Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Time to find yourself a new broker :: Herald News :: Malcolm Berko

Time to find yourself a new broker :: Herald News :: Malcolm Berko

My letter to the Chicago Sun Times regarding a complete idiot "Advisor" columnist.



I am a fee-only financial planner who works with many teachers. I co-authored The 403b Wise Guide along with Dan Otter of www.403bwise.com (the #1 site on the internet for unbiased 403(b) information). I also consult with one of the largest pension systems in the world on their 403(b) plans.

After reading Malcom Berko's absolutely appalling response to F.L. in the above referenced article I had to write you. Not only did he refer to educators as dumb, but he made fun of the couple's lifesavings, calling it "pathetic". You should never allow him to write for your publication again and should immediately begin an investigation to see how he has unduly profited from this column. He should also be forced to make a written apology.

While I agree with the his assessment that the High Yield funds are a rotten idea, the way he talks down to the educators and berates them (how does he know what they've been through in their 31 years, maybe they had to scrimp to get to that $231k figure) is out of line and uncalled for.

What is worse is that he calls out the brokerage firm for recommending commission based products and then recommends commission based variable annuity products that will make him around 7% commission (more than the 4.75% that he berates the other broker for). The products that he is selling are horrible and excessively expensive, probably around 3% in annual fees or more. The guarantees come with catches that he fails to mention.

You would be wise to remove this ticking time bomb and replace him with someone who is less conflicted or not replace him at all.

This is one of the most self serving columns I've ever read.

I urge you to get rid of Malcom Berko.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP, AIF
Laguna Hills, CA 92563
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