Advisors To Help Terrorist Attack Victims And Their Families
Financial advisors around the country are coming together to help families and individuals who were directly affected by the terrorist attacks on September 11.
Marv Tuttle, associate director of the Financial Planning Association, says as a result of working with the New York and District of Columbia chapters, the FPA has established a toll-free number-(800) 647-6340-for victims and their families to call to get free help from advisors who are volunteering their services. Initially, volunteers from the FPA's Colorado chapter will answer calls from individuals Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST and refer them to advisors participating in the program or arrange to send information that may help them with financial planning in this time of crisis, Tuttle says.
The FPA began promoting the national support line at the beginning of October. Whether individuals need assistance as a result of the World Trade Center collapse, Pentagon destruction or any of the related plane crashes, the FPA will try to help, Tuttle adds. The toll-free help line came about after members of the New York City and D.C. chapters expressed an interest in providing pro bono services to surviving terrorist attack victims and the families of those who perished.
Shortly after the World Trade Center attack, members of the FPA of New York, in conjunction with chapters in New Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester and Long Island, began talking about what they could do to help. They decided they wanted to provide free financial planning assistance to WTC victims and their families. FPANY is compiling a database of qualified planners to whom 800-number callers may be referred. Advisors interested in volunteering can fill out a form at www.fpany.org.
Nancy A. Kistner, FPANY's director of mentoring who recently was elected to the national FPA board, says the group expects some of the planning issues to involve immediate assistance, such as helping someone file disability or death-benefit claims. The help also may involve working with relief agencies to make sure families receive all of the benefits to which they are entitled, she says.
Karen C. Altfest, a board member of FPANY and Northeast chairman of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, says NAPFA has posted information at its Web site to help those affected with financial decisions. It also has members who will provide survivors and victims' family members with free advice. Individuals can e-mail their questions to email@example.com or call (800) 366-2732 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST to get a list of members who will provide free financial planning guidance.
Meanwhile, the FPA's National Capital Area Chapter, based in Washington, has been organizing advisor volunteers to work with Pentagon victims and their families, says Mark E. Johannessen, a senior planner with Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney in McLean, Va., and coordinator of the chapter's effort.
"What's emerged in Washington, D.C., is the Department of Defense is coordinating the effort through its family-emergency-services office, and we are being put in contact with them to offer financial planning to the victims," Johannessen says. He adds the chapter also will help individuals who have been referred through the FPA's national support number.
Many other efforts by financial professionals also have been announced. For example, the Alliance of Insurance and Financial Professionals has set up a booth at the Victims Assistance Center at Pier 94 in New York to help family and friends of World Trade Center victims. Volunteers are assisting with the claims processes for employee benefits, life and disability insurance and survivor benefits. They are staffing the booth from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. has established a Web page, www.CFP.net/financialhelp, for anyone affected by the attacks.
And some advisors also are taking action individually. For example, Jim Bruyette, chairman of Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney, is making a contribution to benefit families whose relatives worked for his uncle's firm, Keefe, Bruyette and Woods, which was on the 89th floor of the World Trade Center's south tower.
"This event is so pervasive that everybody on the East Coast, in particular those who work in the financial services business, knows someone who is directly impacted. For me, Keefe Bruyette and Woods, my uncle's firm, lost 67 out of 171 people, including an eight-month pregnant woman, and instantly, 102 children lost a parent. So it's been devastating. It looks like the firm will survive, but it's personally devastating for all survivors. There is a fund called the KBW Family Fund that is being formed to accept tax-deductible contributions and parcel them out to the families of those who are lost. I personally am certainly going to make contributions and talk to friends and colleagues about doing that." Anyone interested in contributing may call Bruyette at (703) 734-9321.
Survey Shows Charitable Giving As Important As Ever
The market slide that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11 apparently has had little impact on people's charitable giving, according to a recent survey.
Investors, in fact, say they are more likely to make gifts since the tragedies. "People feel that giving to charity and particularly talking to kids about giving is as important as ever," says Chris Blunt, chief executive officer of GivingCapital Inc., a private developer of charitable-investment products.
This, he says, makes it important for advisors to stay in tune with their clients' gift-giving needs. "With this renewed interest in philanthropy, investment advisors need to be prepared to address their clients' questions about charitable giving," he says.
The company was able to gauge investor attitudes shortly before and after the attacks. From September 4 through September 6, Russ Prince of Prince & Associates surveyed for the company 196 investors with at least $75,000 in annual income. After the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, GivingCapital decided to repeat the survey from September 23 through September 24 and interviewed 372 people.
Among the findings:
The percentage of people who felt "giving should remain the same regardless of the state of the stock market" rose from 25% to 45% after the terrorist attacks.
The percentage who thought it was "OK" to cut back on giving when the market goes down dropped 40 percentage points, to 24%.
The percentage who felt charity is "more important in our troubled world than ever before" rose from 56% to 76%.
Nearly 78% of those polled after the attacks felt people should teach their children the importance of giving to charity, compared with 59.2% before the attacks.
Blunt says the results were somewhat surprising because, anecdotally, people have been saying that the drop in the stock market might have a negative impact on gift giving. At the same time, he acknowledges the post-tragedy numbers could be somewhat skewed by people's emotional reaction to the events.
In any case, he says, the numbers should prompt advisors to develop an expertise in philanthropy issues. "I think this is new ground where they can add a lot of value and build relationships," he says.
FPA Names David Yeske President-Elect
David Yeske, of Yeske & Co. Inc. in San Francisco, has been named president-elect of the Financial Planning Association for 2002.
Yeske will serve as FPA president in 2003 after Bob Barry of Barry Capital Management completes his term in 2002. Yeske has been a member of the FPA's executive committee and was a board member of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners. He earned a bachelor's of science degree in applied economics and a master's of arts in economics from the University of San Francisco. He is a doctoral candidate in finance at Golden Gate University.
The FPA also has appointed five people to three-year terms that begin next year on the Board of Directors. They are:
Karen D. Autorino, vice president of Sincere & Co. LLC in Elmore, Vt.
Marc S. Freedman, president of Freedman Financial in Peabody, Mass.
Nancy J. Johnson, managing director of Strategic Compliance Concepts Ltd. in Lanark, Ill.
Nancy A. Kistner, vice president and senior financial planner with Citigroup Private Bank in New York.
Alan D. Trott, owner of Alan D. Trott & Associates in Missouri City, Texas.
Fidelity, Russell Partner On Managed Accounts
Fidelity Investments Institutional Brokerage Group and Frank Russell Co. have teamed up to offer separately managed accounts to advisors.
The new program, Russell Managed Portfolios, initially will be available through advisors who custody their assets with Fidelity, according to the two companies.
They noted that $298 billion in assets were in separately managed consultant wrap programs as of June 30-up 60% since Dec. 31, 1998.
The program will require a minimum initial investment of $300,000 and will offer 12 multi-manager portfolio mixes, including large-cap growth, large-cap value, small cap and broad market equities.
"The high-net-worth marketplace offers advisors and brokers a tremendous opportunity to build their business," says David Denison, president of Fidelity Investments Institutional Brokerage Group.
Adds Mike Phillips, president and CEO of Frank Russell: "Advisors and their affluent clients have long recognized the need for tax-smart investment strategies.
CFP Board Of Standards Names Adkins Chairman-Elect
Frederick "Rick" Adkins of The Arkansas Financial Group Inc. in Little Rock, Ark., has been named chairman-elect for 2002 of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. He will succeed Elaine Bedel as chairman in 2004.
Adkins, who was named on October 5, says international growth of the organization will be a key issue in 2002. But he adds that it's more than a numbers game.
"We're trying to make sure it's done right, so we don't add certificants just for the sake of numbers, but based on ascertainable standards," says Adkins.
"That's something I think a lot of us in the U.S., Canada and Australia are extremely concerned with. If you add numbers without maintaining quality, you haven't accomplished a great deal."
Adkins, 49, has served on the CFP Board of Practice Standards for three years, and last year served as chairman. He was elected to a four-year term on the CFP Board of Governors a year ago.
A speaker and author, Adkins says growth in the number of certificants both domestically and internationally will be a major focus of the CFP Board. Establishing the CFP mark on a worldwide basis is a key goal, he says, noting it's one of the top agenda items of the CFP Board's new CEO, Lou Garday.
"I think finding a way to make sure those marks are well-known and well-established throughout the world is important. It enhances the credibility of the marks in this country, as well as creating a worldwide standard," he says.
Domestically, the CFP Board continues to tout the merits of CFP certification among CPAs, attorneys and other professionals who are a growing presence in the field of financial advice.
The CFP Board also announced that Don M. Blandin, president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Savings Education Council, has been named to the CFP Board of Governors, starting January 1.
In other CFP Board news:
The group says 936 of the 1,728 people who sat for the July CFP certification exam passed. The 54% pass rate was slightly below the historical average of 57%, CFP spokesman Lance Ritchlin says.
The group's Board of Examiners registered 11 new financial planning programs at eight institutions, for a total of 213 programs at 142 colleges and universities nationwide.
FPA Hopes To Salvage Programs Planned For Convention
The Financial Planning Association is planning to use the Internet to present the programs it had planned before its annual convention was canceled.
The FPA's Success Forum 2001 was to be held in San Diego from September 12 to 16, with an expected attendance of more than 3,600 people. The terrorist attacks of September 11, however, led to the cancellation of the event.
Among other things, the cancellation created problems for members who were going to use some of the 60 planned work sessions to fulfill continuing-education requirements for their CFP certifications.
That reason and the fact the FPA spent two to three years planning the education sessions prompted the organization to find another way to offer the programs, says FPA spokeswoman Heather Almand.
Although plans are still being firmed up, Almand says about 30 of the programs will be offered through the Internet or telephone conferences or both, with the originally scheduled speakers leading them.
There will be a registration fee, but it's still to be decided whether participants will be able to register for individual programs rather than the entire package of sessions, she says.
She noted that the CFP Board has agreed to extend the deadline on continuing-education requirements for people who were registered to attend the Success Forum.
Schwab Institutional announced at its Impact 2001 conference that it would offer the 6,000 investment advisors who use its services equity research from Goldman Sachs. The research package, called Goldman Sachs PrimeAccess, will be available on Schwab Institutional's investment research workstation and will include commentary and earnings estimates on more than 1,000 U.S. corporations.
In the October issue of Financial Advisor, the photographs of Charles Royce that ran in Portfolio Central on pages 83 and 84 were taken by Arnie Adler. The photographer was named incorrectly.