October 15, 2013Will Poor Consumer Confidence Keep New Clients Away?
The government shutdown is depressing consumers, according to the latest reports, and that’s a bad omen for retailers in the crucial holiday season. Do you think faltering economic confidence will affect your business this quarter and into 2014?
Yes. Belt-tightening is natural at a time like this, and I expect fewer prospects to walk in the door.100% No. Hiring a financial advisor isn’t like buying a sweater. I’m forecasting growth at its usual pace.0% My business may see an impact this quarter, but I predict that things will return to normal by 2014.
October 8, 2013Should Poorer Clients Get Different Services?
The advice industry increasingly segregates mass-affluent clients from HNW and UHNW individuals, in some cases creating a separate platform for the less wealthy. Is that as it should be?
Sure. It stands to reason that people at different wealth levels have different needs.25% No. Clients deserve the same attention and thoroughness regardless of net worth.5% Right or wrong, it's what the industry has to do to stay profitable.
October 1, 2013What Are You Telling Clients About the Government Shutdown?
The standoff between President Obama and House Republicans over health care reform came close to shutting Washington down. What does it mean for clients?
I don’t mention it — and if they bring it up, I tell them it’s irrelevant to their financial plan.15% I quote Raymond James’s Jeff Saut: After 11 of the 17 shutdowns since 1970, the market rose.55% Once this game of chicken ends, the market will refocus on economic recovery and other good news.0% I tell them it’s not great for bonds, but the bond market wasn’t exactly going gangbusters anyway.
September 24, 2013Is “Loss-Leader Pricing” a Smart Strategy?
According to a new PriceMetrix survey, 21% of advisors offer clients a discount on fee-based services, recouping the lost revenue with transactional business — and 21% do the exact opposite. Can that work?
No way; it’s much too risky. What if you can’t recoup the losses?20% Sure, when you’re just beginning to build up a client base.27% Yes, even established advisors can grow their practice this way.33% It’s better to make a decision and be all-discount or all-premium.
September 17, 2013Have Stock Investors Lost Touch With Reality?
Washington suffers a mass shooting, the White House and Congress play chicken over the debt ceiling — and the S&P 500 breaks 1,700. What’s behind the optimism?
Call it the Summers rally. A Yellen Fed will probably be more market friendly.20% Tapering is priced in, and Wall Street is publishing bullish forecasts.27% It’s all about fundamentals — many stocks are still a good buy.40% Where else is a smart investor going to park money? Bonds?
September 10, 2013Is Asset Management Totally Commoditized?
With more than 7,000 mutual funds and hundreds of ETFs, asset managers have to work hard to differentiate themselves. Are they all alike?
Of course not. Investment style and savvy make a huge difference to my clients’ success.70% Not totally, but there are literally hundreds of funds that are basically interchangeable.15% Yes, and at this point the only thing I really pay attention to is costs.
August 27, 2013How Vigorously Are You Managing Your Digital Brand?
Some say social networking is the biggest thing in marketing since the press release. How does your e-branding stack up?
My website looks great, I post frequently on social media and I even create online videos.0% I make sure my website’s in shape, but I don’t see much value in social media.33% My website is lame, and I’ve barely dabbled in social media.0% I’m old school, and I do just fine without any “digital brand” beyond a basic website, thanks.
August 20, 2013What’s the Best Way to Conduct a Cold Call?
For many in the advice industry, prospecting by phone is still de rigueur. Are some approaches more effective than others?
Get straight to the point and explain your services.15% Ask whether the prospect has ever considered getting financial advice.5% Target prospects who already have an advisor, and offer to compare services.10% I have my own technique that beats any of this.13% I never cold-call. It’s a waste of time and looks desperate.
August 13, 2013Does the Advice Business Set the Bar Too Low?
All it takes to call yourself a financial advisor is a Series 7 or Series 65. Is the profession’s barrier to entry too low?
Yes. Just because you can sell financial products doesn’t mean you should.6% No. People who earn those credentials are thoroughly trained about where products belong in an investment portfolio.29% It has nothing to do with licenses. All that matters is whether or not you’re a fiduciary — that’s where the industry should set the bar.
August 6, 2013Are Wealthier Clients More “Difficult”?
Rich people are often accused of having an outsize sense of entitlement. In your practice, do clients’ demands rise in proportion to their net worth?
Yes, and that’s fair. The more you have, the more you’ve got to lose.29% Yes, and it drives me nuts. The very rich tend to think they’re very smart.24% No, why should they be? I treat all my clients alike and give my best to each of them.24% No, and I sometimes wonder if they’re paying enough attention.