The envelope came in the mail last week: my first official invitation to a financial planning seminar. The host for this particular seminar was the RTR Group, a Morgan Stanley financial advisory group in Newtown, Pa.
I had heard about financial planning seminars and aggressive sales tactics used in some cases. I’d even written about them for InsuranceNewsNet.
Certainly, I had come across plenty of announcements from insurance regulators who are cracking down on advisors organizing dinners for retirees.
From what I gather, financial advisors have been reined in from days of yore when they played fast and loose selling pre-retirees on unsuitable investments. These transactions often ended in steep losses for retirees and hefty fines or worse for advisors.
The industry has gone a long way to clean up its act, although questionable sales tactics still rear their ugly heads in some areas.
So I scanned the invitation to Christine’s Restaurant, an upscale eatery in my hometown of Yardley, Pa., expecting to run into a mention about annuities and the promise of decent returns and little risk – in effect, having my cake and eating it too.
Instead, I was surprised. There was no mention of retirement, annuities, life insurance, up and down markets or investment strategies.
The title of the dinner program was “Planning for the Unexpected: Protecting Your Lifestyle.” That was about as close as the invitation came to saying anything about annuities or retirement investments.
The hosts were a branch manager and a pair of financial advisors and the dinner featured guest speaker Anthony Neibert, a regional director with Goldman, Sachs & Co. He was scheduled to talk about “Market and Economic Perspectives.”
Sounds like everything is above-board (this is blue-chip Morgan Stanley, after all) but it’s reassuring to know that these advisors at least are being careful with their marketing materials.
I don’t know how they got my name, but I turned 50 last May so I assume that I’m in some institution’s database somewhere and that more of these dinner invitations will be coming my way.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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