Geiss story unites advisors in the Talvest Town Hall

By Steven Lamb | December 12, 2003 | Last updated on December 12, 2003
3 min read

(December 12, 2003) The IDA might want to take note: Advisors are angry and calling for a revolution. At least, that’s the prevailing sentiment in the Talvest Town Hall, following Wednesday’s story about prominent financial planner Bernie Geiss leaving the securities industry.

Geiss, a fee-for-service planner, quit the securities side of his business this week after the IDA demanded that his planning business flow through his dealer, Berkshire, giving the firm a slice of his fee.

“I’m no longer going to participate in that circus called securities regulation,” Geiss told “Berkshire does not have the staff, the expertise or the capabilities to even understand what I’m doing for my clients, let alone approve it.”

Reaction in the Talvest Town Hall has rarely been so unanimous as it is in its support for Geiss.

“Bernie is doing the right thing,” said Richard Harvey. “Our clients are intelligent enough to know that if they want a professional service they must expect to pay for it and the planner should be compensated, not the dealer. The mutual fund dealers have their own sources of income and they certainly shouldn’t encroach on the planning side of our business as it is clearly not their expertise.”

Some participants are calling for a revolution in the industry, saying the IDA and MFDA are self-serving and not protecting the client.

“Good for you, Bernie. I hope you have started a something that will be heard throughout the industry,” said Rick King. “It is time we all let the dealers and regulators know who’s business we are running.”

One posting by an advisor identified as Tim questioned the motives of the IDA, essentially calling it the lapdog of the big banks.

“I totally empathize with Bernie’s thoughts relative to the changing regulatory environment, be it the IDA (90% controlled by the tier-one banks) and the absolutely absurd new boy on the block, the MFDA (again, controlled by the banks),” he said. “This witch hunt by regulators will drive the good independent advisor out of business… Gee, I wonder if the banks will be upset with that?

“I might leave the regulated environment, start my own consulting company and have individual consulting contracts with my clients,” Tim added. “I believe the best, most competent people in our industry that do full, comprehensive planning, with defined investment processes and an established and loyal client base are in a position to step out of this regulatory environment that has run amok. Who would be left to regulate?”

It seems Geiss has become a sort of folk-hero for the financial advisor.

“Hats off to you, Bernie, for sticking to your principles!” cheered Mark Kotris. “We are quickly being ‘drowned’ by overregulation and misinterpretation of what constitutes appropriate compliance under the guise of ‘protecting the public’.”

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The opinions expressed in the online messages posted to any of the forums of the Talvest Town Hall are strictly those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the staff of Talvest Fund Management, or Rogers Media. Material contained in the Talvest Town Hall forums is for information purposes only.

Steven Lamb