Meaningful Conversations about Money

It’s not you; It’s Me… Signed, Big Brokerage

By Robert Fezza and Steve Siders

Dear Investor,
Your financial adviser can no longer provide you with investment guidance…
We will be moving your account to a self-directed platform…
We can no longer hold the products we recommended to you in your IRA…
It’s not you, it’s me.
Signed,
Big Brokerage

Does the passage above look familiar? You may have read the news headlines or received a “Dear John” letter from your financial institution notifying you of changes to their services and your accounts. We’ve had clients ask us why big brokerage is just now realizing putting their clients’ interests first is best?!

Our answer: because the government said so.

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) so-called “Fiduciary Rule” is forcing most brokerage firms to change the way they deliver advice, along with the types of investments they recommend in retirement accounts and IRAs. Our firm, however, is able to stay the course, because we have operated under this higher standard the past 17 years, as our partners are both Certified Financial Planner professionals (CFP®).

The new DOL rule, as it is written, requires financial advisers, brokers, and insurance agents, who provide retirement advice, to act as a fiduciary for their clients. Being a fiduciary demands that financial professionals put the interests of their clients first and disclose any potential conflicts of interest. This sounds like the right way to do business, right? Of course!

Although the rule’s scheduled implementation is Apr. 10, the Trump administration asked the DOL to delay the implementation by 60 days to allow time to reevaluate some of the more controversial parts of the rule. This has led to a variety of headlines like “In Your Best Interests? Maybe, Maybe Not” (AJC Mar. 8, 2017) and “How to Protect Your Money Under Trump’s Financial Regulation Change” (AJC Feb. 7, 2017).

Even with the delay, many of the firms are proceeding to implement new internal procedures to change the way they do business, and you may be one of those clients who, all of a sudden, receives a letter or phone call from your adviser suggesting changes to your investments. The question you should ask your adviser is—why did you wait until the government forced a change to put my interests first? Shouldn’t you have been doing that all along?

Our question for you is this—isn’t it in your best interest to get a second opinion?

At Odyssey, we treat our clients as people in pursuit of their goals, not as portfolios with fees. It has been and will continue to be our intent to always put our clients’ interests first. It really is that simple.
Life’s a journey—navigate it wisely!

Robert Fezza and Steve Siders.

Robert Fezza, CFP® and Steve Siders, CFP® own Odyssey Personal Financial Advisors, 500 Sun Valley Drive, Suite A-6, Roswell, GA. Their firm specializes in working with people who are serious about making progress towards their financial goals. Odyssey manages portfolios greater than $250,000. 770-992-4444, www.odysseypfa.com. Securities offered through Cetera Financial Specialists LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.­­­­­­