The contest for the dumbest SEC examiner writeup will go on for one more week, and I thought you might want to see an example of the prize.

(for a copy send an email to the folks at Financial Planning.)

The advisors who provide the two most ridiculous infractions will receive a one-year subscription to Inside Information.  If you scroll past the cartoons, and the detailed coverage of new technology trends, and the new macroeconomic portfolio evaluation tool and the reincarnation of fund manager Michael Price, you'll find, starting on page 18, some of the funnier infractions that have been identified so far.

But as I say in the Parting Thoughts column, this whole exercise raises some serious issues. The more you hear about the SEC examination process, the more you realize that the examiners can't quickly recognize the honest advisors from the crooks, and are generally more interested in finding fault with the honest advisors than identifying the crooks.  Over the years, the SEC has strayed miles from the consumer protection role that the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 envisioned.  As its chairperson screams at Congress for more resources, it makes far more sense to ask the agency to first clean up its own mess, to look at how to become more efficient and effective in its procedures.


As you read over the March issue of Inside Information, please, please consider sending in your own silly (or ridiculous) infractions--anonymously, if you prefer, so we can post and discuss them.  I'd also like you to propose what YOU would like to see in terms of an SEC audit; how you would go about identifying who is and is not a criminal, how you would examine your office and the offices of that sleazoid advisor across town that everybody talks about at FPA chapter meetings but nobody does anything about.  (The fact that you can think of exactly who I'm talking about greatly reinforces my point.)

Together, we can make a stronger argument for reasonable, efficient regulation that touches lightly on honest advisors and weeds out the crooks and sleazes who tarnish the profession's reputation. 

And we might even be making a bigger point.  I find myself wondering if other sectors of the government can possibly be as mind-numbingly inefficient as the SEC has become--and if so, what we can do about THAT.  (If you have a solution, I'm sure we can fit it into the discussion.)

As always, thanks for reading, and especially thanks for participating.

For more on planning, client service, practice management and marketing, or to join the Inside Information community, contact Bob Veres at