“My profession has left me shamefully undereducated on financial planning and investment issues.”
A consumer panel at TD Ameritrade’s 2013 Fiduciary Leadership Summit in Palm Beach, Fla., on Thursday featured three unique—and at times emotional—situations that required top-notch financial advice. Did they receive it? Yes and no, according to the panelists.
The panel, convened to discuss consumer awareness of the concept of fiduciary and moderated by Barbara Roper of the Consumer Federation of America, quickly deviated into other issues, as panelists agreed that acting in their best interest was important even if they never heard the term fiduciary used in that context.
The panelist referred to as Jeff, responsible for the quote above, noted his background in insurance while at Aetna in the early 1970s. He took the Series 7 exam and was for a time a registered rep, but the recession of 1973 stopped his career before it started. Preferring more of an entrepreneurial bent, he and his wife started a business that was eventually sold to Berkshire Hathaway, “so for a time I worked for Warren Buffett,” he quipped.
“I’m not concerned about fiduciary, because my insurance background meant I read scrolls of disclaimer,” Jeff added. “I’m more concerned about finding someone with a particular area of expertise that justifies their cost.”
The second panelist, Terry, noted his father invented the pretzel-twisting machine, which Terry then built a successful business around. He recently came into a large sum of money as a result of the company’s sale.
“I was able to monetize 40 years of work, but then I gave it to strangers to invest in companies I know nothing about that exist in markets I know nothing about,” Terry related. “People ask me how retirement is going. I say, ‘stressful.’ There is a fear factor involved.”
The most emotional panelist situation came from Jessica, whose husband was a Navy pilot killed in the line of duty. She received the news as a mother of a two-year-old. Jessica was also was nine months pregnant with their second child.