November 4, 2014What Do You Expect From Today’s Elections?
According to The New York Times, today marks the most expensive midterm elections in U.S. history. What kinds of results are you anticipating?
The elections are a referendum on Obama, and I think Republicans will make significant gains.41% The balance of power in Washington won’t change enough to make a difference or break the gridlock.9% On Wednesday, we’ll see each party crystallize its message in the cold glare of hindsight.
October 28, 2014How Useful Are Managed Accounts?
Their selling point is they let advisors outsource portfolio management, freeing up time to serve — and find — more clients. But how effective are they?
Very useful. Most of my clients have some of their assets in managed accounts, and the returns are as reliable as anything else.37% Hit and miss. It all depends on the skill of the managers, and the fees can add up.14% I don't bother with them. My clients like knowing I select their holdings personally, and I don't like to trust a third party with that much of my value-add.
October 21, 2014What Level of Experience Do You Look for When You Hire?
When recruiting a new financial advisor, which do you prefer?
An absolute beginner I can mold to my firm’s unique culture.47% Someone with enough experience so I won’t have to spend much on basic training.37% A veteran who can bring in clients and make money from the start — and maybe take on some management chores.
October 14, 2014Is the Ebola Risk Affecting Your Practice?
According to the Financial Times, ebola has joined the list of risks to world markets. Are you addressing it in any way?
My staff and I scrutinize new contacts for possible ill health, and we wash our hands a lot.0% I’m recommending biotech and hazmat-suit-maker stocks for client portfolios.90% No, the risk in the States is being totally overhyped by the press.
October 7, 2014Are Staff Meetings Useful or a Waste of Time?
Few businesses, large or small, run without meetings. Are group discussions actually helpful?
Meetings are productive, because people get creative and energetic when they’re in a group.11% The loudest people, not the smartest, tend to dominate meetings. So they’re not worth much.68% Sensible managers can organize meetings in a way that gets good results, but it’s rare.
September 30, 2014Should You Ever Share Your Own Financial Problems With Clients?
Advisors can form very close relationships with their customers, but is it OK for them to discuss their personal financial challenges?
No — I can’t think of a better way to undermine their faith in my competence as a steward of money.8% Yes — confiding in clients builds their trust, and I sure don’t want them to hear about my problems from anyone else.46% Depends — some anecdotes might shed light on clients’ situations; others will just freak them out.
September 16, 2014Should Close Friends Be Clients?
Advisors launching a practice often reach out to the people they know well, but is it a good idea?
Never. I can’t think of a better way to destroy a professional or personal relationship.21% Close friends make the best clients — in fact it’s a perfect example of “aligned interests.”53% I don’t see any inherent conflict or problem, but the situation has to be handled with care.
September 9, 2014Why Is ‘Commission’ a Dirty Word?
Some voices in the industry suggest no advisor who earns commissions in any form is conflict-free. What accounts for their opinion?
The view is based on a false notion of Wall Street as a collection of bucket shops.35% Clients wrongly believe they pay more with a transaction-based compensation model.15% Most of the criticism comes from advisors who like to bash the wirehouses.33% It deserves to be — commissions are an incentive to sell, no two ways about it.
August 26, 2014How Do You Balance Work With Fitness?
Planning can be a stressful career. How much of a priority do you place on keeping yourself in good health?
I hardly ever hit the gym. I’m busy building a practice.70% Plenty. I realize it’s important to stay fit and blow off steam.14% I find I exercise more as my book of business grows.
August 19, 2014Does It Matter Where Advisors Custody Client Assets?
Custodians work hard to differentiate themselves, with everything from technology to research. Does it make a difference?
Not really. They all do basically the same thing in the same way.62% Yes, it matters a lot. The providers differ significantly in quality, price and services offered.5% Only advisors with particular needs, like custodying liquid alts, need to shop around for a good fit.33% Custodians differ, but not a lot, so it’s about good personal relationships more than anything else.