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Symposium will focus on putting investors first

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Financial services experts are eager to burnish the image of their industry, which has suffered in recent years due to the fallout from the 2008 economic meltdown and high-profile scandals.

FLORANCE: To speak on ethics

FLORANCE: To speak on ethics

Next month, the Chartered Financial Analyst Society New Mexico will hold a one-day conference titled “Putting Investors First.” Specialists will cover topics such as investment roles and products, regulatory trends, fraud prevention and how to handle ethical gray areas.

The symposium will be May 21 at Hotel Albuquerque in Old Town. It’s aimed at asset managers, individual investors and their professional advisers, as well as professionals, such as certified public accountants, trust officers and estate attorneys, said Stephen Spence, president of the CFA Society New Mexico and a vice president at the Stoneharbor Investment Group in Santa Fe.

Spence said the symposium is the first of its kind for his organization. It is part of the “Future of Finance Initiative” effort by the CFA Institute and its global membership of investment professionals to “motivate and empower the world of finance to become an environment where investor interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow,” according to the event program.

Events like the economic meltdown of 2008, when some financial institutions were bailed out by government money, and the case of financier Bernard Madoff, who pleaded guilty in 2009 to defrauding thousands of investors of billions of dollars, have focused attention on the financial services industry, Spence said.

“There have been so many things in recent years that I think people just don’t know who they can trust,” Spence said, “That’s one of the reasons for the whole initiative.”

The program lineup includes nine speakers from across the country who are acknowledged experts in their fields, he said.

Phoenix, Ariz.-based Ronald Florance, president of RMF Consulting, is the first scheduled speaker and he will talk about ethics.

“Our industry is faced with different regulatory and ethical standards that make sense to insiders, but most investors aren’t even aware of that. I will talk about why we have different standards, and how the industry can have a cleaner, simpler, more investor-friendly regulatory and ethical landscape,” Florance said.

AIKEN: Will speak on regulatory changes

AIKEN: Will speak on regulatory changes

Florance will also moderate a panel discussion with the theme “From Codes of Ethics to Corporate Governance – Balancing the Interests of Investors and Other Stakeholders.”

The panelists are Ronald Peyton, chairman and CEO of Callan Associates in San Francisco; Henry Van Buren III, ethics professor at the University of New Mexico; and Lloyd Kurtz, chief investment officer at Nelson Capital Management in Foster City, Calif.

Peyton is also chairman of the CFA Institute Asset Manager Code of Professional Advisory Committee.

Another speaker, Blaine Aiken, CEO of fi360, will speak about regulatory changes at the federal level that will affect investment advisers, including a new rule from the Department of Labor that applies to those who give investment advice on retirement plans and IRA accounts.

“That is the hottest of hot topics,” Aiken said.

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