Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
Stock Market January PANIC AI Tech Stocks Buying Opp - Trend Forecast 2022 - 21st Jan 21
How to Get Rich in the MetaVerse - 20th Jan 21
Should you Buy Payment Disruptor Stocks in 2022? - 20th Jan 21
2022 the Year of Smart devices, Electric Vehicles, and AI Startups - 20th Jan 21
Oil Markets More Animated by Geopolitics, Supply, and Demand - 20th Jan 21
WARNING - AI STOCK MARKET CRASH / BEAR SWITCH TRIGGERED! - 19th Jan 22
Fake It Till You Make It: Will Silver’s Motto Work on Gold? - 19th Jan 22
Crude Oil Smashing Stocks - 19th Jan 22
US Stagflation: The Global Risk of 2022 - 19th Jan 22
Stock Market Trend Forecast Early 2022 - Tech Growth Value Stocks Rotation - 18th Jan 22
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: Are We Setting Up For A 'Mini-Crash'? - 18th Jan 22
Mobile Sports Betting is on a rise: Here’s why - 18th Jan 22
Exponential AI Stocks Mega-trend - 17th Jan 22
THE NEXT BITCOIN - 17th Jan 22
Gold Price Predictions for 2022 - 17th Jan 22
How Do Debt Relief Services Work To Reduce The Amount You Owe? - 17th Jan 22
RIVIAN IPO Illustrates We are in the Mother of all Stock Market Bubbles - 16th Jan 22
All Market Eyes on Copper - 16th Jan 22
The US Dollar Had a Slip-Up, but Gold Turned a Blind Eye to It - 16th Jan 22
A Stock Market Top for the Ages - 16th Jan 22
FREETRADE - Stock Investing Platform, the Good, Bad and Ugly Review, Free Shares, Cancelled Orders - 15th Jan 22
WD 14tb My Book External Drive Unboxing, Testing and Benchmark Performance Amazon Buy Review - 15th Jan 22
Toyland Ferris Wheel Birthday Fun at Gulliver's Rother Valley UK Theme Park 2022 - 15th Jan 22
What You Should Know About a TailoredPay High Risk Merchant Account - 15th Jan 22
Best Metaverse Tech Stocks Investing for 2022 and Beyond - 14th Jan 22
Gold Price Lagging Inflation - 14th Jan 22
Get Your Startup Idea Up And Running With These 7 Tips - 14th Jan 22
What Happens When Your Flight Gets Cancelled in the UK? - 14th Jan 22
How to Profit from 2022’s Biggest Trend Reversal - 11th Jan 22
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: Are We Ready To Drop To 4400SPX? - 11th Jan 22
What's the Role of an Affiliate Marketer? - 11th Jan 22
Essential Things To Know Before You Set Up A Limited Liability Company - 11th Jan 22
NVIDIA THE KING OF THE METAVERSE! - 10th Jan 22
Fiscal and Monetary Cliffs Have Arrived - 10th Jan 22
The Meteoric Rise of Investing in Trading Cards - 10th Jan 22
IBM The REAL Quantum Metaverse STOCK! - 9th Jan 22
WARNING Failing NVME2 M2 SSD Drives Can Prevent Systems From Booting - Corsair MP600 - 9th Jan 22
The Fed’s inflated cake and a ‘quant’ of history - 9th Jan 22
NVME M2 SSD FAILURE WARNING Signs - Corsair MP600 1tb Drive - 9th Jan 22
Meadowhall Sheffield Christmas Lights 2021 Shopping - Before the Switch on - 9th Jan 22
How Does Insurance Work In Europe? Find Out Here - 9th Jan 22
MATTERPORT (MTTR) - DIGITIZING THE REAL WORLD - METAVERSE INVESTING 2022 - 7th Jan 22
Effect of Deflation On The Gold Price - 7th Jan 22
Stock Market 2022 Requires Different Strategies For Traders/Investors - 7th Jan 22
Old Man Winter Will Stimulate Natural Gas and Heating Oil Demand - 7th Jan 22
Is The Lazy Stock Market Bull Strategy Worth Considering? - 7th Jan 22
METAVERSE - NEW LIFE FOR SONY AGEING GAMING GIANT? - 6th Jan 2022
What Elliott Waves Show for Asia Pacific Stock and Financial Markets 2022 - 6th Jan 2022
Why You Should Register Your Company - 6th Jan 2022
4 Ways to Invest in Silver for 2022 - 6th Jan 2022
UNITY (U) - Metaverse Stock Analysis Investing for 2022 and Beyond - 5th Jan 2022
Stock Market Staving Off Risk-Off - 5th Jan 2022
Gold and Silver Still Hungover After New Year’s Eve - 5th Jan 2022
S&P 500 In an Uncharted Territory, But Is Sky the Limit? - 5th Jan 2022

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

How to Judge Your Financial Advisor

Personal_Finance / Investing 2013 Dec 10, 2013 - 05:43 PM GMT

By: Don_Miller

Personal_Finance

A friend of mine used to have three financial advisors whom he forced into competition. If one started underperforming, he would pull some money from him and give it to the other two. I’ve heard of similar strategies several times now. In some ways, it makes sense. However, this strategy misses the real purpose of having a financial advisor.


What makes one financial advisor better than another is not whether he earned 15% this year while the other guy earned 13%. (Now, if we’re talking about a mutual fund manager, that’s a different story.) Nonetheless, many investors evaluate their financial advisor in this way. They see advisors as stock pickers. It doesn’t help that advisors often portray them­selves in this same light.

However, you have to remember your financial advisor’s role in a financial institution. For your purposes as a client, advisors are the salespeople. That does not mean “sales­people” is a dirty word. The truth is quite the opposite; a trustworthy salesperson can be indispensable. However, their job is to find you the right product, not to pick the winning stocks.

Your advisor is not staying up late reading company annual reports. He does not create valu­ation models of stocks. He doesn’t know the ins and outs of P/E ratios, PEG ratios, liquidity ratios, etc. Those are all roles of a proper equity research department. At best, the advisor has read through research reports and has a very basic and surface understanding of an invest­ment. For this reason, it doesn’t make sense to fire an advisor based on him earning a few points less than another one; but there are other ways to gauge their performance.

If returns aren’t the responsibility of the advisor, what services can they provide us and how should we judge them? Here is a checklist of questions to consider:

  1. Is the advisor acting in your best interest? In particular, whether or not the advisor owes you a fiduciary duty is extremely important. I’d rather have an advisor who put me in a low, 0.5%- fee fund that earned 10% last year than an advisor who put me into a fund with near 2% fees that earned 15%. In the short run, the returns can blind you from the high expenses, but you shouldn’t reward a financial advisor for getting lucky. In the long run, you want someone who will find you the cheapest funds available. The job should be to save you money in the investment process; it is not to earn returns.
  2. Is the advisor knowledgeable beyond your investment portfolio? Since the advent of online brokerages, you really don’t need someone buying and selling stocks for you. You can basically do it on your own – especially with the help of a few good newsletters. Where an advisor can really add value is by organiz­ing your finances across the spectrum – from estate planning to insurance to your investment portfolio. Once again, it is not about returns, but rather how much the advisor knows about various financial products, some of which (like insurance) produce no return at all. The broader the advisor’s knowledge base, the better. 

    Also, remember to test their knowledge beyond just the basics. What do they sug­gest for inflation protection? Do they have more than one boilerplate idea like TIPS? And are they aware of interest-rate risks surrounding bonds? Your advisor does not need to be an expert in every field, but he should have a basic understanding of the options out there and the ability to reach out to other specialists when needed. The broader the advisor’s knowledgebase the better.

    Remember the premise from the movie Wall Street.  “I have hundreds of guys who tell me stuff I already know.  What I want is someone to tell me what I don’t know.”  There are too many times what we don’t know can hurt us financially; particularly when it comes to taxes.  This is where a good advisor really separates himself from the ordinary stock pickers.
  3. Has the advisor adequately matched investments to your risk profile? Since everyone is different in risk tolerance, we can’t tailor our Money Forever recommendations to every person’s financial situation. As a result, working with a financial advisor can help you allocate investments to match your risk tolerance. Again, it’s not about return, but instead matching your risk tolerance.

    If your port­folio earns 40% next year, you might be very happy, but the risks taken might have been extreme. Anything that can go up 40% can go down 40%. The advisor needs to find investments that meet your comfort level. Judge your advisor by your nights of sound sleep rather than percentage points gained.
  4. Are the investments performing as promised? This last category has a little bit to do with return, but not entirely. If your advi­sor says that your equity portion should move up with the market but it doesn’t, there’s a problem. If the market moved up 10% and your equity portion moved up only 8%, it isn’t necessarily grounds to fire an otherwise trustworthy advisor. However, suppose your investment only moved 2% in a similar market move. Then, there seems to be a problem with the investment selection. Maybe the advisor didn’t understand them properly, or perhaps the research department seriously messed up. Either way, there are some competence issues that need to be addressed; either the investment or the advisor needs to go. Also consider that if an advisor and his research team can’t properly predict perfor­mance under certain circumstances, then how can they possibly match the invest­ments to your risk profile?

To sum it up, remember that your financial advisor is in the business of sales (a laudable field). And if he’s a good financial advisor and salesman, he or she will steer you toward investments that best suit your needs at the most reasonable prices. However, he’s not a stock picker, so your evaluation of an advisor’s services shouldn’t be primarily about return. Don’t praise his knowledge of hot tech stocks but rather his knowledge of financial products and ways to better organize your financial life.

You have to judge the financial advisor for what he does  by looking at the overall picture.  . If the market tanks by 30% that is beyond his control and you will take some losses.  At the same time, did he have proper safeguards in place to protect you from catastrophic losses.   When the market is rising, your financial advisor can make money for your portfolio is by saving you money on fees, insurance policies, and tax issues along the way. Those savings are a measure of his or her worth, as they are the direct result of his actions, not a roll of the dice in the stock market.

Financial advisors may all be salespeople, but that’s not such a bad thing in my book.

I trained salespeople all over the world for 35 years and worked with 40 of the Fortune 500 companies in the process. As a general rule, the top 20% of salespeople are respon­sible for 80% of sales.

At one point, several of my clients funded a study to find out what made their top sales­people different from the others. I traveled with these super-salespeople to pinpoint the attitudes and habits that set them apart.

During this study, I quickly discovered that it made no difference what they sold; the extraordinary salespeople all did the same thing. I recall one in particular – a salesman who sold plastic pellets, a fungible commodity – for a Fortune 500 company. I met the president of one of his largest clients and asked why he did business with this salesman’s company even though he knew its prices were a bit higher than the competition’s.

He went on to tell me a story. While he was having a casual lunch with the salesman, he complained that his company’s healthcare costs were skyrocketing. The salesman listened intently and said, “I think I can help you.”

The salesman went back to his own company, found the person responsible for its health­care costs, and asked if he would give his customer some ideas for saving money. He set up the meeting, and the end result was that his client saved over $1 million by implementing some of the ideas presented. On top of that, the salesman also brought in resources from his own company to help his client become ISO certified, which also saved a lot of money and improved the quality of its product.

In a nutshell, this salesman acted as a business consultant on his own initiative. The plastic pellets he sold were almost a secondary consideration. No one would dare dump this salesman’s company as a supplier. He saved his clients too much money by matching up his resources with their needs.

In my travels with the top salespeople, they were all doing the same thing: business con­sulting. They dealt with high-level management and helped solve their problems. In exchange, their clients were loyal and continued to buy from them.

This indeed is also how truly independent, professional financial advisors operate. They have a lot of product-specific knowledge, but they put their clients’ big-picture needs first. And if a client has a particularly thorny issue, they will consult a specialist, maybe an estate-planning attorney or an insurance expert. Just like the plastic-pellet salesman, they elevate themselves above average-Joe financial advisors by looking out for their clients’ overall best interests. This global, client-centric approach is what keeps clients coming back.

Integrity, my friends, is the name of the game. The top salespeople act as though they are fiduciaries, regardless of what they sell or what technical background they have. Who they are and how they do business is what sets them apart.

The Money Forever team is here to help you sift through the rubble and find the exceptional advisors. If you'd like to receive more information on how to find an advisor to prescribe the right financial solutions for you, please check out our special report, "The Financial Advisor Guide." If you are not already a subscriber, you can still get your own copy HERE.

© 2013 Copyright Casey Research - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Casey Research Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in