Summer doldrums? Hardly. We were busy all last month collecting beer and bubbly for our dual anniversaries in the September issue. The first marks Investment Advisor‘s 30th year as a publication; the second is the 20th anniversary of our Broker/Dealer of the Year survey. And, wow, what a time to reflect…
For financial journalists, it’s a fascinating period. Considering the amount of blood on the Street, I feel flip for acknowledging it. But as independent advisors, do you disagree? Returns (and revenue) that accompany a bull market certainly make for a pleasant book of business. But in this month’s cover story, The Capital Financial Group/H. Beck’s Eric Meyers speaks truth to comfort:
“Down markets are when we earn our keep,” he says in his characteristically blunt manner. “No rep likes to hear his job is too easy and he’s overpaid, but that’s to some degree true. It’s a great time to be an independent broker/dealer or an advisor. It was, relatively speaking, really easy and you made a lot of money, but now it’s a lot harder. I think it’s going to be a lot harder for the next 10 or 15 years.”
So it will be a long, slow slog; advisor ranks will thin and quality will once again reign. If it sounds overly optimistic, that’s the point, says Meyers and the other BDOTY winners. Fundamentals, client service, technology and responsible product innovation are once again the focus. Leaner, meaner broker/dealer and advisory firms are emerging from the rubble. Yes, regulation is a major fuzzy spot in this otherwise positive outlook, but control what you can, they say. Like politicians who dream it and bureaucrats who enforce it, overregulation will always be with us. And we will adapt.
Morningstar head Don Phillips once said Elliot Spitzer told him–pre-hooker–that every time he overturns a rock, another investment manager slithers out, which is the reason for said overregulation. Phillips rightly took offense on behalf of the 99.99% of individuals who do right by their clients. Those that share Spitzer’s view should take particular note of this next item.
Karl Frank is planning a party for 3,000 people. The president of Denver-based A&I Financial Services is coordinating Financial Planning Day to be held on Saturday, October 9, at the start of this year’s FPA Annual Conference. He needs help, and is putting out the call for advisor volunteers. You’ll receive a $100 discount off the FPA Denver 2010 conference registration, and will help fill a critical need in underserved markets you might not always reach. According to the Financial Planning Day Web site:
“The event is part of the national Financial Planning Days initiative, a first-of-its kind effort involving city governments nationwide and thousands of financial planners in an effort to provide free financial education and programming to underserved populations throughout the U.S.”
More information about can be found at www.FinancialPlanningDays.org or contact Ryanne Enyeart at 800-322-4237, ext. 7151. We’ll see you there.