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Stephen G.
Stephen G., Sr Financial Expert
Category: Finance
Satisfied Customers: 7152
Experience:  Extensive Experience with Tax, Financial & Estate Issues
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I am a retired CPA. The situation I am about to describe

Customer Question

I am a retired CPA. The situation I am about to describe disturbs me. I think there may be an ethical violation afoot.
I have been made aware of a health care insurance broker who is approaching a small CPA firm (500 tax and audit clients) to obtain the firm's client list. The broker would pay the CPA firm a fee for each name provided. The broker's ultimate objective is to use the list to approach and sell level funded health care policies to the CPA's clients. If the broker is successful, he plans to expand this effort to other CPA firms.
It's been quite a while since I practiced, but this scheme is shady. Please comment.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Finance
Expert:  Stephen G. replied 1 year ago.

This would have to be covered in the CPA firm's Privacy Policy which is submitted to clients at least once a year, or when a new client is acquired. Perhaps you have noticed yourself on your personal business vendors, for example the disclosures that the Brokerage firms use for example. The usually have a statement that they share information with affiliates and then they say they may share the same type of information with other vendors based upon several different criteria. Usually, you have the opportunity to have your information withheld from the latter source (non affiliates) but not the former (affiliates).

So, if they have a Privacy Policy (they definitely should have one), you would have to determine whether or not any clients "opted out" of sharing their information with non-affiliates.

Expert:  Stephen G. replied 1 year ago.

Just checking in to see if I can assist you further.

I see that you have had a chance to view my last series of comments.

Are you having a problem with our "star rating system" (it happens)? If so, you may just indicate your rating in words (ie. 5 stars, 4 stars, etc.) and then I may obtain credit for my efforts from Customer Service. Otherwise, I do not receive anything for my work with you, as we are only compensated for questions accepted by customers.

Thanks very much,

Steve G.