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Connecting Dots - Live Broadcast

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Connecting Dots

Connecting Dots is normally recorded as an podcast (audio). During this episode one of the cameras ran to give our prospective and active clients a look at how Connecting Dots is recorded. In a future showcase of Connecting Dots we may include a few video elements.

  • Marriott
  • Starwood
  • Yahoo
  • Hacking
  • Indemnity Reserve
  • Litigation
  • M&A Transactions
  • Earn-outs
  • Escrow accounts
  • Post-closing adjustments
  • Air B&B
  • Uber
  • Hospitality industry
  • Google
  • Advertising
  • Amazon
  • CRAP
  • Williams-Sonoma
  • Trump
  • USPS
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Some In-House Discussions Today

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Current

Current is a feature for clients of TrueStar Advisors. On a weekly or more often basis, we list links with occasional commentary as to what we are discussing in-house. Current is not a comprehensive tell-all, instead, it is our way or providing a glimpse as to what we're talking about over coffee, lunch, in the hallways while leaning against a wall, or in the board room.

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Total starts production in Egina field offshore Nigeria

Oman gov't to tap capital markets to plug budget gap Gulf nation is looking to raise $6.2bn internationally and at home to cover bulk of budget shortfall COMMENT: Oman’s government, whose budget deficit is among the largest of all the sovereigns tracked by Fitch Ratings, will tap capital markets for a fourth straight year to plug a fiscal gap vulnerable to lower oil prices. What will this mean for an area rife with violence to the south and difficult relations at best among neighboring states?

This blog will continue to be updated for the next few hours.

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Play Ball

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Batter Up

Succession planning is commonly associated with a business where a process is used to identify, develop, and install new leaders when existing leaders are terminated, retire, become disabled, or die. The gray zone is when a transfer of power should take place on a voluntary basis. The process is not easy on the existing leaders nor those in competition for the top spot or downline positions.

Chaos

The prevention of chaotic power struggles is one of the aims of a thorough succession plan. From a holistic and ongoing perspective, the word “process” is generally a better descriptor.

The process of succession planning and implementation on a business level is one that many founding partners have a difficult time with. The business is their baby, and like raising a child, there comes a time to make a clean break.

The transition from one generation to another or one administration to another may be sudden, intermediate, or over a prolonged period. Regardless of the length of transfer, there must be a clean and crisp break to avoid confusion.

The President

This is the case when there is a new President of the United States. Despite all of the denial of legitimacy by radical opponents, the founding fathers of the nation understood the need for key business continuation principles to be applied to the operation of government.

In a family, business, or government, nothing good comes from a power vacuum. Professional baseball is an excellent example of a deeply ingrained business process of ongoing continuation planning. The Major League team is always the most popular and should have the best players, but the farm teams are critical to the continuing success of any franchise. Player development is no different than the internal development potential of leaders. Succession should be viewed as a dynamic and ongoing process with backup candidates being given trial runs. In doing so, the departure of good but not great employees will take place when opportunities dry up.

When the baton is passed, and the founder remains engaged, there will be a natural reaction by some employees to seek the guidance of the founder before that of the new leader. Guidance is fine, but day-to-day operations must never be sidetracked by allowing a confusing situation as to who is in charge to exist. The comedy skit of “Who’s On First” comes to mind.

Key Principles

Commit to giving up control

Communicate clearly

Create a timeline

Engage, monitor, and adjust

But what if you are not the owner of a business, does any of this apply? Yes.

Always remember and never forget, we promote and actively encourage each person to think of themselves as a lifestyle business where one’s lifestyle is their business. This is a key and fundamental concept that is lost on most people. For those who get it, understand it, and practice it, the similarities are easy to grasp.

Me Too

From an individual, family, partner, or complex business basis, succession planning is an ongoing process that is merely another form of project management.

Financial, business, succession, or long-term care planning are all based on the foundation principles of project management. With a clear head and grasp of the facts and figures, successful succession is possible.

Think About It

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The First Thirty

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Good Morning

A morning ritual is a routine that one engages every morning. Not when convenient but every single morning. If you start the day off right, the rest of the day is far more likely going to go right. Energy, inspiration, and being prepared to do the tasks required come easier when one has a routine.

It does not need to be complicated. A brief workout of pushups, squats, running in place will improve your circulation, breathing, and mental focus. Visualizing the day ahead while working out prepares the mind for the unknown. Why? Because if one merely thinks about it, before it happens, it's not entirely new or jaw-dropping.

Simply put, positivity, discipline, and an outcome-focused orientation is half the battle, a battle that is won or lost within the first thirty minutes at the start of each day.

Think About It

Get Started

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Third Floor

Editorial Staff on

TINSTAAFL

There is no such thing as a free lunch. It is also true that there is no reason to pay a premium for something that is common and routine; however, this is what most investors do when they do it themselves or use a commission-based advisor, agent, banker, broker, or planner. Let's look at the real numbers for many investors.

If you have an advisor who is charging you a percentage of assets under management, you were dealing with a commission-based salesperson. Although they will tell you it is a fee, their compensation scheme is a commission. Now consider the fact that many of these salespeople are delegating all of the duties and responsibilities of investment management to a third party asset management platform (TAMP).

If the TAMP charges 0.5% on an annual basis, and the person you are working with is charging 1.5%, you were paying 2%. But there are additional costs that are just as non-transparent and often overlooked.

If the TAMP uses mutual funds as the primary funding vehicle for your brokerage account, then there are costs associated with those mutual funds. The same is true for ETFs or any other "bundled" financial product. All mutual funds are run by investment advisors, and if you are keeping track, this makes the third level of investment advisory charges imposed on your brokerage account. The management charges for a mutual fund are based on the same scheme that the TAMP and your person utilizes. Assets Under Management (AUM) is a compensation scheme that is far more expensive than what most investors realize. Let's continue with today's example, and for many, this will be eye-opening.

Third Floor

If the mutual funds in your brokerage account take an average of 1% off-the-top on an annual basis, you are now paying 3% per year on an all-in AUM basis. If that didn't raise your eyebrows, then you might want to take time to think about the impact this has over a 5, 10, or 20 year period.

A $100,000 account is paying $3,000 per year, and a $1 million account is paying $30,000 per year. But note that the amount you are paying is usually deducted on a quarterly basis, directly from the value of the account, and thus you never know what you will be paying until the quarter ends and the commission is deducted from your account automatically. Blind convenience can be very costly.

On top of the AUM commissions, there are additional costs, such as per trade commissions that can become very expensive. If an investment advisor is also affiliated with as an owner or subsidiary of a Broker/Dealer, there is an inherent conflict of interest and the possibility of excessive churning (trading) of the account.

We encourage you to consider the advantage of fixed cost investing over a commissio-based salesperson who makes more if you buy or sell more, have more assets under management, or takes a cut of your profits through a hedge fund.

Always Conflicted

Remember that with commission-based salespeople, they either want you to continue to buy and sell, or to give them more money to manage. They are always conflicted, and this often results in more money being invested in high risk and volatile investments than is necessary.

Use our online calculator to see if it would be beneficial to you to use fixed cost investing when you consider the total cost that you are paying them.

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Stop wasting time, money, and effort. Get started today. Don't delay, act today.

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12b-1 Fee Warning

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Fine & Dandy

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You are on a journey through life. Everything is going along fine-and-dandy. Work, home, and "me time" are all in sync. Then it happens without warning. It hits the fan.

  • Heart attack

  • Cancer

  • Traffic accident

  • Unemployment

  • Demotion

  • Relationship change

  • Death

You're in a tailspin. The world around you is collapsing. Routines are out the window, and you are flying by the seat of your pants. The stress level on a 24/7 basis is 9.9 on a scale of 10. In your darkest moments, you are forced to make decisions, but you're an emotional wreck

When is the best time to make a radical decision?

When everything is going fine and dandy. When you are calm and collected. When you have the ability to make unemotional decisions based on facts and figures.

Are you calm, cool, and collected right now? Generally speaking, are things fine and dandy? If they are, then think about it.

  • Do you want to work with an emotional-based, hug & mug salesperson who is 100% focused on making the biggest commission possible with the least amount of effort, or do you want to work with a true fiduciary-based investment advisor and manager when everything is fine and dandy?

  • When it hits the fan, who do you want?

  • You're BMOC (Big Man On Campus) and nothing ever happens to you; until it does.

Think about it and decide now.

If you don't get it, move on and stop wasting your time on this website.

Seriously. If you are going to keep doing the same thing while expecting a different result, then you might as well be a happy loser than a miserable loser who is tormented with the inability to do what needs to be done.

You know what needs to be done. What are you waiting for?

Think About It

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Words & Confusion

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In The Dark

On average, on the whole, and for the most part, most people do not know who they are dealing with when it comes to those who work in the financial services industry. The same is true for the legal profession when it comes to what to the duties and responsibilities of a legal assistant, paralegal, or attorney.

Words should have precise meanings.

Always know who you are dealing with. When in doubt, call us at 212-433-2525 or use the blue button found on the lower right of your screen to chat now.


A Broker/Dealer is a business entity.

A Registered Representative is a person who is affiliated with a Broker/Dealer.


A Registered Investment Advisor is a business entity.

An Investment Advisor Representative is a person who is affiliated with a Registered Investment Advisor.


An Insurance Agency is a business entity that is organized to sell insurance.

An Insurance Company is a business entity that is organized under state law to insure through underwriting.


An Insurance Agent is a person who is affiliated with an Insurance Agency.

An Accounting Firm is a business entity.

An** Accountant **is a person who offers accountancy services.


A Law Firm s a business entity.

An Attorney is a person who practices law, according to the laws, rules, and regulations of a state.


A Bank is a business entity and operates under state or federal charter.

A Banker works for a bank and may engage in savings, checking, money market accounts, investments, insurance, or lending through mortgages, vehicle, commercial, or with collateralized or unsecured loans.


The overwhelming majority of investment advisor representatives wear multiple hats. On Monday they are selling insurance for a commission. On Tuesday they are lending money. Wednesday comes around, and they are selling a 9% commission-based equity index annuity. Thursday is life insurance day. Friday is for golf as the commissions are coming in to the tune of a million dollars a year.

When it comes to investment advice and management, only work with a true-fiduciary.

Listen to Connecting Dots for more information.

Get Started today, you’ll be glad you did.

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I Could Have Had a V8 - Part 2

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Part 2 - I Could Have Had a V8

A fiduciary represents the highest standard of responsibility and trust. There should be no wiggle room when it comes to fiduciary standards. As a true fiduciary-based investment advisor, it’s simple for us. We are structured in a way that ensures that we cannot turn on or off being a fiduciary. This is the problem with conflicted advisors who also serve their clients as agent, banker, broker, dealer, or financial planner.

The word fiduciary does not need to be strengthened as it is already “the” term that means precisely what it means. The problem is permitting a lower standard use by conflicted advisors, agents, bankers, brokers, dealers, and planners whose compensation is discriminatory.

A true fiduciary-based financial planner cannot act as a fiduciary in one moment and then switch to the role of salesperson the next. This is the heart-and-soul problem we with have with nearly all “planner-based” credentialing organizations.

We strongly discourage the use of conflicted financial planners, regardless of what they call themselves: macro, holistic, coach, or “Big Tom Foolery.” If Tom sells a product, then he is wearing a hat, and he needs to be comfortable with that hat.

The day is coming when it will be illegal to give financial advice and sell financial products. Regulators will phase in laws, rules, and regulations because these two activities are ethically incompatible. Can one manage as a fiduciary? Yes, one can but only through time and/or fixed cost pricing compensation methods.

If you genuinely need a financial planner, seek the services of an accountant first. As you get older, and life becomes more complex, bring in an estate planning attorney who is also comfortable with the asset protection laws, rules, and regulations within your residential and business jurisdiction to provide specialized advice. Also, never abdicate or ignore. Instead, delegate efficiently and effectively while retaining that which you like, are good and profitable at, and can control.

You can have a can of V-8 and quench your thirst for a moment, or you can have the power of a V-8, and power through to where you want to get to quench your thirst today, tomorrow, and the many days ahead. It's your choice and responsibility to zoom ahead efficiently and effectively on your terms.

Visiting

Get Started by clicking on this link and doing just that: Get Started. The longer you wait, the more time, money, and effort you are wasting with a high-commission advisor, agent, banker, broker, or planner. And if you are the preverbal DIYer, well, good luck with that. One day, when you’re out of time, disabled, or completely distracted, you’ll remember this: “I could have had a fiduciary.” (Think V8)

Blue Lights - Dangerous With Non-LEO Vehicles

Editorial Staff on

Despite being illegal, blue lights can be seen on many non-law enforcement vehicles. Do LEOs care? They should.

Flordia Attorney General Advisory Legal Opinion - AGO 99-11 Date: March 2, 1999 Subject: Use of blue lights on motor vehicles

Ms. Dorothy K. Burk Police Legal Advisor City of Orlando 100 South Hughey Avenue Orlando, Florida 32801

RE: MOTOR VEHICLES--LAW ENFORCEMENT--use of blue lights on motor vehicles by nonlaw enforcement. ss. 316.2397, 843.081, Fla. Stat.

Dear Ms. Burk:

On behalf of the Orlando Police Department, you ask substantially the following questions:

  1. Do the prohibitions in sections 843.081(2) and 316.2397(2), Florida Statutes, apply only to situations where blue lights on a nongovernmentally owned vehicle are activated or do they prohibit the presence of such equipment on the vehicle?

  2. Does the exception in section 843.081(3), Florida Statutes, for salespersons, service representatives, and other employees of businesses licensed to sell or repair law enforcement equipment permit an employee of such a business to drive a vehicle equipped with a flashing or rotating blue light for the employee's personal use?

In sum:

  1. Section 843.081(2), Florida Statutes, prohibits the presence of blue lights on any nongovernmentally owned vehicle, regardless of whether the blue lights are actually in use.

  2. The exception in section 843.081(3), Florida Statutes, for salespersons, service representatives, and other employees of businesses licensed to sell or repair law enforcement equipment would not permit an employee of such a company to drive a vehicle equipped with a flashing or rotating blue light for the employee's personal use.

Question One

Section 316.2397(2), Florida Statutes, expressly prohibits "any vehicle or equipment, except police vehicles, to show or display blue lights." The statute, however, recognizes an exception for vehicles owned, operated, or leased by the Department of Corrections, which "may show or display blue lights when responding to emergencies." The use of the terms "show or display" in the statute appears to contemplate that the lights are activated.[1]

Section 843.081, Florida Statutes, makes it unlawful for "a person to use in or on any nongovernmentally owned vehicle or vessel any flashing or rotating blue light unless such person is a law enforcement officer employed by a federal, state, county, or city law enforcement agency[.]"[2] A limited exception is recognized by section 843.081(3), Florida Statutes, for "salespersons, service representatives, or other employees of businesses licensed to sell or repair law enforcement equipment."

Section 843.081, Florida Statutes, makes it a misdemeanor of the first degree to violate its provisions.[3] The statute was enacted in 1991 after the Legislature found that Florida's citizens were vulnerable to becoming victims of criminal acts through the illegal use of blue lights by criminal elements.[4]

The term "flashing or rotating blue light" is defined for purposes of section 843.081, Florida Statutes, to include "all forms of lights which display a blue light source or which were designed with the intent of displaying a blue light source whether or not such light is actually in use."[5] (e.s.) Thus, the statute prohibits the use of blue lights on nongovernmentally owned vehicles, regardless of whether the lights are actually in use, unless the person is a law enforcement officer employed by a law enforcement agency or falls within the limited exception afforded by section 843.081(3), Florida Statutes.

Accordingly, I am of the opinion that section 843.081(2), Florida Statutes, prohibits the presence of blue lights on nongovernmentally owned vehicles, regardless of whether the blue lights are actually in use.

Question Two

As discussed in the previous question, section 843.081(3), Florida Statutes, prohibits the use of blue lights on nongovernmentally owned vehicles, regardless of whether the lights are actually in use, unless the person is a law enforcement officer employed by a law enforcement agency. The prohibition, however, does not apply to "salespersons, service representatives, or other employees of businesses licensed to sell or repair law enforcement equipment."

The exception afforded by section 843.081(3), Florida Statutes, has not been the subject of interpretation by the appellate courts of this state. It is, however, a general rule of statutory construction that exceptions to statutes are to be strictly construed and limited to their intended purpose.[6]

Subsection (3) of the statute refers to salespersons, service representatives, or other employees of businesses licensed to sell or repair law enforcement equipment. When using vehicles equipped with blue lights in the course of their businesses, i.e., the sale or repair of law enforcement equipment, these individuals would appear to fall within the exception. However, when such an individual uses the vehicle for his or her own personal use, unrelated to the business of selling or repairing law enforcement equipment, the individual is not operating as a salesperson, service representative, or other employee of the business. Thus, the exemption would not, in my opinion, apply.

Accordingly, I am of the opinion that the exception in section 843.081(3), Florida Statutes, for salespersons, service representatives, and other employees of businesses licensed to sell or repair law enforcement equipment would not permit an employee of such a business to drive a vehicle equipped with a flashing or rotating blue light for the employee's personal use.

Sincerely,

Robert A Butterworth Attorney General

RAB/tjw


[1] To conclude otherwise would mean that a vehicle equipped with blue lights could not be owned, operated, or leased to the Department of Corrections unless the department was responding to an emergency. See State v. Webb, 398 So. 2d 820 (Fla. 1981) (construction of a statute which would lead to an absurd result should be avoided); Leon County v. State, Department of Community Affairs, 666 So. 2d 1003, 1007 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996) (court must avoid a construction leading to an absurd or unreasonable result when the statute, considered as a whole, is fairly subject to another interpretation that will aid in accomplishing the legislative intent).

[2] Section 843.081(2), Fla. Stat.

[3] Section 843.081(5), Fla. Stat.

[4] Section 843.081(1), Fla. Stat. And see Ch. 91-163, Laws of Florida.

[5] Section 843.081(4), Fla. Stat.

[6] See Samara Development Corp. v. Marlow, 556 So. 2d 1097 (Fla. 1990) (well-recognized rule of statutory construction that exceptions or provisos should be narrowly and strictly construed); Farrey v. Bettendorf, 96 So. 2d 889 (Fla. 1957); Coe v. Broward County, 327 So. 2d 69 (Fla. 4th DCA 1976), aff'd, 341 So. 2d 762 (Fla. 1976).

Driver says vehicle with blue lights appeared to impersonate an officer

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