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Don't you dare say 'financial planning'

October 31, 2005

One of the ironic results of the so-called Merrill Lynch rule is that brokerage firms, to avoid classifying their brokers as investment advisers, must be careful not to offer clients full financial planning. Oh sure, they can take steps to ensure...

Employees need 401(k) advice now

October 24, 2005

Although both houses of Congress are close to passing bills that would provide for advice, the bills will be difficult to reconcile. The House bill would allow the firms that service the 401(k) plans for employers, such as mutual fund companies...

On your own with the indexed annuity mess

October 17, 2005

Remember your little brother who always got you in trouble? Your parents blamed you for not keeping him in line. Such is the state with the investment industry, which sees insurance agents' selling risk-free "stock market" investments in the...

Another key choice for Bush: Next Fed chief

October 17, 2005

Now that President Bush has chosen his second Supreme Court nominee, he must turn his attention to choosing a replacement for Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan. This choice certainly will be more important for the country in the...

Americans failing at financial literacy

October 10, 2005

There is a justified fear among financial planners and advisers that many Americans are ill equipped to survive in this new, complex financial world. Therefore, building a much stronger relationship and overall understanding between financial...

White House must address tax reform

October 3, 2005

The hurricanes that devastated the Gulf Coast in the past month have also severely damaged the Bush administration's domestic agenda. The two highest priorities in that agenda were reform of the Social Security and income tax systems. The Social...

SEC scrutiny of hedge funds is good start

September 26, 2005

Beginning next year, the Securities and Exchange Commission is adopting a "risk-based approach" to monitoring hedge funds, as part of its evolving regulatory regimen for the booming industry. While many industry observers accurately question...

The gift of giving keeps on coming

September 19, 2005

By the time you read this, American individuals and corporations will have given more than $1 billion to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. This astonishing sum is an example of the extraordinary generosity of ordinary Americans. Financial...

Forget blame. Get ready for the next disaster

September 19, 2005

It's time for federal, state and local politicians to stop playing the blame game and begin both short- and long-term planning to prevent, or at least better respond to, another disaster like Hurricane Katrina. The richest country in the world...

Industry should give SEC's Cox a break

September 12, 2005

Christopher Cox, the new Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, will get plenty of advice. In fact, he'll be subject to intense political pressure and spin from all sides. Wall Street and other corporate interests are in a fighting mood...

SEC must tread softly with soft dollars

September 5, 2005

Once again, the Securities and Exchange Commission is attempting to tighten the rules regarding the use of soft dollars to buy investment research. While the SEC's efforts are aimed mainly at stemming potential and actual abuses at the institutional...

SEC must improve 12(b)-1 fee disclosure

August 29, 2005

It's quite evident that 12(b)-1 fees, which the Securities and Exchange Commission has scrutinized, are here to stay. The regulator has sifted through a great deal of muck in an effort to determine how to revamp these fees, but no action has...

It's time to implement the 'Merrill Lynch rule'

August 22, 2005

No delay. No compromise. That's what the Securities and Exchange Commission should tell the Securities Industry Association of New York and Washington in response to the latter's request for a six-month delay in complying with the disclosure...

'Business ethics' is becoming an oxymoron

August 22, 2005

The Securities and Exchange Commission last week charged four stockbrokers, who worked with three Wall Street firms, and a day trader with cheating investors through a fraudulent scheme that used squawk boxes to eavesdrop on confidential order...

To: SEC chairman, re: Unfinished business

August 15, 2005

Mr. Cox, below is a list of items that should be at the top of your "to do" list as you take office. Adopt the correct mind-set. You have a reputation for being business friendly. You must adopt an investor-friendly mind-set. Although in the...

Tax reform, long overdue, must deliver predictability

August 8, 2005

This country is at a very promising moment in time. Suddenly, the idea of tax reform is back on the radar of our legislators - and none too soon. For many years, the powers that be have tried a variety of Band-Aid solutions to solve the tax...

Creativity needed to help boomers retire

July 25, 2005

Financial planners and investment advisers will likely have to work harder than ever as they try to guide baby boom retirees safely through retirement. The first retirees now are only a little more than six years away from the full retirement...

It's time for the PFS and ChFC to fade away

July 18, 2005

Quickly, what does "PFS" stand for? It stands for "personal financial specialist," the financial planning credential supported by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But how many financial services customers know this? And...

Good show, Donaldson, except for last act

July 11, 2005

Talk about going out with a bang. While William H. Donaldson may have had good intentions, his recent actions simply cannot be condoned. On June 29, one day before retiring as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the 74-year-old...

Bush must use veto to rein in Congress

June 27, 2005

It is almost, but not quite, too late for President Bush to impose some fiscal discipline on Congress. He must veto some of Congress' irresponsible spending, sending it back to rethink its priorities. The place to start is with the highways...

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