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Financial ConsultantOne should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing in municipal fund securities. RIAs and financial planners conducted their own voluntary peer reviews of practices, in 2 to 5 year cycles, but the primary purpose of these reviews was to enhance quality rather than to punish. Onerous rules that did little but fuel jobs for examiners and compliance personnel were repealed. No longer were those providing investment advice and financial planning treated as criminals; investment advisors and financial planners were instead treated as true professionals. All the content comes straight from expert financial advisors who live and breath these topics.

Separate divisions supported the many different career tracks in the new professional services firms, but efficiencies still resulted from more streamlined continuing education requirements (now 60 hours every two years, for all financial and investment advisers). And, as the years went by, the influx of new business continued to occur – as Americans’ trust of financial and investment advisers rose to new heights.

IPOs were now handled by newly formed syndicates of independent advisory firms; investment banking fees were more than halved. The business model of investment advisory firms quickly became similar to the business model of other professional services firms, such as law and accounting firms. Existing benefit programs were being cut, including Medicare and Social Security, placing further financial strains on retirees.

This more accurately reflected the reality that firms and individual advisers jointly contributed to the engagement and maintenance of client relationships. The 300 graduates of Western Kentucky University’s B.S. Finance / Financial Planning Program in 2015 were in high demand, with recruitment of them by professional firms from around the country. Worse, over the past decade nearly all of the Baby Boomers had retired, and most were ill-prepared to meet their financial needs during retirement.

All of the financial planning programs provided more in-depth instruction using extensive case studies, pursuant to new educational standards promulgated by the CFP Board. Of course, FINRA’s arbitrators were largely pro-securities industry and pro-insurance industry, as many had industry ties and all wanted to keep their jobs as arbitrators. FINRA, the gargantuan gorillas now overseeing nearly all of financial services, brought pressure on the CFP Board to re-set the standards of conduct for CFP Certificants to a very low level. The large Wall Street firms and insurance companies continued to dominate financial services.

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