Be Your Own Chief Ethics Officer

Julie Ragatz discusses the increasingly popular role of the Chief Ethics Officer.

Debating the Ethics of Unethical Behavior

Dr. Peter Kensicki, a National Underwriter columnist, and Julie Ragatz, Director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics in Financial Services, explore the dichotomy of opinions pertaining to the topic of behaving ethically.

Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics in Financial Services

The American College Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics in Financial Services promotes ethical behavior by offering programs that go beyond the “rules” of market conduct to help executives and producers be more sensitive to ethical issues and think more critically about ethical solutions.

Ethics and Accounting - Part 1

Sophia Duffy and Julie Ragatz discuss the Fraud Triangle – the three components that are always initially present when fraud occurs. Then they discuss the difficulty of profiling people who are more inclined to commit fraud and how these activities are usually found to be systemic to the organization.

Ethics and Accounting - Part 2

Sophia Duffy and Julie Ragatz discuss the importance and the limits of strong internal controls in promoting a compliant working environment. They recognize that a reward system endorsing the leadership qualities significant to the company is also necessary in promoting an ethical culture.

Ethics and Accounting - Part 3

The accounting profession took a hit after the financial scandals in the early 2000s and the 2008 financial crisis. In this video, Sophia Duffy and Julie Ragatz discuss the dilemmas in the auditing process that arise from the CPA’s dual duty to clients and the public.

Ethics and Philanthropy - Part 1

Philip Cubeta and Julie Ragatz define ethics and discuss how to provide advice to a client that goes beyond tax avoidance. Philip explains the necessity of the advisor’s integrity when soliciting a client’s ideals and aspirations, which are crucial to forming a meaningful plan.

Ethics and Philanthropy - Part 2

Philip Cubeta and Julie Ragatz explain how an advisor is to shape the conversation about an estate plan driven by values. This involves uncovering charities meaningful to the clients in America with conflicting virtues of self-interest and public service.

Ethics and Legal Issues - Part 1

Many financial planning practitioners face the dilemma of suspecting their clients are experiencing diminished capacity brought on by old age. Allen McLellan, Constance Fontaine, and Julie Ragatz discuss how to approach these situations from a legal and ethical standpoint.

Ethics and Legal Issues - Part 2

Allen McLellan, Constance Fontaine, and Julie Ragatz continue their discussion on dealing with clients who are experiencing diminished capacity. They go into legal maneuvers to avoid a malpractice suit and the importance of being armed with knowledge of the aging process in order to be vigilant to the signs of dementia.

Ethics and Legal Issues - Part 3

Allen McLellan, Constance Fontaine, and Julie Ragatz discuss the issue of elder abuse. Dealing with elderly people requires a great amount of patience and when that patience runs thin, situations become more susceptible to abuse. This could be a phenomenon more common in the future considering the financial pressures brought on by the current economic environment.

Ethics and Legal Issues - Part 4

Allen McLellan, Constance Fontaine, and Julie Ragatz continue their discussion on elder abuse and explain where it usually occurs and the rationalizations used to justify it.

Ethics and Legal Issues - Part 5

Allen McLellan and Julie Ragatz give instances of financial advisors uncovering elder abuse committed by family members.

Ethics and Legal Issues - Part 6

Allen McLellan, Constance Fontaine, and Julie Ragatz discuss the difficulties of teaching young financial advisors the importance of keeping integrity intact when trying to build a book. Allen then sums up the appropriate responses when servicing a client suspected of having dementia.

Ethics and Tax/Estate Planning - Part 1

Theodore Kurlowicz and Christopher Woehrle are two attorneys who specialize in tax and estate planning. In this video, Christopher explains the ethical issues that emerge when spouses file tax returns married and jointly. The big consequence is that innocent parties can still be held liable for the other’s tax liability that is determined to be underpaid.

Ethics and Tax/Estate Planning - Part 2

It is often the case that one spouse is not interested in participating in or is ignorant to the estate planning process. In this video, Theodore Kurlowicz examines the ethical importance of disclosure when jointly representing spouses and when working with producers and financial planners on an estate.

Ethics and Tax/Estate Planning - Part 3

Theodore Kurlowicz and Christopher Woehrle explain that as an attorney if you entered into a joint representation agreement and there is going to be a divorce it is not ethical and may not be legal to represent either party in a divorce. However, as a financial advisor, you can still work with your clients during a divorce but there are common issues to the division of assets that need to be treated ethically.

Ethics and Tax/Estate Planning - Part 4

The problems from the standpoint of an attorney in special needs planning are the strong emotional focus on the disabled member of the family and the broad area of legal expertise that is required. The attorney needs a great level of sensitivity to the conflict of interests among all the parties involved: beneficiaries, family members, and legal guardians.

Ethics and Tax/Estate Planning - Part 5

In this video, Theodore Kurlowicz, Christopher Woehrle, and Julie Ragatz discuss a general approach to ethical legal counsel in tax and estate planning. This involves identifying the problem and effectively communicating the issues to the client to involve them in the decision-making. Beyond legal advice, a key feature to delicately handling this process is an understanding of the financial conflicts of interest between the parties involved.

Ethics and Retirement Planning - Part 1

Jamie Hopkins, David Littell, and Julie Ragatz discuss a study that finds a low level of confidence among individuals with and without planners in dealing with healthcare and long-term care costs in retirement. This gap in knowledge needs to be addressed by the financial advisors because of the huge factor healthcare costs play in the success of retirement plans.

Ethics and Retirement Planning - Part 2

David Littell and Jamie Hopkins explain ways practitioners can talk about long-term care and healthcare costs with their clients. These techniques are an ethical approach to discussing long-term care costs as opposed to briefly mentioning it in a plan to avoid legal liability.

Ethics and Retirement Planning - Part 3

The key ethical issue addressed in the suitability standard is that the financial planner is selling products that benefit their client’s wellbeing and are not just generating commissions. David Littell goes over the 2010 revisions to NAIC model regulations for selling annuities that have been adopted in most states. He also goes over common product suitability problems.

Ethics and Retirement Planning - Part 4

Jamie Hopkins, David Littell, and Julie Ragatz discuss selling annuities to a suspicious financial consumer market. There is a concern that the public has a negative view of annuities because of their sophistication and association with Wall Street, the consumer preference for liquidity, and cases in the press of abuses of the product. This is unfortunate because with company pensions going away people need a source of guaranteed income in retirement.

Ethics and Retirement Planning - Part 5

An ethical approach to selling sophisticated financial products is to ensure that clients have a basic understanding of their retirement plans. David Littell and Jamie Hopkins explain a few communicative processes to facilitate this, such as asking your clients leading questions and having them convey plans back to you. The Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) designation has video content that explains how to talk about the topic of retirement with clients as opposed to just offering the definitions and the theory behind technical concepts.

Ethics and Retirement Planning - Part 6

Filial responsibility laws are laws that impose a duty upon third parties, usually adult children, for the support of their impoverished parents or other relatives. Jamie Hopkins discusses current trends in applying these laws and their interpretation in the courts. A recent case in Pennsylvania may be a watershed moment for advisors who might now need to factor in these liabilities in their clients’ financial plans.

Ethics and Insurance - Part 1

Glenn Stevick and Kevin Lynch sit down with Julie Ragatz to discuss the process of selling insurance. Glenn and Kevin explain how life insurance and long-term care insurance can be tough products to sell because they bring up topics that people are unwilling to talk about. In the financial planning industry, investing and earning money is still a much more popular topic than insurance products.

Ethics and Insurance - Part 2

Insurance products are used to protect us from the frightening vagaries inherent in life. In this video, Glenn Stevick and Kevin Lynch discuss how a young professional can navigate an ethical approach to selling a difficult product. A sales approach focused on process, not product, will facilitate an approach that puts the client’s interests first.

Ethics and Insurance - Part 3

One distinction found in the financial services industry is the high turnover rate of entrants into the profession. After 3 to 5 years, 85% of the people that started in the industry drop out. In this video, Glenn Stevick and Kevin Lynch discuss the retention rate problem.

Ethics and Insurance - Part 4

The average entrant in the financial services industry stays for less than a year. Julie Ragatz, Glenn Stevick, and Kevin Lynch discuss the ethical problems involved in retention issues and the apprehension companies have in investing in new employees.

Ethics and Insurance - Part 5

Julie Ragatz, Glenn Stevick, and Kevin Lynch explain the financial advisor fiduciary vs. suitability standard issue. The topic was brought to a head under the Dodd-Frank legislation. The relevancy of a uniform standard for practitioners is debated and its potential impact on middle-class investors is discussed.

Ethics and Investments - Part 1

Julie Ragatz discusses with Craig Lemoine, David Nanigian, and Walt Woerheide how assessing the value of investment products can get highly technical, which can obscure modeling ethical advisor behavior. The consumer is not always equipped to determine if their advisor’s investment strategy was done with due diligence. Craig, David, and Walt go through common approaches and missteps in assessing metrics and investment performance.

Ethics and Investments - Part 2

It is standard practice at investment firms to have clients take risk tolerance questionnaires. In this video, Walt Woerheide explains how using a questionnaire alone is too simple to create a correct portfolio allocation and explains other approaches to personalized investment advice.

Ethics and Investments - Part 3

In this video, Julie Ragatz asks David Nanigian how to appropriately deal with clients that are acting irrational according to the advisor’s theories because of a lack of understanding. David explains that graphical illustrations can be very helpful in explaining technical ideas to clients. Later, the discussion turns to the misuse of technical metrics to mislead consumers

Ethics and Investments - Part 4

This video covers the disparity usually found between the consumer and their advisor’s understanding of finance. The use of quantitative decision-making in investments can make consumers feel that advisor’s recommendations are absolute negating the need for ethics. In reality, there are no absolutes in investing and any relationship with this level of information asymmetry is extremely vulnerable to abuse.

Ethics and Retirement - Part 1

Julie Ragatz, David Littell, and Wade Pfau discuss the conflict of interest between advisors and clients and the attempts to align interests through a compensation scheme. David explains how these separate interests may evolve as the client ages and discloses the upsides to a long relationship with a client that are hidden in a purely compensation-based analysis of the situation.

Ethics and Retirement - Part 2

Julie Ragatz, David Littell, and Wade Pfau discuss conflicts advisors have with their clients when recommending certain products based on their business models. Wade elucidates the ongoing debate of recommending annuities in this regard. David then goes through red flags consumers should be aware of when taking advice on products from advisors.

Ethics and Retirement - Part 3

Julie Ragatz, David Littell, and Wade Pfau discuss how retirement planning evolves with changes in the economy and asset markets. These changes in planning can sometimes come into conflict with current regulations, which are backward-looking.

Ethics and Leadership - Part 3

Glenn Boseman, Gerry Herbison, and Julie Ragatz discuss how leaders coach their agents on ethics and how to encourage mid-level, emerging leaders to make their value systems more explicit. Glenn and Gerry explain how it is important for leaders and emerging leaders to continuously converse in, examine, and live by these ideas.

Ethics and Leadership - Part 4

Glenn Boseman and Julie Ragatz discuss decision-making frameworks in addressing choices ethically. There are many frameworks to use but they essentially all have the same approach.

Ethics and Leadership - Part 5

Glenn Boseman, Gerry Herbison, and Julie Ragatz discuss the level of ethics in the financial services industry. Glenn and Gerry explain how the general behavior is very good. The most successful people in the industry invariable come into the business to help people.

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