From the July 2012 issue of Research Magazine • Subscribe!

June 27, 2012

Advisor Camp

Remember going away to summer camp as a kid? It was always a week or two in August when you could get away from your crazy family and go off with your own kind (kids) to have some good old-fashioned fun. There was swimming, hiking and telling horror stories around the campfire. What a grand time. Not only was it good for us, it was great for our parents who definitely could use a break.

As I was browsing through some YouTube videos the other night, I came across a special camp for a select group. It was called Smiling Dog Camp. It was a two-week summer camp for… dogs. The video looked better than most of the places I go for vacation. I can imagine the dogs coming home all fit, tanned and rested. All ready to tackle another year of chewing furniture and pooping behind the couch.

The light bulb went off in my head. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a Financial Advisor Camp! Think about it, the office staff is going away for a nice family vacation. Instead of feeling guilty about leaving you (the financial advisor) all alone at the office, they could pack up your swimsuit and send you off to camp.

Given the difficulty of getting advisors to take time off without their smartphones, potential campers should be informed this is due diligence networking camp for a select number of rising financial stars, like them. Validating their already high opinion of themselves, how could they refuse?

The camp would have many similarities to the summer camps we attended as kids. There would be swimming in the lake. The only difference would be when the advisors got out of the lake they would be dried off with luxurious chamois while their emails were being read to them.

After swimming, there would be some team sports for the FAs to enjoy. Each team would start with a captain. The captains would alternate picking the remaining advisors for their team. As in the games of childhood, the advisor who appeared to be the worst advisor would get picked last.

Not wanting to pack the infirmary with hamstring and Achilles tendon injuries, the active games of our youth would be replaced by more cerebral games fitting of true financial genius.

Host Question: “What soft drink, originally marketed as a tonic, contained extracts of cocaine as well as the caffeine-rich kola nut?”

Team FA: “What is Coca-Cola!”

After a correct answer the team would all high-five and chest-bump each other. “You da man! Way to nail it!!”

Host Bonus Question: “What is the current PE ratio of Coca-Cola and would you rate it as a buy or a sell?”

Team FA: “Can we phone a friend, please?”

Because advisors are supposed to know everything and should bluff even if they know they are wrong, a loud gong would sound and Team FA would be assigned to clean latrines for the remainder of camp. I’m still working on all the rules for the games, but you get the idea.

What would camp be without a campfire? As the sun sets and dusk is fast approaching, it’s time to set the fire. Naturally, this isn’t your ordinary fire. Instead of using wood, the fire would consist solely of outdated prospectuses and customer complaint letters.

Campers are required to participate by sharing one of their own horror stories. Like, for example, the first time one of their clients actually figured out the sales charge on their recent VA purchase. Or the time one of their clients called them on their BS of a market crash being a buying opportunity.

The camaraderie created by such a camp would not only be of great value to the advisor, it would be of even more value to the advisor’s office staff. Imagine, being away on vacation without getting calls asking how to enter an order or put paper in the printer. It would be a beautiful thing. Happy camping, everyone!

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