I just completed read ing your financial planning column by John Napolitano ("Selecting a broker-dealer," November 2012, page 22). While I agree with many of Mr. Napolitano's suggestions and frames of reference, for which a prospective CPA financial planner might select a BD, I think that his article would be also better served if it was bolstered with a list of prospective broker-dealers that are "user-friendly" with the CPA firm industry, and have extensive experience in dealing with CPA firms.
Having operated my own firm for the past 35 years, I entered into association with 1st Global Capital Corp., my BD, 12 years ago. At that time, I was persuaded in my selection of 1st Global by their specialization in being the BD for CPA firms, and their particular breadth of support and services available for our industry.
During the last 12 years of my association with 1st Global I have not been disappointed. Rather, I have formed a solid bond with all of the many people at 1st Global, and find them to be supportive, educational, and advocates on behalf of the CPA industry in the financial services realm. In my personal opinion, and from my experience having grown the financial services side of my practice as a registered investment advisor, [they are] cognizant of the needs of CPA firms and know how to support them in extracting the best value from their clients on the financial services side.
Kive I. Strickoff
Kive I. Strickoff PC
Garden City, N.Y.
Reply to a reply
I am writing in reply to the letter from Jay Flinton ("Letters," November 2012, page 11), which was more an attack on my reputation and character than a response to my opinion piece on the Romney tax return.
My concern is not with tax law compliance, but rather with how tax laws are made. I believe that some of our wealthiest taxpayers exercise a corrosive influence over the making of tax law in this country. That is why our progressive federal income tax system becomes regressive for the top earners.
Maybe a story would help Jay understand my position. When my brothers and I were in grade school, we would organize track and field events at home. As the older brother, I decided on the events and made the rules. Naturally I chose events that I had an aptitude for, and decided where the finish line went, and I won - every time.
"I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more," Mitt Romney said. "I don't think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes." What Romney doesn't say is that he and members of his peer group, through lobbying and campaign donations, have captured the lawmakers who write our tax laws, and therefore the tax law naturally benefits this elite faction. They decide where the finish line goes. They move the goal posts. They reposition the tax brackets. They write the Tax Code.
Let me explain it a different way: I view my relationship with the government as a form of income statement. On an income statement, you find both revenue and expense. Expense is the tax I pay, and revenue the benefits I receive, such as the Medicare I hope to receive during retirement.
Because my father died young, Social Security paid my way through college. This was in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when survivor's benefits for children continued after high school. (Paul Ryan also benefited from this program, a program that was lost during the Reagan administration, the last time Congress and the president cut Social Security benefits.) The education I received gave me the tools to make a living in this profession. I have a net profit on my income statement with the government.
When the federal government bailed out the financial services industry in 2008, preventing its collapse, Romney received a financial benefit that far outweighs the income taxes he has paid or will pay. Romney has a net profit on his income statement with the government.
Hedge fund managers and the creatures of private equity like Romney have extracted great wealth out of our society and do not know how to redeploy these resources in a productive way. Their best idea is to move the wealth out of our country and into the hands of foreigners. As a consequence, our country suffers. Yet they feel entitled to, and receive, a preferential tax rate.
Jay, now do you see where I'm coming from? I believe public accounting is an honorable profession. I am proud to be a CPA. I work very hard and successfully to minimize the tax burden borne by my client base, which is middle class. It is the environment I work in that troubles me. A system rigged to benefit the extremely wealthy necessarily harms the rest of us.
Read & Bose PC