August 24, 2010
As an advisor we consult with our clients and give them advise to understand the future. We strive to help them make good decisions in the interest of risk and time horizon. We are burden with the responisiblity to help educate our clients and set up portfolio's and allocations with the information that we are given, we do not know what we do not have. Many times clients do not always tell you everything and may not always be truthfull, as they may want to be seen as more important or more wealthy than they really are. Everybody wants to feel important.
You are now trying to burden us with past performance of enities that are out of our control. Just like the melt down of the market due to derivatives. The client can always look backwards and have buyers remorse and blame the advisor, strange how a client can have a 20/20 recollection of the past. We can only advise, we are not able to make a client do anything. Some clients want to take on more risk than they should, trying to make up for inadequate savings, lost time and bet on the market with their portfolio's. We should not be held to these standards. Some clients when losses occur suddenly have selective memory and decide it is the advisors fault for not talking them out of a certain investment product or strategy. How convienent
The clients have to bare some responsibility for their own actions. The advisor should inform the client for their actually needs based upon the person financial situations. No two clients have the same assets or goals. The standards to help client to make good decisions is only as good as the clients ability to give proper information carry thru and execution a well thought out plan.
The oversight is already many layers over the advisor. The actually processing of just paperwork is overwhelming to most clients. Most of the paper work is disclaimers and letters understandings. These documents in themselves scare clients into takeing no actions as they see this as a hughe burden and risk. Remember the added paper work and oversight that is already put upon the client and the advisor is very extreme. Buying a house takes less paper than to implement a mutual fund in most cases.
Buying a home is usually the most stressfull transaction a client can take. It is now just as stressfull to fill out a simple mutual fund or variable life insurance or variable annuity as it is to buy a house.
You wonder why client are scared of investments, it is due much to all the added documents for the overwhelming oversight already in place.
You are now asking us to be responsible for the past as well as the future. Now we have extreme financial cost for the advisor to be protected (EO) for errors ommissions. The advisor over the last 10 to 15 yrs have had to add more and more cost to stay in business, the Broker/Dealers have pasted their compliance cost directly to the agents. We now pay a very large cost to the EO companies, we now have to pay a monthly fee to the broker/dealer for compliance, we now have to pay for every test each year out of our pockets to stay licensed. The average advisor must come up with about 5000k just to be able to stay licensed each year and are still subject to a level of production are risk having a 3000.00 fee added if they do not produce enough. The Broker/Dealers as this as they want to discourge somebody from being a small producer. The encourage the producer to move assets or risk this large burden just to maintain a book of assets. In todays Broker/Dealers you may no longer just service a book of clients, unless you are willing to pay large somes of money as a penalty to stay licensed. Then there is the idea we are over payed on trails commissions. These commissions do not cover the risk you have impossed on us advisor much less the now added cost of insurance, monthly fees, licensing fees and just the cost of staying in business. These new burdens of oversight will drive up insurance cost drasticly to cover the fiduciary look back.
You are putting us out of business with the thousands of dollars of extra cost all due to compliance oversight and the belief this will stop some of the dishonest people. You will alway have 2-3% of the industry do bad things as in any other form of employment. Why not discipline the bad ones and praise the good ones. The SEC needs to streamline the process of oversight to catch the malpractice of the few instead of policing the many.
It would make more sense to focus on the few practicing badly than the many and I many many doing thing right each and everyday.
Advisors can no longer aford to stay in business, you want us to earn less but pay much large cost to stay in practice as an advisor.
The biggest loser in all of this will be the clients or general public. There is already large amount of advisors leaving the practice and the average age of advisors is approaching the mid to late 40's. This tells us that there are not many new advisors joining this profession, as the cost are so extreme for a new advisor when first starting, he cannot make a living while trying to establish a practice.
There are a lot less advisors today than 20 yrs ago, but there are many more clients today than 20 yrs ago. The masses of clients will not be able to find a trained advisor unless they go fee based and over time this is a lot more costly to the client. Fee based does not always ad value, but it always adds cost. Most advisors will have no choice but to charge a fee.
The average consumer will pay more or go without an advisor and try to do it themselves, they may not be willing or able to pay these fees. If you believe the consumer is better off without an advisor then add more oversight and cost and run more advisors out of the business and at the same time make it almost impossible to for a new advisor to enter into the practice.
There is already a shortage of advisors and it is getting worse every year. It will set up a potential of having the wealthly people able to get the advise and the average consumer whom really needs the advise and guidence unable to afford the fees.
The SEC is complacent in their actions as not to see the ill effects this will have. It may not immediate but it will happen. History repeats itself, every time new ovesight gets put in place our cost go up and the advisor stop entering the practice and many leave as they just go out of business. The industry trend is to now move to assets under managment with a fee base compensation package. Pay attention you are driving the industry to the elite and away from the average consumer.
Look at the self directed accounts like Scottrade, Fidelity and others. Look at the average account and see whom does better in performance and long range planning. The advisors that do the best is the advisor that works through the insurance companies vs the Merril Lynches of the world. The insurance company advisors take a more overall approach vs a transactional approach. We move assets a lot less and earn the client a lot more. The wire houses move assets or they are not making money. The insurance advisors have a larger platform and really do look at profiles and long term investing. I am stressing the true advisor that works with assets under an insurance company broker/dealer, not a agent that dabbles in investments but sale mostly insurance products.
The SEC needs to step back and evaluate how they can best serve the entire public not just the fortunate few that can afford to be served.
You are forcing the public into an unhealthy relationship with the investment industry.
My client are important to me, they are not just an account, we know them and work with them on all aspects of their financial health and not just their money.