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Jan 14, 2008 2:03 pm

I am new to the USA, but have been in the finanical planning industry for several years in a foreign country


I am trying to navigate my way around the system here. However it seems very difficult to get any honest unbiased advice from anyone. I hope that I can get some insight from this forum.
 
Can anyway give me some guidance on how the regulatory system works here.
From what I can gather, there is a regulatory difference between providing financial advice and implementing that advice (ie the financial transaction for the client that may be required as a result of the advice you have given them)
 
There also seems to be a tendency to sell product rather than provide advice, this seems to be the case for insurance produts.
 
FINRA appears to be the main regulatory body, but then each state has its own specifc rules. Is this the case?
 
Who are the other regularoty bodies covering the financial advice market here? (When I say "financial advice" I am talking about providing advice to the clients in terms of how to best structure assets, what types of, and what levels of insurance coverage to take out and then finally a recomendation on the specifc product)
 
Also, if anyone can provide guidance on the best (and worst) places to work in order to be able to provide financial advice and also have the ability to implement the advice.  
 
I dont need to be taught "how to sell" I am more interested in an environment where I can get good technical support in order to best serve my client base. I dont want to be somewhere that is just about pushing a product either. I have always focused my clients on structuring things in the most effective manner possibly and the product selection (while important) was secondary.
 
I hope all this makes sense. I am used to a very different regulatory system, where no distinction is made between selling a finanical prodct or service, be it the  actual advice, life insruance or securities. With one national regulator overseeing all registrations.
 
Thanks
 
 
 
 
Jan 14, 2008 4:18 pm

I'm not a FA YET. But commonsense & experience tells me that it depends on what "foreign" country u are from. If u are from a "recognised decent European" country eg Netherlands, UK etc u will immediately be respected but if u are from Africa, India, China or the continent of Nigeria etc u might have to go to school all over.



Kinda unfair I know..but thats just the reality!



PS: That being said I have seen soome brilliant Africans like Nelson Mandela etc.

Jan 14, 2008 4:29 pm

I'll say this for you...your english is better than most who have grown up here.  I was gritting my teeth for "I new under you're country.  How to sell security?"  Obviously you've used the king's english in your native country.

 
It's apparent to me that you want a CFP designation.  While the designation itself is encouraged at many firms, some only want you to have it for credibility and are more interested in how many assets you can bring in and how much commission you are able to generate.  These firms would probably be a poor fit for you and sad to say, I believe that would include most of the Wall Street biggies such as Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, Morgan Stanley , etc.  You're right...plan fees are separate from product commissions and fees and most firms are much more interested in the latter and won't encourage you to do much in the way of planning as it takes away from time spent generating the more profitable commissions.  Ameriprise boasts a planning emphasis, but from what I've heard, the jury is out on that one as to whether the thrust is geniune or merely lip service.
 
Independent firms are more of a mixed bag and you may be able to start with an independent office that puts an emphasis on financial planning.  Perhaps someone can give you a name to start with...I don't have one off the top of my head.  Good luck with your search.
Jan 14, 2008 4:37 pm
Indyone:

I'll say this for you...your english is better than most who have grown up here. I was gritting my teeth for "I new under you're country. How to sell security?" Obviously you've used the king's english in your native country.



It's apparent to me that you want a CFP designation. While the designation itself is encouraged at many firms, some only want you to have it for credibility and are more interested in how many assets you can bring in and how much commission you are able to generate. These firms would probably be a poor fit for you and sad to say, I believe that would include most of the Wall Street biggies such as Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, Morgan Stanley , etc. You're right...plan fees are separate from product commissions and fees and most firms are much more interested in the latter and won't encourage you to do much in the way of planning as it takes away from time spent generating the more profitable commissions. Ameriprise boasts a planning emphasis, but from what I've heard, the jury is out on that one as to whether the thrust is geniune or merely lip service.



Independent firms are more of a mixed bag and you may be able to start with an independent office that puts an emphasis on financial planning. Perhaps someone can give you a name to start with...I don't have one off the top of my head. Good luck with your search.







ROTFL @ "KING'S LANGUAGE". This reminds me of an "incident" I had in Spain. My Spanish is horrible. So when I was @ a Spanish bank the male teller asked if I spoke the "QUEEN'S LANGUAGE". I proceeded to speak to him in Dutch..he seemed 'shocked".I guess he expected me to converse/conversate/whatever in English..then I grinned & said ' My QUEEN IS DUTCH". The look on his face...PRICELESS!!

Jan 14, 2008 5:14 pm

Thanks.

Im still struggling to understand the mechnaics of this process.
 
Lets say you are a CFP and are restricted to giving advice only,  how would one go about placing the investment? As far as I can gather most mutual funds and insurance products pay some fees or residuals to the advisor.  If you can only give the advice, how does the inital investment or insurance product get put in place? More importantly, who services the client going forward? If you cant actively track the products performance , how can you provide ongoing service and advice to the client?
 
 
 
I noticed you are from Canada. Are you covered under the same regulations as the USA?
Jan 14, 2008 5:25 pm

I'm US...just like to fish in Canada.  CFPs are well able to implement the plan by purchasing the necessary products for clients and collecting commissions or fees as long as the client understands the potential conflict of interest and accepts them.  I do only a modest amount of formal financial planning as my primary function is investment management.  As a CFP, I've had no problems doing this, although admittedly, the rules are ever-changing.

Jan 14, 2008 5:50 pm

Indy..do u fish for "fish" or "women" in Canada?