FPA of MN Newsletter – January 2016

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President's Message - January 2016

FPA of MN Takes GOLD at CLC

Minnesota was well represented at the OneFPA Chapter Leaders Conference on November 19-21 in Broomfield, CO. The Chapter Leaders Conference is a great time for local leaders of FPA to get together and share experiences to help one another. It is also a time to develop an understanding of our larger organization and formulate plans for the year ahead in our chapter. Many of the breakouts are spent learning and sharing best practices. Minnesota is fortunate to be a leader within the chapter network of OneFPA, that being said, there were many ideas and strategies that our contingent is bringing back to work on in the coming months.

A theme throughout the weekend was celebrating successes. The Minnesota chapter was recognized with two Outstanding Achievement Awards. The first award was in the Leadership Development category, for the work completed by Bonnie Stanley around a chapter procedure manual. The nickname, Bonnie’s Black Book, was created to ensure that the chapter is operating as effectively and efficiently as possible. Additionally the procedure manual should help with succession within the administration of our chapter. The second award was under the Advocacy category, where Minnesota was recognized for the 2014 Advocacy Day. The first local Advocacy Day was a wild success with a great turnout of members meeting with their legislators as well as National FPA Board representation. In overall Chapter success, we were recognized as a Gold Level Chapter for our work done in 2014, which was noted and compiled within the Roadmap to Success.

The time spent at Chapter Leaders Conference is no doubt influential and helpful in developing the leaders within our chapter. Our chapter was represented in every breakout at the conference! I am thankful to have gone with such an engaged group of representatives who took time away from their lives to learn more about FPA and bring ideas and energy back to our thriving chapter. This event is a wonderful way to close out a year of successes and look forward to a year of continued progress.

Jeanna Fifer, CFP®
Cahill Financial Advisors

FINRA Takes On Elder Exploitation

FPA MN’s 2016 Advocacy Day is just around the corner. We hope that you will consider joining us in St. Paul in late February/early March. If you feel there a professional issue that you think FPA MN should discuss with our state legislators, please contact Scott Nelson or Keith Loveland of the Professional Issues Committee.

Dealing with aging is an essential part of financial planning. We help our clients prepare for their golden years by overseeing their retirement portfolios and making sure they have the documents in place for an orderly disposition of their assets after their death among other things. For all these efforts, we have been woefully deficient in attending to our client’s financial vulnerability to exploitation by a family member, friend, caregiver or unfortunately another financial professional.

FINRA is taking steps to counter that situation with a couple proposals on which the comment period just ended. The first proposal is an amendment to Rule 4512 (Customer Account Information) that would establish the requirement of asking for contact information of a trusted individual when opening a new account for a person over the age of 65 or any one over 18 that has an impairment limiting sound judgement. By providing contact information for a trusted individual, the client is authorizing the investment representative to discuss with the trusted individual information about the client’s accounts, health status and the identity of others with the authority to handle the client’s financial matters.Clients will not be required to provide the information and the firm will not be held responsible if they decline.

FINRA is also proposing Rule 2165 that would permit “qualified” persons to place temporary holds on the disbursements of funds or securities in situations where they reasonably believe that financial exploitation is occurring. Again, this would pertain to clients over age 65 or anyone over age 18 whom the investment firm believes is impaired such that they cannot look out for their own best interests. The proposal is for a 10 day holding period while the reason for the transfer is investigated.

Obviously, these are important improvements to the current rules that have previously handcuffed professionals from intervening in all but the most blatant examples of exploitation. These rules will not by themselves put a stop to elder exploitation though. True success relies on firms looking at this as an opportunity to create value for the client rather than just an additional compliance hoop to jump through when opening an account. Asking for the contact information of a trusted individual can be the opening of a discussion on how the firm wants to go the extra step in safeguarding the client’s assets as they get older.

Rule 2165 on the other hand could be viewed as a hot potato. There are obvious cases of exploitation when a client suddenly withdraws 10 times more than usual but many situations will not be as black and white. It will be a tough call to hold up a transfer when being wrong about the situation could result in an angry client going elsewhere. The investment industry should look to the banking industry which has had the power to stop withdrawals for some time. Many banks have programs to train customer service personnel to detect the signs of diminished mental capacity and exploitation.

NASAA for its part, is working on a more expansive approach that will additionally require broker-dealers and advisors to report what they reasonably believe to be exploitation to Adult Protective Services and their state regulator as well as provide to authorities any records deemed relevant to the investigation.

It is surprising that it has taken this long for the investment industry to act given that a significant proportion of every financial planner’s clients are in their retirement years. In 2010, 13% of Americans were over age 65 and that figure is expected to exceed 20% by 2030 so incidents of exploitation will likely grow as well. While FINRA’s proposals are necessary in stopping blatant acts, it is still up to the financial planner to develop their relationship with the client to have the latitude to help them when they can no longer help themselves.

Reason to belong to FPA

Have you logged into at FPA national lately? Have you looked at the Member Advantage Program? Well if you haven’t you may be missing out on great deals.

There are over 80 discount items available. And there is a wide variety from personal to professional discounts. Here a just few, Angie’s List subscription, Avis & Budget rentals, insurance, cruises, vacations, Office Depot/Office Max and a number of software discounts.

So login and you are just a couple of clicks away from taking advantage of your membership by using one or more of these discounted services. The savings may cover the annual membership fee.

Enjoy your FPA Member Experience!

January Member Discount - ComConnect File Sync

ComConnect File Sync provides file sync between PCs and mobile devices. ComConnect File Sync enables business users to sync sensitive corporate files between laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, and the web. ComConnect File Sync makes it possible for users to access all of their files on any device and to collaborate with colleagues, clients, and business partners.

ComConnect unleashes the power of mobility and maximizes the BYOD trend. Even in a diverse and dispersed computing environment, ComConnect lets users be productive with their files, while giving essential control and visibility to administrators and business owners.

Unlike most consumer-grade file sync services, such as Dropbox, ComConnect File Sync keeps business files safe by arming administrators with robust security and control features. Organizations can limit or control which devices are permitted to sync; completely audit file syncs and changes; remotely wipe the data from devices that are lost or stolen; and monitor and manage how employees are using their mobile devices.

We are offering an introductory discount to the Minnesota chapter of the FPA. Any chapter member signing up in the month of January will receive a 16% continuous discount for the duration of their data cloud service. (equivalent to 2 months free per year!)

If signing up after January, the offer to members will be reduced to an 8% continuous discount.

The software as a service (SaaS) is available month-to-month and we have a 3 month money back guarantee. There is no minimal contract period or minimum number of seats. However, the cost-per seat is lower for firms buying in bulk and/or purchasing annual or longer contracts.