There is a lot of talk about plagiarism online and in our schools. Regulators both private and public are cracking down in many industries, especially when it comes to securities and investments or those claiming to be experts and selling their advice via consulting or management fees.
In fact, the latest group of industry professionals to be warned about leading their customers to believe that they wrote something that they did not is Financial Advisors and Stockbrokers. Apparently, many investors are supposedly led to believe that they are experts when in actuality they send out emails, letters and notes using verbiage that was created for them by mutual fund companies, annuity firms or wire houses.
One gentleman, who wished not to be named told me that his brokerage firm sent him this little notation to remind him not to send out anything that was not from him or might lead the client to believe that he wrote it when he did not. Here is what his firm sent him from their compliance department:
We take this opportunity to remind all of our brokers and advisors that you may not present yourself as the author of any communication with the public if you are not in fact the author of the material. Credit must be given to the person or party that created the material. Although some vendors have stated that advisors may insert their name within a communication so that it appears the advisor is the author, FINRA has made it clear that this practice is considered misleading to the public because it attempts to establish expertise or credibility and may violate NASD Rules 2110, 2210 and 2120. No advisor should claim authorship of a communication, including books and newsletters, unless he or she did in fact author the communication.
It is good that the securities industry is holding themselves above the fray and doing the right thing by preventing plagiarism from their brokers and/or advisors. This is clearly a step in the right direction and it is good to see them stepping up to the plate.