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Protecting Your Practice

ISBN: 978-1-57660-053-5
512 pages
October 1997
Protecting Your Practice (157660053X) cover image
This is the benchmark book for building client relationships, growing a practice, and avoiding litigation--written in association with the world's leading organization for financial services professionals. Audience: Broker-dealers and their home-office personnel, registered reps, accountants, tax advisers, insurance agents and insurance companies, wire houses, fee and commission planners, attorneys, trust officers, estate planners, and development officers in planned-giving departments. As investors gravitate toward no-load mutual funds and do-it-yourself investing through discount brokers, professionals are being squeezed by competition, consumer wariness, and tighter enforcement by the SEC, NASD, and state securities regulators. This book addresses these challenges, helping anyone offering financial advice to be more competitive, build client loyalty, and avoid the liabilites that come with managing someone's money in today's complex investment environment. How to offer better service, comply with key regulations, maintain vital records with a minimum of paperwork, and protect a business from malpractice claims.
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Introduction.

Knowing the Alphabet.

Section One: Defining Who's Who.

A review of what you are legally entitled or required to call yourself.

Chapter 1: The Financial Planner.

Who is and is not liable.

Chapter 2: The Investment Adviser.

Who must register and with whom.

Chapter 3: The Fiduciary.

You have a higher standard of care.

Chapter 4: Other Financial Professionals.

Legal rules may also cover you.

Section Two: Playing by the Rules.

A review of the laws and regulations that apply to your practice.

Chapter 5: The Competency Factor.

How to prove you are world-class.

Chapter 6: Insurance Regulations.

Required disclosures build trust.

Chapter 7: Broker-Dealer Regulations.

Key rules affecting your practice.

Chapter 8: Investment Adviser Regulations.

How to use them to your advantage.

Chapter 9: Other Laws.

Communications in various media.

Section Three: Going on the Offense.

How to keep clients happy and why you should build a paper trail.

Chapter 10: Product and Service Providers.

How to find and select the best.

Chapter 11: The First Client Meeting.

Identify expectations at the start.

Chapter 12: Subsequent Client Meetings.

How to satisfy expectations.

Chapter 13: The Importance of Feedback.

Two-way communications are key.

Chapter 14: The Unhappy Client.

How to identify and defuse them.

Section Four: Building a Good Defense.

How to avoid lawsuits and survive an audit.

Chapter 15: When Clients Sue.

Take a malpractice risk test now.

Chapter 16: Common Complaints.

A suitability and disclosure review.

Chapter 17: Errors and Omissions Coverage.

Carrier and other considerations.

Chapter 18: Mediation.

A less-expensive alternative.

Chapter 19: Arbitration.

It has plusses and minuses.

Chapter 20: SEC and State Audits.

How to prepare for and pass them.

Resources.

A: Regulators and Associations.

B: Sample State Investment Adviser Requirements.

Appendices.

A: Codes of Ethics.

B: Documents and Sample Forms.

Notes.

Permissions Credits.

Index.

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Katherine Vessenes, JD, CFP, is America's best-known authority on legal, compliance, and ethics issues for financial advisers. She is president of Vestment Consulting, and lives in the Minneapolis area.
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"Katherine Vessenes has written a lively, informative guide that underscores the most important element of successful financial planning: When you keep your clients happy, you keep your clients. Whether you've been a financial planner for years or are new to the profession, you'll find Protecting Your Practice an essential addition to your professional library."
—Thomas W. Johnson
Executive Editor, Financial Planning

"There's no part of being a financial adviser that's less understood, or more troubling, than the legalities of registering with the SEC and client relations. Protecting Your Practice offers that rare kind of technical writing that combines a voice of authority and knowledge that comes from years of dealing with these issues, with an unmistakable understanding of how readers feel about the situations they face. It makes the challenge of being a financial adviser easier."
—Robert Clark
Editor in Chief, Investment Advisor

"Not only did I enjoy reading this book, it was enlightening as well. This is the most definitive guide on the subject of protecting your practice. If you do not read it, you do so at your own peril!"
—Stewart H. Welch, III, CFP, ChFC, AEP
The Welch Group

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