Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Safeguard Your Professional Reputation

By Gissou Gotlieb, Field Suitability Compliance Officer

So, what are your business plans for the next 12 to 18 months? Still planning on doing business as usual? If you are in the financial industry dealing in insurance products and/or qualified accounts, your world may be about to change.

With the Department of Labor fiduciary rule going into effect in April 2017, producers need to realize that, most likely, business will change for them in the very near future. And while you take stock of your credentials, evaluate your lines of business, and determine how you can earn a living while taking care of your clients, you should also have another point in mind: your record.

As a financial services professional, you, your activities, and your background are subject to scrutiny. Your “record” can include things such as your criminal and financial history, regulatory actions, and character and ethical reputation, as well as other disclosable issues as defined by different jurisdictions and financial institutions (FIs). Depending on your licenses, registrations, and designations, your conduct and obligations for reporting various issues may be more or less restricted than others. During a time where the liability of the FIs, as defined by the DOL, is increasing, so may their scrutiny of your character and your record.

Considering the spotlight on client interest, regulators and financial institutions will be inclined to review producers’ backgrounds more closely and possibly with more prejudice. It is a good time to ensure that if you have kept your record clean so far, you continue to keep it clean. While you may think this goes without saying, I would say it does not. This must become a daily practice if not a habit. Decisions you make each day on how to deal with a client, what strategies or marketing material you use to make a sale, and what you say to make a sale can all impact your record. As some can attest, even what you do in your personal life can impact your record if it triggers one of the questions that different regulating entities or FIs ask on their paperwork or background checks.

In the new environment post-April 2017, sales are not the only thing that will need to be in the best interest of the client. I’m certain that the producer’s character and history will also play a key role in determining the institutions that will do business with them and the clients who will choose them. Keep your record clean!
 
Gissou Gotlieb | Field Suitability Compliance Officer
Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange
Ph: 800.321.3924 x134 | Dir: 734.786.6134
ggotlieb@annuity-exchange.com

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Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange and its representatives do not give tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax advisor or attorney.

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