Great August Issue
Your editor's note in the August issue was absolutely accurate: This issue was great! The Harold Evensky article ("Maybe MPT Isn't Dead," Harold Evensky, August 2009) was outstanding (as usual for Harold). He made a compelling case in a very short article that long-term strategic allocation models employing MPT are the tried and true, best way to invest for most clients (if done as originally intended). He nailed it.

I also think Roy Diliberto ("Transparency: A Model For Our Profession," Roy Diliberto, August 2009) has done a great service to the public and all advisors by advocating complete and honest transparency in communicating true levels of compensation with clients. I believe his early experiences with the disclosures required by the state of Pennsylvania are the rule, not the exception. (I assume Pennsylvania since that's where Roy's firm is.) If a fiduciary standard is going to be applied equally to all "financial planners" and "investment advisors" regardless of compensation methods (which seems increasingly likely), then the types of disclosures Roy has cogently described will be required, at a minimum.  No time like right now to start with these "best practices."

Keep up the good work.
Clark M. Blackman II,
Alpha Wealth Strategies LLC
Kingwood, Texas

Keep The Baby
Thanks for another insightful and thoughtful article ("Maybe MPT Isn't Dead," August 2009). I agree that MPT, or for that matter any investment strategy, is imperfect. But let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater!
Jeffrey A. Bogart,
investment advisor
Beachwood, Ohio

Get 'Quacks' Out Of The Profession
Transparency and a fiduciary standard should be the basis for all advisor/client relationships ("Transparency: A Model For Our Profession," August 2009), but who gets to call themselves an advisor?

Salespeople armed with only an insurance license and no securities licenses, no FINRA supervision and no registration with either the state securities divisions or SEC are holding themselves out to the public as "financial advisors." They seem to enjoy operating in the "crack" that exists between insurance and securities (note the fuss over 151A) and thus avoid transparency and/or fiduciary responsibility.

Until there are uniform, minimum licensing and education requirements for those calling themselves "financial advisors," the abuses will likely continue. It's time to get the "quacks" and wannabes out of our profession.
A.T. "Al" Benelli, CFP, FIC
The Merlin Group
Trooper, Pa.

Disclosure Alone Won't Work
While I agree with most of your points, the example of doctors disclosing conflict of interest is misplaced ("Transparency: A Model For Our Profession," August 2009). Physicians routinely receive expensive vacations from drug reps, offer opinions on research without disclosing industry ties and encourage patients to use in-house pharmacies.

Compensation in our industry is frequently designed in such a way as to pit the client's best interest against the advisor's. Until that gets fixed, I don't believe that disclosure will solve the conflicts.
David Beachler
PSA Financial Advisors
Hunt Valley, Md.

Martin Right About Trying Something New
I am an RIA and am trying to dispel many myths, one of which is that buy and hold is the way to service clients. That won't work in this environment ("Do Something!" J. Michael Martin, July 2009). I was at the Inside ETF conference this past January and I was a speaker on the "All About Shorting and Hedging" panel. I witnessed firsthand a number of forward-thinking advisors who are looking for a better approach to maintain if not grow their practice in this environment. My goal is to provide such an approach.
Suzanne Hamilton
Legacy Asset Management
Reston, Va.