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Lee,You make excellent points. The fact is free lunch investment seminars can offer vey good information. Many of the financial institutions offering the seminars due so with the up most integrity. However, we continue to hear stories about older investors who were given poor advice. Also, last year the SEC, NASAA and FINRA conducted a year long examination of firms offering these seminars and the findings were interesting:· 100% of the "seminars" were sales presentations. While many sales seminars were advertised as "educational," "workshops," and "nothing will be sold," they were intended to result in the attendees' opening new accounts and, ultimately, in the sales of investment products, if not at the seminar itself, then in follow-up contacts with the attendees.· 59% reflected weak supervisory practices by firms.· 50% featured exaggerated or misleading advertising claims.· 23% involved possibly unsuitable recommendations.· 13% appeared to be fraudulent and have been referred to the most appropriate regulator for possible enforcement or disciplinary action.www.sec.gov/news/press/2007/2007-179.htm">http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2007/2007-179.htmThe Free Lunch Monitor program simply aims to inform consumers so they can make good decisions and also empower them to take positive action by alerting regulators of inappropriate sales tactics. We hope this program will help make the market place safer and in fact give people greater confidence in all their investment choices and that includes accepting free lunch investment seminar invitations.We applaud your idea to make the What to Listen To Checklist available at all your seminars. Please let us know if your company accepts your suggestion.Thank you so much for your comments.
Your initial bit of research data is most curious. Who decided there was a need to learn if lunch (meal) seminars are done for the purpose of deriving product sales or acquiring new clients? Hello!! Please let me know who is doing meal seminars on their nickel without such an objective.
A bit of background: I'm life and health insurance licensed in MI, MN and WI, am a Registered Rep with a national independent BD (no proprietary products), as well as a Series 65 Rep for my BD's RIA firm. I began in this business over 24 years ago, and have been with this BD the past 18.
Lee has written an excellent "cliff's notes" on setting up and conducting seminars, and follow up services for attendees. I would have enjoyed his insights when I began to do a few of them early on in my career. I've not continued them in my practice, but I have sure been taken aback by the come-ons I've received in the mail (I crossed that Medicare eligibilty threshhold a half decade ago). Most would not pass compliance review with my BD if I were to seek it. Friends and clients of mine report highly varied, and mostly unsatisfactory responses from their attendance at some of them.
But back to my inquiry. I'm sure that we who do "lunch seminars" have an ulterior motive. If we're commission based insurance salespeople, we want to have as the outcome of our 'investment' the sale of our products. If we're fee based advisors, we want to acquire new clients from whose assets we can garner our fee. Who in our industry works for free?
So, is there any such thing as a Free Lunch? The very name is (or should be) an oxymoron to us. I suggest that we who do seminars begin dealing with this issue by getting rid of any reference to 'Free' in our invitations, and focus on the topics, perhaps 'Retirement Options', 'Products that Blend Insurance Guarantees and Market Investments', and such.
I regret having tossed what may well be over a hundred invitations I've received over the past 5 or so years. They would have been much better put to use in AARP's hands. I'll toss no more - and I'll start attending seminars when I'm not presenting them.