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3 key issues for the government to address

November 1, 2004

Financial planners and investment advisers laid out a list of the issues that most concern them in the Oct. 18 issue of InvestmentNews. That list is also a list of the key issues the government must address in the near future. Topping the list...

Memo to feds: Let the FASB do its job

October 25, 2004

The Financial Accounting Standards Board, which announced a six-month delay in its plan to adopt a new standard for stock options expensing, must not buckle from the continued pressure exerted by both big business and regulators. The Norwalk,...

Compliance chiefs aren't SEC spies

October 18, 2004

The Securities and Exchange Commission has assured financial services companies that it won't play "gotcha" based on the first annual reports of their newly appointed chief compliance officers. It must abide by that assurance. To do otherwise...

Hone compliance to guard investor trust

October 11, 2004

Increased regulatory scrutiny has become a part of the financial services landscape. And things are only going to continue to heat up as advisers and broker-dealers face a growing number of compliance issues. Therefore, financial experts should...

CFP Board should recognize fiduciaries

October 4, 2004

It is time for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. to recognize that CFPs, when acting as financial planners and investment advisers, are fiduciaries. The Denver-based board should acknowledge this fact in its ethics code...

Memo to SEC: Time to ban 12(b)-1 fees

September 27, 2004

Although the Securities and Exchange Commission has yet to complete its investigation into 12(b)-1 fees, some industry observers predict that the probe will be the final chapter for the fees and other transfer payments. It should be the final...

U.S. must budget now for longer term

September 20, 2004

It is time for the federal government to adopt present-value accounting for its long-term liabilities. Present-value accounting would estimate the value of all long-term commitments made by the government to retirees, for example, and then calculate...

Sales to military demand high standards

September 13, 2004

The response should be nothing short of immediate to requests that Congress and the Pentagon investigate the sales practices and products of firms that sell mutual funds and life insurance to military personnel. Kudos to Rep. Max Burns, R.-Ga.,...

Options should be reflected in statements

September 6, 2004

Members of Congress need to let the Financial Accounting Standards Board do its job, and steer clear of the political debate involving stock options. The Norwalk, Conn.-based board issued a proposal in March that firms be required to count stock...

Early-out fees should aid shareholders

August 30, 2004

Most market timers, at least in the financial advisory community, have received a bum rap as a result of the mutual fund scandals of the past year. As a result, the Society of Asset Allocators and Fund Timers Inc. has changed its name to the...

Fed should back off on interest rate hikes

August 23, 2004

Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve's other monetary policymakers could be in danger of repeating the mistake they made during the technology boom: sticking with a strategy and a policy too long. The last time, the Fed stayed with a low-interest-rate...

IRS needs more funding to fight tax cheats

August 16, 2004

With the Internal Revenue Service badly underfunded and outmanned, tax cheats have apparently decided that it is open season on the agency. The federal government is cheated out of a staggering $300 billion a year in unpaid taxes, according...

Kudos to FPA on challenging Merrill rule

August 9, 2004

The Financial Planning Association is to be applauded for throwing down the gauntlet to the Securities and Exchange Commission by filing suit to challenge the so-called Merrill Lynch rule. The SEC proposed the rule in 1999 and invited comments....

Corporations, take a cue from Microsoft

August 9, 2004

Cash-rich U.S. companies must begin to share the wealth. More of these companies must initiate, or increase, dividend payments as Microsoft Corp. has done. They should give the cash back to the shareholders and let them reinvest it in ways that...

Candidates must address Social Security

July 26, 2004

The need to fix Social Security is a hot-button issue. However, President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, D.-Mass., continue to remain mum on the subject. The question about the system's future is sure to play a key role in the presidential race....

NASD must prevent unsuitable VA swaps

July 19, 2004

NASD must take harsh action against brokers who plunder their clients by making inappropriate variable annuity swaps or who sell VAs to people for whom they are unsuitable. It must send strong signals that such actions will not be tolerated,...

It is time to be proactive on regulation

July 12, 2004

The Securities and Exchange Commission meets this week to consider new rules that would require hedge fund advisers to register with it. The plan has apparently sparked opposition inside the commission and from Federal Reserve Board Chairman...

Encouraging a uniform approach to 529 plans

July 12, 2004

The popular Section 529 college savings plans have come under some scrutiny due to the marketing tactics used to sell them, and a lack of clarity in disclosure statements. Taking steps in the right direction, states that sponsor 529 plans said...

Congress must quickly fix AMT mess

June 28, 2004

A tax originally aimed at the rich is now reaching well into the ranks of the middle class. In fact, the alternative minimum tax could hit nearly 5 million taxpayers next year if Congress takes no action. That number is expected to rise to 17...

Training the next generation is imperative

April 26, 2004

The financial planning industry must begin planning for succession. Look around at any industry conference, and you will note that the vast majority of financial planners have reached at least middle age. In fact, many are baby boomers who will...

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