I’ve just finished a task that lasted 12 months, required minimum hour-long discussions with a dozen sources, and entailed transcriptions that took me more than 40 hours to complete. The job was the series of interviews with the Investment Advisor Leaders’ Council that began appearing in Investment Advisor in May 2006. This month’s installment, with Don Schreiber, appears on page 25. I learned many important lessons during those interviews and in the multiple conference calls that we held over the past year with the entire Leaders’ Council, lessons that we’ve already put to work as our coverage shifts to reflect your needs as related by this heavyweight advisory board. The biggest lesson learned was a simple one: the successful advisor never rests, never believes there isn’t another piece of valuable information out there that can be used to improve his practice’s profitability. The successful advisor is an inveterate reader, of magazines like this one and other publications that may at first glance seem far afield, and a perhaps even more persistent networker–with peers, mentors, and other professionals from whom she can soak up knowledge and insight, like a sponge. That acquired wisdom then gets translated into new service offerings, or compensation plans, or marketing ideas that keep the Leaders’ practices ahead of the competition.
That penchant for networking is echoed among a group of people that every advisor would like to know better: the high-net-worth client. Lewis Schiff, author of the Armchair Millionaire, debuts a new gig for us as a monthly columnist, which this month takes the form of a cover story introduction to a special report on wealth that includes a directory of wealth management partners, an exploration of the place of alternative investments in the HNW client’s portfolio, and the winners of our third annual separately managed account awards.