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The 2020 IA25: Brian Hamburger

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Brian Hamburger is the founder and leader of the consultancy MarketCounsel and the Hamburger Law Firm, for which he serves as chief counsel. He also is host of the yearly MarketCounsel Summit events for RIAs.

Top Advice

What we’re facing is daunting, but I am heartened by the moments of triumph in everyday acts of courage, humanity and love. Although these are trying times for all of us, I’m optimistic that the color in our lives will return soon.

During the pandemic, advisors need to do more than manage; they need to lead. I mean, right after their health and safety and that of their loved ones, people are concerned about their money.

But a move is underway that aligns with an advisor’s fundamental value. Fewer people seem fixated on performance and more seem inquisitive as to whether they have enough to live the life they’ve imagined.

To that end, advisors need to be out in front of their clients, they need to be there to lead their staff through all of this and, of course, to find opportunities in this current environment. Advisors need to remind themselves every morning that this is what they’ve trained for: to be their client’s trusted advisor.

It’s their pro-activity and objectivity that’s going to separate them from those hawking investment products. Their goodwill paired with a consistency of effort will win in the end, it will solidify their relationships with their clients for a long time to come.

Biggest Challenge

Confronting the loss of human life. The pandemic is real; it claimed the life of one of our colleagues in early April. He was far too young to die.

Setting aside my own grief so that I could lead others through this was a real challenge. Here I was, with all of the traditional rituals we have become accustomed to unavailable to me, trying to help my team through the grieving process, all while ensuring that we could tend to client demands.

I came to learn that, due to the richness and diversity of our staff, we all deal with death differently. So striking a balance of being there for them while giving others space was new to me.

I have to constantly remind myself that my job is to turn tragedy into triumph, to ensure that [my colleague] remains with us and, in fact, becomes a part of who we are.


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