Unfortunate Depiction
In the July 2007 issue‚s "Parting Shot," financial advisors at brokerage firms were portrayed in a very despairing manner by Richard Wagner. As a Certified Financial Planner at Merrill Lynch I feel a need to express my deep resentment for this unfortunate depiction.
I do consider myself a client-centered life advisor and my clients always come first. When I first meet with a client I probe in depth as to their needs, goals and dreams. I will then frequently propose the appropriate investments using either "C" share mutual funds or separately managed accounts. I am not "selling products" as Mr. Wagner indicated all of us do at brokerage companies. I am also convinced that I am not unique in the industry, as most advisors that I speak to and work with at Merrill Lynch follow the same standards as I. In addition, the number of CFPs coming from the brokerage companies has been expanding and will continue to do so.
Perhaps Mr. Wagner is a little afraid that the line is not as blurry as he depicts between brokerage and independent advisors. He should have at least done a little more homework before painting an inaccurate, broad-brush depiction of the dedicated financial advisors working at brokerage firms.

Paul A. Platek, CFP, CRPC
Merrill Lynch
Montvale, N.J.

Interesting Murray
I read with interest (and I always do) Nick Murray‚s column in the June 2007 issue of Financial Advisor and his use of famous quotes to make the case that history repeats itself and times change.
Another quote in the same vein that I often use with clients comes from Mark Twain:
"History doesn‚t repeat itself … but it rhymes."
As Twain often does, it gets a chuckle and then contemplation.

Joseph W. Langella Jr.,
Director, Managed Accounts
Philadelphia International Advisors
Philadelphia, Pa.

Off Base?
I am shocked that you would use Pete Rose‚s name so callously in the title of an article, "A Pete Rose Of A Client," in the May 2007 issue of Financial Advisor magazine. To focus on the seamier side of Pete‚s personality does a great injustice to his efforts and the accomplishments he attained on the field in his storied career. Here‚s a player who made everybody on his team better by playing hard every day and accepting nothing less from them. He was a credit to the game. We could use a lot more people like that in our business, wanting to work hard and hustle every day.
Be careful when you belittle people, it only makes you look small.

Charles C. Jones, Investment Officer
Commerce Asset Management
Philadelphia, Pa.

What Credentials?
Liked the article "SEC Won‚t Appeal Court Decision" (Financial Advisor, June 2007) except for the ending. The last sentence that states financial planning can take place in either brokerage or advisory accounts, regulated by the NASD and SEC respectively, is very misleading. Anyone is able to hang a shingle to provide financial planning, with no credentials whatsoever, provided they are not registered as a representative or an RIA. Also, financial planning is a common activity of trust departments and life insurance salespeople. Now that many life insurance sales people are also registered, they fall under the NASD, but many are not registered and remain outside regulations.
With all these conflicting participants, only principles-based regulation applied across the board to activities will work. Rules-based regulations will not work well.
I can sum it up in two principles: 1) Disclose your experience/qualifications, if any, and 2) Provide advice suited to clients‚ needs, goals and desires, not the product(s) you wish to sell. Just my two cents.

Jeanine Broderick, FLMI, AIRC, ACS
Director of Compliance and Risk
Capitol Wealth Inc.
Charlotte, N.C.