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Across the Miles

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I flew to a national conference in Nashville a few weeks ago. One leg of the journey got delayed. I had to wait for a later connecting flight. Then, I finally arrived near midnight and couldn’t use the hotel shuttle.

I went through these “adjustments” with an aeronautical consultant who was on the same travel plan. We shared strategies on how to best get to our final destination and discussed how little customer service we received.

Two words, “So sorry.” That’s all we wanted to hear. But nope, didn’t happen.

Raymond James’ CEO discusses client relations in this month’s cover story. His ending remarks about how important it is for advisors to go the distance in serving their clients are especially revealing.

While at Raymond James’ yearly development conference in Tennessee, I pummeled one advisor from the West Coast with questions about what news he follows and how he likes to digest financial information from the press.

The registered rep, who is in business with his father, challenged many of my assumptions on how best to get the news to busy advisors. That’s a good thing. He was particularly clear on one point: he doesn’t just want sound bites; he wants real analysis.

Two of our writers this month, Michael Finke and Jane Wollman Rusoff, focus on the nitty-gritty details of the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary standard. While the regulations will take months to digest and implement, change in how advisors work with clients and in what types of products they recommend is guaranteed.

Likewise, columnists Bob Seawright and Marshall Jaffe urge us to questions assumptions about forecasting and indexing, respectively. Alexei Bayer, on the other hand, argues that we should look closely at the multiple factors moving oil prices (finally) higher.

Taking the time to think carefully about a challenge or issue is time well spent. I was reminded of this while catching up with a college classmate over a meal in Nashville.

I had mistakenly assumed she was an extrovert, based on how much we used to talk during our bright college years. We shared stories on overcoming, or at least wrestling with, life’s challenges during the past three decades. She urged me to read a book called “The Introvert’s Way.”

I reflected on how grateful I was for that advice as my younger son went off to his junior-senior high school prom in mid-May. He and his buddies are the “less social” guys on campus, though they certainly aren’t anti-social.

To fully respect others — family members, friends, colleagues and clients — and build good relationships we have to accept our differences. It may have taken me multiple flights and a few headaches to see my friend again, but I’m certainly glad she reminded me of this important life lesson.


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