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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...

Advisers should take SEC up on offer to waive penalties

February 17, 2018

Fans of golf know the sport as one in which participants call penalties on themselves. This is essentially what the Securities and Exchange Commission is now asking of financial advisers. The commission's announcement last week, citing "widespread"...

Make sure clients don't take the wrong lessons from the drop

February 10, 2018

Financial advisers and their clients deserve a pat on the back for their response to the recent, dramatic market volatility. Advisers have counseled their clients not to panic in market downturns and to invest for the long run, and, according...

Despite a pumped economy, Trump's approval remains low

February 3, 2018

Most American presidents would have envied Donald J. Trump's opportunity to deliver the State of the Union address last Tuesday. After all, he had a good story to tell: solid economic growth, a falling unemployment rate, rising home prices,...

Finra should fix budget shortfall by tackling expenses

January 27, 2018

Finra has a lot of rethinking to do.​ The broker-dealer regulator and its president and chief executive Robert W. Cook deserve commendation for undertaking significant outreach to understand what's going on outside its walls in order to better...

Supreme Court review will bolster fairness of SEC's in-house judges

January 20, 2018

Whichever way​ the Supreme Court rules in Lucia v. SEC, the decision should improve the fairness of proceedings before the regulator's administrative law judges. If the court should find in favor of Raymond Lucia, who is appealing a decision...

Amid seller's market for RIAs, firms must prep for potential sale

January 13, 2018

Last month, at the MarketCounsel Summit in Miami, during a panel discussion about advisory-firm valuations, Rich Gill of Wealth Partners Capital Group cited what might be 2018's most bankable theme in the financial advice space. "Our industry...

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