If you operate in football business circles, there’s an excellent chance you saw the ’60 Minutes’ report about several NFL players taken in by a bad investment in an Alabama casino. It was orchestrated by a financial advisor, Jeff Rubin, who was then based in Florida (he’s in Denver now). Here are a few thoughts.
- This story has been on hold for at least two years. I have no doubt the NFL (and especially the NFLPA) have been battling CBS, which obviously has a big broadcast contract with the league, to withhold it altogether. I have no doubt that this tweet from Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole is true.
- This report is the tip of the iceberg. The two ‘watchdogs’ interviewed in the report, Rand Getlin and Chase Carlson, are both friends of mine, and both were interviewed at length about far more than just the Rubin incident.
- Here’s an excellent, comprehensive report Chase put together. It pretty much recounts all the financial advisors registered with the NFLPA who stole NFL players blind.
- After reading Chase’s report, you might wonder why there are so many such incidents, but so few reports. You might also wonder why Rand (formerly with NFL Network, and a veteran of excellent work at Yahoo! Sports) and Chase aren’t affiliated with major media entities. My theory: it’s sexy to talk about this stuff for a while, but at the end of the day, the man on the street just shrugs his shoulders and says, ‘that’s their problem. If these millionaires can’t keep track of their money, screw ’em.’
- I guess that’s OK, but at the end of the day, shouldn’t the NFLPA care? I mean, they’re charging thousands of dollars to register financial advisors. Even though the PA is careful to protect itself from litigation exposure by admitting that it has no idea if these guys are legitimate or not, the fact is that agents can only recommend advisors from this program. To me, that’s a de facto endorsement from the NFLPA, whether it’s technically true or not.
- Dozens of the registered members of the NFLPA program are ITL clients, but I would say the lion’s share of our financial advisor clients that really work with NFL players are not in the program. I was texting with a member of the latter group last night, and I think this pretty much sums up his (and his group’s) thoughts: “The NFLPA feels as though any advisor that can afford a $1500 annual fee must be good.”
- Here’s a simple fix that I think would work, and if I were the PA, I’d get out of the registration business and simply post this on the site. If you are an NFL player and you are approached by a financial advisor, step 1 is to plug his name into FINRA BrokerCheck. Step 2 is to check out his record there, and if he’s got a few issues, ask questions. If he’s clean, press on with confidence (mostly) that he’s a straight shooter. And if his name doesn’t show up there, presume that he’s not an official, registered, honest, educated financial advisor and consider avoiding this person.