Stewardship Standards

Vincent explores the debate of Industry Standards, Duties, Best Practices and Regulatory Trends

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of Vincent Micciche and do not necessarily reflect those of LifeMark Securities

Providing Financial Services to Seniors: Are Firms Doing Enough?

Serving seniors may be the most important challenge and most rewarding opportunity facing today’s financial advisor.

The “Baby Boomers,” those born between 1946 and 1964, began turning 65 in 2011. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, over 41 million people living in the United States, or more than 13% of the population, were 65 or older in 2011. The number of seniors living in the United States will increase dramatically in the future. For example, the number of people aged 65 or older is projected to be more than 79 million in 2040, which is over twice as many as in the year 2000

I am the CEO of LifeMark Securities Corp., an independent broker/dealer-RIA that has, since its inception in 1983, been committed to advancing and practicing Stewardship Standards in delivering financial services to our customers.

I was astounded when I first read the April 14th article, Merrill Seeks To Be Leader On Fiduciary, in Investment News. Honestly, I came away thinking that Blaine Aiken, CEO of fi360, was a public relations consultant for Merrill.

Financial Institutions Should Explain “Why”

Author and leadership expert Simon Sinek has, for years, explored what I believe to be of the most intriguing predictors of corporate behavior. In a Ted Talk , he presented what he calls the “Golden Circle” at whose heart lays the definitive question “Why”. In his talk he notes that an enterprise explaining what they do and how they do it explains little about their differentiation. However, explaining “why” can reveal abundant information about their nature, purpose and motivation.

Examining the Corporate Culture of Wells Fargo

There are many ways of assessing principles and values that corporations subscribe to. You can start by examining the public statement of its values and beliefs and comparing that to its corporate behavior. You can also look at its customer’s assessment of their dealings with the firm and its employees’ level of trust and confidence in management. We can probably all agree that the degree to which a firm or individual values integrity can be found by examining how they hold themselves accountable for their actions.

As the effective date of the Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Rule approaches, the agency has issued further guidance in the form of a 16-page document containing 30 questions and answers together with an appendix. This analysis distills the guidance significantly while building on previous analysis I have provided.

Even as the 4/10/17 effective date of the Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Rule has come and gone without event, the debate rages on. The battle lines are formed within the House Financial Services Committee pretty much along party lines with the Democrats trying to save the Rule and the Republicans trying to abolish it.

As we are all aware, implementation of the DOL Fiduciary Rule has again been delayed by another 18 months and its viability is looking weaker by the day.

Those of you who have been following my guidance on the DOL Rule and the fiduciary movement know that I have predicted failure of the DOL Rule and its replacement by a comprehensive Fiduciary Rule that will appropriately be crafted by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). It appears that we have moved a step closer.