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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-27-2006, 03:31 PM   #21
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Re: Another advisor horror story

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob_Smith
I have a fair number of people who ask for input. Four "rules" I follow:

1) First I make sure anyone requesting help understands the importance of self-education and the high costs and risks associated with using investment professionals.
2) I refuse to make investment decisions for anyone except our aging parents (and only if they request it).
3) I won't discuss investments with anyone who isn't willing to read at least two good investment related books. That eliminates 95% right there.
4) I insist that the person requesting "advice" get a decent grasp on historical returns and inflation by examining the Stocks, Bonds, Bills, and Inflation series.

I can count on one hand the number of people willing to jump those hurdles. Most just want someone to tell them what to do... they believe in "gurus" who can get them into investments that only go up, and I refuse to play that game. Off-hand I can recall only five who got to the point where we discussed specific investments - my MIL, my daughter, my secretary, one co-worker, and my father. This approach has prevented a lot of wheel spinning and wasted time.
Cost depends on the advisor.............
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-27-2006, 06:24 PM   #22
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Re: Another advisor horror story

Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude
Cost depends on the advisor.............
That's right, they don't all charge the same; most are high cost, and most of the rest are even higher. And I don't send friends and family looking for needles in haystacks.
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-28-2006, 05:42 PM   #23
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Re: Another advisor horror story

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Originally Posted by HFWR
I think "selling" loaded funds and variable annuities and such to an 85-yo is a reprehensible action that should be considered unethical and an illegal dereliction of fiduciary responsibility on the part of the FP...

How do these crooks sleep at night?
With their head on a pillow.
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-28-2006, 05:58 PM   #24
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Re: Another advisor horror story

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Originally Posted by FinanceDude
1)Have DW talk to her. See if DW can convince her to trust you with financial decisions by telling her how your own finances have gone well because you BOTH have worked on it, etc...........kind of a "mom schmooze" that daughters know how to do.

2)If that doesn't work, offer to pay for an hour consultation with a local CFP. You can find them through referral or at www.fpa.net. They charge from $75-$250 an hour most areas. Offer to have DW come along, or both of you.

3)Find an advisor that will manage her accounts on a fee basis that you are comfortable with. I have had numerous discussions with the kids of my clients, as a matter off fact I now make it a requirement that any new client I take on, that I either meet in person or have a phone interview with the benficiaries/children to introduce myself and give them my background, etc. This has worked well, particularly where the kids have input into Mom and Dad's finances.

Finance Dude
Finance Dude, thanks for providing some very good suggestions. However, in this case, my MIL is very stubborn and doesn't want to offend her "very nice" advisor, and looks at me as just a kid (even though I have an advanced degree and I am approaching 40), and so she doesn't want to rely on me for such important matters, since her "very nice" advisor from a very large national firm obviously knows more than her "kid" son in law. I think a part of it is also her clinging to a sense of independence in terms of making her own decisions.

Finance Dude, in reference the comments about this practice as being potentially unethical, correct me if I am wrong .... but isn't it an accepted practice by most of the major financial firms to use load funds, annuities, high expense funds, and other high priced products?? If the practice is accepted and common in the industry, how can it be unethical? Don't misunderstand my point.... I do think the financial industry abuses high priced financial products to make excess profits, especially on the elderly and the less educated (although certainly not limited to those categories). For example, I do think it is unethical to put someone in a 5 percent front end load fund when a low cost no load fund serves the same or better purpose. The point of my comments is to suggest that the financial industry is like the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse....there is too much money being made at the expense of a largely ignorant public by too many large institutional players for the industry to stop it.

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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-28-2006, 07:58 PM   #25
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Re: Another advisor horror story

Actually, it was I complaining... Finance Dude is one of THEM!

Sorry, just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD...
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-28-2006, 08:42 PM   #26
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Re: Another advisor horror story

I am dealing with a similar situation right now. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good book to give to the person (perhaps as a Christmas present...). Maybe instead of coming from me, if it comes from a book that I give them, and then they read by themselves, it would sink in. Any recommendations? I'm looking for something addressing just the managing money aspect, with introductions to fee ratios etc, not the lifestyle aspect (i.e. millionare next door or rich dad poor dad).
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-28-2006, 09:29 PM   #27
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Re: Another advisor horror story

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Originally Posted by HFWR
Actually, it was I complaining... Finance Dude is one of THEM!

Sorry, just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD...
Perhaps you should define "one of them".........meaning that a blanket statement about ALL in the financial services industry is an uninformed comment..........

Plus, I keep hearing everyone on here talk about 5% this and 5.75% that like every fund charges the same, there are no breakpoints, etc......you guys are funny..........

Since I am a 100% fee-based advisor, why are we talking about high load mutuals anyways??

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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-29-2006, 06:51 AM   #28
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Re: Another advisor horror story

MacDaddy, get them one of Bogle's books. (maybe the shortest one?)

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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-29-2006, 08:08 AM   #29
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Re: Another advisor horror story

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Originally Posted by FinanceDude
Perhaps you should define "one of them".........meaning that a blanket statement about ALL in the financial services industry is an uninformed comment..........
Shirley, you jest...
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-29-2006, 10:32 AM   #30
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Re: Another advisor horror story

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Originally Posted by HFWR
Shirley, you jest...
A lot of the time I do..........this is not one of them. I realize there is an unabashed hate of advisors from you and others on this board...........the reason I am on here is because my clients are not a lot different than the people on this board...........the big difference being they believe FAs like me can help them, and you guys believe people that have money that fire advisors are lazy and uninformed.

The average net worth of my clients is $2-$4 million dollars. And although a number of them have money at Vanguard/Fidelity/Schwab, it's not 100% of their portfolio like it is for almost everrybody here.

Vanguard and other folks have found a way to commoditize the investment business. The model has worked extremely well since 1975 or so. A lot of people ARE DIY, and I have no problem with that. Folks on this forum are not going to hire me or anyone else for that matter to advise them on what to do............to each their own.

I wonder if legal advise or medical advise or other services can be commoditized too..............maybe that is the future........

I do, however, find it interesting that despite the Internet, Vanguard, Fidelity, and others, the statistics that only 5% or so will be FIRE hasn't changed much in 30 years............that is the real tragedy, that the average American does not KNOW or CARE how retirement will treat them...............

I respect your arguments, but I feel justified to defend myself from personal attacks..........
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-29-2006, 11:42 AM   #31
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Re: Another advisor horror story

I was just joshin'; note the wink...

I really don't have an opinion, other than I don't use a FP. Still, anyone selling crappola to an 85yo should be ashamed of themselves...
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-29-2006, 11:52 AM   #32
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Re: Another advisor horror story

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Originally Posted by HFWR
I was just joshin'; note the wink...

I really don't have an opinion, other than I don't use a FP. Still, anyone selling crappola to an 85yo should be ashamed of themselves...
Agree...........wonder what the kids think about a scenario like this?? Seriously, there is WIDE DISPARITY between the Compliance Departments of different insurance/brokerage firms.

I know that if I would have done that at any firm I have worked at, I would have been fired, plain and simple...........
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-29-2006, 12:13 PM   #33
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Re: Another advisor horror story

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Originally Posted by FinanceDude
Agree...........wonder what the kids think about a scenario like this?? Seriously, there is WIDE DISPARITY between the Compliance Departments of different insurance/brokerage firms.

I know that if I would have done that at any firm I have worked at, I would have been fired, plain and simple...........
Finance Dude, could you define what "that" is that would have caused you to be fired? Is it selling loaded funds? Is it selling a variable annuity? Is it using a high expense ratio fund?

It seems to me that all of the above are common practice with many firms. Don't you agree?
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-29-2006, 12:33 PM   #34
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Re: Another advisor horror story

Finance Dude-

First, let me say, I appreciate the fact that you provide insight and advice that comes from a different perspective, which is often quite helpful.

That being said, and honestly NOT trying to be haggy or anything - I just am curious regarding "fee-based" financial advising charges.

Let's start off by saying any professional deserves to be paid well if they are providing good/great service for their fees. For example, I don't mind paying our attorney his fee of $300 per hour because he is worth every penny and we use his services sparingly.

To continue regarding FA fees, you stated:

"If that doesn't work, offer to pay for an hour consultation with a local CFP. You can find them through referral or at www.fpa.net. They charge from $75-$250 an hour most areas. "

"The average net worth of my clients is $2-$4 million dollars. And although a number of them have money at Vanguard/Fidelity/Schwab, it's not 100% of their portfolio like it is for almost everrybody here."

and can't find the exact quote, but you posted YOUR rate schedule through your agency with I believe a minimum fee of .35% on assets over one million.
(I do understand you work for an agency and don't set the rates yourself)

Here is my question and point:

If I were one of your typical clients - having $3M in total assets (not including real estate), you would automatically charge me .35% per year ($10,500) for your services. If I have most of my assets in Vanguard, but need some help from you to make sure I am on the right page for SWR, diversification/risk, and tax implications - wouldn't I be (much) better off with another (capable) fee-based FA who charges me by the hour. Again, assuming I have a good idea what I am doing and I just need fine tuning? I just don't understand how you can be "fee-based" and yet charge me by a percentage of my net-worth. It doesn't sound congruent to me.

Also, if you advise only on a portion of someone's portfolio - do you just charge on that? Again, wouldn't you be better off (as a CLIENT) to pay hourly? Also, once the initial stuff is done - it should be pretty much set it and forget it, so again an hourly fee to come back once a year for a check up but not to pay $10,500 for that privilege/service?!? :P

I actually like your posts and that you tend to be so cool - headed, so please don't take this personally! Also, you really do seem to have your clients best interests at heart from what you say here. I just can't see giving ANYONE a % of my hard-earned stash. If you could explain why this is kosher, I would sincerely appreciate it.

Thanks!

Jane (hoping you are taking this interragation ok - :)
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-29-2006, 12:36 PM   #35
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Re: Another advisor horror story

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob_Smith
I have a fair number of people who ask for input. Four "rules" I follow:

1) First I make sure anyone requesting help understands the importance of self-education and the high costs and risks associated with using investment professionals.
2) I refuse to make investment decisions for anyone except our aging parents (and only if they request it).
3) I won't discuss investments with anyone who isn't willing to read at least two good investment related books. That eliminates 95% right there.
4) I insist that the person requesting "advice" get a decent grasp on historical returns and inflation by examining the Stocks, Bonds, Bills, and Inflation series.

Bob Smith -

Great post!

I would like to nominate it to be in "Best of Boards" as a topic of how to give financial advice! (Monitors?)

Luckily ( ??!!), not too many people ask me about financial advice! But someday, I hope to be at least semi-capable of helping family members.

Have a great day!

Jane

I can count on one hand the number of people willing to jump those hurdles. Most just want someone to tell them what to do... they believe in "gurus" who can get them into investments that only go up, and I refuse to play that game. Off-hand I can recall only five who got to the point where we discussed specific investments - my MIL, my daughter, my secretary, one co-worker, and my father. This approach has prevented a lot of wheel spinning and wasted time.
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-29-2006, 12:38 PM   #36
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Re: Another advisor horror story

Jane, I think FD will answer and I hope he does, because I am curious about the exact mechanics of how the advisor fee structure works.

But as a prelude, I would be willing to bet that his larger clients expect and demand at least $10.5k worth of service every year. In addition to planning, updates, tax stuff, estate planning, etc., there is usually a LOT of hand-holding that goes on here. You and I don't need hand-holding, but then again we aren't typical advisor customers. The need to do hand holding is probably the #1 or #2 reason I find the career unappealing (the other is liability).
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-29-2006, 12:49 PM   #37
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Re: Another advisor horror story

Brewer -

You're right! I think I would make a typical advisor uncomfortable with all my questions - and I am sure they would be totally intimidated by you if you ever bothered to consult with one! I actually would consider it, once we ever sell our property and I have my plan all figured out then to pay hourly just to get a perspective.

Looking forward to hearing FD's reply .........

Jane
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-29-2006, 12:54 PM   #38
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Re: Another advisor horror story

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Originally Posted by Jane_Doe
and I am sure they would be totally intimidated by you if you ever bothered to consult with one!
Yeah, something about me having more letters after my name than them and the fact that I manage 10X the amount of money they do would probably not go over too well.
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-29-2006, 11:24 PM   #39
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Re: Another advisor horror story

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Originally Posted by JustCurious
Finance Dude, could you define what "that" is that would have caused you to be fired? Is it selling loaded funds? Is it selling a variable annuity? Is it using a high expense ratio fund?

It seems to me that all of the above are common practice with many firms. Don't you agree?
Some firms take the "know your customer" rule and expand it. Others use suitability forms (internal) that keep their advisors in check. The firms I worked for did both...we had a branch manager who personally reviewed the new account forms, as well as monitored trading in client accounts. They were VERY sensitive to VA sales, particularly large dollar amounts and clients over 60, because Compliance told them the NASD was looking closely at these types of sales, and they didn't want an inquiry about sales practices at the firm........

I know a lot of insurance salespeople sell VAs like they are candy, but they don't need th client to sign a form where ALL the yearly charges, surrender schedule, and warnings about the client's potential to lose money, and NOT FDIC insured in big block letters on a sheet of paper. Most of us just didn't sell them, as our firm made it very difficult to do so.........

I always get confused about the "high-load" mutual funds you guys talk about......there must be some confusion out there. "Load" mutual fund shares are primarily 3 types: A,B,and C.

A shares: The highest load I know of is 5.75% on the FIRST $25,000 of investment. Most firms discount the front end load at dollar increments above that. Pretty much every firm drops their "Load" to 3.5% once the amount invested is over $100,000, etc.

B shares: I don't use them, but they exist. Works like an annuity, with a 6-7 year surrender charge for early redemption. These shares typically have an ER higher than A shares by .75% a year.....after the surrender charge, they convert to A shares, with the lower expenses.

C shares: Invented in the early 90's to "combat" the growth of no-load funds, they charge an internal ER that is roughtly .75% higher than A shares, but the .75% (12b-1) goes on forever........so the regulators aren't really keen on these. Client pays nothing to get in, has to hold them a year, but I am not a fan of these either........

Compared to Vanguard, I guess ALL loaded funds would be considered "high cost". Probably 95% of my business when I used load funds was in American Funds, due to their low expenses ( about half of the average load fund)

I am not afraid to answer any questions you guys throw at me........
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Re: Another advisor horror story
Old 11-29-2006, 11:52 PM   #40
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Re: Another advisor horror story

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane_Doe
Finance Dude-

First, let me say, I appreciate the fact that you provide insight and advice that comes from a different perspective, which is often quite helpful.

That being said, and honestly NOT trying to be haggy or anything - I just am curious regarding "fee-based" financial advising charges.

Let's start off by saying any professional deserves to be paid well if they are providing good/great service for their fees. For example, I don't mind paying our attorney his fee of $300 per hour because he is worth every penny and we use his services sparingly.

To continue regarding FA fees, you stated:

"If that doesn't work, offer to pay for an hour consultation with a local CFP. You can find them through referral or at www.fpa.net. They charge from $75-$250 an hour most areas. "

"The average net worth of my clients is $2-$4 million dollars. And although a number of them have money at Vanguard/Fidelity/Schwab, it's not 100% of their portfolio like it is for almost everrybody here."

and can't find the exact quote, but you posted YOUR rate schedule through your agency with I believe a minimum fee of .35% on assets over one million.
(I do understand you work for an agency and don't set the rates yourself)

Here is my question and point:

If I were one of your typical clients - having $3M in total assets (not including real estate), you would automatically charge me .35% per year ($10,500) for your services. If I have most of my assets in Vanguard, but need some help from you to make sure I am on the right page for SWR, diversification/risk, and tax implications - wouldn't I be (much) better off with another (capable) fee-based FA who charges me by the hour. Again, assuming I have a good idea what I am doing and I just need fine tuning? I just don't understand how you can be "fee-based" and yet charge me by a percentage of my net-worth. It doesn't sound congruent to me.

Also, if you advise only on a portion of someone's portfolio - do you just charge on that? Again, wouldn't you be better off (as a CLIENT) to pay hourly? Also, once the initial stuff is done - it should be pretty much set it and forget it, so again an hourly fee to come back once a year for a check up but not to pay $10,500 for that privilege/service?!? :P

I actually like your posts and that you tend to be so cool - headed, so please don't take this personally! Also, you really do seem to have your clients best interests at heart from what you say here. I just can't see giving ANYONE a % of my hard-earned stash. If you could explain why this is kosher, I would sincerely appreciate it.

Thanks!

Jane (hoping you are taking this interragation ok - :)
I get interrogated by folks not so different form you guys everyday, so I take no offense............

There are two kinds of advisors, IMO. Fee-based advisors and Hourly-fee advisors. I think "fee-based" is over-used and misunderstood, so I'll differentiate:

1)Most people think of a "fee-based" planner as a CFP, who charges an hourly rate and/or a flat fee to "do a plan" and make recommendations. VERY FEW of these folks actually do the investing, they give recommendations and leave it up to the client to either follow the plan or not. They will do follow-up reviews with you for an hourly fee, and so on. They work much like an attorney or CPA with billable hours.

2)Fee-based advisors: Are folks like me who charge a fee on the amount of assets I manage for you. The industry is moving rapidly in this direction, and away from the traditional "stock jockeys" and "jack-of-all-trades" brokers of days gone by. Because I licensed as an RIA (Series 65), I can solicit clients and put them in managed money accounts or manage the assets directly myself, as I have a Series 7. The fees I charge have a maximum and minimum to them. I could charge as much as 1.25% on a $1 million portfolio, and there are some doing that. However, I have chosen to adjust my compensation to the lower end of the scale because I have found that larger accounts need less hand-holding thean smaller ones, and I want to be competitive in my area.

We have very good software for doing individual financial plans for clients, and the firm has stated we can charge up to $500 a client for a review. I know Ameriprise and others typically charge $1000-$1200.........but we have pretty much the same software......... I have decided NOT to charge for doing a plan, because I believe that most clients do not want to pay for a financial plan AND for ongoing advice.........

What do you get for the fee? I wish I could say I am the next Warren Buffett or Peter Lynch, but I think Brewer is much closer than me to that lofty perch........ Basically my clients are those that don't want to manage their own money (they like that I'm accountable), or don't want to learn how to manage their own finances.........

For the flat fee, the client gets from me:

1)Complimentary financial plan or review

2)Quarterly meetings at a minimum, or more when situations arise

3)Introduction to my personal referral network, encompassing everything from CPAs to estate planning attorneys, to real estate guys to commercial lenders to M&E specialist, business brokers, etc, Lifetime MDRT specialist, etc. I even have negotiated loans and car purchases on behalf of my clients.

4)They have 24 hour access to me, as I give them my cell phone number and pager number.

5)Investment Policy Statements, reviewed annually, 24/7 web-based performance reports, etc.

6)Twice yearly seminars where I bring in experts and cover taxes, IRA limits, distribution rules, 72T, a host of investment topics.



And as you guys probably have guessed, I have had a few take my recommendations to Schwab/Vanguard/Fido/TD Waterhouse in the past 10 years..........but if that's the way they really want it, they had no intentions of using an advisor long-term anyway.........

I have less than 100 clients, and plan on keeping it that way.........

5)
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