For several decades, the profession's leading practitioners have described their work as comprehensive financial planning. According to Stark & Stark attorney Tom Giachetti, they are asking for it, meaning lawsuits.

"Why would you do that?" Giachetti asked attendees at a session at TD Ameritrade's annual conference in Las Vegas last week. He should know. He's one of the leading legal defenders of advisors in the nation, and one could see his mind conjuring up cases of clients getting ripped off by used car dealers and air conditioner repairmen and blaming it on their financial advisors. Is it a stretch? Maybe.

One other tip from Giachetti: Many of the questions that SEC examiners ask advisors during their compliance inspections are way out of bounds. If examiners are told that, or asked what relevance the question has to the inspection at hand, they will often back down.