Late Tuesday evening, the Senate voted to get rid of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule banning mandatory arbitration clauses and allowing consumers to bring class-action lawsuits against banks and credit card companies. The rule, which the CFPB reportedly created in response to the Trump administration’s effort to dismantle the Dodd-Frank reform legislation, didn’t last long (it was released in July). But questions around arbitration might remain, especially since the Equifax data breach occurred after the CFPB’s rule was created.
In a recent opinion piece titled, “An Open Letter to Tony Robbins: You’re Not Helping”, Douglas Boneparth, president of Bone Fide Wealth, LLC, took to his keyboard to refute a number of claims made by the celebrity financial advisor. Boneparth’s qualms stem partly from Robbins’ effort to appeal to a broad audience, from which he has made millions, without deep consideration or explanation of important facts. “Tony, just because the financial services industry struggles to streamline things for the public, doesn’t mean you should paint with a broad brush, hoping to provide clarity for the masses,” he writes. Boneparth scorns Robbins for asserting that advisors registered with a broker-dealer are not fiduciaries, “It’s just not as black and white as you make it out to be and, what’s worse, I believe you know that. For example, I am registered with an independent broker-dealer, but I am also a fiduciary… [the two] are not mutually exclusive.” Boneparth also criticizes Robbins for focusing almost solely on investments as a means to wealth, while ignoring financial education, planning and advice. “No matter how attention-grabbing they are, [investments] remain a distant second to the overall importance of financial planning and conflict-free financial advice. If we can [shift that focus], Tony, we won’t have to rely on broad assertions to understand how the 310,000 advisors in the U.S. do business.”
Former registered investment advisor Jason C. Weigand has been accused of defrauding clients of $290,000. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Weigand, who ran Nations First Financial Group and First Financial Princeton LLC, is charged with bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, accessing a protected computer without authorization and money laundering. One female client alleges that he first used $60,000 of hers to fund other client accounts, then persuaded her to fund another account with an additional $200,000, $98,000 of which he wrote in checks for his own benefit. When she grew skeptical, Weigand allegedly “hacked [her] email, used forged documents to open an account in [her] name at another brokerage, and funded that account with money stolen from other clients. Weigand then impersonated that client in telephone calls and emails with that brokerage.” If convicted, Weigand faces a maximum sentence of more than 20 years in prison and possible fines.