Our exhaustive library of resources and guidelines designed to help professionals maintain a sterling reputation founded on trust, ethics, and best practices.
The topic of conflict of interest induces vertigo, especially now. On the one hand, financial professionals hear that conflicts of interest are bad. Their industry ethics codes urge them to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own. Yet for decades, product manufacturers have also given advisors the option to sell more expensive products in order to earn higher payouts compared to products that offer essentially the same benefits at a lower cost.
Advisors violated a core rule of customer service—safeguard client confidentiality at all times. Yet even though this principle is enshrined in industry ethics codes and reinforced in countless training programs, financial professionals every day blurt out client secrets, improperly store client documents, and fall prey to cyber-attacks. What gives?
The use of social media as a financial-services marketing strategy has come a long way. Less than ten years ago, only a minority of advisors used platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn to help promote their businesses. Even that was an uphill battle, with compliance departments and financial regulators placing roadblocks in their path. Today, the majority of advisors use such technologies to engage with the public, promote themselves as thought leaders, and to identify experts and best practices that can help them operate more effectively.
As the new Fiduciary Rule has moved through the enactment process, state and federal regulators have also taken steps to raise awareness of senior exploitation, while also making it easier for financial advisors to place a temporary hold on money disbursements if they suspect client incapacity (FINRA proposed Rule 2165.)
How do you execute client communications when when the entire world is awash in information? This has been a problem for several decades, ever since mass media emerged in the Fifties and Sixties, corporate advertising took off in the Seventies and Eighties, and the mother of all communication technologies—the Internet—took wing in the Nineties. Because of the last trend, the problem has shifted from battling information overload to slaying the information overlord.
According to the Department of Labor’s new Fiduciary Rule, all retirement-oriented advisors must comply with its “impartial conduct standards” by April 10, 2017. Are you making progress toward meeting this requirement? Are you still trying to make sense of the new rule? Are you paralyzed by fear and confusion? In any case, the time is now to make your final moves toward compliance. Here are five steps to make now, according to Matt Matrisian, senior vice president of Strategic Initiatives at AssetMark.
Public seminars have been a linchpin of financial-services marketing for more than 25 years. When properly designed and executed, they are strong lead-generation tools. However, all too often, financial advisors have used them to mislead prospects into buying products that ran counter to their personal needs and risk profile. As a result, seminars have become the target of regulatory scrutiny, at both the state and federal levels, and many advisors abandoned them because they didn’t want the regulatory headaches.
Welcome to to the brave new world of client service (AKA, customer experience), where every interaction with a prospect or client holds great potential for either unalloyed success or tarnished failure.
Selling ethically and within the compliance boundaries of your license pay huge dividends in terms of winning new clients and building a loyal customer base. Over the last few columns, we termed this approach “no-worry selling.” But what happens after someone becomes a client? Does the “no-worries” sales approach end?
As robo-advisors have taken hold in the market, an increasing number of investment advisors are wrapping third-party automated portfolio management services into their own client offerings. But this can arouse regulatory scrutiny, as happened recently in Massachusetts.