CPAs involved in financial planning or investment management for clients are very well aware that clients can react emotionally at times. The CPA is often placed in the position of trying to keep those emotions in check so they don't creep into a client's decisions with adverse effects.

I would expect many clients are getting rather emotional about mutual funds. There are the double-digit percentage decreases in some holdings. But what is really fueling the fire are the numerous reports that some mutual funds allowed certain clients to profit in timing trades especially involving international funds, or that some brokers/dealers improperly benefited from putting some mutual funds on their "preferred buy" list.

The sustained bear market has created some wonder whether mutual funds, the preferred investment of most middle-class investors, still makes sense. Not needed was a questioning of the integrity of the process, though that questioning seems to be with good reason now.

If you are at all involved in financial planning, you should be deciding how you are going to respond to clients who express discomfort with continued or new investments in mutual funds, and those who want to get out even though they would be selling low.

You also should be thinking about dealing with the unspoken uneasiness that some clients might have, but aren't expressing to you. Just because they are not complaining doesn't mean they are not unhappy. And, when a client is unhappy, that is the mostly likely time that you will lose them, even if it's not your fault. Consider whether you have to gauge your clients' feelings, and see if some proactive reassurance is needed.

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