You are NOT the boss of me

We have all heard our kids or our siblings tell us “you are NOT the boss of me”.  The recent return of litigation (TRO) against departing brokers because their old firms have left The Protocol for Broker Recruiting focuses on the “ownership” of the clients.  The firms claim they own the clients … really?  Shouldn’t we resolve this dispute by asking the clients?  We will examine why this simple solution is more nuanced.


The Boss

Boss is usually a title given to us or it is one we bestow on ourselves.  Both have a short life span that can only be extended by earning the boss title.  Earning it is a combination of trust, humility and results.  Trust is an essential element of every interpersonal relationship. Trust is doing what you say.  Sounds simple but we all know it is very difficult.  Humility is RARE – it is difficult to admit that you don’t know or that you are wrong. And the final necessity of a good boss is they achieve measurable results.  Results for the people they work with and corporate results.



Money is power and bosses often control the purse strings.  Parents can state “as long as you live under our roof and eat our food you have to follow our rules”.  Maslow had this nailed in 1954.  Dan Pink’s book Drive addressed that there are other powerful items that trump money.  Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose!  Money$ your days are numbered.



The power of personal relationships is often the deciding factor on who we want to be around.  Relationships are the final arbiter when employees or clients are considering leaving.  Mistakenly corporations undervalue the power of relationships.  Good wealth managers excel in this area and their deep relationships with their clients are proven when they change firms and over 85% of the clients move to the advisor’s new firm.  The saber rattling of big firms and their TRO’s are a nuisance that will slow things down but will ultimately fail because relationships will win the day.   Big firm legal tactics can scare the over 56% of advisors who are considering moving but the segment that is being hurt the most is clients.  Who is the boss of the clients?


So you want to be the boss of me?  Put your ego down and earn it.  The questions on the test are hidden in this blog.

Monetizing Eyeballs

We all realize that word of mouth, referrals and political rallies cannot insure the success of our business or our election.  Recently this reality was exposed by the Cambridge Analytica scandal and has caused us all to question what is the right way to approach our marketing.  Unfortunately there will always be “bad actors” and our charge is to separate the wheat from the chaff and in this case separate bad actors from bad practices.  This blog will share our thoughts on the best way to monetize our new prospective clients without compromising their privacy.


We all want more people to understand and know our unique value.  Marketing has taken the baton to help us in this endeavor. Both Traditional and Digital marketing requires we create a succinct and understandable message for our business.  This process takes time and effort and will be achieved by working with an experienced traditional or digital marketing firm.  Once we agree on a message we can use it repetitively in all of our external and internal communications. I have found a good message will last a longtime.  Think about how long “Plop Plop Fizz Fizz” has remained in your brain.



How do we know if our marketing message is working?  The easiest and most effective way is to monitor how many new clients find you.  Traditional marketing and digital marketing firms have developed their own systems to show their clients the effectiveness of their recommendations.  Traditional marketing created  Nielsen ratings and Digital marketing uses Google Analytics.  Both seem self serving to me.



Once we employ a marketing campaign we need to shift our focus to monetizing all of the new eyeballs that are checking out our firm.  Traditional advertising includes our phone number and a our street address. Digital advertising includes our URL and a sign up page for our white papers.  Both marketing approaches encourage their clients to write books because a book can  position us as an expert and even though we seldom take books out of our bookcases the books will be there until we move and are forced to  organize our stuff.  Digital marketing provides another outlet for writers through blogs that are posted on the internet and similar to the advice we give our kids, once posted they are there forever…that can be a good thing too.


Traditional advertising has been around for over 70 years.  Does it work? Digital advertising is just getting started. Is it working?  There is no easy answer to either question but we can all agree that we need to get the word out about our firm just because we build it they might not come.  I believe PR and Marketing works but I’m just not sure if the multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad is worth it or what I should pay for clicks. Is that price worth risking my privacy?

My Final Job

I’ve said or heard the common refrain of  “this is my final job” as a financial advisor moved to a new firm.  Do we believe our statement or are we just kidding ourselves? Our FINAL answer to this question is important to us, our family and our most importantly our clients who are getting paperwork fatigue from our frequent moves.


It is human nature to rationalize our decisions.  Especially major decisions like changing a job, getting married or having children.  Money pays a significant role in each area and can distort our judgement causing us to rationalize whatever decision we make to maintain our sanity.  Unfortunately rationalizing has a short lifespan and when it expires we will be forced to deal with our buyer’s remorse.


First impressions are just that – first.  They are a good first step, but true love takes time.  The path is bumpy and we will be tempted to turn around and look for a smoother road.  The advice I received early in my professional career still rings in my head.. “Jeff, the grass is brown everywhere” This advice has prevented me from giving up and looking for greener pastures.  I’ve been married for 24 years but I’ve had seven different jobs. Each job ended for different reasons that were in my control and out of my control. Looking back I regret all of the changes I made that were in my control.  This blog hopefully will help you learn from my mistakes.


The statistics that over 65% of independent RIA’s do not have a Succession Plan is alarming but over the last few years it continues to hold steady at or above 65%.  The same is true for families that don’t have a will or an estate plan.  What is preventing us from what making these decisions?  It is a multifaceted answer that requires the help of an experienced specialist. Unfortunately a blog or a podcast can only get you started but can’t close the deal.

This must be how a retiring sports star must feel.  If I retire I’m not sure I could replace the Adrenalin rush provided by the games and I’m sure I couldn’t replace the money.

Upon further review maybe I’ll find another team.


The very long reign of Patriarchy  looks like it is coming to an end.  There are many tell-tale signs that other regimes showed before their fall.  We will look at the signs and discuss our hopeful path forward.


Patriarchy has disadvantaged women.  Their response requires our admiration and notice.  Women have walked the talk and are earning more college degrees with better grades than men.  Our blog that began in 2009 confirms this reality, as 75% of our subscribers are women and 95% of the comments are from women.  Why?  Because men  feel they already know it and more importantly don’t listen.  I have attended many meetings with wealth advisors and their prospective wealthy families.  When things don’t work out the feedback is damning.  The advisor did not ask the women in the family at the meeting if they had any questions and their body language was directed at the male.  We need to change this.


I have not been paid to endorse Ellevest but they have created a strong network of women and surveyed them and published the results under the title Ellevest 2018 Census  The questions and the answers deserve our attention especially if you believe that we don’t have a problem.  I don’t live in Houston but I believe we have a problem.


There has been a lot of bytes spilled on this subject by people in the arena.  Unfortunately a member of my family was affected and it broke my heart. ALL men should pay attention and, if necessary adjust their behavior.  Some of the common characteristics of the Me Too movement and Patriarchy should be examined and changed.  None of us chose our gender so any believed power differential is a fool’s errand.   Men in the financial services industry should start by hiring more women and by creating a professional work environment instead of a fraternity.

Women have grown to a place that they can effectively beat down the patriarchy Whack-a- mole!  Looks like the game is over not just because there are more women but because they are better and Patriarchy has gone on long enough.  Time’s Up!

Call Me

After a tumultuous week our misguided instinct is to call everyone and explain what happen and how we have a plan to fix it.  Our clients and co-workers don’t expect perfection, they just need to know we care and are thinking about them.


Fiduciary Family

When things go wrong in our personal life we seek refuge in our family.  A good family will provide us with unconditional support and help us get back on our feet.  When things go wrong in our financial life a fiduciary family is a good refuge.  A fiduciary family has committed to providing advice that is in their client’s best interest.   Unfortunately, other firms can seem like “Tiger Firms” that focus on results that oftentimes can be too self interested and can be at the expense of their clients. They have a definite answer to everything that often involves “working through it and toughening up.”


No definitive answer

We and our short news cycle often seek short and sweet explanations to complex problems.  While last week’s volatility can easily be blamed on the inverse Volatility ETNs,there is more that needs to be examined to insure we don’t repeat Monday and Tuesday’s debacle.  Let’s start with a better vetting mechanism for new products that, much like an IPO’s prospectus, details the risks.  We should also work with Fiduciary advisors who will examine these products before recommending investment.  Another important factor is the liquidity of the markets for these esoteric products.   Hindsight is 20/20, but we must learn from catastrophic events and advisors and their clients need to examine how last week made them feel.


What’s next?

Swift market declines get attention and reinforce the fact that there is no free lunch.  There were several warning signals about the short VIX ETN’s, but they were conveniently ignored.  Clients and Advisors should not expect perfection and a photographic memory.  A more realistic goal is to have factual conversations about the pros and cons of each investment strategy before we pull the trigger.  These conversations won’t prevent mistakes, but they will serve as a point of reference if things go wrong.


People don’t expect perfection.  They just need to know you care. Have you called your clients today?  And while you are making calls you might want to call your parents too