The Vanguard legend reportedly had competing interests for his time

December 28, 2012 — 5:10 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

1 Comment

Brooke’s Note: We continue to watch Advizent with keen interest. It brings together two of the best (relatively) young, energetic guns in the RIA business with ample capital and an ambition to solve one of the business’s mega-problems — separating and distinguishing its brand. It’s a tall order in the face of wirehouses that are spending billions to blur the lines between brokers and advisors. See: How analytical advisors can finally supercede salesy advisors. Jack Bogle seemed like a good building block and sets up some intrigue about what Advizent does next.

After six months, John C. Bogle has departed Advizent where he was brought on to serve as the senior chairman of the company’s independent board of standards.

The legendary former Vanguard Group chief and founder is leaving the Boulder, Colo.-based RIA-umbrella start-up for reasons relating to the time involved, according to an Advizent statement. See: Advizent hits $100-billion asset target in a matter of weeks triggering hires. He took the position on July.

“John C. Bogle, an early member of our Standards Board has informed us that, because of substantial other commitments, he is not able to devote the necessary time and effort to our project,” the company said in an email. “As a result, he has resigned his membership. However, Jack continues to strongly support Advizent’s mission to educate investors and hold advisors to high standard practices. We are grateful to Jack and thankful for his early support and involvement.” See: Advizent makes Jack Bogle its standards czar, a no-pay, no-conflict position.

Still a Cato and Harvard board bench

Advizent declined to say, for now, whether Bryn Mawr, Pa.-based Bogle, 83, will be replaced and who it might be. The other two members of the board listed on its website are Harvard Business School professor, Robert S. Kaplan and Robert Levy, chairman of the Cato Institute board of directors.

The Advizent board positions are unpaid to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

The board is potentially critical for Advizent because of its mission is to create a self-imposed, audited standard that will be applied to RIAs that become Advizent members and use its brand in marketing. The brand, in essence, stands for that standard. Advizent has stated its goal is to attain a combined $1 trillion of assets under management.

Critical mass

With that kind of critical mass the group believes it could, based on early projections, spend as much as $100 million per year annually on marketing and advertising to create a national brand that goes toe-to-toe with banks and wirehouses.

The Advizent venture was launched in February by Charles Goldman, former head of Schwab and Fidelity’s RIA businesses, and Steve Lockshin, former CEO of Convergent Wealth. See: Lockshin: All advisors must deal with the threat of low industry standards — before investors do it for them.

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Stephen Winks said:

December 28, 2012 — 5:47 PM UTC

The cultural, process, technological and work flow challenges required to expertly manage fiduciary liability so fiduciary standing is safe, scalable, easy to execute and manage in fact, not just in principle, are daunting.

Though the three men cited that chair the Advizment Standards initiative are imopressive, an incredible amount of work is required along with the necessary resources to craft an expert, safe, scalable, easy to execute and manage fiduciary solution. Without the necessary work and proper resourcing—we should not expect to show much from such an initiative.

Everyone wants to talk about fiduciary standing as talk is cheap, how about actually creating an actionable authenticated prudent investment process which actually brings fiduciary standing within the reach of every advisor?


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