BUZ LIVINGSTON: Comedy, fiduciary standards and financial terrorism

Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 04:35 PM.

Bob Veres strikes an unusual pose at financial planning conferences, his beard and pony-tail being more avant-garde than typical attendees.

Despite his unconventional veneer, Veres has iconic stature among financial planners and does industry commentary-in person, in print or online. He recently fired a shot at the financial services/retirement cabal, labeling them “financial terrorists” for their dogged opposition to fiduciary standards.

Anyone living and working in South Walton knows all too well about financial terrorism but that’s another day’s story.

According to testimony at the Security and Exchange Commission’s website, all the heavy hitters, insurance companies, big brokers and banks remain foursquare against a fiduciary standard for their clients. Veres dismisses their argument likening them to clumsy hostage takers and bumbling blackmailers. But Bob is much too serious and misses the comedy.

These industry big-shots claim a fiduciary standard will mean a reduction in the number and types of products offered to people with investable assets less than $250,000.  Newsflash: Most Americans have much less than $250,000 to invest. It’s got to be a joke, right? Variable annuities will still be sold for less than $250,000. Who’s kidding who? Maybe with a fiduciary standard, the salesperson couldn’t claim annuities were commission free or mislead about annual costs.

Last month, the Washington, D.C., Theater of the Absurd topped itself.

A liberal group signed, sealed and delivered a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission. As members of the Black Congressional Caucus, they were ostensibly worried a fiduciary standard would disproportionately affect black constituents and their ability to save.

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