Two things have defined my adulthood – marriage and managing investments. My first marriage of 33 years ended in divorce and I count it as the greatest failure of my life. Today, I believe my industry – financial services – teeters on the same edge of failure.
Everywhere I look I see signs that my industry’s relationship with our clients is headed for a breakup every bit as profound as a divorce. The vast majority of investment management relationships are not productive. Both advisors and clients can sense the dysfunction but just do not know how to make things better. Just as a failing marriage is a shared responsibility of spouses, the alarming state of the financial services industry is the responsibility of both advisors and clients.
I believe it’s time to talk.
It’s time to have a candid conversation about active financial leadership and what standards we should have in place…as advisors…as clients…as leaders of businesses and leaders of homes. It’s time to identify and talk about the core truths of investing and financial relationships. It’s time to make the financial services industry a source of trust and stability and a place where client problems are solved. It’s time to identify the fundamental truths and unlearn the bad habits that harm investing and lead to unproductive, frustrating relationships.
It’s time to learn what active financial leadership really means.
On October 5, 2017, we are joining together outside of Minneapolis, at the Ames Center, for the first ever Objective Measure Conference. This conference is the start of this movement that we so desperately need to have. It can mark the beginning of healing between advisor and client. It can signify the beginning of a new season for the industry, unlearning those bad habits and setting new and better expectations. It can be the beginning of a bright and hopeful future.
If you’re skeptical that one conference will be able to achieve these goals, you’re not alone. I don’t believe it either. What I do believe, though, is that one conference can be the seed that triggers a catalytic reaction far beyond the Ames Center on a day in October. And we will follow this conference with at least 10 more annual conferences.
It’s the start of a conversation. It’s the start of a movement.
The future is unknown. Yet there is much we can do today to prepare for the questions of tomorrow. So let’s start now with rebuilding trust in the financial services industry.
Please join me on October 5th. All CFA members are invited to attend at a reduced rate, simply enter “cfa17” into the username and password.
To find out more about Fred Martin or The Objective Measure Conference, click here.
Fred Martin, Founder, Lead Portfolio Manager, Disciplined Growth Investors