I hope you have the best Financial Professional in the industry! Seriously, I do. But Financial Professionals, good and bad, leave their current broker dealer (e.g. Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch, LPL, and more) for all kinds of reasons–good and bad.
And it isn’t always pretty! We could spend days talking about this. But we will not because my goal today is to get you thinking about a backup plan if you do lose your professional.
As a woman in the industry for 25 years, I was impressed at times when a woman in the financial services industry was recognized as a “Business Woman of the Year”. In 2013, Ami Forte held that title. I did not know Ami Forte when she was at Bank of America or Morgan Stanley. I never knew the story of Ami Forte until this week. This week Morgan Stanley let Ms. Forte go, and she joined Pinnacle Investments in Florida to develop Pinnacle’s profile there. So, she left, and no one knows where her clients went. Ms. Forte’s story is a little tawdry–she became the mistress for a dozen or so years–to Roy Speer, the founder of St. Petersburg’s Home Shopping Network. Mr. Speer died in 2012 at the age of 80 at the stage in his life where his mental and physical capacity left him unable to do math and wearing a diaper. His account when he came to Morgan Stanley with Ms. Forte as his advisor was $150-200 Million. In his last 5 years, 12,000+ transactions occurred at Morgan Stanley. Following his widow’s legal action, Ms. Forte, Morgan Stanley, and the manager of the Morgan Stanley office holding his account were fined with all costs $34 million. This was all reported in the Tampa Bay media; I pass no judgment. This is simply an example of elder exploitation, breach of fiduciary duty, constructive fraud, excessive trades, and more.
Just as in the case of Bernie Madoff several years ago, all of the clients of Ms. Forte’s probably had a choice to make to go with her to Pinnacle or to stay with Morgan Stanley or more choices. No matter what, they no longer had their Financial Professional.
The financial services industry has been an industry where moves among advisors were common: I started in banking, was recruited by then Smith Barney, recruited to Morgan Stanley, and then recruited to Edward Jones. These were all moves I made for improvement for me. In many cases, my clients chose to follow me. But I was a good advisor for them. I loved what I did, and I am a rule follower. This is their money. This is your money. I think you should be prepared to be able to make the best decision of who will handle your money for you. You need to know many things, and that is what I do today. I do not sell products (and that is what investments are), and I do not represent any company. I work with clients to give them the Positive Energy and education to make informed decisions about their money. I think they deserve that. I think you deserve that!
And, as a closing note, I was recruited and trained by FINRA to become an approved FINRA Dispute Resolution Arbitrator in early 2017. FINRA is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.