When the MFT’s previous preneed exam was making news during the summer of 2015, reorganization plans were being filed for the Wisconsin Master Trust and the California Master Trust. As we reported in “Association Master Trusts: De Facto Trustees”, each reorganization plan sought to eliminate the association’s de facto trustee relationship that had led to misuse and mismanagement of millions of dollars of preneed consumer funds. The receiver appointed for the Wisconsin Master Trust did not mince words:
The Trust was hemorrhaging from the costs it was incurring. We promptly eliminated between $50,000 and $100,000 per year in administrative costs, $125,000 per year in investment advisor fees and $240,000 per year in payments to the WFDA and its affiliate. We also eliminated a large amount of other fees that did not appear on the Trust’s records but that were built into securities transactions.*
Going back to 2015, MFT declared it had “deep pockets” and could afford to sue to protect its interests and client relationships. With the purchase of the Missouri Preneed Trust, MFT may believe those pockets got deeper. But what about consumers’ interests? Or even funeral home provider interests?