Anthem Redux

I received a lot of feedback on my Anthem article, and the response was interesting. Much of the negative feedback came on Twitter, mostly from young ex-brokers – and you will see in a minute why I’m not particularly surprised by that. By email and in the AP Viewpoint discussion, I received mostly positive comments, people telling me that it was about time somebody called out the drift in our culture from professionalism and planning to asset gathering and fancy investing.

I need to offer some corrections. Some asked whether I had attended the Wealth/Stack conference that I referenced as evidence of an increasingly asset-gathering mentality among people calling themselves financial planners. In the original column, I very clearly stated that I was simply responding to the topical makeup of the sessions – the titles that focused on fancy investing and building business empires.

From a financial standpoint, the raison d’etre of the conference seemed to be product companies in the exhibit hall and at the lectern asking the assembled advisors to use their sophisticated ETF products to gain an advantage and add return to client portfolios. (There were also a lot of tech presentations, and I have no problem with them.)

I also said that increasingly we are seeing certain celebrity empire builders show up at conference after conference as keynote speakers talking about how they had built very large firms – and I pointed out that none of them had the CFP designation. I referenced Ron Carson, who has built a coaching program and now a growing network of advisors. But it turns out that Mr. Carson has had his CFP since 1994 – so I apologize to readers and Mr. Carson for the error. A correction was made to the original article. I have long thought that Ron Carson was one of the most productive salespeople in the advisory space, the sort of person who can sit face-to-face with anyone and know, within a few seconds, how much money that person will make him.