Market Gut Check Time, Again

by Mike Boyle, Senior VP Advisors Asset Management

Reprinted with the permission of Advisors Asset Management


by John Berzellini

In Mike Boyle’s blog date 5/22/12 “Market Gut Check Time, Again”, Mike reaffirms AAM yearend target of 1430 for the S&P 500.  As I write this introduction, the S&P 500 is at 1312 enduring yet another euro-zone debt crisis sell off.

At the time of Mike’s article the S&P 500 price earnings ratio was 13.29, well below its 60 year average of 16.4, and it’s lower today!

We could not agree more, turn off the noise and invest in dividend paying stocks. Read the entire article

Defining Comprehensive Financial Planning

 By John Berzellini

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors states “Consumers today need to know that when they engage a financial advisor that advisor is comprehensive in their approach to financial planning and is competent in their abilities to deliver the prudent recommendation you depend on”.

Since the term “Comprehensive Financial Planning” is used loosely, how do you identify if your advisor is truly comprehensive?

At JBA truly comprehensive is defined in terms of the services provided, the delivery platform, recommendations, implementation, competence, and objectivity. We will address each of these elements, and when applicable will distinguish our services from the bank advisor model.

JBA’s services include Budgeting, Tax Planning, Investment Planning, Estate Planning, Insurance Needs, Educational and Retirement Planning. Tax and investment planning are services that permeate many of the other goal oriented services such as educational, retirement, and estate planning.  Banks disclaim any tax related advice offered by their registered representatives (RR).

In spite of the advertizing, financial advisors who are RRs of broker dealers clearly do not offer comprehensive financial planning services.  It’s easy to know if you are working with an RR, because the law requires disclosures be placed on business cards, letterhead and web sites.

JBA’s delivery platform was designed to deliver a holistic approach to financial planning.  Our goal oriented software with account aggregation capabilities, allows us to consider all of our client’s assets. This includes client’s accounts held at Pershing/Bank of New York Mellon, accounts held at other banks, mutual fund companies, insurance companies, and accounts held in employer’s 401k and other pension plan.

JBA provides clients with written recommendation and financial analysis. Our recommendations are goal oriented, ongoing and tempered with experience. We don’t set and forget like many of our competitors.

At JBA we believe to be of value, an advisory firm must have the capability of implementing its recommendations.  Our platform offers investments aligned with our investment philosophy. We work closely with other investment advisors, banks, and insurance companies to deliver ongoing investment advice under a fiduciary standard.

The bank advisor offers point of sale investment advice under a suitability standard. This standard is most suitable for commission based products sales.

JBA’s principal, John Berzellini, is an experienced, credentialed investment advisor and a member of several of the financial industry’s most respected associations. A professional resume is available at our website

In an industry with no minimum education or experience requirement, anyone who passes a FINRA Securities Exam becomes an instant investment expert. In this environment competence is crucial. An examination of the facts will reveal that integrity, objectivity and competence are at the core of JBA’s comprehensive financial planning service.

The bank’s retail product distribution model makes it impossible for the bank advisor to be objective or to offer comprehensive financial planning services.

Comprehensive financial planning is what we need to reach our financial goals and to have peace of mind along the way.  In today’s market place a truly comprehensive service can only be offered by an independent investment advisor!

Help Us Stop the Banks

By John Berzellini

In my last blog post April 24, 2012 concerning the broken bank financial advisor model, I mentioned that the banking industry is lobbying congress to maintain the status quo by retaining the same watered down standard of care for its clients.

At the same time banks are lobbying congress to gain regulatory control over Investment Advisors. In essence, they are seeking to regulate their competition; the Independent Investment Advisors offering their clients a comprehensive financial planning model under a fiduciary standard of care?

On April 25, 2012 Representative Bachus R-Ala. and Rep. McCarthy D-N.Y., introduced a bill in the House of Representative which would transfer oversight of US Investment Advisers from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Many people think FINRA is a government agency. But the truth is FINRA is a non-governmental organization influenced by the large banks and insurance companies. FINRA’s old name was the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD).

It was FINRA members (broker dealers) that created and sold bogus investments causing the great recession, and are currently lobbying congress to maintain a standard of care which facilitates their securities sales operations.

Do we want to put the broker dealers in a position where they can use regulatory authority to protect their broken model? Does their past history indicate they deserve our trust?

The Board of Certified Financial Planners, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors oppose this regulatory grab.

Help us stop the banks! Let your congressional representative know that you’re against the Bachus McCarthy HR Bill 4624. Thank you.