Should Fiduciary Advisers Swear Off Mandatory Arbitration?

The vibe is celebratory. There are coffee, doughnuts and croissants on the side table, smiles all around the conference room. On behalf of your team, which could be inside a brokerage firm or a registered investment adviser, you push paperwork across the table to open an advisory account. Smiling, your soon-to-be client pulls out a pen and scans one of the forms. But he hesitates, and his brow furrows…

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An Inconvenient Observation About Fiduciaries

An obligation to put clients’ interests first doesn’t guarantee that financial advisers will do the right thing

Years ago, my team left a large brokerage firm for the greener pastures of a fee-only registered investment adviser. While soliciting a client to follow, I explained that RIAs are fiduciaries, obligated to put the interests of their clients first.

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A Scam Story for Thanksgiving

Two days ago I was driving up Amsterdam Avenue in NYC, en route to pick up my daughter at Columbia University before returning to Rhode Island for Thanksgiving, talking hands free on my cell. That’s when my world unraveled. I’m working on a non-fiction book with tips...

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Your Big Signing Bonus, Your 12-Year-Old Brain

This is a WSJ column that I wrote for financial advisers. I’ve quoted a business psychotherapist, who makes some really interesting observations about how people make decisions under pressure. My favorite quote from him: “The 12-year-old version of you can get you into all kinds of trouble.”

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Three Tempests Roiling Wealth Management

If you listen carefully, if you pause and remain very still and tilt your head at just the right angle, you might notice the calm before the storm of clients moving assets.

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What’s Not to Love About Cheeky Kids?

The first time I read The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry I was smitten by fictional kids who stand up to adults. Back then, I liked Johnny because he had red hair and lived in the deep South. Me too. Today, the "Johnnies" are much tougher. There's less of the...

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Top Producer Goes to Russia

This scary-looking package arrived from Russia this week. At first, I I had no idea what it was... It took me about five minutes to cut through all the wrapping with a sharp pair of scissors. But then to my surprise, I discovered the package contained my copies of the...

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Norb Vonnegut

Norb Vonnegut

The New York Times describes my novels as “money porn,” “a red-hot franchise,” and “glittery thrillers about fiscal malfeasance.” Through fiction I explore the dark side of money and the motivations of those who have it, want more, and will steamroll anybody who gets in their way.

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