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Where RIABiz's view of RIAs as oases-of-ethics bumps up against the Merrill Lynch & Co. mirage -- and why that mirage is still so effective

Fiduciary watchdog Knut Rostad warns that RIAs must zealously expose wirehouses tricked out in best-interests-of-the-investor drag

Friday, January 6, 2017 – 6:33 PM by Guest Columnist Knut Rostad
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Knut Rostad: RIAs must also say what non-fiduciaries don't, won’t or can't do. They must highlight tasks that, in fact, many non-fiduciary firms won’t let their brokers perform.

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FAA

FAA

January 7, 2017 — 3:43 PM
It is NFL Wild Card weekend and every Head Coach, offensive/ defensive coordinator, QB has a game plan...on paper which sounds great. That is until you actually play the game and have to execute to win. It's the same thing here...while agreeing with much of what has been written- it is way too soft. 'Zealously avoid conflicts"? What does that mean? Is it it sort of like Eli Manning zealously avoiding interceptions? How about if you disclose any and all potential conflicts including any sort of renumeration for the placement of any investment related product? That includes scrapes, up charges, spreads at the platform of TAMP level, commissions etc. Report all fees and investment expenses? Nope- how about report all fees, expenses outlying who gets paid and for what along the entire food change? Just freaking lay it out- how much for the advice, how much for vehicles, how much for performance reporting blah blah blah. Case in point- one firm which actually had 'retirement' in their name charged an advice fee and garnered the 12b-1 fees on the backend. I asked if they disclosed that to their clients- their response 'they wouldn't understand that and all the things we do' Really? Demystify the process and I think you would go a lot further in distinguishing yourself. Document, disclose, defend...
Jack Waymire

Jack Waymire

January 7, 2017 — 5:08 PM
Do not forget the impact of the Internet. Astute investors have unprecedented access to information that used to be controlled by Wall Street. Investors can use the information to learn more about financial advisors in general and learn more about specific financial advisors. This creates a unique marketing opportunity for high quality financial advisors. Low quality advisors cannot afford to practice online transparency - they have too much to hide. High quality advisors should use the Internet to practice transparency, deliver their value proposition, and publish characteristics that differentiate them from other fiduciaries and non-fiduciaries. The big winners in the Internet age are investors and high quality RIAs.
brooke southall

brooke southall

January 7, 2017 — 7:11 PM
Excellent point, Jack...probably even a good column topic:)
brooke southall

brooke southall

January 7, 2017 — 7:16 PM
FAA, You nailed it. I love this: "How about report all fees, expenses outlying who gets paid and for what along the entire food chain? Just freaking lay it out- how much for the advice, how much for vehicles, how much for performance reporting blah blah blah." Indeed! In a world where everyone is running lookalike businesses with lookalike jargon, why isn't somebody trying the business model of pathological, answer-more-than-asked truth telling and disclosure?!!!! Somehow it is still considered gauche to ask for all-in fees. Brooke

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