What the RIA Hippocratic oath would look like -- in plain English
As advisors we Do the Right Thing naturally -- don't we? Thinking through what it means to be a truly trusted go-to money M.D.
Fiduciary Advisor Advocate
Very well said Brooke and could not agree with you more. A couple of thoughts for whatever they are worth:
Realizing your site is called RIABIZ, I often wonder why more articles aren’t about what is right for the client. It seems to me, and this is one man’s opinion, that the bulk of articles are about the business of being an advisor/ consultant and not the underlying client. Reading about grandiose claims of assets/advisors on platforms or how one tweets their way to a new Bentley is entertaining but does little to help advisors serve their clients.
Trust is an empty aspiration without some form of verification. I believe Ronald Reagan said something along those lines. Verification has to do with documentation and disclosure. Now I am sure that there are many advisors or consultants 'doing the right thing’. But I am equally sure there are way too many which are not, way too many which do not want to document and disclosure for fear their perceived value proposition to the client goes up in smoke. Or, perhaps, there are advisor 'wanting to do the right thing’ but lack the resources or capabilities. In any case, I would love to read more about how advisors can really align interests and provide client clarity. That would be a service.
Finally, your point about education is a very good one. Education by itself is quite helpful but actionable education is much more powerful. Believe it or not I have a college diploma (no idea where it is at the moment) which demonstrates I spent some money and survived an educational process. But until I put that education to work in a consistent, actionable form- it doesn’t mean as much. I would agree that clients '...don’t want to hear about platelets and thrombosis’- but they do expect the advisor/ consultant to be up to speed on the research and apply it in a meaningful manner.
Great job Brooke- enjoy reading RIABIZ!
I really enjoyed and appreciated this piece, Brooke. Nice to see such straight, sensible talk. Guess it all boils down to the basic idea of “do onto others as you would want others to do to you.” Many of your suggested principles follow. I especially liked the efficiency comment. The fact is that people will always pay for value and do understand that unless their advisor can earn a living they will not be motivated to do the best they can do.
The “trust” comment is also spot on. I remember when I was in NY in the post Enron period when money managers and wealth managers were falling over themselves to use trust in every conceivable way, to the point where I imagine most people grew numb from the ads and other materials…
Just wanted you to know this piece is appreciated over in Switzerland, and I will share it accordingly… Thanks!
Hi Gregg and Fiduciary Advisor Advocate,
Thank you both — a few of you who sent notes directly to my email or Twitter. It’ll encourage me to tackle my next chapter in this vein. I have one in mind.
Well said Brooke.
The essence of professionalism is transparency and truth. Unfortunately I have listened to far too many dually registered reps discuss their RIA activities as if they were a new marketing plan. Others, even the “fee-only” independents are proud to claim at industry conferences that they are effectively selling the services of corporate money managers and in doing so making more money than they did as brokers. Building up a fee-stream for the purpose of selling an RIA business seems to be another high-level motivation.
The concept of striving to do what is legitimately best for our clients is what we all should be pursuing. Sadly, finding a standard for that ideal seems to become harder with each passing year.
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