Consumer trust in financial institutions is at an all-time low. A mailing I got today from the company that handles one of my former employer’s retirement funds helps explain why.
It begins: “Securities and Exchange Commission regulations require all securities firms, including [name of firm] to maintain certain information about their clients. We are writing to confirm that we have accurate information on file.”
They then proceed to ask you to confirm or correct some information. And, of course, some of it is the expected information — your name, your address, and your phone number. It makes sense they’d need this to get in touch with you about disbursements, fees, or change of investment options. And that they’d want this information if they are reporting gains or distributions to the IRS.
But then, the fun begins.
They want your occupation, your annual income, and your “net worth exclusive of primary residence.”
If the SEC requires these people to keep track of my net worth, I’ll eat the contents of my safe deposit box (at another institution).
So, here is a company I’m hoping and praying I can trust with my retirement funds in these iffy times, and they are trying to intimidate me by invoking the SEC while they phish for information that will allow their marketing department to pester me in a more targeted fashion.
The little “A Note on your Privacy” at the bottom of the form is a perfect coupe de crass.
One thought on “They have my money, but not my trust”
If they are misrepresenting SEC requirements in order to get consumers to part with their cash, you should (a) make a complaint to the state Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division; and (b) notify the SEC, which takes a very hard line, and an ever verier dim view of such things.
Banking and financial institutions are regulated by the federal government, but they cross the line into consumer deception, they can also run afoul of, and be subject to state laws.