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Category: Uncategorized

Client Service Accountability 

If your firm’s goal is to provide excellent client service, then you need to find a way to measure and track it. I’m currently updating my white paper that provides a breakdown of client service standards, but the point here is that it starts with a question that hardly ever gets addressed.  You hear in articles and from the lectern at industry conferences that it’s really, vitally important to provide excellent client service.  But when you ask the authors or practice management speakers what, specifically, that means, you never get a clear answer.   If you can’t define client service…

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MEDIA REVIEWS – June 8-15, 2023

The cover story for this month’s Investment Advisor magazine is long and generic, wide and shallow, as the saying goes, telling us what the authors believe are the general trends in the profession.  Do not expect to new surprised by any of them. I was definitely surprised that Angie Herbers was bold enough to calculate the average return on investment of client appreciation expenditures (one referral for every $500 spent) and direct marketing (one good prospect for every $2,000 spent.  She doesn’t point out the obvious, but I will: you should probably repurpose your direct marketing budget to client appreciation…

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Digital Marketing Mastery

A relatively small percentage of advisory firms are using the new digital marketing tools.  And they all seem to be doing it differently.  The 2022 T3/Inside Information Software Survey is going to be released on the first day of the T3 conference (May 2), and I will make sure all of you receive your copies.  But deep within the 72 pages of charts, graphs and commentary, I found myself struck by one interesting tidbit: there was a huge overlap among the firms that were utilizing the most popular digital marketing tools we listed. Huge?  Of the advisors who said they…

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Rejuvinating the FPA

After 20 years of wandering in the desert, is the Financial Planning Association finally on the right track? Patrick Mahoney, the new CEO of the Financial Planning Association, has had what could fairly be described as a rocky tenure in his first official year on the job.  Rocky?  Consider that he was named interim CEO in June of 2020, at a time when the association’s membership had fallen, in just two years, from 24,000 to 18,000, which was merely the latest extension of a long membership decline that goes all the way back to the merger that started the organization…

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The Bet That Gives Away the Game

At the beginning of this year, billionaire Warren Buffett won a bet that made him $1 million richer.  For the rest of us, the outcome of this wager teaches us how unique the investing profession is in the great scheme of things. Buffett, as you probably know, is a billionaire who buys companies at a discounted price and hopes to hold them forever.  He doesn’t hedge his positions, read charts or change his portfolio very much from decade to decade.  He wagered $1 million that investing in the simple S&P 500 index over the ten years ending last December would…

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WordPress Resources at SiteGround

WordPress is an award-winning web software, used by millions of webmasters worldwide for building their website or blog. SiteGround is proud to host this particular WordPress installation and provide users with multiple resources to facilitate the management of their WP websites: Expert WordPress Hosting SiteGround provides superior WordPress hosting focused on speed, security and customer service. We take care of WordPress sites security with unique server-level customizations, WP auto-updates, and daily backups. We make them faster by regularly upgrading our hardware, offering free CDN with Railgun and developing our SuperCacher that speeds sites up to 100 times! And last but…

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Operations Community

The HIFON Network represents our profession’s first ops membership organization—and a great way to get answers and solutions. Shaun Kapusinski, director of operations at Sequoia Financial Group in Akron, OH, is a former financial advisor who gravitated over to the operations side of the business and decided he liked it there better.  In fact, he became so passionate about the endless nuances or running an efficient, effective back office that he began organizing a comprehensive back office body of knowledge, similar to the CFP Board’s body of knowledge for financial planners. In his spare time, Kapusinski also founded a private study…

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The Awful Consequences of Non-Fiduciary Advice

I asked financial planning professionals if they had any stories about the harm caused by predatory recommendations from sales agents posing as advisors.  The stories they tell are shocking. The still-mostly-in-limbo Department of Labor rule that would require anybody providing certain kinds of financial advice to act in the best interests of their customers and clients has received an amazing amount of push-back from certain corners of the industry.  Even though the so-called “fiduciary” requirement is limited in scope (applying only to advice related to qualified plans and IRA accounts), and contains a number of exceptions (the Best Interest Contract Exemption, where brokers can…

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