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Finra's disclosure on use of fine money a good first step to more transparency

July 7, 2018

The Financial​ Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. is to be applauded for revealing for the first time how it uses the money it collects in fines. This is the latest in a series of steps Finra has taken as it moves to improve transparency,...

Independence of auditors critical when easing broker regulations

June 23, 2018

A​ pair of sister​ bills introduced in the House and Senate this month appear to be just the type of reasonable regulatory relief small businesses in the advice industry are clamoring for. The bipartisan legislation, known as the Small Business...

A more expansive future requires multiple pricing models

June 16, 2018

Charging fees based on assets under management has served the financial planning industry well for the past few decades. But the modern financial advice business is starting to cut varied paths toward different pricing models that might be better...

Does the SEC really need to define 'best interest'?

June 9, 2018

Best interest. Act in the client's best interest. Put the client's best interest ahead of your own. Regulation Best Interest. The "interest" part of that phrase is pretty easy to understand. Words such as well-being, benefit and advantage are...

IPO filing could usher in new era of legitimacy for RIAs

June 2, 2018

You would be forgiven if you skipped past the news that Focus Financial Partners filed for an initial public stock offering in the days leading up to Memorial Day weekend. The move, however, is something registered investment advisers will want...

No good reason not to support auto-enrollment retirement plans

May 26, 2018

The financial advice industry should get behind state efforts to enroll workers who don't have access to 401(k) plans in state-sponsored auto-IRA programs. So far, the industry has been less than enthusiastic about plans such as Oregon's version,...

Transparency, credibility, fairness: Finra's decision to explain rationale for penalties is a welcome one

May 19, 2018

The object​ of all justice systems should be, in the words of Gilbert and Sullivan: "To let the punishment fit the crime." Systems of justice are more likely to achieve the dual objectives of punishment and deterrence when all can see that...

Financial schemes against seniors are most often committed by people closest to them

May 19, 2018

There are plenty of scams that strangers come up with to trick the elderly into giving up their money, but most financial schemes against seniors are committed by those who are closest to the victims: family, friends and caregivers. While that...

Financial advisers must manage retirees' aversion to risk with behavioral finance skills

May 12, 2018

Any seasoned financial adviser already knows that the hard work of helping clients save and invest for retirement does not end with a client's retirement date. But based on where we are in terms of market cycles, advisers might soon find themselves...

It's time to educate your clients, and yourself, about alternative investments

May 5, 2018

Individual investors are being tempted by alternative investments as they seek greater diversification of their portfolios, so advisers should be preparing to answer questions about them from their clients. Alternative investments generally...

A pat on the back for progress, but Finra has a long way to go

April 28, 2018

A​ year after launching a top-to-bottom review of its operations, called Finra 360, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. last week issued a 40-page progress report. As far as these types of assessments go, it is fairly typical...

SEC advice rule: Time for brokers, advisers to weigh in

April 21, 2018

The Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed a new rule governing investment advice, and all interested parties should make their voices heard through constructive feedback during the 90-day comment period. Who better to share their opinions...

Beware: Regulators won't take excuses for reverse-churning

April 14, 2018

With regulators​ zeroing in on reverse-churning, and lawsuits popping up around the practice, advisers should be paying attention. The concern stems from conflicts of interest that advisers face when deciding whether to move clients from commission-based...

Like it or not, annuities are coming to retirement plans

April 7, 2018

Some would argue that annuities and 401(k) plans should never mix. To those individuals, we say brace yourselves, because legislation is being considered in Congress that could clear a path for more employers to offer annuity products in their...

Industry and regulators need to safeguard broker data

March 31, 2018

The cybersecurity​ breach last year at Equifax Inc., which exposed the personal information of at least 145 million individuals worldwide to hackers, alerted businesses and governments to the need to constantly review and tighten their security...

DOL fiduciary rule: Don't abandon compliance just yet

March 24, 2018

So now we wait … patiently … for the next move … in the ongoing saga … of the DOL fiduciary rule. The momentum generated by courts upholding various aspects of the Department of Labor's conflicts-of-interest regulation, as the Trump...

There's a major flaw in Finra's arbitration system

March 17, 2018

It is clear to anyone paying attention that there is something wrong with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.'s arbitration system. While the process of deciding guilt or innocence seems to be working, there doesn't seem to be any...

Advisers: Make sure your clients aren't owed pensions

March 10, 2018

Here's a job for investment advisers: Help MetLife, and probably other major life insurance companies, locate retired workers to whom they owe pensions. Companies have been offloading pension liabilities to insurance companies at a growing rate....

Social Security: Advisers must stay current on regulations

March 3, 2018

Imagine finding​ out that your widowed mother's monthly Social Security benefit check was less than she was entitled to. You'd likely be furious and more than a little ashamed for not having watched out for her best interests more closely....

DOL fiduciary rule enforcement won't be halted after all

February 24, 2018

Last November​ advisers got word that the teeth of the DOL fiduciary rule — the enforcement mechanism known as the best-interest contract – would be clenched shut for another year and a half. The legally binding contract between brokers...

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