T. J. Pool of Arlington, Texas-based Options Marketing, Inc. recently shared his thoughts with us on being an ethical advisor. Following are highlights from that discussion.
Senior Market Advisor: We hear a lot about suitability in this industry, but in your mind what is that that makes one an “ethical advisor?”
T. J. Pool: People are looking for a trusted advisor. Ethics is more than a word, it’s a work in progress. If your clients’ needs are not put first, from a fiduciary responsibility point of view, you have missed your goal. Early in 2002, we happened upon a veteran who had dealt with three other advisors over the last five years. They’d each taken him to various paralegals to try to establish a living trust, but all they’d really done was sell him numerous different annuities from different companies. When I heard how he’d been treated, we took it upon ourselves to get this gentleman in touch with an attorney and we paid to have a trust done for him. We felt that he had been mistreated by people in our industry and the only way to make it right was to accomplish for him what others had been unwilling to do. Happily, several years later, he became a client.