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Claiming Social Security; When Clients Go Bad; Fighting Public Corruption: Investment Advisor March Features—Slideshow

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While advisors are not required to provide help with Social Security claiming strategies, some experts believe clients who sue their advisors over bad advice could have a case, bringing a new level of importance to an already very complex planning process. Melanie Waddell talks to experts about some of those claiming strategies.

Most advisors are honest, but even they can find themselves in trouble if in trying to serve their clients, they engage in unethical or illegal behavior. Do you know what you would say to a client who asked you to do something untoward?

Bribery and kickbacks still constitute honest services fraud, but self-dealing and conflicts of interest may not. Peter Chan and Tinos Diamantatos of Morgan Lewis & Bockius explain why the government has a higher legal threshold to prove public corruption than it did before.

Unclaimed: Why Advisors Can't Ignore Social Security PlanningUnclaimed: Why Advisors Can’t Ignore Social Security Planning

Many advisors would agree that helping clients optimize their Social Security benefits is an integral part of retirement income planning, but a surprising number of advisors have not latched on to this important trend. Advisors who fail to incorporate—and become educated on—the myriad Social Security claiming strategies are not only at risk of losing clients, but they’re also putting clients’ retirement security in jeopardy, which could land them in legal hot water.

Actions to rein in entitlement programs by the GOP-controlled Congress could further obscure the already complicated process of optimizing clients’ Social Security benefits. Investment Advisor’s Melanie Waddell examines the challenges advisors face in helping their clients with claiming strategies—and what could happen if they don’t.

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Aiding and Abetting: How Client Wrongdoing Can Hurt YouAiding and Abetting: How Client Wrongdoing Can Hurt You

Last May, the giant Swiss bank Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to helping American taxpayers file false income tax returns. As of November, at least 25 asset managers, bankers and lawyers had been charged by U.S. authorities with enabling the fraud, according to Reuters. If found guilty, they may face steep fines or several years in prison.

Could that be you one day? Probably not. But as Sherry Christie points out, sometimes the situation isn’t so clear-cut.

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Dishonest Services: The SEC's Fight Against Public CorruptionDishonest Services: The SEC’s Fight Against Public Corruption

We often think of laws directed toward combating public corruption as anti-bribery and anti-kickback laws. Such laws generally require proof of quid pro quo, that there is an actual or implicit agreement for a public official to provide favors through his or her public office to a private party in exchange for personal benefits from that party.

The SEC is increasingly using securities fraud laws to fight public corruption. Peter Chan and Tinos Diamantatos of Morgan Lewis & Bockius explain why advisors should examine their risk assessment and compliance protocols to make sure they’re able to catch potential wrongdoing before it happens.

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