Unlocking Real Value Blog

More Black Eyes For Our Industry

The financial services industry continues to get battered with bad publicity – last week saw the accelerated SEC/FINRA probes of bond funds at Morgan Keegan; today was news about Washington Mutual and their loan profile and a new name to most of us – Hudson Castle – an affiliate used by Lehman Brothers to shift investments off of its books.

The bad press also continues from Washington, where as financial reform is discussed, debated, and televised, the poor judgement and illegal actions of a few reflect poorly on the entire industry.  It is of course not nearly as news-worthy to focus on the vast majority of firms and individuals that don’t break the law. I am not sure about you, but the “Main Street” v “Wall Street” rhetoric has gotten really old!

My purpose here is not defend or judge these actions – but more so, since the tide of public opinion continues to flow against the industry, to suggest briefly how industry participants respond. The majority of industry participants do not engage in illegal activities and truly act in their clients best interest.

In this case the best defensive is offensive. If a client brings up these scandals to you – then it is probably too late. I recommend that you proactively contact clients to discuss the state of the industry and remind them of your standards and values – and remind them why they do business with you.

Clients will appreciate you taking the upfront approach, and being proactive will make you less susceptible to losing clients that for whatever reason begin to question you.

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