff investment scheme, and related financial industry scandals, here are seven “red-flags” that should have alerted physician-investors to proceed with extreme caution. Always consider them before making an investment with any financial advisor [FA], registered representative [RR] or financial advisory firm, regardless of reputation, size, referral recommendation or so-called industry certifications and designations. In other words, according to Robert James Cimasi; MHA, AVA, and a Certified Medical Planner™ from Health Capital Consultants LLC, of St. Louis, MO;” trust no one and paddle your own canoe.”

Red Flags of Cautious Investing

As a former insurance agent, financial advisor, registered representative, investment advisor and Certified Financial Planner™ for more than a decade, the existence of any one of the following items may be a “red-flag” of caution to any investor:

  • Acting as its’ own custodian, clearance firm or broker-dealer, etc.
  • Lack of a well-known accounting firm review with regular reporting.
  • Unreliable or sporadic written performance reports.
  • Rates-of-return that don’t seem to track industry benchmarks.
  • Seeming avoidance of regulatory oversight, transparency or review.
  • Lack of recognized written fiduciary accountability in favor of lower brokerage “sales suitability” standards.
  • No Investment Policy Statement [IPS]. 

Assessment

Let a word to the wise be sufficient going forward. But, in hindsight, a healthy dose of skepticism might have prevented this situation in the first place. As is the usual case, fear and greed often seem to rule the day. Just as there is no such thing as safe sex – just safer sex – there is no thing as safe intermediary investing. But, exercising some common sense will surely make investing with any financial advisor much safer. It’s like a condom for your money. 

For more information on the topic of fiduciary standards – which we have championed for the last ten years in our books, texts, white-papers, journal and online educational Certified Medical Planner™ program for FAs – watch out for our exclusive Medical Executive-Post interview with Bennett Aikin AIF®, Communications Coordinator of www.fi360.com coming in March. Ben, an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® did a great job with the tough questions submitted by our own Ann Miller; RN, MHA and Hope Hetico; RN, MHA, CMP™. Don’t miss it!

Disclaimer

I am the Managing Partner for http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org and I agree with this message.

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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