Fiduciaries: Are You One and What Does That Mean?

Date: Monday, September 20, 2010
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
Location: MAC 405 Washington Avenue
Speaker: Ron A. Rhoades, JD, CFP and Michael P. Downey

Check-in begins at 11:45 am. Lunch and Presentation from 12:00-1:15 pm.

About the talk:

Join two of the nation's leading practitioners in the areas of professional ethics and fiduciary law as they interactively explore such topics as:
Why are there “flavors of fiduciary”?
o   Why are there a lot of fiduciaries out there – who simply are unaware of their status as such?
o   How are fiduciary standards of conduct applied differently to different professions - attorneys, CPAs, private trustees, trust companies, investment advisers, brokers, financial planners, and ERISA fiduciaries?
Saying one is a "fiduciary" is only part of the equation.
o   Why are fiduciary relationships and arms-length commercial relationships so different?
o   What are some of the specific fiduciary duties common to all professions?
Exploring liability as a fiduciary:
o   Who bears the burden of proof, when breach of fiduciary duties is at issue?  How does this affect the way you practice?
o   Are fiduciary duties too “vague” to be enforceable?
o   How do professional codes and standards affect one's potential liability under the law?
o   What evidence is likely to be admissible, if you need to prove compliance with your fiduciary duties?
Every fiduciary advisor likely has at least some potential conflicts of interest.
o   What’s the difference between a “sole interests” and “best interests” fiduciary standard?
o   What are some types of conflicts which must be avoided?
o   Is disclosure of an unavoided conflict of interest all that is required?
o   How are other conflicts of interest "properly managed”?
How well do professionals in various contexts understand their fiduciary duties?
How well do they abide by the standards
Where is more education most needed?

Is the fiduciary standard in danger of being eroded through “particular exceptions”?
Speaker Bios: Mr. Downey joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in August 2007. Prior to that time, he was a partner at the St. Louis firm Fox Galvin, LLC, where he started his ethics practice while primarily defending global petroleum, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical companies in product liability, class action, environmental and other major claims.

Mr. Downey has handled a variety of state and federal employment and commercial litigation matters. He has trial and appellate experience, including arguing before the Missouri Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Mr. Downey graduated first in his class from Washington University School of Law and clerked for the Hon. Pasco Bowman, then Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He also holds a graduate certificate in Law Firm Management from George Washington University, a program cosponsored by The Hildebrandt Institute. Prior to law school, Mr. Downey taught high school Latin and coached soccer and chess at a public school near St. Louis. Mr. Downey has been listed in “Who’s Who in American Law” since 2004, and in “Who’s Who in America,” since 2006. He is also rated by Martindale-Hubbell for ethics and legal ability.
Michael Downey is a partner in the national Lawyers for the Profession® practice group at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, where his practice focuses on advising lawyers, accountants, and their firms on legal, ethics, discipline, risk management, and related business and professional issues. Mr. Downey has represented lawyers and accountants in federal and state civil, criminal, and disciplinary proceedings, and appeared for applicants for admission and readmission to the Missouri Bar. He has also served as a consulting and testifying expert on ethics matters, and as a hearing officer in lawyer discipline proceedings.

Mr. Downey teaches legal ethics and law firm practice at Washington University School of Law. He has lectured widely and published many articles on professional ethics. In addition, Mr. Downey has been interviewed on professional – mainly legal – ethics by the New York Times, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Missouri Lawyers' Weekly, the St. Louis Business Journal, and other television and print media.

Ron A. Rhoades is one of the co-founders of Joseph Capital Management, LLC, and serves as its Director of Research, Chief Compliance Officer, and Chair of the Investment Committee. Ron has been frequently quoted in national publications, including Fortune and Newsweek magazines, Barron's, The Washington Post, Financial Planning, Investment Adviser, On Wall Street, Investment News, and Compliance Reporter. He is a prolific researcher and writer, and is the author of the book Estate Planning for the Florida Resident: Questions and Answers (1995), the co-author of The Science of Investing: How to Apply Academic Research to Reduce Risks and Increase Investment Returns (2003), and the author of other books, white papers and articles relating to investment management, portfolio construction, and holistic planning.

Ron is a frequent speaker at educational and training conferences for financial planners, attorneys, and accounting professionals. Ron has also served as an instructor at the North American Securities Administrators Association's (NASAA's) Investment Adviser Examiner Training Conference (2008-9), and he has been a panelist at NASAA's National (2007) and Public Policy (2005) Conferences. Ron has also spoken at many other securities industry conferences, including most recently the Certified Planner Board of Standards, Inc.'s 2009 "Annual Firm Meeting" and NAPFA's 2009 Compliance Conference.

Ron serves on the National Board of Directors of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), where he also serves as Chair of its Ethics Committee and as Chair of its Industry Issues Committee, and where he previously served on its Educational Advisory Task Force. He also serves on the Advisory Committee to The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard. Ron is also a member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), and served as Reporter for its Fiduciary Task Force (2007-8) and its Standards of Conduct Task Force (2008), and as a member of its Government Relations Committee (2007-8). For information on Ron's advocacy efforts relating to the emerging financial planning profession, please visit his associated consumer web site, For some of Ron's educational writings on the fiduciary duties of financial planners and investment advisors, please visit Ron's web site, (designed for professionals and scholars).

Ron received a Juris Doctor degree, with honors, from the University of Florida College of Law in 1985, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Florida Southern College in 1983. Ron has over 23 years of experience as an attorney, with nearly all of those years substantially devoted to estate planning, tax planning, and retirement plan distribution planning. During 2000, Ron served as consultant to Prudential Financial, designing an educational program for its financial advisors and for consumers on retirement planning.

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