A recent podcast with screenwriter Ed Solomon made me think if this guy is insecure I should stop beating myself up.Ed wrote two blockbuster movies – Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Men in Black and he still doesn’t feel confident when he writes a new screenplay.This blog will examine why I feel his pain when I write this blog and why advisors have insecurities when they make client recommendations.
Expectations This is where the rubber meets the road.Our expectations are often too optimistic.Unfortunately the 100 year flood occurs every 7 – 9 years.An essential characteristic of successful advisors is their optimism, many advisors hope to double their revenues every three years.Clients add to the challenge by making the mistake to expect the returns that their “friends” boast about at cocktail parties.The current environment where the return of FANG stocks dominates the financial press doesn’t help.My optimism has caused me to make a lot of mistakes with my family’s portfolio.…


One of the most provocative ideas from the DeVoe and Company M&A + Succession Summit was regarding the optimal age of an employee – 56.The expert presenter shared that the optimal age was where energy and experience intersected.Coincidentally I am 56 and I agree with the conclusion.This week we will examine why I agree.
Millennials Millennials have unbridled energy.Focusing the energy is a team sport.Management can be a good coach especially if they are honest and remember that they too were young and green once.Assigning a mentor can help both parties remain sane.I have watched several successful firms employ this strategy with their new hires.Both professionals will learn from the working together.My experience is the firm needs to hire an experienced professional to build and run the program.You will find that the investment will be your best performing investment.
Restructured Professionals The days of staying at the same company your entire career are over!Not to mention an Ap…

Gardener Vs Carpenter

Alison Gopnik’s book on parenting is a good read and it definitely expanded my perspective on what it takes to be an effective parent.It also opened my mind to how the concepts of a gardener and a carpenter could be applied to business and wealth management.We will take a look at each area in our blog this week.Before we dive in I feel the need to share some self-evaluation.I’m a below average parent, I was an average wealth management advisor and an above average business manager.

We all want to be better parents.Unfortunately we can’t evaluate ourselves until our children have grown up and take their place in society with minimal time on the therapy couch.Professor Gobnik has studied this subject with an academic and unemotional lens and provides us a road map that is superior to our Honor Role and Elite School acceptance.My wife and Mr. Rogers walked this talk and I wish I had appreciated their approach and not focused on the hollow accolades that defined my parental “success…


The lion share of advisors remain at their brand name firms.The financial press leads us to believe that most of them have broken away to work as an independent wealth manager.Is this fake news?This week we will examine why so many advisors have been retained by their current firms.Is the independent positioning lacking or are the established firms smarter than we think?
Inertia is a powerful force.It is easier to stay put that to make a change.Inertia keeps 95% + of employees at their current job.History has shown that shocking events can overcome inertia.If the news is shocking it is by definition impossible to predict.Recruiters and Advisors can address this by researching a viable Plan B when things are calm.Calm environments can make us complacent.Use the calm to create a viable Plan B.Creating a plan is not as risky as executing the plan.That can wait until something shocking happens.
After The Financial Crisis Wall Street raised the fence around their firms and iss…

Cottage Industry

The news last week that one of the founding partners of Iconiq was leaving the firm emphasized how the wealth management industry remains a cottage industry.Our blog this week will look at the pros and cons of cottage industries.We will also examine how a cottage industry can become an enduring industry that will survive multiple generations.Is this a goal advisors and their clients want and are they willing to make the necessary changes?We believe it is worth considering.
Cultive Personalities Cottage industries promote the existence of big personalities that define the company and insure the clients know what they are getting if they work with the firm.Iconiq has done a great job answering this question.Is it the right answer for you?The wealth management industry is very competitive forcing firms to differentiate themselves from their competition.A big personality is a memorable differentiator but it is ephemeral.

Brand Most companies strive to create a brand.This will help your SEO

Career Hacks

We are in constant pursuit to be the best we can be in our profession.  Is there a hack to help us?  Some days it feels like others have found one.  The Baby Boomer hack was to be a Doctor, a Lawyer or work for Goldman Sachs.  Millennials believe in the power of social media hacks and that a job at Google is on the Yellow Brick Road.  This week I’ll look at other experts and share my opinion that there isn’t an easy solution to professional success.
Academia Those who can’t do teach and those who can’t teach, teach gym.  Many of the established ideas that guide people in the wealth advisory business where researched in academia.  While their research is credible most academics remain as advisors not a practitioners.  William Sharpe might be an exception to this rule.  He lost at Long Term Capital but was a recent winner with Financial Engines.  Resilient and richer.
Conferences and Media We attend industry conferences looking for hacks.  The concepts presented by the conference sponsor…

The 13-year Itch

Morgan Stanley finally left us.We all feared this would happen and we even thought about leaving too.How did we get here and what do we do now?We will take the role of a marriage counselor in this post and remind us why we married in the first place and what we can learn from our mistakes.
History of Protocol
When the Protocol began in 2004 there were three firms that believed the agreement would save them money and reduce lengthy legal battles.It did both but it also encouraged two established law firms to support advisors who wanted to use The Protocol and breakaway from Wall Street.One of the two firms published a good summary of The Protocol that is worth reading.
RIA Growth
Over the years more firms began to join The Protocol and as of today over 1,700 firms are Protocol members.Most are RIAs that are growing by winning new clients and advisors from the original three firms.We seem to have reached a tipping point that has demanded the attention of Mr. Gorman.My bet is it is more t…