In 2011, my team and I were encouraged to submit an entry for Senior Market Advisor magazine’s 2011 Advisor of the Year award, one of the most coveted national honors that any financial services professional working with retirees can receive. We were one of only five finalists nationwide, which led to me writing a monthly column in Senior Market Advisor on the subject of practice management, for the benefit of the many advisors that make up their readership.
Some people have asked why I do this. Why would I share the fruits of our hard labor and the results of many years of continual growth, tweaking and improvement? It takes a very well-rounded entrepreneurial skill set to thrive in private practice. Not everyone will read my column and be able to apply what we’re teaching them. And sometimes, even the right tools in the wrong hands can still do damage.
This brings me to my purpose, and to the question atop this post: “Why blog?” Why share freely in the public domain, ideas, opinions, and perspectives from nearly a quarter-century in practice, that our competitors could adapt and misuse, absent the standards of suitability and compliance placed upon them by an industry that a) largely missed the Market Meltdown of 2007-9 and b) missed Bernie Madoff’s client abuses in spite of multiple warnings from informed whistle-blowers?
The answer is one from history, and although it may seem trite or cliché to some, my staff and I are just old-fashioned enough to still believe in such things: “All that is necessary for wrongdoing to flourish, is for good men to do nothing.”
Or: The one way to counter bad or self-serving advice at the expense of a client—is to be a role model and living example of an organization that always places its client’s interests ahead of its own.
In these weekly posts, my goal is to bring you commentary and context on today’s events, as well as the kinds of ideas, strategies, and lower-risk/lower-cost alternatives you will not find on Wall Street—or in the risk-biased financial media that often parrots their perspective and peddles their products. Many of you were badly burned by those products and that advice, prior to joining our firm, and I also intend to share some of those stories (anonymously of course) as Case Studies of the before and after. Many posts will address the current financial climate, geopolitical events affecting your finances, or the missing context behind a news event.
After the SMA Advisor of the Year awards were announced, I agreed to write a contributory column for the magazine, entitled Your Practice, for the benefit of their readers and advisors nationwide. In a recent column therein, I lamented that:
“The majority of advisors are still out ‘looking for the sale’… whereas others are building a business, vaguely aware of a larger goal, while a precious few are committed to investing in their profession, hiring a talented staff, working out of an efficient, impressive office, and building a thriving practice of clients-for-life whose continuous referrals will enrich them relationally as well as financially over many years.”
We have such a practice here in the East Valley, and are proud of the national role model we have become within our profession. We count so many of you as friends, not just clients, witness the hugs and affection we share with so many during our yearly review meetings.
I believe this is a good way to start “The Mature Investor” blog. By providing information of value to you on a consistent and timely basis, this blog is one more way that Strategic Asset Conservation and I will give back to our East Valley community. I want this page to be informative and interesting to you, and yet another reason to make you proud to be working with us. If you like what you see, feel free to forward my comments to your friends, or to those you believe could benefit from our ideas.
As in everything we do here, I intend to give this my best and I really value your input and comments.
Thomas K. Brueckner
President & Chief Executive Officer