by John D. Darer CLU ChFC CSSC RSP
Although I won't be attending I was impressed with the educational program put together for the Society of Settlement Planners Annual Meeting. It appears filled with topics that can immediately be put into practice, such as:.
- Liability Set Asides in 2011
- Liens-How to Speed Up Resolution
- Qualified Settlement Funds-What You May Not Know
- Taxation of Damages
- Dissecting a Settlement Plan
- Allocation of Medical Expenses and the Impact of Different Types of Settlements on Plaintiff's Beneficiary
- Equity Indexed Annuities and Settlement Planning;
and a series of topics and featured speakers from the LBN /Brook-Hollow Educational Seminar in Scottsdale last Month
- Use of Electronic Media and Social Networking
- Use of Structured Settlement Annuity Payment Rights; and
- Expanded Use of Non Qualified Assignments
Note: Members of the settlement community, including this author, received SSP invites this week, although the invite expressly states that the SSP reserves final approval for each registrant's application for attendance.
The NSSTA upcoming educational program also looks great (I will cover it in another post), but I will say this.
The SSP has taken the bold step of creating a rigorous graduate level professional certification program, Registered Settlement Planner, which tests the ability to put knowledge into practice, although it appears unwilling to relinquish board seats to anyone but core SSP members.
The SSP took a bold step and, for better or worse, in 2010 has individuals with factoring business interests on its Board of Directors.
The SSP has taken the bold step of including in its 2011 program. how to use structured settlement payment rights to help tort victims, a topic that I have extensively researched, written and podcasted about (see video links at the bottom of this post). The topic may be horrifying to some, but how can you criticize it if you don't know anything about it? Perhaps you are content giving people a neglgible rate of return in the short term?
In 2007 a slew of candidates for the NSSTA Board of Directors trudged up to the microphone in Toronto pledging to do something about factoring if they were to be elected. Some did elected. Did they fulfil their campaign promises in this regard? NO. Every year candidates step up and say they are going to do something about it and don't. At this point it is simply not credible.
What is most disappointing with respect to the effort of NSSTA is the widespread failure to find the most efficient focal point for their efforts on the factoring front. Instead of focusing on a licensing standard to rein in bad sales practices concerning advertising and solicitation of tort victims (which is what REALLY offends people in the industry and trial lawyer community), NSSTA has supported what is in my opinion a very poorly researched Wall Street Journal article in July 2010 and predictably one sided presentation on the purchase of stuctured settlement payment rights at its Fall 2010 meeting in Las Vegas that built on the message in article.
Whether or not such efforts are part of a grand display of "sweeping under the rug ", the reality is factoring is not going to go away and a number of NSSTA members already do one or more of the following:
- Assist sellers of structured settlements for compensation, disclosed or undisclosed
- Assist sellers of structured settlements pro bono
- Buy structured settlement payment rights for their own accounts
- Sell structured settlement payment rights to trial lawyers and others
- Facilitate the sale structured settlement payment rights to trial lawyers and others
- Facilitate the use of structured settlement payment rights to help tort victims
- Display some of these services on their websites (although very few)
- Have "clandestine" relationships with factoring companies
It's time for NSSTA to step into the new reality. In my opinion it is doing its membership a great disservice by not staging a quality comprehensive "uncensored" education program on the subject for its members.
By the way, stay tuned for the podcast of my debate with Matt Bracy of Settlement Capital which was shot last month. LBN tells me it will be released "any day now".