A powerful firestorm is destroying lives and property in the northern sections of the San Francisco Bay Area as we go to print. The loss of life and property is horrific, and the smoke-filled air has had serious consequences on the wider region, as well.
Though I had read about the 1991 Oakland Hills firestorm before I moved to the Bay Area in 1999, experiencing such destruction firsthand is humbling indeed — and unnerving. After a week, I heard from a former colleague who was evacuated that he, his family and his residence are fine. Naturally, the disaster makes me grateful for what I have; it also puts those minor headaches or bumps in the daily grind of life into proper perspective.
During the firestorm, I attended Commonwealth Financial Network’s annual conference in San Diego. Keynote speaker Ken Blanchard reminded the crowd of 1,640 of how he felt losing his home to a fire in Southern California about a decade ago.
What often makes a big difference to people going through the stress and distress of such circumstances is the support of their financial advisors. Clients can turn to them for critical advice as well as for kindness. Blanchard touched on the importance of making emotional connections as part of “servant leadership,” which emphasizes serving others in the pursuit of an organization’s vision and goals.
Striving for excellence in service and execution, of course, is critical to advisors. In an age of low interest rates and do-it-yourself investment platforms, advisors must prove their worth more than ever.
Our cover story, “Charting a New Course,” draws attention to how they can do just that by using alternatives in portfolios. Cliff Stanton of 361 Capital also describes how advisors can structure conversations with clients to focus on the total portfolio and outcome.