This month’s cover story (“Pursuing Simplicity”) discusses a renewed emphasis on focus and organization on the part of financial advisors in managing their practices. A good illustration of the theme is RBC Wealth Management advisor Scott Hill, who put together a 90-day engagement schedule for new clients. Hill said his firm was already doing most of the same things prior to devising the engagement schedule, but they were not done systematically.
The new schedule keeps his staff more focused and his clients better served, and has the enormous added benefit of freeing up more of the team’s time. “If you put a disciplined process in place, then there’s plenty of time in a day to get things done,” Hill said.
That simple insight, taken to heart, may add greater value to an advisor’s business practice than the myriad of practice management tips barraging advisor’s brains from brokerage firms, coaches and media sources.
Indeed, a good portion of expert analysis focuses on future trends, a subject to which experts are not reliable guides. A famous study by University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Philip Tetlock examined some 28,000 predictions by political scientists, economists and journalists, tracking them over a period of 20 years.
Tetlock found the experts’ performance to be less impressive than a “dart-throwing chimpanzee.” And what is true about predictions about who will be the vice-presidential nominee or the effects of global warming is doubtless equally true of expert statements on the number of workers who will be able to retire or generational wealth-transfer forecasts. (Glib estimates just a few years ago of boomers passing on $40 or $50 trillion dollars to heirs seem to have been replaced with post-economic crisis estimates that boomers won’t have enough for their own retirements.)