Filled with apprehension, apposite to her uncertain personal financial future, abetted by anxiety pertaining to the global economy, my neighbor yearns for my guidance in today's complex financial world. She yearns to place faith and confidence in me, in my expertise, and in my judgment. My neighbor seeks my counsel, bound faithfully to her through the power of trust.

My neighbor's expectation of my faithful service exists not just within her, but within all of our fellow Americans, as they struggle to navigate a maze of investment products, mitigate risks, and secure their own financial futures. My neighbor is not alone, for her longing for the peace of mind which flows from the placement of trust is nearly universal among our fellow brethren.

What I write here may mean nothing to the masses of the American people. The many entries in this blog are read by perhaps only a few thousand. Here I write mainly for those who are partisans for those in the cause of the fiduciary principle. Perhaps, on occasion, a few lines from an entry in this blog will be picked up by the industry press. But mostly the readers of this blog are those already involved in the fiduciary debate.
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In the political climate of Washington, several members of the U.S. Congress have urged the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, both empowered by law to apply the fiduciary standard, to either slow down or stop their fiduciary rule-making efforts altogether. Often the reason expressed is concerns about the imposition of more government regulation, as well as reservations about the growth of the size of government.

In July 1934 President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Joseph Patrick Kennedy (the father of future President John F. Kennedy) as Chair of the newly created Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Despite widespread qualms about the appointment of a business person who had made a personal fortune from financial manipulation, Joseph Kennedy’s tenure proved to be just the start necessary for the new agency.
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In an article titled “What Drives Success” appearing in the Jan. 25, 2014 edition of the The New York Times, Professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld of Yale Law School revealed the three key traits which drive success in life. They opined: “The strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality.

Defeating the American Oligarchy: Wall Street, FINRA and the Challenge for SEC Chair Mary Jo White

For long it has been known that a series of meetings by representatives of the largest brokerage firms in the United States has been held over the past several years. In these meetings strategy sessions occur on how to best defeat the reforms of the financial services industry contained in the Dodd Frank Act of 2010, by influencing the many regulations being drafted.

Tackle this challenge.

One evening each week, for the next nine weeks, write a few paragraphs in a personal journal. Each week, you should seek to answer these questions as you write your journal entry: “What am I most thankful for – this week?” and “Why?”

Set an alarm on your smart phone, at the same time and day of each week for the next nine weeks, to remind you to complete these journal entries.

June 2014 update: This, the most popular of my blog posts, has been read by thousands. This post highlights that simply because someone calls oneself a "fiduciary" advisor does not mean that they can be trusted. I explain some of the insidious conflicts of interest possessed by Wall Street, and explain why investors should do business with advisors who AVOID most conflicts of interest, rather than just disclose that conflicts of interest exist and then seek client consent to same.
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Often the Steering Group members of The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard are asked for ideas on what others can do to aid in the application and enforcement, by the DOL and/or the SEC, of bona fide fiduciary standards to all providers of financial and investment advice. Here’s a short list of opportunities, which we hope you consider and undertake:

1.   Join with your colleagues in the Financial Planning Association’s Advocacy Day, June 24, 2014, in Washington, DC.  Visit http://www.onefpa.

When my older sister, Terri, and my younger brother, John, and I were all young, we would do our best to plan out a Mother’s Day celebration. Our mother worked hard, and we wanted each Mother’s Day to show her how much we cared.
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