Monday, March 19, 2007

Quotas tied to benefits irk advisers

Quotas tied to benefits irk advisers - InvestmentNews

Ever wonder if the agent selling you that 403(b) had other things on his or her mind? Perhaps the policy being sold to you wasn't in your interest, or perhaps the policy was sold to you for other, more nefarious reasons. Many companies offer wonderful vacations to reps who sell certain, usually proprietary products, however, a story by Investment News is shedding light on another interesting perk that is affected by product sales......Health Insurance.

It turns out that at least three major players in the 403(b) market use health insurance benefits as a way to get their reps to sell the companies own proprietary products. If reps or agents don't sell enough of the firms products they won't get health insurance for themselves, their spouse, or their children...can you say conflict of interest?

I don't believe you should ever purchase proprietary products, and this is just one more confirmation of that belief. The question remains, are you being sold a product because it is best for you or because your advisor needs it in order to ensure (actually insure...no pun inteneded) the health of his family? Advisors shouldn't be faced with this dilemma, but then again, they choose who they work for, in this case, it isn't you.

Most advisors are not fiduciaries (required to put your best interest firs) and most firms cannot allow them to be fiduciaries because of conflicts such as utilizing health insurance benefits to force agents to sell more proprietary products. What a shame.

The 403(b) industry needs reform.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP, AIF
www.meridianwealth.com
949-916-6238
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