Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Monday, January 06, 2014

Giving Us All A Bad Name!

I love a good story. And I love to see that story come to life on the big screen. But this time, I'm passing!

The Wolf of Wall Street has all the elements of a good, juicy story-- sex, lies, greed, and a major scam. It's the true story of Jordan Belfort, a Wall Street broker, who stole millions from his customers. Ryder read the book and declared Belfort to be "the worst person in the world." That was enough for me!

Never mind that Belfort left his customers holding the bag. He spent 22 months in prison, then bounced back by writing the book and selling the movie rights for a blockbuster directed by Martin Scorcese and starring Leonardo di Caprio. As part of his court settlement, he is required to make restitution to his former clients.

Belfort, true to form, is fudging on this agreement and finding a way to keep his ill-gotten gains. He is now on the speaker circuit and has another book coming out. What a colossal a**! Instead of profiting off his misdeeds, he should be put in stocks in the town square and left in the cold. His kind makes everyone in my business look bad-- and I don't appreciate it!

On December 26, 2013, a letter appeared in The LA Times which was written by the daughter of one of Belfort's cohorts in crime. In it, she reminds us of the excesses of Wall Street and the very real damage that gets left in the wake of such greed. Her advice? Don't put another dime in Belfort's pocket by reading his book, going to this movie, or hiring him as a speaker. He and his ilk are scum and should never be rewarded for bad behavior.

Suffice it to say, I'm not going to this movie.

I had the chance to hear John Bogle speak at a conference this year. Bogle is the founder of The Vanguard Group and has spent his professional life beating the drum for lower fees for investors. He was his usual, admonishing those in our business who produce nothing yet extract abnormal profits from their customers. Bogle is highly successful, but he got there by putting his clients first. This is the model I follow.

At New Perspectives, we may never have Belfort's wealth, but we will always keep our integrity. The trust placed in us by our clients is sacred, and we place our clients' interests above our own. So, don't put us in the same category as Jordan Belfort, or Bernie Madoff, or the dozens of other "financial professionals" who find themselves in the headlines. We plan to keep our heads down, do our jobs, take care of our clients, and stay out of the news!