Sunday, June 8, 2014

Is your advisor just a Salesman?

I grow weary of the business media and investor advocates referring to investment advisors as “salesmen”, as if that is a bad thing. Last week a piece on bad investment advisors appeared in the Globe and Mail – Report on Business “How can investors protect themselves from financial fraud? John Heinzl - INVESTMENT REPORTER The Globe and Mail Published Friday, Jun. 06 2014, 5:21 PM EDT - the in-print heading was “Ensure your advisor is not just a salesman.” Heinzl features Stan Buell who “knows what it’s like to be the victim of a crooked financial professional.”, because – “Years ago, he lost about $1-million to a broker who made unauthorized trades on his account and engaged in fraud.”

This was a follow up from “A victim speaks out about financial fraud” - John Heinzl - The Globe and Mail Published Friday, May. 30 2014, 7:39 PM EDT. Heinzl admits hearing from an investment adviser who said the column was “inflammatory” and depicted the industry unfairly, and from a portfolio manager who prides himself on “trust” and “integrity” and said he hoped (Heinzl) would write a column that “highlights the value of a good adviser/client relationship.

My beef is the insult to salespeople because I believe that in our system, – “Nothing happens until someone sells something to someone else.” The reality is that all successful corporations and individuals rely on sales skills to survive and grow. Are not the major banks, auto manufactures, drug companies, retail chains, hotels and food chains primarily sales & marketing organizations? Do not employees “sell” their skills to their employers? Is not John Heinzl basically a salesman who markets his column?

According to journalist Gavin Adamson – the victim, Sten Buell works for Royal LePage and according to FAIR Canada in 1990 Buell left engineering to join his wife in real estate sales and became an associate broker with Royal Lepage – in other words – a salesman.

Is Stan Buell the victim of a crooked financial professional? If true, I would ask the Heinzl / Buell team to please be transparent – and publish the dates, the offence, the names of the advisor / advisors and the name of the firm involved in the Buell fraud – that is called investigative journalism.

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