Showing posts from 2018


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…


We are all concerned that robots are scheming to take our jobs.  Inefficiencies in all industries stoke the robot concerns and fuel the Silicon Valley investors' belief that they can optimize every issue.  Our blog this week will look at the main fintech solutions from both sides and hopefully allay any concerns that robots will take all of our jobs.
Potentially successful fintech  solutions can be identified with an honest business model evaluation that will show procedures that are consistently experiencing issues.  Optimizing procedural performance should also increase profit margins that are being squeezed by fee compression.  This reality alone is a good reason to consider fintech solutions for your business.  A recent research report from Aite Group is a good place to start. Their Digital Advisory Matrix of nine solutions identifies several solutions that should be investigated. Our favorites include Client onboarding, Portfolio constraints/compliance and Fee …

Let's Investigate

The senate confirmation process of a potential Supreme Court justice and the recent FBI investigation was at times painful but necessary.  The extensive two-sided nature seems merited since a court appointment has no term limit.  This week’s blog will examine how we make other decisions that could have a lengthy term.  Are we diligent or partisan?  Let’s investigate.
Effectively choosing a wealth advisor should be as comprehensive as our senate confirmation process.  Thankfully we have numerous tools that we can use to make this important decision.  Let’s take a look.
Broker Check
Many advisors either work at a regulated brokerage firm or they did at one time in their career. The broker check system archives any complaints that have been filed against the registered professional. It will allow you to be the FBI and ask the advisor about alleged customer complaints that happened over the last ten years.  Their answer can be very helpful to your final vote.  FINRA now requires that all …


Tiger Woods' Tour Championship victory has been deemed the greatest comeback story in golf history.The record TV ratings prove we agree and our love hate meter with Tiger is now firmly in the love camp.Tiger had not won a professional golf tournament since 2013.Investors have a love hate relationship with hedge funds that has remained on the hate side since 2009.This week’s blog will examine what Tiger can teach hedge fund managers and their investors.

Don’t read the press
The press and blogs have a large case of schadenfreude.Most of their stories have a failure bias not just a political bias.Athletes and money managers make a lot more money than reporters and the average American.Our jealous dark side would like to see them come down to our zip code.Athletes and hedge fund managers need to focus on their successes and not be brought down by the naysayers.Comebacks are 90% mental.
Great athletes and great investors have unique talent.Athletic coaches appreciate talent…


The litany of departing White House officials and their tell - all books made me ask why do people leak secrets?This week we will examine that question and see that it is not just politicians who leak.The term is different in the private and business domain but it still packs an emotional punch.

Friends and Family
I vividly remember the first lie I told my parents.I was terrified that they would find out, but as time passed my anxiety declined.Eventually my parents caught me and lectured me on telling the truth and I would nod and say I’m sorry. Lesson learned – lie/leak and just apologize.Life goes on.

Secrets are a euphemism for little white lies.We kid ourselves that broken secrets are not as bad as lies.I would ask the people that trusted us with their secrets if they agree.Listen to how people rationalize telling secrets.They usually start their statement with don’t tell anyone but XYZ person told me they did X.Gossip/white lies feel good for the gossiper but they hurt the…


We love to read chronologies about traumatic events.This last week was overloaded with two such events – 9/11 and the closure of Lehman Brothers, both traumatic events that we continue to revisit.This blog will examine the power of traumatic events and how they can be like a light to moths.Don’t misunderstand me, we need to continue to remember like  Cats and Barbara so we won’t forget and repeat past mistakes.

Tragedy has a stronger lasting impact than success.We need to be aware of this reality and do our best to remember our successes and try to learn from our failures.Unfortunately businesses promote success and fire failures.This reality causes us to promote the top salesperson into a management position so they can teach strategies that are out dated and ineffective in today’s environment.Clients and shareholders should demand proof of recent success rather than listening to the tireless story about how the professional navigated the Financial Crisis.Ms. Garzarelli and y…


There is a risk when a 56 year old writer attempts to use Digital Native terms.My Millennial children laugh at me when I overuse LOL and FOMO.Laugh if you must but my feeling after listening to a recent call by Morgan Creek Capital Management on Crypto Capitalism was I’m Woke.This blog will summarize other groups that should be Woke.

Banks hold most of our Fiat currency.  We pay them a significant amount of fees for this mundane service.Why do we continue to pay these exorbitant rents? Is it inertia or are we just not aware of better alternatives?My opinion is that we aren’t aware of a better alternative.Banks are acquiring brokerage firms for their deposits that continue to grow after the advent of the CMA.Deposits are king, but how much rent should we pay for this service? Banks need to wake up.
Wealth Management
Independent wealth management firms have thrived over the last five years by eliminating the banks’ rent on client accounts.Crypo currency’s inclusion in a portfolio c…


It's US Open time and an examination of the tennis tweener shot mesmerizes fans and at one time surprised opponents.Being able to pull off this shot is now a necessity.This blog will focus on the tweeners in other areas of our life.Realizing that you are a tweener will improve your sanity and increase your chances of success.
High School Sports
I have spent the last month visiting my parents in Dallas.Other then the political opinions, which haven’t changed since I lived here 25 years ago, the big change has been the opinions around having your children participate in tackle football.The powerful combination of concussion data and a demographic shift have cased a significant drop in student participation in football.This parental reality combats the unrealistic belief that our kids can be pro athletes someday.High School athlete tweeners have been saved and can have extra time to focus on their schoolwork.
Social media and reality TV have exposed us to successful business …


Gimlet Media provided all entrepreneurs with a gift chronicling the process of starting their company.The stages were well known but the podcast format allowed us to listen to every aspect of the messy process.The partnership and family conversations made me cringe but they still stick in my memory today.Gimlet named the podcast StartUp and the group they are currently following is a church plant.Ironically there are many similarities between a successful church plant and a successful wealth management practice.Before you hit delete please read why I have faith.
The minister on the podcast asks his members three great questions that we can also use in our wealth advisory practices.The questions are:
What do you want? Statistics on church plants show that they must take a definitive  position on what they believe to attract and retain members.  The three beliefs are do you accept and marry homosexual couples, can women hold senior positions in the church and do you believe in Hell?  Wh…

Growth Stages

The successful pricing of the Focus Financial IPO is a milestone event.Unfortunately the event conjured up an old Wall Street missive in my head – buy on the rumor, sell on the news.How can we use this pithy saying to help us with our independent wealth management practice?We will share our thoughts with you in this week’s blog.
Wealth Management 1.0 The greying of the RIA industry has driven Wealth Management 1.0. When reality hits and older advisors realize they need to monetize their practice they look for buyers.DeVoe and Company tracks these transactions and identifies the major players.This trend still has longer to run but it is closer to the end than the beginning.An iPhone 5 still works but are you thinking about an upgrade?
Wealth Management 2.0 If you are planning on keeping your firm you need to consider the tools you will need to compete going forward.The tools are not cheap but the Bill Good belief that we must continually invest in our firm is a lesson we should all embr…

Follow Me

When professionals change jobs they must make an accurate prediction on who will follow them.This is an important consideration and my experience is the three main players are under and overestimating a key component in the decision.This week I’ll share my real world experiences on changing jobs.Please follow me.
Management When I ran a large wealth management organization I received numerous calls from office managers offering a block move of advisor teams in their office.While the offer sounded compelling 100% of the transactions did not materialize.While the advisor teams liked their branch manager they liked themselves, their family and their clients more.I experienced this reality when I approached many of my ex-advisors when I started Sanctuary expecting them to follow me.The power of the purse trumped my likeability.

Advisor The fear factor for advisors considering changing firms is stoked by their current firm’s misguided belief that clients love the firm more than they love th…


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…