Punish all for the acts of a few. That is what one advisor feels the industry is up to, as regulators run an increasingly tighter ship.
“It’s just a part of being in the business,” says financial planner Rona Birenbaum, founder of Caring for Clients. “Even if you are a responsible advisor and you put a client’s interests first and document everything, if there is a percentage of the industry that doesn’t do that, than it’s just going to be more work for all of us.”
Although Birenbaum believes in the philosophy behind regulation, adding that client protection is paramount and professional bodies must be in place to keep things in check, she says playing 'big brother' can go too far.
“Unfortunately, like with many things, the pendulum is swinging a little too far,” she says. “Regulators can only see black and white, and there is a lot of grey in our business.”
In particular, Birenbaum cites additional requirements – like seeking mandatory client approval for the simple change of a phone number – as time wasters, which negatively impact service levels and the overall client experience.
“What’s been frustrating to me is how much time, energy and money is being spent on activities – and these are things like crossing your Ts and dotting your Is – really mundane things that are adding a level of cost and time to the business,” she says. “We are devoting some of our time and attention to activities that aren’t quite as value-added.” (continued.)