Is Catbert in the investment business?

Those who read Dilbert will be familiar with Catbert, the evil corporate officer. Many of you also likely invest utilizing the services of some sort of advisor, who is attached to an Investment Firm of some sort. My experiences of late convinces me that Catbert has a relative (likely more than one) working in the investment business.

With these dealers, though I do not know this from experience, if you walk in off the street with cash in hand I would guess that there is too much of a problem. However, if you are established with one advisory firm and then decide to switch to a competitor, look out for Catbert.

Admittedly, at least some of the problem arises from the largely justifiable paranoia surrounding several recent, high profile investment fraud cases – Madoff, Jones, etc. The effect on investment firms has been that the regulatory and compliance departments have been elevated from relative obscurity to a ‘king of the castle’ position. They have gone from being relatively unimportant, often disparaged, pains in the preverbial *#)*, to all powerful potentates, reporting to the CEO throne rooms.

Since in the past Catbert el al were relative insignificant, there was little contact with them. But now, with compliance being king, they hold sway over ever increasing, self generating, blizzards of paperwork that the world must bow down to. Paperwork muscles are flexed and in the words of the Borg “You will be assimilated, resistance is futile.”

So this is how it goes – file out paperwork, small typo or undocumented oversight, fill it out again, no precise requirements but you have to guess what they are, fill it out again and so on. Also. fill in the specified form then later fill in the form to comply with the original form (not stated on the original). You get the picture.

Not to say the regulations to protect people the Bernie Madoffs are not good. They are. But the proper documentation of precisely what is require has not kept pass with exponential grow of the paperwork itself. Proper documentation would equal painless and efficient compliance. The blizzard would melt.

A cynical consumer who has watched the news and flow of event might also jump to the conclusion that all this compliance has more to do with avoiding litigation than any other concern.

Now this could be completely wrong, of course, but fighting endlessly repetitive blizzards of paperwork does seem to be at the expense of those more out of control of situation. A little more investment in proper paper flow and clear documenation seem in order…


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