Are structured settlements obsolete? One of the nations premier experts on structured settlements and settlement planning says that they aren't, but that the way they have been sold or offered to claimants IS obsolete. Too often this valuable tool is used for the defendants or insurance companies to gain an edge on plaintiff attorney's or injury victims, but despite the questionable tactics, the underlying product and concept of structured settlements is probably MORE valuable to injury victims now than ever before. Mark Wahlstrom covers the 5 major benefits of a structured settlement and why trial lawyers simply need to have their own expert to help evaluate, price and design a structured settlement for their client. To learn more go to: http://wahlstromandassociates.com/.
Fidelity Investments is changing how it charges its clients for financial advice. The Wall Street Journal reports starting in July, clients will be charged based on how much they invest with Fidelity. This method replaces the current model, in which costs are based on a variety of factors, including a customer’s investment preferences, level of interaction with Fidelity and overall assets.
According to the WSJ, new customers will pay less or more than they would today, but current clients will pay the same or less because they will be granted waivers to keep their current fees from increasing.
A Fidelity spokesperson told the WSJ that the changes are being made due to customer demand. Recently, wealth managers have made changes to their fee models, after the Labor Department passed the Fiduciary rule, which required brokers to offer products based on their clients’ interests instead of based on commissions.
Fidelity’s move shows that despite an overturn of the rule by a U.S. District Circuit Court, major asset managers are still feeling the pressure brought about by that initial decision and are transitioning to flat-fee pricing models. Industry experts say they expect that same pressure to force the annuity, insurance and other financial industries to make the switch as well.
Mark Wahlstrom in this weeks commentary on the Settlement Channel, looks at a disturbing trend in claims practices that is being practiced by AIG on their casualty claims. In recent cases it has been noted that AIG or their structured settlement brokers are requiring Attorney's to sign agreements, pre-settlement negotiation where in the trial lawyer agrees to utilize AIG's preferred settlement brokers to handle any potential structured settlement. While this is upsetting, what is worse is another clause where in the attorney agrees to AIG's stipulation that none of the settlement money will be paid into a settlement trust, a Qualified Settlement Fund or a 468B settlement trust, thus depriving claimants and their attorneys of an IRS approved and codified means of resolving litigation, liens, claims and handling appropriate planning for clients. If you have been asked to sign one of these agreements you need to fully understand the motivation behind AIG's insistence, which appears to be nothing more than an attempt to control the claims dollars that rightfully belong to the plaintiff in any other form of settlement. To learn more go to http://wahlstromandassociates.com/.