From the January 2007 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

The Mark That Makes It

I received the December issue of Investment Advisor and was reading it during lunch. I read Bob Clark's column ("Hope It Wasn't Something I Said") with great interest. As a matter of fact, it struck a nerve dear and near to me.

I have been a fee based planner for 12 years after selling and merging an insurance and investment firm that took 30 years to build. One of the entities of that firm was an RIA that was started in 1985 when it seemed to me that fee financial planning was to be a viable process in the '90s and into the new millennia.

In any event, my credentials because of my prior career, are CLU and ChFC. Frankly at age 55 when I started to build my current practice it was my belief that becoming a CFP was not necessary because of my knowledge, time and experience. How wrong this proved to be because of the superiority of the CFP "powers that be." Not being a CFP certainly has not hurt the building of my planning practice but the attitude has by inference said I am really not a true professional because I am not a CFP.

I have never had a prospective client or client ask why I am not a CFP.

My daughter has been in our practice for five years learning from the ground up and has taken and passed several of the CFP courses and will attain the designation probably in the next year or so. I am making sure that she has the "mark" which probably will become the accepted one for planners.

Why in the world the CFP movement would not consider grandfathering a person with my experience and knowledge is beyond me. To a large degree I blame the American College for not taking the bull by the horns and doing exactly this when their organization was bigger and stronger than the CFP movement.

I read Bob Clark regularly and feel his finger is on the pulse of our industry.

Keep up the good work.

Bill Topkis

Independent Financial Advisor

Wilmington, Delaware

Elementary education

This is in response to Frank Congemi's November 2006 Soapbox entry ("Who Best to Educate the Public?").

We are educating the public successfully and did try to get NASD funding (rejected). It is a unique combination of charities and professionals working together trying to educate the public through a workshop series that is not designed to sell financial products.

Ninety-percent of the speakers agree in advance that they will serve in fiduciary capacity and do so in writing.

We use the periodic table; discuss fees, product sales, diversification, mutual funds, etc., for 8 weeks 1.5 hours per week.

These [workshops] are very well received and we are trying to figure out how to package the idea so it can be conducted in any community across the country.

Peter C. Kote

Founder

Professional Fiduciary Services

Laguna Hills, California

Longing for the past

I liked your old magazine format better. It used to be more practical, "hands on". I could tear out several articles for later reading. Now, most articles are just too scholarly. I guess I liked the old lineup of columnists better.

Richard Evans

Richard L. Evans Investments

Flossmoor, Illinois

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