From the June 2008 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

June 1, 2008

How Honest Are You?

Mark Tibergien (CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions and a fellow IA columnist) has devised a terrific list of questions you can ask yourself to clarify just how honest and open you are. The answers may be especially informative if you've persuaded yourself that you're always truthful and transparent with clients and colleagues:
  1. Have you ever told a client that you didn't get his message when in fact you knew he called you days ago? You may have told yourself it was just a little white lie--"and I'm talking to him now, so what's the harm?"
  2. Have you ever become aware of a compliance violation committed by an associate that could hurt your firm, but you chose not to refer it to authorities? I would add: Would you act quickly to remedy the situation, even if it was difficult or uncomfortable to do so?
  3. Have you ever taken credit for bringing in a new client, even though a younger associate created the opportunity? Your rationalization might have been "Well, they have years to make a name for themselves..."
  4. Have you ever accepted a new client who chose you on the basis of a strong referral, but you knew you did not have the depth of experience to serve them properly? Were you able to offer top-notch service? Or did you have twinges of guilt and maybe think about calling in a consultant to make up for your lack of expertise?
  5. Have you ever had a client tell you he refuses to work with someone in your business because the person is a woman (or a man, or African-American, or Hispanic, or too old, or too young) and you made the change so as not to lose the business? How do you feel about that?
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