Your client comes to you admitting that she is storing away a secret stash of money.
The stash is hidden from her spouse.
You’re sworn to confidentiality.
What do you do?
“The confidentiality we have is with the individual client, so we can’t say anything,” says Marta Stiteler, an Ontario-based fee-only advisor. “It’s a tough one.”
A recent study out of Australia revealed that the equivalent of about 300,000 married or common-law couples admitted to having bank accounts unbeknownst to their partners, with the average amount stored ringing in at $30,000.
The survey, conducted for TAL Life Insurance, found that 45 per cent folks in married or common-law relationships have a bank account inaccessible to their partners, while 3 per cent have accounts of which their partners are unaware.
How does this situation fare with Canadian advisors?
“As far as the client keeping $300,000 in Barbados that his wife doesn’t know about because he is going to leave her, I don’t want to deal with a client like that,” admits Stiteler. “If they are going to screw around on their spouse, chances are they are going to screw around on you (the advisor). The bells and whistles are going off like crazy.” (Continued on Page 2)