What a Jeb Bush presidency would mean for advisers

Florida financial planners are mixed on the contender, citing his fiscal and social conservatism

Jun 15, 2015 @ 12:01 am

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

+ Zoom
(Bloomberg News)

As former Florida Governor Jeb Bush launches his presidential campaign today, one of his first challenges will be to persuade Republican primary voters he's conservative enough for them.

Florida investment advisers who knew Mr. Bush as the state's chief executive from 1999-2007, said he established himself firmly on the right on fiscal and social policies.

“I like it when elected individuals don't spend money they don't have,” said Charlie Fitzgerald III, a principal at Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo in Orlando.

He said Mr. Bush's ability to reduce spending and taxes — nearly $20 billion — while ending up with a surplus at the end of his term was “like Houdini pulling a rabbit out of a hat. It was an interesting phenomenon.”

(More: "What a Hillary Clinton presidency would mean for financial advisers")

Chris Markowski, founder of Markowski Investments in Tampa, said “he was a business-friendly guy, there was no doubt about that.”

During his tenure, Mr. Bush didn't directly address investment advice issues in legislative or regulatory initiatives, according to advisers. But he was the first Florida governor to establish a financial planning week in the state.

GOP presidential candidates
Jeb Bush, former Florida governor
Ben Carson, heart surgeon
Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas
Carly Fiorina, former HP chief executive
Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor
Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina
George Pataki, former New York governor
Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky
Rick Perry, former Texas governor
Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida
Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator
Democratic presidential candidates
Lincoln Chafee, former Rhode Island governor
Hillary Rodham Clinton, former New York senator, former U.S. secretary of state
Martin O'Malley, former Maryland governor
Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent

“That really impressed me,” said Michael Zmistowski, an adviser at Financial Planning Advisors in Tampa. “He listened to what financial planning really was, and that's hard for regulators to do. They understood there's a lot more to it than just selling products.”

But advisers said it is difficult to know what position Mr. Bush might take on investment advice standards, if he were to win the White House.

“He was the classic conservative who thought any regulation was too much regulation,” said Paul Auslander, director of financial planning at ProVise Management Group in Clearwater. “I think that's how he'll come down on investment adviser oversight and fiduciary duty.”

But one of Mr. Bush's signature initiatives — education reform — might provide a different clue as to how he would approach advisers, Mr. Fitzgerald said. Mr. Bush pushed through the Florida legislature a schools' overhaul focused on testing students and grading schools.

“He would be someone who supports the concept of personal responsibility, and he would be supportive of high professional standards and accountability as well,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.

Support for Mr. Bush's presidential run varies among advisers.

Paul Grant Truesdell, chief executive of TrueStar Advisors Inc. in Ocala, was not impressed with Mr. Bush.

“He dropped the ball in Florida completely,” he said. “I view him as a caretaker. I didn't view him as being all that good or bad.”

Mr. Auslander, who is active in Florida Democratic politics, is leery of him. He said Mr. Bush tends to ram ahead with his agenda and lacks a common touch.

“He was brusque,” Mr. Auslander said. “He was socially awkward. He wasn't comfortable talking to people individually.”

Mr. Zmistowski came away with a different impression.

“If you can put the Bush thing aside and listen to what he's saying, I think you'll find he's an effective, thoughtful and empathetic administer,” he said. “He's a guy who thinks about what's good for everyone.”

Putting aside the “Bush thing” might be a high hurdle for some though, like Mr. Markowski, who said Mr. Bush is not inspiring enough to be president. He has qualms about Mr. Bush following his father and brother into the White House, or Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton sitting in the same Oval Office chair as her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

“Enough is enough with these same families,” Mr. Markowski said. “It's like we're running some kind of kingdom here. It's crazy.”


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Sponsored financial news

Upcoming Event

Apr 30


Retirement Income Summit

Join InvestmentNews at the 12th annual Retirement Income Summit - the industry's premier retirement planning conference.Much has changed - and much remains to be learned. Attend and discuss how the future is full of opportunity for ... Learn more

Featured video


3 themes shaping your business now

If there are three overriding themes for advisers right now its succession planning, acquisition and hiring millennials. Financial adviser James Loftin discusses how his firm is tackling all three.

Video Spotlight

The Search for Income

Sponsored by PGIM Investments

Recommended Video

Path to growth

Latest news & opinion

T. Rowe Price steps up its game to serve financial advisers

The Baltimore-based mutual fund giant is more aggressively targeting financial advisers with a beefed-up wholesale crew and placement on custodial platforms.

The most important tax changes for 2018

The Internal Revenue Service issued inflation adjustments to more than 50 tax provisions for 2018.

E*Trade acquiring custodian Trust Company of America

Discount broker buying second-tier custodian for $275 million.

Another thousand Dow points higher, and investors yawn

Market milestones keep falling like dominoes, with 51 records broken so far this year.

LPL retains $570 million with super-OSJ deal

Kansas-based nVision Wealth will come under supervision of Chicago-based IHT Wealth Management.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print