'Top' Financial Planner Honor Less Than It Seems
William P. Barrett, 05.03.09, 06:00 PM EDT
Consumers' Research Council of America is an elusive stalking horse for a pricey plaque seller.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. -- Last month, the grandly named Consumers' Research Council of America touted its new 2009 edition of "Guide to America's Top Financial Planners" to the public and especially to financial pros who learned about their big honor in a mailing offering them award plaques costing as much as $243. The council, which says it produces 30 "top" guides, mostly covering medical specialties, lists a tony Washington, D.C., address on Pennsylvania Avenue, four blocks from the White House.
But the real action seems to be at the far-away office here of an outfit called S L D Industries, Inc. Its rented space is located on--we kid you not--Easy Street, near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in this distant and dusty Los Angeles suburb.
The saga of Consumers' Research and S L D Industries is a cautionary tale for financial planners, doctors and other professionals, and for any consumer who relies on a list or ranking to choose among professionals, without looking deeper.