Special thanks to our latest radio guest, President and CEO of fiduciary360 (fi360), Blaine Aikin, for taking the time to give us insight into several of the proposals currently before Congress dealing with regulatory reform. Blaine gave up his time during an especially busy week – he joined us on Wednesday night (9/9) and then traveled to Washington, D.C. for a scheduled meeting on Friday (9/11) with SEC Chairperson Mary Shapiro.
The trip to D.C. was taken with members of the Committee for the Fiduciary Standard – a group that was formed to draw the public’s attention to the movement to create a unified fiduciary standard. Fiduciaries are people who manage money on behalf of others and stand in a special relationship of trust and legal and ethical responsibility – including CPAs, CFPs, stock brokers and insurance brokers.
Currently, some fiduciaries are held to a fiduciary standard while others are held to a suitability standard. It is the goal of the Committee for the Fiduciary Standard that the fiduciary standard apply to all fiduciaries and that disclosures become crystal clear. (For more on this effort, visit fi360’s website at www.fi360.com).
During the second half of the show, Blaine took a close look at some of the recent financial scams and scandals (including the Bernie Madoff scandal) and what the average investor should be doing to avoid becoming a victim of such a scandal.
Blaine’s advice was excellent and taking a minute to review his suggestions could save you financial heartbreak in the future. For starters, Blaine recommends that investors rely on RFPs (requests for proposals) instead of third party testimonials. Do a background check – read the fine print in disclosures.
Don’t work with people who don’t have time to answer your questions or tell you that you don’t really need to know. This is one of the ways that Bernie Madoff was able to avoid detection for so long.
Make sure that your advisor uses a system of checks and balances. For instance, Bernie wore four hats – broker, advisor, manager and custodian. Included in this system of checks and balances is making sure that your advisor does not take custody of your assets directly.
Do your homework – look for 3rd party verification – audited financials, GIPS certified performance standards, CEFEX.
Finally, keep in mind the old adage – if something seems to good to be true, it probably is.
If you missed the show with Blaine Aikin and you’d like to hear either the entire show or portions of the show – check back to this website soon. Audio will be posted by next week (the week of September 21st).