My Side of the Story
As a financial advisor, and as someone whom people trust to manage their wealth, I believe transparency and honesty are imperative. From the first moment I meet with clients, I am upfront and open, available to truthfully answer any questions they may ask. Due to my candor, I believe it’s important that I address a serious and complex issue you may or may not be aware of regarding my firm, Wealth Solutions, and myself.
Over the course of my career, I have done everything in my power to put my clients first and offer them the highest level of service. Due to this focus on my clients and their needs, early in my career I was cited by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failure to comply with compliance and documentation regulations. While I do not deny these infractions, I do believe that what is recorded by these regulatory agencies can be confusing and difficult for people outside of the industry to understand. Because I want to maintain full transparency with my clients, I want to help you understand what these allegations mean.
People come to a financial advisor for help because investing and managing finances is complex and overwhelming. Similarly, the regulatory side of the financial services industry is complex even for the most experienced and knowledgeable advisors. This is why many advisors work with either a wirehouse or broker-dealer, which can help advisors adhere to the strict and ever-changing rules enforced by the SEC and FINRA.
While many broker-dealers may be cited by the SEC at some point, as the rules are stringent and open to interpretation, the infractions for many of the violations fall upon the broker-dealer, not the advisor. Working with a large broker-dealer or wirehouse (such as UBS) may have provided a robust compliance team to help guide advisors through the myriad of rules and regulations, I didn’t want to be forced to offer my clients proprietary investment products. Instead, I wanted to work independently so I could work to minimize any conflicts of interest and could offer my clients some of the best investment opportunities available for their specific situation and needs.
Several years ago, when the majority of these infractions occurred, I was acting independently as my own broker-dealer under the rules of FINRA. Working as a broker-dealer, compliance manager, and financial advisor proved difficult, as I was wholly focused on serving my clients. As a result, when the SEC audited me, it was discovered that I was missing some required documentation, among other violations. Due to this infraction, FINRA further examined my practice and continued to do so routinely over the next few years. As is common in the tax industry, if you’re audited once by the IRS and violations are found, it will likely continue to happen each year and the state and local governments may follow suit.
During these investigations, I was cited with regulatory infractions, despite having offered excellent service and advice that I believe helped my clients. There were never any claims of misappropriation of client funds and there were no negative ramifications for my clients. However, I was still fined by the regulatory agencies. Even though I disagreed their findings and claims, due to the costs of defense, I agreed to pay the fines levied against me and instead focus my time and energy on my clients.
As a result of these events, I have changed my business and transitioned to become a Registered Investment Advisor. This means that I work independently of any broker-dealer and am instead registered directly with the Texas State Security Board. I believe that this decision not only benefits myself and the firm, but also my clients. Today, my firm structure has evolved and I now have a team to help with compliance and documentation so that I can continue to focus on my clients. Serving them as a fiduciary, their unique needs are my priority and I am focused on finding them solutions that align with their goals. I only receive an advisory fee for securities-based investments and financial services, and only a commission from fixed insurance products. I continue to provide personalized recommendations and am dedicated to helping clients make the most of their investments.
Despite these unfortunate past incidents, I remain more dedicated than ever to helping my clients. I am incredibly grateful that a great majority of my clients have stayed by my side and continue to work with me. I have always been upfront with them regarding these events and invite anyone to reach out to me if they have any questions or concerns. I want to help my clients make the most out of their assets and to enjoy their retirement. I have put these infractions behind me and I continue to build long-lasting, trusted relationships with my clients.
If at any time you have questions regarding these past events, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss them in further detail. It is my goal to be transparent with my clients and serve as an advisor they can trust to be honest with them and objective with their investments. I believe I have only grown stronger and more knowledgeable about the industry over the years and I am firmly dedicated to helping clients in Texas and throughout the surrounding areas.