One of the best things about being independent is the freedom to create the type of client-focused practice you can feel good about. Another benefit is the correlation between the effort you put forth and the rewards you receive, both monetarily and otherwise. This week I had a very positive experience with a somewhat wealthy client that I’d like to share.

This client first engaged me in July 2008 to create a comprehensive financial plan. When the markets took a nosedive in the fourth quarter of last year, we felt another look was in order. So in January 2009 we revised the plan. We also got together and revised it a few weeks ago which I presented to him last week.

Up to this point, I was not managing any of his money. Because of his confidence in the unique analysis contained in the financial plan, and in the advice I have rendered thus far, he has now placed some of his financial assets under my purview. What made the difference?

It has been my experience that the more wealthy the client, the more complex the situation. Moreover, the more complex the situation, the more they need someone to design a well-crafted comprehensive plan.

Most people long for simplification. They also long for someone–a sort of knight in shining armor–who can be trusted and who will “pull everything together” and simplify their life. That’s the position for which I apply. If you do an especially good job for the client, the client will assume you would do a good job for others. That is where the genesis of referrals originates: in the mind of a highly satisfied client.

That is just one more reason why I am so adamant about treating the client right and doing the very best job I can. That is also why I am glad I chose to become a registered investment advisor. As an RIA, I am subject to a fiduciary standard that is the very best proposition for the client, in my view. It’s really no different from the Golden Rule which says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

So as you conduct business, remember to put the interests of the client first, and with perseverance, you will enjoy a successful, rewarding business life.

As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these postings.