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Veres and Bruckenstein lure big RIAs to Denver to discuss getting even bigger

Tim Kochis and the virtual Moss Adams all-stars brought firepower to the 2nd annual Business and Wealth Management Conference

Author Guest Columnist Timothy D. Welsh September 17, 2012 at 9:38 PM
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Bob Veres engages CEO of Moss Adams Wealth Advisors Rebecca Pomering and Tim Kochis, former CEO of Aspiriant, on issues of scale.

TradePMR / Frederick Van Den Abbeel

TradePMR / Frederick Van Den Abbeel

September 17, 2012 — 10:45 PM

TradePMR was proud to be a sponsor at the 2nd annual Business and Wealth Management Forum in Denver. What a wonderful conference! I thought the speakers and quality were top notch and a big thank you to Bob Veres for putting such a venue together. I look forward to participating in future years.

Elmer Rich III

Elmer Rich III

September 18, 2012 — 5:33 PM

Here is one thing about the future we can predict — demographics. Advisors are at, and nearing, retirement and there aren’t younger replacements. Those are facts we will be living with for the rest of out lifetimes.

What to do. Technology? Maybe. Most of the opportunities in tech have already been realized. Clients and advisors only have two hands. No room for a brand new device. Efficiencies have been squeezed pretty thoroughly. Most tech solutions have been commoditized and become utilities.

“Because of our size, we are able to get better pricing for our clients and exert pricing power over the custodians,” explained Kochis. “We go to them, demand better pricing and we get it.”

Well sure, if price is the only value and benefit to a client. What about clients who want a premium and not a low priced solution? Not everyone wants to drive Geos. Most clients like premium experiences in all other areas of their lives. Not all want Walmart financial services.

“There are not technological solutions to relationship problems.” More, better new tech is easy to talk about and sell.

The challenges facing RIAs and investors are hard. The generational transition of the business is hard.

On business advice/best practices books — we need data and research not story-telling and case studies. Right?

Brooke Southall

Brooke Southall

September 18, 2012 — 6:41 PM

What data points are you looking for, Elmer, that would help crack the code of advisory success and prove more beneficial than hearing successful entrepreneurs offer their thoughts?

Brooke

Elmer Rich III

Elmer Rich III

September 18, 2012 — 7:57 PM

We can start with the basics. We are doing valuation for our M&A work and just basic pre- post data would help. Standard independent variable – dependent variable modeling.

The problems with generalizing from case studies are obvious:

- Survivor bias

- Participants may not know, understand or be able to explain why something happened. Post hoc explanations

- Chance as an independent variable. Right place, right time.

- Lack of generalizability. Looking backward.

Success stories create all sorts of warm fuzzy feelings, sell books and provide conference fodder, but are not scientific nor predictive. Stories are not evidence or proof.

Even if best practices are proven. What is best for one may not be for anyone else.

When advisors make recommendations to client do they use stories or data? Both of course. Do you want your doctor using stories or data? Probably just data, peer-reviewed and extensively tested for accuracy.

FYI, from Wikipedia – “The expression anecdotal evidence refers to evidence from anecdotes. Because of the small sample, there is a larger chance that it may be unreliable due to cherry-picked or otherwise non-representative samples of typical cases. Anecdotal evidence is considered dubious support of a claim; it is accepted only in lieu of more solid evidence. This is true regardless of the veracity of individual claims.

The term is often used in contrast to scientific evidence, such as evidence-based medicine, which are types of formal accounts. Some anecdotal evidence does not qualify as scientific evidence because its nature prevents it from being investigated using the scientific method. Misuse of anecdotal evidence is a logical fallacy and is sometimes informally referred to as the “person who” fallacy (“I know a person who…”; “I know of a case where…” etc. Compare with hasty generalization).

Anecdotal evidence is not necessarily representative of a “typical” experience; in fact, human cognitive biases such as confirmation bias mean that exceptional or confirmatory anecdotes are much more likely to be remembered. Accurate determination of whether an anecdote is “typical” requires statistical evidence.”

Anecdotal evidence is a great sales tool but not useful for decision making.

Elmer Rich III

Elmer Rich III

September 21, 2012 — 2:15 PM

Here are some more cautionary notes on “success stories.”:

“We use stories and anecdotes to convey our arguments because narratives are compelling, memorable, and easily understood. But people tend to believe convincing, retrospective stories about why something happened even when there is no conclusive evidence of the event’s true causes. For that reason, we try to back up all of our examples with scientific research of the highest quality…” from the book The Invisible Gorilla

“Your memory is like the telephone game—Each time you recall an event, your brain distorts it” – http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-09-memory-gameeach-recall-event-brain.html#nwlt

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Top Executive: Rebecca Pomering

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Top Executive: Greg Friedman

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