Watch Who You Trust

On August 2, 2012, in British Columbia, Vancouver, Victoria, by Rosalie McLachlin

A Lesson Learned from A Smooth-Talking Advisor

When you sign up for a policy, you trust that the person who is handing your payments is looking after your best interests.

“Trust” was one of Lynne Rae Nickford’s favourite words. In a six-minute video promoting her company LZ Wealth Management, the BC financial adviser re-assures her mostly-female clients that her mission is “to help other women.” The words “patience,” and “understanding” underscore her soothing words, and the coffee-sipping 25-to-55-year-old women listen attentively as she encourages them to “take control” and “take charge” of their finances.

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Unfortunately for them, Ms. Nickford took her own advice: between 2009 and 2010 she took control of about $1.3-million of their investments, and took charge of moving much of it into her own personal bank account.

A woman helping women?

The Globe and Mail reports that Nickford used some or all of her clients’ cash to pay for food, clothing, rent; and to gamble at casinos in the Vancouver area. Her actions appear to contradict her earnest self-image as a woman who cares about “promoting financial literacy and educating women on managing their finances,” charges the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC).

Nickford’s financial advisor licence was withdrawn in 2010, but she’s re-appeared in the news linked to allegations of fraud in a July 31, 2012 BCSC hearing.

Apparently, Nickford persuaded 13 of her clients to part with a total of $3-million. In the promotional video, a client says she feels that, with Nickford, she “didn’t feel like a number.” Ironically, it was all about the numbers for Nickford, whose weakness for gambling has overshadowed her take-charge message.

If you trusted that your disability claim would be treated fairly only to find that it was denied for unfair reasons, ask a lawyer. For a free lawyer referral, call toll-free: 1-855-THEY-PAY (1-855-843-9729).

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