Advisors, prospects and recruits eventually reach a fork in the road when a final decision must be made.  This week’s blog will discuss decisions from the perspective of the advisor, client and the hiring firm.  We will share there is a right way and a wrong way to make final decisions.  Decisions that don’t go our way are difficult to hear.  I recently experienced a painful decision that I did not want or expect to hear.  I hope my experience of being rejected will help you.
Time is our most scarce and valuable asset.  Seth Godin defines that we make up every day with 15 - 20 hours of attention. Respecting how we allocate our attention and how we respect our clients’ attention is one of the most important decisions we make.  When we meet with clients their top consideration is how long will this meeting take?  The advisor and client both know that the goal of the meeting is to make a sale.  One of the most successful advisory firms I have worked with has a structure that they fo…


Good investors are always trying to evaluate investor sentiment.  Most successful investors use sentiment as a contra indicator.  Thanksgiving dinner conversations and Uber drivers are my contra indicators. I spent my Thanksgiving with my family in Dallas. While most of our guests drove themselves to dinner like most good Texans do.  Uber was used by my California based family. This week I share my Thanksgiving and Uber conversations and my conclusions from each.
I have worked in the financial services industry since 1987.  Initially  my family believed my job provided me a crystal ball into the direction of the stock market.  I was flattered when they asked and I provided them the company line on where the market was going.  It made me feel smart but when my opinions were incorrect my family members remembered.  Eventually my Thanksgiving response became that I didn’t know where the market was headed.  The blind love of family members thought their San Francisco based fa…

Organic Growth

The recent Focus Financial earnings conference call identified numerous questions without credible answers.  The market price agreed and now the RIA industry needs to examine what Focus has gotten right and where the firm needs to improve.  Our blog this week will try and answer these questions and also provide a historic perspective of how we  got here.
History does not repeat itself but it does rhyme.  Wealth Advisory firms need to understand who their recruiting targets are and create a program to transition the professionals from their old business model to their new firm’s culture.  Understanding the advisors’ history is an effective place to start.  I have made the mistake of hiring people that shared my history in the brokerage industry.  This approach has failed and I have examined why.  The first place to start is to compare the professional focus of the advisors’ old firm.  What was their compensation plan and what products and services were they trained to offer the…

Painkillers vs. Vitamins

November 15 is a big date for hedge fund investors and their managers.  November 15 is the date investors must inform managers that they would like their money back in January.  The October statements could scare clients into making the decision to redeem.  Successful investors warn against making emotional decisions we might eventually regret.  While we might block out past erroneous decisions, a good investor and their experienced advisors can be a good sounding board.  This week we will look at resources that can help us make good decisions on November 15 and beyond.
Wealth managers often reference the results of the annual Dalbar study.  The poor results that retail investors continue to experience were at first shocking but have now become ‘Meh”. Our advice is to educate your clients on how they can avoid the Dalbar pit.  We have found that establishing an IPS during calm times and reminding our clients the importance of adhering to the IPS commitments when markets become …


Now that the Midterms have finally come and gone, we will have more brain capacity and TV capacity to focus on other issues in our life.  An October 26, 2018 episode of Hidden Brain entitled "Too Little, Too Much" shared some academic research on our limited brain capacity that can guide us.  Freeing up the Midterm capacity will create mental capacity that will allow bloggers and investors the opportunity to focus on issues that impact our financial and emotional lives. This post will address what the wealth management industry can learn from successful midterm strategies without clouding our judgment by requiring we pick a side.
We are shocked and appalled by the billions spent on political campaigns.  Let’s examine where the money was spent and examine where the strategies worked.

The financial crisis created brand backlash against Wall Street.  This backlash opened the door for independent advisory firms to position themselves as the anti-Wall Street and helped the…

Same Side

After a tumultuous week I find it is helpful to ask what did I learn?  The weekend financial press is full of anecdotes to instruct us on what to do next.  I’ve found that either I forget their advice or find that it is not effective.  While listening to Brene Brown on a recent Armchair Expert podcast I gleaned some wisdom that I will share.  Her wisdom was to focus on our own pain before we create pain by criticising others.  This week I will focus on the pain in the wealth advisory business above and beyond the recent market swoon.
The fiduciary mantra of putting the client’s interest ahead of our own can be tested during times like last week.  We will look at what got tested and how we can address the three main challenges from the same side of the table as our clients.
We offer clients numerous services that are all bundled into the fee we charge.  The services include financial planning, investment management, retirement planning, family governance, estate planning  and …


The recent swoon in the global financial markets has shifted the focus of business consultants to a soft subject  that they can control. Established thinkers like Mark Tibergian, Seth Godin, Mike Blackman and Sarah Kay have started to talk about experiences. This week’s blog will expand on their ideas and hopefully create a positive experience for our readers.
What are my favorite consiglieres talking about?  None of them is talking about the financial markets or ETFs.  They are writing and talking about big issues that impact our lives.
Most of us believe that the grass of someone else’s life is greaner than ours.  Social media has stoked this belief and the tweets of celebrities create an unrealistic view that their life is perfect.  I will never forget an interview with Debra Winger when she was at the pinicle of her fame after the success of  An Officer and a Gentleman.  The interviewer asked Ms. Winger for information about her life that would surprise us.  She pause…