Rulebook

Just When You Thought Clients Trusted You…

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A high-net-worth investor very bluntly expressed her own distaste with her advisor and with financial services at large, during an Institute for the Fiduciary Standard conference call on "trust and Wall Street."

“I’m a high-net-worth investor who thinks something stinky has happened in her accounts,” the woman said.

The woman’s thoughts seemed disjointed and incoherent. But her anger and frustration with the industry came through loud and clear:

“There are a lot of investors who don’t know how to read their statements or evaluate their investments,” she said. “So I think that number of investors that is actually being taken by their guy is a lot bigger than you all think.

“I think most investors would find that their guy is not working for them; their guy is working for themselves,” she added. “I think there’s quite a few bad apples in the bushel.”

In regards to an earlier discussion about developing a culture of integrity among junior personnel on Wall Street, she said, “I would wonder how many of those junior personnel are children of the current people that are in the system, because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

The woman went on to say that her financial advisor worked for both a broker/dealer and an investment advisory.

“I want a white cowboy hat, and I want a black cowboy hat, and I want them marked,” she said. “Then your guy wears the one according to the words that are coming through his mouth.”

Jordan Thomas, one of the presenters and a partner at Labaton Sucharow LLP, who investigates and prosecutes securities fraud, jumped in during the middle of the woman’s rant.

“It’s easy to pile on Wall Street, and say, ‘Look at all the problems,’” he said. “But I can tell you as a former SEC person who’s worked with international authorities and seen international markets, there is no better place in the world to put your money.”

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Compliance, regulatory and legal issues, with a fair amount of cops and robbers for fun.

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