Monday, October 20, 2003

The Retaliation Begins...The Backlash From My Advocacy Efforts Against Envoy Plan Services

Time to add another company to the 403(b) trash heap - this time it is FTJFundchoice, a relative newcomer to the 403(b) market. FTJ learned quickly about the 403(b) market and quickly sunk to the level of every other 403(b) company that is usually available on district provider lists. I made public certain documents that FTJ would have rather me keep quite about and now they are retaliating against me rescinding my selling agreement with them. The documents never should have been kept secret, but they were in order to protect the greed of some people involved. What this means is basically I can't look at client accounts that are held at FTJ. You may ask why I would want to have accounts at a company that I feel is unethical? Well, I don't have a choice. You see FTJ is connected to the hip with Envoy Plan Services in several Orange County Districts and I am forced to move money to these people. I actually think FTJ has a pretty good product, the problem is poor ethics at the top. The company is so focused at building assets that they are willing to sign agreements with companies like Envoy Plan Services that completely betray the educator and even the districts that allow them to operate. I will be posting the agreements online at in a few days for your viewing pleasure.

Ever since I started my campaign against Envoy I began getting tons of spam and viruses through e-mail, sometimes hundreds a day. My e-mail has been used for opt-in mailing lists and who knows what else. Can I say for sure that the people at Envoy and Retirement Solutions Group are behind this activity? No, but I find it curious that whenever I defeat them in something that the activity multiplies. I want to make it clear that I am not whining, I can take critiscm and childish antics just fine, I am documenting this so that people can see first hand how these companies treat people.

My internet was down all day today and I got a speeding ticket on my way to San Diego - I sure would like to blame somebody, but instead I think I will take the higher road and take a little personal responsibility. My internet was down becuase of a router I installed (though come to find out it was faulty) and I got a speeding ticket because I was speeding...... (though I was going with the flow of traffic!!).

I will continue the fight against the industry despite the fact that my allies are dropping like flies (more on this later). One day the 403(b) industry will be looked at with envy, not with spite.

I hope all is well everyone who reads this - I always enjoy the commentary that I get back, keep it coming!


Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Envoy Swings and Misses Again in San Diego

Envoy Plan Services was added to the San Diego City Schools Board Meeting Agenda late Monday afternoon, no doubt in attempt to squelch any opposition. I am happy to report that once again Envoy was shut down. The CSEA (Classified School Employees Association) led the charge along with a six page letter from myself. The CSEA was also joined by the SDEA, MetLife, and a representative from LPL. This group of people put forth a unified message that appeared to convince the Board to vote against the issue, a vote never happened as the issue was instead tabled. You can read all about the situation here on the blogger and on my website at San Diego has made an extremely wise decision and it is my hope that they not bring up the Envoy issue again. I will post my rebuttal letter on the website shortly. This is a victory for the 6,000 participants in San Diego as well as the employees who are not yet contributing to a 403(b) plan. Please join me in thanking those people who spoke at the meeting and defeated Envoy.


Monday, October 13, 2003

Envoy Attempts To Slide Into San Diego at The Last Minute......

I was up till midnight last night reading the agenda for the Board meeting tomorrow of the San Diego City Schools, I was looking specifically to see if Envoy Plan Services was on the agenda for approval - they were not, at least that was what I thought. It turns out they have now been added at the last minute. This is what I expected, they want to get this through without opposition and the best way to do it is to not let anyone know it will be voted on.

I just found out about it and have just finished reading a statement by Gamy Rayburn and Scott Patterson, the Director of Accounting Operations and Chief Financial Officer, respectively. The document was not written (in my opinion) by either of them, it was in fact written by Robert Hornaday of Envoy Plan Services. The document is meant to be misleading and contains many inaccuracies. This report will be presented to the board as the truth (regardless of what the truth really is). The document admits that it never seeked out a competitive bid and cites Capistrano School District as one if its "happy" districts - not true.

I will keep you updated - for those in San Diego - goto the board meeting and let your voice be heard.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

School Districts - It's Your Integrity at Stake

Over the past few years I have ruffled quite a few feathers in quite a few k-12 school districts, mainly in adminstration. My quest for better supplemental retirement plans for educators has sometimes led me down the path of criticizing people in leadership positions in k-12 & community college districts. As you might imagine, this hasn't endeared me with these districts. Suddenly, a 5'8" 155 pound man becomes a "threat," and the "enemy." This line of thinking by these districts is very distressing to me because it means in some way that I have failed. I have failed to educate them enough to help them clearly understand the issues involved so that they can make a wise decision. In reality, I don't think I am the failure, the truth of the matter is that these districts NEVER allowed me the opportunity to share my thoughts or expertise. I will never target a district without first approaching management and asking them to hear me out. It is only after a district has made it clear that they don't want to hear from me that I begin the task of taking the issue to the people of their district and ultimately begin ruffling feathers.

In the past few months I have targeted quite strongly the Capistrano Unified School District. Up until 2003 I had adored this district. I loved working with educators in the district and loved working with the few people I knew on staff. However, a few very poor decisions were made by one of the leaders and I questioned them about it. I offered my expertise and guidance free of charge. I explained to them that I was a completely unbiased source as I don't accept money from anyone but my clients for the services I provide. Furthermore, my clients interest always come first. I even went and stood for four hours at the board meeting waiting for my two minutes to speak to the board and explain to them the problems they were about to face. Not a single member of the board contacted me, nor did the adminstrator who had made the final decision to hire a company by the name of Envoy Plan Services The district now believes I have put them in my crosshairs and that I want to somehow destroy them - the truth is that I only want them to do what is right for their employees. You see, it is my opinion that the district's very Integrity is at stake in this situation. Integrity is something is gained with the little decisions and if the little decisions are made without the employees interest in mind, what will happen with the big decisions?

The Capistrano Unified School District has an incredible opportunity to show what it is made of and to show the public and their employees that they have integrity even in (what they percieve) as the small decisions. It is time to simply admit they made a mistake in hiring Envoy Plan Services, correct that mistake by firing them and then do what is in the employees best interest by hiring another entity (my vote at this point is OCTFCU). There are a number of reasons why this move is best and I will get them at a later writing. The point of this message is that the decisions the districts make every effect their integrity. It is O.K. to make a mistake or a bad decision, Lord knows I make my share of mistakes and bad decisions, afterall we are only human. I am not out to make enemies or to put a "target" on anyone's back, only to see to it that my clients and the employees of this district have their voices heard and their interests protected. I know that Capistrano Unified will right this wrong as I have faith in the person who made the decision initially. Carleen Wing-Chandler made the recommendation to the board to hire Envoy and I believe she made that decisions in her heart believing it was the right one. In fact, given the facts she had Envoy must have seemed like her only choice. I believe that the victims in the case are both the employees of the distirct and the district itself - with Envoy being the responsible party. I believe Carleen was lied to by Envoy Plan Services, or at the very least not given the whole truth. Only a partial picture was painted. It is my belief that when the full picture is presented that the district will make the right decision - I have faith in them that they will do what is right. If you are from the district or are on the board and reading this, I once again extend my services free of charge to educate you on the real issues involved so that you can make a decision based upon all the facts. I don't want to sell you anything or recieve any recognition, I only want to do what is right for your employees. I don't make any money spending time on issues such as these and to be honest, they drain me and hurt the growth my business, but I have a deep belief that if I do what is right for the teachers that it will come back to me in some fashion at some point. Please contact me at 949-916-6238.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP