Upgrade

The Apple iPhone upgrade cycle is complete until next year. This time consumers had two choices – the slightly updated iPhone 8 or the totally new iPhone X. Did you upgrade? Clients and professionals in the wealth management industry have similar choices. Should they upgrade or stay with their current business model? Some wealth management upgrade choices can feel like getting the slightly newer model when a more thorough re-boot is required.

Wealth Management Options

The basics of a phone remain but the upgrades enhance the basic functions. The same holds true for wealth management. The good news is we don’t and shouldn’t upgrade our business as often as we do our phone. But when compelling innovation within an industry makes a substantial leap forward, we have no choice but to adapt or be left behind. Do you know anyone still using the first iPhone?

 

Wealth Management 1.0:

This is the foundation that all wealth management firms must have.

Financial Planning

Asset Allocation

Fee based

 

Wealth Management 2.0:

No institutional limitations on money management choices

No cross selling

Wealth Management 3.0:

Structure that limits the downside to protect clients from unforeseen equity market declines.

Eliminates the necessity for items from 1.0 and 2.0 that don’t work as well as promised

Promotes a long-term outlook for clients and for advisors

Favors consistency of investment outcomes and experience over the classic boom/bust scenario

Breakaway Brokers

All breakaway brokers are not created equal. The ones that get the most press have large books of business and are leaving wirehouses for a bigger paycheck. In this process they, at best, only upgrade to Wealth Management 2.0. That explains why 80% of the largest brokers remain tethered to large banks. This highlights the old school mindset of most Wall Street brokers. The good news is that the new generation of advisors have a different mindset and they are actively embracing Wealth Management 3.0 in record numbers.

My Upgrade

I have spent my career trying to attract clients and advisors to WM 1.0 and 2.0 with considerable success, but I realized there was a better approach. Recently, I decided to upgrade to WM 3.0 and join Fort Point Capital Partners. They have a 3.0 solution and I hope to help them and other advisors realize the power of this evolved approach. November 15 was my first day at Fort Point, but if I’m upgrading why stop here? I’m also upgrading my blog and adding three new writers with expertise in areas that are essential to WM 3.0.

I’m energized by the excitement of upgrading and in this case I don’t have to stand in a long line! Neither do you.

 

Slow Down

Our immediate gratification culture is hurting us more than it’s helping.  We all need to slow down and focus on what is the most important.  Sounds easy but it isn’t.

 

The Anti-App

Wealth Management can be an oxymoron based on your emphasis on Wealth or Management.  Most clients are already wealthy and firms that emphasize increasing your wealth should also offer you a lottery ticket.

At Fort Point we view our primary responsibility as keeping our clients wealthy.  This positioning resonates with me and our target market.  

The Management part of Wealth Management is very important.  Effective management of the behavioral and return characteristics of the investor’s portfolio separate the good advisors from the great.  

Behavioral management can only be achieved through the advisor client relationship built on trust over time.

Return management is a two part process.  The first is management of your bank accounts through proven financial planning techniques.  The second is the management of your return profile. We believe traditional, or standard, stock/bond allocation is flawed due to the boom bust characteristics of this mix of assets.  As such, diversification requires innovative techniques as well as   risk management  from options strategies  to protect against declining markets and to help minimize  behavioral mistakes.  

We should hold all wealth management firms to this standard.  Few make the grade.

 

Money

Many academic studies have shown that the correlation between money and happiness begins to break down after we have enough money to meet our basic needs.  I find that asking the question of “why is money important to you?” opens the door to a meaningful dialogue. Each person’s answer will be different.

 

Time

Oprah’s new podcast Super Soul Conversations begins with the statement that the best gift we can give ourself is time.  The more quality time we spend with our family and friends the deeper and more meaningful our relationships will become.  The same holds true for our professional relationships but we seldom commit the needed time because we are “too busy”. Busy doing what?

 

Our ancestors experienced this and coined the phrase – we need to stop and smell the roses.  Investors and their advisors should listen to their elders.