By Mark J. McCandless, CPA, CFP®, MTax
I love reading the Wall Street Journal. I learn interesting tidbits about sports that are not covered on sports websites. I learned about the importance of getting enough protein in my diet. I like the movie reviews that I can totally ignore because they don’t understand why I prefer action movies. I look forward to the full page ads from some company that just screwed up pledging that they are devoted to fixing whatever it is that everyone hates them for right now. I even read the financial news!
However what I don’t like to read is that a regulatory body just indicted or sanctioned or otherwise punished a financial advisory firm. It reminds everyone why they have a negative view of the financial services industry. That is why I was struck by an article in the Wall Street Journal about the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charging 79 financial firms with misleading their clients about the fees and other costs of the products they promote. Oddly, the Wall Street Journal did not list all of the firms but focused on perpetual bad - behavior poster child Wells Fargo. To find the firms involved I had to go to the SEC website. I was shocked at the number of well-known firms along with some smaller firms that were involved. The news release from the SEC as well a link is found here- check it to see if a firm you know is involved.
If a firm you work that is on the list, what should you do? First, click on the firm name listed and you will be able to see the complaint against the firm. Second, review the complaint and ask yourself if you are comfortable with the actions in which the organization engaged. If not, consider whether you should continue to work with the firm. All financial advisory firms are not alike. When we are introduced to a prospective client, one of the things we do for them prior to any type of commitment to us, is to do a review of their current Risk Tolerance and their existing Investment Portfolio. We call this a “Second Opinion” service and it is provided at no charge. It includes the following:
An overall investment analysis with a focus on whether the investments work well together toward achieving your investment goals
A personal risk score to ensure that the investment strategies employed are in line with your risk appetite and investment goals.
We all are in a very challenging period for investments. To be proactive with our clients, we discussed and updated their risk tolerance. As we make changes to our client portfolios, I would like to offer to you our Second Opinion service. While many people are reluctant to even open their statements, this is a critical time to evaluate your portfolio risk. Is your portfolio up to the task of meeting your investment goals?
"If you are interested in a Second Opinion review, you can contact the author of this article—Mark McCandless, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 216.236.6701."
Mark J. McCandless is the President of Pathfinder Wealth Advisors LLC, a fee only wealth management firm that specializes in helping physicians with income tax planning, investments, and financial planning. Pathfinder Wealth Advisors is a registered investment advisor and does not accept commissions for the sale of any investment or insurance products. He may be reached atMark@Pathfinderwealthadvisors.com.