Archive for August, 2014

Next Round of Presenters Announced for #MSUM14; Technologists and National RIA CEOs Join the Cast

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

  • A panel of industry thought leaders will go beyond the polarizing headlines, examining the “robo-adviser” offerings and shed light on the latest “threat” facing RIAs.
  • Leading technologists will support their bold predictions about the rapidly evolving tech landscape for advisers in fast-paced TED-style talks.

Englewood, NJ – August 28th, 2014 – MarketCounsel, the leading consultancy for independent and entrepreneurial investment advisers, announces additional faculty selections for The MarketCounsel Summit, to be held from December 8th to the 11th, 2014 at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas.

In a panel titled “Revenge of the Nerds”, Betterment’s Jon Stein, CircleBlack’s John Michel, and United Capital’s Joe Duran will join Elliot Weisbluth, CEO of Hightower Advisors, to examine the “robo-adviser” landscape and answer the simplest of questions: friend or foe? Independent advisers have long been told that they are headed to extinction, one way or another. Is this the newest threat that will finally prove the doomsday prophets correct? Or, is this simply an advance in the realm of financial advice that will offer tools for advisers to deploy for the clients who value the human touch? Regardless of your perspective, their early traction has signs of becoming a disruptive technology.

“To read about it in the press, advisers and robo-advisers are standing opposite one another on the battlefield of client service” says Michel. “Is there a middle ground?”

Keeping true to the Summit’s long-standing tradition of playing host to the industry’s most interesting conversations, a “TED”-style presentation sequence will illuminate advances in technology that will change the future that advisers see. Jamie McIntyre from Fortigent will set the stage and context for bold theories from futurists: Envestnet’s Jud Bergman, LPL’s Victor Fetter, and ActiFi’s Spencer Segal, each presenting what they each see as the significant developing tech trend that will change the way advisers do business.

“I think it’s safe to say that we intend on bringing the business of 2014 to a close with an epic conference designed specifically for the independent, entrepreneurial investment adviser who is looking for perspective and focus heading into the new year,” said Brian Hamburger, MarketCounsel’s founder, president and conference chair. “It’s so difficult to capture the sheer scope of presenter magnitude and topical depth in these releases but those that have been there each year have a sense of what’s to come,” concludes Hamburger.

As previously announced, the Summit will welcome headliners including renowned entrepreneur Mark Cuban, former head of Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney Sallie Krawcheck, former SEC chairmen Christopher Cox and Harvey Pitt, former New York Attorney General and Governor Eliot Spitzer and CNBC’s Ron Insana, each bringing their candid and, at times, polarizing personas to the event.

More details about The MarketCounsel Summit including agenda details, attendee registration, sponsorship opportunities, and speaker nominations (for next year’s event) are available at  The event, already at record registration levels, is limited.

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To obtain press credentials for the Summit, please contact Jason Lahita at (310)575-2509 or

About The MarketCounsel Summit (#MSUM14)

Investment advisers face an evolving landscape of challenges in protecting their practice while in pursuit of the limitless opportunities in growing their business.  The Summit is designed by a team that admittedly rebuts the usual lecture-based, “talk at you” conferences.  Instead, the Summit’s objective is to create an incomparable forum for advisers to engage and interact among industry leaders to develop a sound strategy for addressing challenges while forming actionable plans for taking advantage of opportunities.

Already hailed by the financial press historically as one of the few “elite conferences” in the industry, the Summit features general sessions and interactive workshops that run morning ‘til night, over three days in the desert.  The agenda is stacked with well-orchestrated extracurricular events that provide for unmatched opportunities to ‘continue the conversation’ among advisors, speakers and the industry’s top service providers, including a can’t-miss opening reception and a live auction to benefit the MarketCounsel Foundation. Visit for more information.

About MarketCounsel

MarketCounsel is the leading business and regulatory consultancy to some of the country’s preeminent independent investment advisers throughout their lifecycle. From its roots in 2000, MarketCounsel has been steadfast in its mission to deliver solutions to the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in a fast growing industry and has emerged as one of its most effective advocates.

From the initial launch of an investment adviser to its outsourced compliance platform to its business growth and succession strategies, MarketCounsel consistently delivers extraordinary service and trusted counsel by leveraging advanced technology and sound business processes. The MarketCounsel Summit is the annual gathering for the country’s top independent investment advisers and serves as both spark and catalyst for conversation among industry leaders.

Offering 360° of RIA knowledge, advice and guidance, MarketCounsel is the most trusted partner throughout the lifecycle of an independent adviser and works with these business owners at all stages.  MarketCounsel provides true end-to-end business solutions for advisors, from start-up through exit. Visit for more information.

About The MarketCounsel Foundation

The MarketCounsel Foundation supports the independent investment adviser movement through research, advocacy, and awareness; a direct supporter of innovative financial education; and leading an effort to provide support, mentoring, and placement to would-be entrepreneurs. Visit for more information.

What The Innovator Sees That Others Don’t See

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Very interesting post on innovators vs. traditionalist. What is the difference, according to the author?

“The innovator looks for the shortest route between two points. The traditionalist looks for the most socially acceptable route between two points.

The innovator thinks about what would work in a particular situation. The traditionalist thinks about what would others would say about his idea.

In the end, the traditionalist wants to earn prestige. The innovator just wants to get stuff done.”

SEC Delivers Some More Exams

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

While still short of their target of aggressively examining “never been examined” advisers, the SEC’s pace of examinations has noticeably increased.  But are the quantity of exams going to cure any problems?

Brian Hamburger, president and chief executive of MarketCounsel, a compliance consulting firm, also has seen a “significant pickup in SEC exams, particularly focused on never-before-examined advisers.”  The SEC reviews have been straightforward, Mr. Hamburger said, focusing on custody and other basics.  “They’re pretty broad-based examinations — what we’d call getting-to-know-you examinations,” Mr. Hamburger said. “It’s exactly what we’d expect the first time out.”

Mr. Hamburger said the SEC is misguided in targeting advisers who have never been examined because many of them, especially those who don’t have custody of their clients’ assets, are not likely to harm clients.

“There are advisers they know are engaged in far more risky behavior and practices,” Mr. Hamburger said. “More [exams] isn’t really, in my opinion, the way we’re going to cure this problem over the long term.”

Read more.

The CFP Board and its Quest for Your Client Data @finplan @Ann_Marsh

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

In the Camardas’ case against the CFP Board, the Board has requested their full client list.

Brian Hamburger, a securities lawyer who often represents planners in the board’s disciplinary cases, says the board routinely makes broad requests such as this of its advisors during its disciplinary proceedings.  “We have long taken the position that these requests are impermissible under Regulation S-P,” which forbids financial services firms from releasing client data without those clients’ consent, except under certain circumstances, Hamburger says. “Yet the CFP Board does not warn advisors of this and often induces them into furnishing private information without the requisite client consent.”

Read more.

How Great Leaders Think

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

This article including video interviews with Srikumar Rao provides great insight for entrepreneurs and other business leaders on how to deal with stress and be truly content. We had Professor Rao as a speaker at an Entrepreneurs’ Organization event recently and he was a compelling speaker and teacher.  I particularly like the video segment on Why Positive Thinking Is Overrated.

Big Broker Is Watching You and Your Money @FinAd_IQ

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Financial Advisor IQ writes, “Wirehouse advisors about to switch firms must sweat bullets to keep their intentions secret, lest their employers get wind of the plan and fire them before they move. One area where they need to exercise extreme caution: their own investment accounts.”

Advisors who want to make a change and need some cash should tap accounts outside their firms, Hamburger Law Firm’s Sharron Ash tells InvestmentNews. “It’s also about finding a way to manipulate their funds so that it’s not throwing up a red flag,” she is quoted as saying.

Read more.

How Many Ways Are There to Tell the Truth? @finplan

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Sharron Ash, chief litigation counsel at the Hamburger Law Firm, tells Financial Planning Magazine that, in her experience she has not seen ex-employee records marked up for purely vindictive reasons, since U5s in practice must be truthful and accurate. However, she says, notations can become an issue about language. “There are a number of different ways to say the truth,” she adds.  “Relationships don’t matter,” Ash says. “Everyone is out for themselves.”

Read more.

Avoid These 10 Landmines on the Road to Independence @NewsfromIN

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Sharron Ash shares 10 common missteps made by brokers heading to independence.

Read more.

Your RIA Is Only As Safe As Its Weakest Link @NewsfromIN

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Dan Bernstein pleads with advisors to train their staff when it comes to cybersecurity threats.

Daniel Bernstein, director of research and development for compliance consultant MarketCounsel, said many advisers have had threats or heard about increasing problems this year and are being more vigilant about implementing the policies and procedures they already had in place to protect client data.  “Phishing scams have become more sophisticated and advisers have found themselves being used as part of an identity theft program,” Mr. Bernstein said. “You don’t want clients to think you could have been in a position to stop it.”  It’s important that advisers educate all their employees about cybersecurity procedures because the firm is only as safe as its weakest link, he said.  “If one person gets that phone call or e-mail that’s been compromised, and if they don’t have knowledge of the steps the firm has in place, the firm’s at risk,” Mr. Bernstein said.

Read more.

Shocking Wirehouse Tactics Revealed @NewsfromIN

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Hamburger Law Firm’s chief litigation counsel Sharron Ash sits down with @masonbraswell to share some common tactics used by brokerage firms to monitor investment accounts for signs that a broker may be contemplating a departure.  OK, maybe they’re not so shocking after all.

Indeed, brokers who make big changes to their accounts in anticipation of a job change run the risk of being fired or even facing legal consequences, said Sharron Ash, chief litigation counsel at the Hamburger Law firm, which specializes in representing brokers in transition. “It’s certainly something that brokers who are planning a transition have to be cognizant of,” she said. “If it falls into the broader basket of anything out of the ordinary it could throw up a red flag.”

Read more.