WealthManagement Magazine

The Compliant President

After eight turbulent years under President Bush, America is heading in different direction a very different direction. It's February 2009 time to meet the new President of the United States. But before we formally introduce him, what a race it was! Who could have predicted the demise of both the Democratic and Republican parties? It has been decades since a new political party has been formed, let

After eight turbulent years under President Bush, America is heading in different direction — a very different direction. It's February 2009 — time to meet the new President of the United States.

But before we formally introduce him, what a race it was! Who could have predicted the demise of both the Democratic and Republican parties? It has been decades since a new political party has been formed, let alone one that fielded the next U.S. president. How is it that none of our esteemed political pundits anticipated the emergence of the political force that is the National Compliance Party?

True, it would have been hard to foresee the twin scandals that opened the door to the NCP. (For the record, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to maintain that her relationship with the Rev. Al Sharpton was purely professional and Vice President Dick Cheney still asserts that the M-1 tank found in his daughter's garage was purchased with money from his pocket, not taxpayers'.)

Losing the Baggage

In retrospect, though, the country was clearly primed to embrace a reform candidate — one who could finally take the country in a new, more orderly direction. Enter our new president, Mortimer S. Dunkleman, former SEC auditor and chief compliance officer of CountryGroup Investments.

President Dunkleman was vaulted into national prominence by the unexpected (and unlikely) popularity of his financial services creations: The Prospectus Receipt Form and the VA Switch Letter. He also had a hand in designing the new Books and Records Regulations. That the reformist tone of works struck a chord with the American public is an understatement. Indeed, Dunkleman's election is largely viewed as a governmental mandate: Clean up federal government and the health care system the way you did the securities industry.

Dunkleman is nothing if not comfortable with this task. “Rules and regulations are not just a good idea, they are my life,” says the newly inaugurated president. “The first step in enforcing the R&Rs is making someone sign a piece of paper attesting to the fact they are following all the R&Rs.”

Hence the portion of the Inaugural Address devoted to outlining the plan for the new Skeletons in my Closet and Outside Monkey Business Activity forms, which members of Congress would be required to sign in triplicate. Under Dunkleman's proposal, each member of Congress also would be required to complete 15 hours of continuing education credits each year on the topics of skeletons and monkey business.

It's all music to the ears of voters. But not everyone is happy with Dunkleman's proposals.

Some, including Matt Fletcher, understand the potential harm Dunkleman's rules can do in the long run. Fletcher was a top financial advisor with CountryGroup before Dunkleman implemented his changes there, and he remembers with fondness a time when smart people actually aspired to financial advisory positions. This was when a financial advisor had discretion, a time when they had access to enough different products that they could tailor financial plans to meet individual client needs.

In the wake of the Dunkleman-driven reforms, the job of financial advisors is one a monkey could do — as long as he was willing to put a palm print on the compliance forms.

Fletcher believes that the president could do similar damage in his zeal to implement governmental reform. He understands the need for change, and he even applauds the nation's ability to depart from the two-party system. But he also knows firsthand the danger of an unchecked Dunkleman.

“Here's my portrait of a typical day for an American citizen three years from now,” Fletcher says. “The alarm goes off at 6 a.m. Before getting in the shower, he fills out and signs an Estimated Water Usage form along with the Expected Food Consumption form. After grabbing a clean towel, he adjusts his Actual Laundry Generation index, and then talks to his wife about what errands she'll be running that day, for the Fossil Fuel Usage form. That's four forms before your first cup of coffee,” Fletcher says.

And he's only half kidding.

Writer's BIO: B. Slade a former stand-up comic, has spent nearly 20 years working in the financial services industry. He is a recruiter for a leading independent broker dealer.

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