The Best and Worst of 2012: Who's Down?

The Best and Worst of 2012: Who's Down? The Best and Worst of 2012: Who's Down?

After a round of changes this year in the financial advice industry, some big players found themselves in diminished circumstances by year’s end. Here’s a look at some of the people, organizations and ideas that ended the year in a downturn.

Check out The Best and Worst of 2012: Who's Up?

Maria Elena Lagomasino Maria Elena Lagomasino

Maria Elena (or “Mel”) Lagomasino graced the cover of FP a year ago as CEO of Genspring Family Offices, which at the time was the country’s largest RIA. But before the year was out, Lagomasino had resigned and the firm's owner, Suntrust Bank, had replaced her and her executive team. Lagomasino has been a staunch advocate for a fiduciary standard of client care, so perhaps she will reemerge in the debate to highlight the tough challenges facing fee-only firms -- and the risks that come along with deep-pocketed outside ownership.

Americans Abroad Americans Abroad

The U.S. government’s new initiative to crack down on wealthy tax cheats abroad, once and for all, is having unintended consequences for many U.S. expats. As financial institutions seek to avoid the expense of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, some are shutting down accounts held by some Americans or refusing to let them open new ones.

Wirehouses Wirehouses

The big wirehouses continued to lose brokers, who are defecting in large numbers to start their own independent firms or to join other independents. Just how vulnerable are they? Three out of four wirehouse advisors said they’d take action if a recruiter suggested joining an RIA, according to a study this year by Schwab Advisor Services.

BlackBerry BlackBerry

It was one thing when Silicon Valley start-ups started issuing company iPhones -- but even the relatively staid financial services industry seems to be trading in BlackBerrys for alternative devices. In our year-end Tech Survey, planners told us that BlackBerry phones had slid to 13% share from 25% in 2011.

Alan Goldfarb Alan Goldfarb

The former chairman of the CFP Board stepped down this fall after alleged violations of the board’s standards of professional conduct. Goldfarb said he planned to defend himself to the board and clear up what he termed a misunderstanding over his compensation -- but CFP Board CEO Kevin Keller said the matter was being referred for further proceedings and that Goldfarb's description of the alleged violation was "not correct."

Check out The Best and Worst of 2012: Who's Up?