If you regularly follow this site, you’ll probably recall a post I wrote last week critiquing a company called Lamont Trading Advisors, the content of which has since been taken down at the company’s request. I’d like to offer an explanation for what transpired.
I originally received a comment in one of my posts on T-bills last week that I assumed was a spam (a.k.a nuisance) comment. The comment contained no contact or other information, other than a URL link to the company. After visiting the site and considering both its content and the nature of the comment, I came to the conclusion that the company was trying to use a post that I had put time and effort into writing to attract unwary clients to a bad deal. I felt that the fees they charged were unreasonable given the other available options out there for purchasing T-bills and decided to boldly state so in a post.
Yesterday, Paul Lamont, the investment advisor and principal of the firm, contacted me and explained his side of the story. He said that the comment that was left was meant as an answer to another commenter’s question about whether someone could use Treasury Direct to purchase T-bills for an IRA account.
I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this, especially because Mr. Lamont contacted me later with his side of the story in a comment and email:
I think you should take down this blog post or modify it. I agree that TreasuryDirect is the cheapest way to buy T-Bills. There is no doubt about that. If it fits your situation then go ahead. My fees are not for the transaction, that’s not what I do. I provide analysis and advise clients where to position their retirement assets. A mutual fund manager selects what stocks his research says will outperform. Right now my research and analysis is saying protect what you have. ( I even post it for free at safehaven.com!) I purchase T-bills through Fidelity and AG Edwards for my clients. I selected these brokers for my clients because they offer T-bills at a very low cost and they are very financially secure. Frankly most investors did not sell their stocks before the tech bust in 2000. That’s what I am trying to advise them to do now, as I believe that the housing market bust will be much more destructive. As an investment advisor I have a fiduciary duty to protect my client’s interest (unlike broker’s!), so any accusations against my integrity are not taken lightly. I wouldn’t have become an investment advisor if being on the side of the client wasn’t important to me. Also 1% is the standard fee for all investment advisors. I don’t like being in T-bills anymore than my clients do getting lower returns. But as I am confident you will see over the next year or two, the less risk the better. So please take down your post and all will be forgiven.
In his email, he said he was also happy to address any additional questions I had. After our dialogue, I realized that I could have made some wrong assumptions about Mr. Lamont and his company by basing my conclusion only on the initial nuisance comment I received and his website and which may have resulted in their receiving some undeserved negative opinions.
While I still do believe that Treasury Direct and a few other brokers probably offer many people what they’re looking for in T-bills, I’ve also realized that there are probably also people out there (especially Baby Boomers) who don’t know or aren’t willing to make their fee-free T-bill transactions online, and for them, perhaps Lamont Trading Advisors provides a service they need.
As such, I would like to offer Mr. Lamont a public apology here for having jumped to any wrong conclusions on his company. I stand by the statement that you should always research and know what options are out there no matter what you’re investing in, but I’m sorry about any negative implications I made about his integrity. My intention was always to question and critique the value of the service itself and never him personally.
I’m sure not every internet-based interaction ends this civilly, even though there are many. Based on what I’ve learned from this experience, here’s what I’ve decided to do in the future on this site, and some advice I’d like to share.
Policies for this site:
- I’ve decided I will try never to post negative reviews about a business or service without experiencing first-hand negative personal experience with the company.
- In the unlikely event that I feel there is a business or service out there that’s so bad that it deserves warning about, I will do more research into the company, including attempting to contact them for additional information and with questions first before posting anything. (As my first step, I’ve asked Mr. Lamont to review this post before I made it public since it involves both of us.)
- If you’re a company looking to use blogs to publicize your business, leave legitimate contact info in your comment as well as an explanation for why you’re leaving a link to increase the likelihood that it will be accepted on the blog.
- If you find an online critique about your business/service that you disagree with, consider contacting the person and engaging in a respectful dialogue to explain your side of the situation. This was really what caused me to change my mind in this particular situation and remove the post as requested.
- If you’re the writer of a critique, keep an open mind and consider that your conclusions may have been wrong about the service.
- Critique the service or business, not the person.
Here’s an even longer list of things to do and consider when facing a potentially contentious blogging situation.
Comments, questions, feedback are welcomed below.