This month China will host a historic Olympic Games in Beijing. When I think of the Olympics, three major themes come to mind: Excellence, Competition, and Unity.
These same attributes the athletes bring to the Games are both contained and needed in our industry — almost a “catch 22″ but one with great promise. And so it is in the spirit of this great sporting event that I write about the state of financial services today.
Of course, excellence is expected in any profession. I think it is especially highlighted in our industry where we deal with people’s assets, emotions and loved ones. Add to this the heightened supervision we are under (and media scrutiny) and you have an entire profession in the spotlight and forced to perform at a high level all of the time.
I tend to think that, just like the finest athletes that make it to the Games, the advisors in our profession have exhibited excellence. Of course, there are always the renegade advisors who can spoil it for the vast majority of us who do exhibit those traits that make one an Excellent advisor, namely honesty, integrity, patience and operating with a high degree of competency.
Competition, of course, is the prevailing them of the Games. The competition exhibited at the Olympics is intense — all played out in the context of “friendly” and “professional.” As the boomers are coming on the scene more and more and with the stakes as high as they ever have been, I sense that the competition in our business has accelerated lately. My hope is that such competition remains clean and ultimately benefits the consumer by presenting them with the highest level of advice and service. My fear is that such competition will drive some advisors, in need of making a living, to do and say things that may not be truthful.