I recently attended the TD National conference in San Diego.  My trip to the airport in a Tesla Model 3 Lyft with Auto Pilot helped me prepare for my conversations in the VEO Village.  I was intrigued but scared as the driver used the Auto Pilot to change lanes and to exit the freeway.  I shared my concerns and asked did he like the service and was he scared it might someday replace him?.  His answer surprised me and should help wealth advisors’ concern that AI solutions will take their jobs.  His answer was the Auto Pilot helped him reduce mistakes when changing lanes but retained his control to override if necessary.  Thanks Lyft driver!  I hope to channel your bravery at the TD conference.
My new firm Optimal Asset Management is an AI solution for Institutional clients and Independent Wealth advisors.  We hoped to present our solutions and receive some reactions from the advisors to help us improve and meet their unique needs.  The responses were very helpful and fell into to three …

New Format

I’m walking the talk and implementing one of my New Year’s resolutions.  Staring with this blog I am changing the format to include  my favorite podcasts and training programs I hope will it will be helpful to our personal and professional development.  After 200+ blog posts I am hitting the wall and finding that many of my ideas are stale.  Our new format will identify new and cutting edge ideas.  Another change will be changing the frequency from weekly to monthly.  I hope our new format helps you meet the new demands of our current era.

Most Podcasts fall into three categories based on time - an hour, hour and a half and two hours.  I have tried to overcome my ADD and select podcasts that have enough time to address unique and thought provocative ideas.  We will start with podcasts that last one hour and thirty minutes.  Hopefully the ideas presented will cause you to question and ponder ideas that will help you grow.  Our first recommended podcast is The Moment with Brian …

New Year's Resolutions

It’s that time of year again when people start talking about their New Year’s Resolutions.  Unfortunately it is difficult to predict the events that will impact our life a year in advance.  My sage confidant surprised me last week when he asked me about my 2019 resolutions.  Rather than pushing back I have decided to focus this week's blog on my hopes for 2019.  Characterizing them as hopes can be helpful for advisors and investors.  Here are my hopes for us in 2019.

All RIA firms want to grow.  Most realize that there are two types of growth - inorganic and organic.  Both types of growth depend on a recruiters' and an advisors' contacts.  Evaluating how robust these contacts are separates good from great professionals.  Unfortunately most professionals believe their contacts are gold.  Inorganic growth falls short when the new advisor signs the contract but the mistakes don't show up until later.  Successful organic growth strategies look good on paper but they …

Skinny Dipping

The pull back in the financial markets reminded me of the quote from Warren Buffett.  He said that when markets pullback we can see who is swimming naked.  After this week we can see many people who chose to swim without a suit.  Our blog this week will look at some surprising naked swimmers and discuss what new bathing suits they should buy.

Markets are volatile and the last week of December reminded us of this reality.  How should investors and advisors respond?  The losses are comprable to the losses before the financial crisis.  I panicked in 2009 and sold because I couldn’t take the pain and I made the eroneus projection that the capital markets and the world might be coming to an end.   I was wrong as most emotional decisions turn out to be.  Mr. Buffett has one of the best investment track records because he has not panicked and in fact he has bought from others like me me who panic and are skinny dipping.  Maybe that is why he is one of the richest people in the world and I’m n…

Stairway to Heaven

The passing of President H.W. Bush taught us all about his humility and his faith.  His morning conversation with James Baker still resonates with me.  When asked what are we going to do today?  The President answered he was going to Heaven to see Barbara and their daughter.  I’m sure it was a loving reunion.  Heaven has played a large role in my earthly life through Led Zeppelin’s song Stairway to Heaven,  This week’s blog will chronicle how that song can help after another CRAZY week in the markets.

High School Dance
When the guitar solo started we all knew what we needed to do. Find a slow dance partner ASAP.  We had both been thinking about this moment since the dance started. The risk of the ask was replaced by the risk of what will happen when the music speeds up and the couple is forced to break their slow dance clutch.  We both know what is coming.  The same holds true for equity investors.  We know  the equity risk premium is going to end too.  How we handle this reality separa…


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…