Now that the markets and economy has stabilized and estate sizes may have changed, as well as the...
Disclosures Disclosures Disclosures! Who Broke The Code?
We individuals, including me, are inundated with disclosures from various financial institutions, including from my own firm. The disclosures are typically lengthy, small print and I’m never quite sure how it applies to me, other than the fact it came from a financial business where I have an account.
So why are you and I getting these? Well, someone broke the code! You ask, “what code?” One of the oldest codes for human kind. From the bible it’s the 10 commandments and golden rule and from the Koran it’s the ethics of reciprocity.
Most all professions have a code of ethics. I personally have been an engineer (professional engineers have one), and I am a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), Charter Financial Consultant® (ChFC®), and Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) (all have a code of ethics), my firm and our advisors are fiduciarieswhen providing advisory services which always puts the client first. They all, in so many words say what the original “codes” say.
Someone has broken the code, meaning they have violated it to their benefit and not their constituency. Subsequently governments have stepped in and established regulatory agencies to try and prevent this from happening. in my experience, on both the receiving and submitting end.They require these disclosures stating the many ways one can be betrayed in their dealings with the firm where they have an account or relationship.
Most recently, in my financial industry, the regulators have established a “new” best interest requirement. Iput new in italics as it really isn’t new…is it? Shouldn’t be! Here we go again with more disclosures in an effort to protect all of us from those who choose to “break the code.”And to support the seriousness of the requirement to send out disclosures on a timely basis, firms in my industry have been fined $10,000 to $90,000 for not doing so.
My point in all of this is I empathize with all of you and my clients in receiving disclosure after disclosure. It is a noble effort by our regulatory agencies, but the truth of the matter is the code still gets broken. I know some get caught, but I’m afraid some don’t.
To conclude, as much as we would like to believe that our regulatory agencies will protect us from “code breakers”, we all should trust but verify and accept that we as buyers of anything should always beware.