About 18 months ago, life coach and business strategist guruTony Robbins argued that he assuredly was not gearing up to enterthe retail financial services industry.

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Ten weeks ago, he became part of it, a move that the seminalseminar showman and entrepreneur details in an interview withThinkAdvisor.

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Related: Competition in smaller plan market heatsup

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Named this past April Chief of Investor Psychology for CreativePlanning, the nation’s No. 1 wealth management firm, accordingto CNBC, Robbins, 56, has already begun training the firm’s team ofsome 140 financial planners, and has designed and fundedinteractive online prospecting tools to attract an expandedclientele: investors with modest liquid assets as low as$50,000.

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Creative, with AUM of $18 billon-plus, previously targeted highnet worth and ultra-high-net worth clients exclusively. Now thefirm has assigned a discrete team offering a “streamlined” versionof its service model too.

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Related: The good news for FIAs (after thefiduciary rule)

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Just what qualifies Robbins as an investor-psychology chieftain?After all, he’s neither an advisor nor a psychologist. Here’s aclue: “Tony’s genius is his ability to deconstruct what drivescertain behaviors,” trader Paul Tudor Jones, whom Robbins hascoached for more than two decades, told Fortune in 2014.

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But what prompted Creative and Robbins to partner up? The firm’spresident-CIO Peter Mallouk, Barron’s rated as America’s No. 1independent advisor, was aiming to be the industry’s leadingadvocate for change by promoting the fiduciary standard for all advisors.(Perhaps ironically, when Mallouk started out at New EnglandSecurities 15 years ago, he was dually registered.)

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Meanwhile, with publication of his 2014 book, “Money: Master The Game,” Robbins had alsobecome a vocal proponent of the fiduciary standard.

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Mallouk, 46, wanted to raise his firm’s profile. And withRobbins aboard, he saw a way to accomplish that. He and the famedcoach announced their alignment on April 5. At around the sametime, Creative acquired the RIA, Gupta Wealth Management. Topfinancial advisor Ajay Gupta, Robbins’ personal FA for years, isnow Creative’s Chief Investment Strategist.

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Robbins, chair of a holding company with 18 diverse businessesand a philanthropist who shares his wealth to feed, shelter andeducate the impoverished, is out to make waves as a consumeradvocate by alerting folks about issues such as broker conflicts ofinterest, transparency and the benefits of RIAs over advisors whoare dually registered, a standing he unwaveringly does notsupport.

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Robbins, who has counseled leaders and idols, like Bill Clinton,Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams, collects many millions per yearcoaching CEOs worldwide; in addition, he garners a cut of theirfirms’ gains. As an independent contractor to Creative, he iscompensated as a member of the Board of Directors and, separately,for generating new business. He says he is donating all that to thecharity, Feeding America.

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Two-and-a-half years ago, Robbins’ book, a how-to aboutachieving “financial freedom,” shot to the top of The New YorkTimes business bestseller list even as it set many a detractorastir, if not atwitter. They saw Robbins as a financial servicesinterloper and sneeringly speculated that he would soon launch hisown financial advisory. Further, they razzed that his 656-page tome was laced with inaccurate or biasedinformation about investing.

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Robbins retorted, in an interview withThinkAdvisor in December 2014, that such folks were “taking potshots” at him and that the notion of his opening a financialpractice was “the biggest bulls--- on the planet!”

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Now he’s published a paperback updated version of “Money: Masterthe Game” (Simon & Schuster) – 664 pages long. He continues totout hedge fund founder Ray Dalio’s All Seasons Portfolio, astrategy that some advisors dissed when he promoted it in the firstedition.

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“Attacking Ray Dalio – for God’s sake! People might have beensincere, but they were sincerely wrong,” Robbins grouses in the newinterview.

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Consumers flock to Robbins’ rousing self-help seminars, payingthe likes of $3,000 to $5,000 a pop for his annual six-day event.Now comes a documentary film that goes behind the scenes of onesuch spectacular “Date with Destiny.” The revealing look, called“Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru,” will premiere July 15 onNetflix.

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ThinkAdvisor recently held separate phone interviews withRobbins, speaking from his Palm Beach, Florida, residence, andMallouk, in Leawood, Kansas, where Creative is headquartered. Thetwo discussed Robbins’ new financial services role, the DOL’sfiduciary standard rule, annuities, Ken Fisher, and how brokers treat clients,among other topics. Here are highlights:

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ThinkAdvisor: You’ve said that “brokers areselling for the house and that the house always wins” becausebrokers are looking out for themselves first and the client second.Why do you hold brokers in such low esteem?

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Tony Robbins: I have nothing against brokers.Most of them sincerely care. But they do what they’re trained todo: they’re working for the house. The wirehouses are bigcorporations; and it’s their shareholders they want to take care offirst, not the customer.

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How does that impact clients, then?

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TR: They have no clue what they’re being pushedinto. They’re taught to give up control to somebody who doesn’tnecessarily have their best interest in mind. Products and adviceshould be separate. That’s why I’m promoting the fiduciarystandard.

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Your new title, Chief of Investor Psychology, impliesthat you’re an expert in investments and/or that you’re a trainedpsychologist. What qualifies you for this role?

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TR: I’m not trying to be a financial advisor.I’m an educator. But when it comes to psychology, I don’t thinkanybody who knows anything about my work for the last 39 years in100 countries and with 50 million people would argue that I don’thave the chops to give anyone advice. I’m trying to add valuein a way that the average financial advisor can’t because theydon’t have my experience.

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Do you keep an office at Creative Planning in Leawood,Kansas?

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TR: No, no. I have 18 companies! We do $5billion a year in sales. This is one of many ventures that I’minvolved in.

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What sort of education are you providing to Creative’sfinancial planners?

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TR: How to figure out what people’s deepestpsychological needs are so they’re not just getting a financialplan but that their individual emotional needs are being met.

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Less than two years ago, you told me you had no plans toenter the financial services industry. But here youare!

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TR: Yes, I am. Peter reached out to me andsaid, “I know you’re a big supporter of the fiduciary standard, butthere are some gray areas I’m sure you’re not aware of.” We met,and he told me about them.

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Such as?

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TR: Some advisors are duly registered: onemoment they’re wearing a hat saying, “I’m a fiduciary”; but in themiddle of the conversation, they can flip hats and they’re abroker. I was dumbfounded that the law has that loophole. ThenPeter shared what’s going on with proprietary products. Thecombination of those two pieces pushed me over the edge.

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What do you mean?

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TR: After talking in more depth, I said, “Ifyou’d be interested in partnering with me, I’d love to bring peopleto your world. But I want you to [serve] individuals that don’thave a million dollars. Would you be willing to create a divisionto provide a free [service], where anyone could get a secondopinion on their portfolio?” I got him to agree, and I said, “I’mall in.”

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Peter Mallouk: I’d been trying to get the wordout about the fiduciary standard, but I didn’t have a very bigmegaphone. Now I can accomplish more in one day with Tony than Idid speaking for the previous 12 years. It’s disgraceful that[brokers] aren’t required to act in the client’s best interest.That’s probably the biggest attraction that Tony and I had to eachother.

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Tony, what’s the main reason that your deal with ElliotWeissbluth (HighTower founder-CEO) fell apart? You and he promotedthe original edition of your book together.

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TR: We never had a deal. We were just greatfriends and still are. He really helped educate me about thefiduciary space. But I never committed to having a partnership withhis firm specifically.

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What are the most troubling behavioral biases thatinvestors should overcome?

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TR: The biggest is that they get fearful andgreedy. So they sell when they should buy and buy when they shouldsell. The average person has no clue what’s really going on in themarketplace. My goal is to increase transparency. Where else on theface of the earth is there so little transparency about somethingthat people are so confused about?

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You’re a partner in America’s Best 401K, which, youwrite, is “…a revolutionary company that…create[s] an unparalleledand cost-effective solution.” Given your new role, and as aneducator, isn’t owning that firm something of a conflict ofinterest?

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TR: I’m totally transparent. I tell people I’man owner of the company and a board member. There’s nothing hiddenin what I’m doing in that area whatsoever.

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In your book, you make the point that “there’s clearly aplace for effective annuities in many people’s financial plans” andlater state that you’ve partnered with Advisors Excel “to build andpromote additional products and services that will help create aguaranteed lifetime income plan for…millions of Americans…” So,you’re educating…and you’re selling?

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TR: Advisors Excel is doing fixed annuities,which can be a useful tool provided someone’s asset allocation isat a certain stage in life.

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Advisors Excel offers, among others, fixed indexannuities, vehicles known for their high fees andcommissions. FINRA issued an investor alert explaining fixed indexannuities’ complexity and the possibility of losing money in them.In your book’s first edition, you wrote that they were “an elevatorthat can only go up.” Now you write: they [have] “the upsidewithout the downside.”

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TR: They aren’t expensive if you go with theright ones. You’ve got to know what your real costs are; otherwise,you’re going to get hurt, as with anything else you invest in inthe financial area. That’s why you should have these annuitiesanalyzed.

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How will the DOL fiduciary standard rule affect advisorswho sell variable annuities?

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TR: Salesmen can say to customers, “Thegovernment is taking away your choices; but if you sign thisdocument [BICE], I can offer you these additional choices.” A lotof people are going to fall for that, unfortunately.

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What’s the “unfortunate” part?

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TR: Variable annuities don’t make sense for thevast majority of people because they’re paying the insurance costplus the brokerage cost.

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I thought you were in favor of annuities.

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TR: Annuities are valuable tools. But the ideaof selling someone a variable annuity, with all those fees andtying up so much money, doesn’t make an ounce of sense. And theDepartment of Labor has no real enforcement for the fiduciary rule.So you’d have to sue [for example] Morgan Stanley yourself. Goodluck!

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Does Creative’s free online second-opinion service,Portfolio CheckUp, cover all types of investmentvehicles?

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PM: We’ll review whatever people upload. We’renot licensed to sell annuities; but if appropriate, we mightrecommend moving an expensive life insurance [product] to aVanguard annuity. An immediate annuity makes sense in limitedcircumstances. Variable annuities aren’t appropriate unless you’retransitioning something from somewhere else under specialcircumstances.

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Tony, in the paperback, you criticize FisherInvestment’s advertising campaign, ‘I Hate Annuities…and So ShouldYou! [now headlined, “What Your Annuity Salesman Doesn’t Want Youto Know”]. You say that Ken Fisher’s “recommended alternative is aportfolio of his stock picks” and that these – though youindicate only one mutual fund that hemanages -- “have underperformed the market in dramaticfashion.” What’s your point?

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TR: I was dumbfounded that Mr. Fisher ispromoting at the level he has when he’s been underperforming themarket. All I’m suggesting is that you’ve got to look under thehood and know what your real costs and real risks are.

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Peter, you also referenced Fisher in a similar contextin your bestseller, “The 5 Mistakes Every Investor Makes and How toAvoid Them” (Wiley 2014). What were you trying toshow?

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PM: I was giving examples of high-profileactive traders. My understanding is that Ken has a pretty broadcontempt for annuities. I think most are inappropriate most of thetime, but I certainly don’t think all of them are bad all of thetime.

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Are you competing with Fisher in giving folks secondopinions on their annuities?

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PM: No, not at all. I consider us competingprimarily with brokerage houses and banks, places filled withconflict. I’m not getting up every day thinking about FisherInvestments, and I’m sure they’re not getting up thinking aboutCreative Planning.

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Why do you have a disclaimer on Portfolio CheckUpstating that information provided as a result of using yourinteractive device shouldn’t be construed as personal, individualadvice?

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PM: The system isn’t perfect. This is the sameissue with robo-advisors. The idea that you can just upload stuffand make every decision off that is crazy. We’re saying: Give usthe information you want us to have to evaluate your portfolio, but[don’t] re-shuffle things based only on that -- because we don’tknow for sure that we’re getting all the information.

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Tony, you grew up poor; had an abusive childhood andwere homeless at 17. Not long thereafter, you had $13 to your name.Then you became successful, rich and famous. Any effects of thoseearly years that show up today?

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TR: When I see somebody hurting, I act. Isuffered so much that when I see suffering, I’m compelled by atremendous hunger to do something to help.

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Who have you helped most recently?

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I gave a group of French nuns in San Francisco who were going tobe evicted [from their soup kitchen] $50,000 to take care of themfor the next year. Then I bought them a homeless shelter for$800,000 so they don’t have to worry for as long as they live. AndI’m paying the rent for the next two years at least for a100-year-old woman in Palm Springs who was being evicted.

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So you step in where you see someone instraits.

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It’s not a promotional tool. It’s part of who I am. You don’thave to trust how my lips move; all you have to do is watch how myfeet have moved for the last 39 years, and you know who TonyRobbins is. I don’t want to wait till I die to make adifference.

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What do you do to kick back and relax?

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I spend two weeks a year at the resort I own in Fiji. I go scubadiving, snorkeling, hiking, and I play squash. I also like tosnowboard. I do a lot of crazy things. I’m an active guy.

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Jane Wollman Rusoff

Jane Wollman Rusoff is a ThinkAdvisor contributing editor specializing in interviews with thought leaders. She has written for ThinkAdvisor since its inception and was a contributing editor to Research magazine, a predecessor to ThinkAdvisor, starting in 1992.

Jane has received two AZBEE Awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. She has contributed articles to The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Esquire, among numerous other publications.

Jane has written or co-authored five books, including three written with “Tonight” show creator Steve Allen. Jane was a staff editor with London Express Features and Billboard’s Merchandising Magazine. She has interviewed and profiled thousands of entertainment personalities, including Ray Charles, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie and Meryl Streep.

Jane is the founder of www.FamilyStarProductions.com.