Why Do We Do It?
...What drives us?
...What do we believe about our business?
We have something to prove, We believe that absolute integrity and the alignment of interests between advisor and client are critical to the long term success of the relationship.
We believe that with those elements we can help our clients and ourselves achieve what one of our mentors describes as "... an effortless, outrageous life." We don't mean effortless as without work or exertion, but in the way that you might note an Olympic athlete's performance, so efficiently and perfectly executed as to appear to be without effort. The effortlessness is borne of such intensity, commitment, and love for what they do that the work and exertion of achieving it was simply part of their excellent life.
We love what we do here; we work very hard at it. Not at marketing, not at selling, but at helping our clients achieve their highest aspirations and expressions in any way they can conceive of, with complete integrity and alignment.
Integrity means we both operate transparently, fully disclosing and exposing our strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, relationships and conflicts, resources and restrictions. Then we face facts and circumstances squarely and manage your resources towards your personal, family, business and beneficiary aspirations.
Alignment means that the interests of all are complementary. One does not do well when the other suffers. We have designed the entire operation of our business to benefit when our clients benefit and to suffer when our clients suffer.
We take care of our clients and promote their interests above all else for another simple reason; that is how we create our "...effortless, outrageous life". It is simply the best way to know that our clients will become more and more successful over time, will remain with us and therefore, because we have aligned our interests with yours, we will be more successful over time. We secure our future, by securing yours. This is how we grow our business effectively. When we work for the right clients, and do "right" for them we find that they refer others to us. The nice thing about this is that the client that comes to us this way does so with an understanding of what we have already done well for someone else that is likely somewhat like them.
What Lack of Alignment causes. Most of the financial services industry suffers from a lack of alignment of interests.
Look to the scandals involving the sales of insurance and securities products by commissioned agents and registered representatives. The vast majority of these agents and representatives selling product are good, ethical people trying to serve the needs of their clients. Those good, ethical people actually have to fight against the regulatory requirements and compensation schemes they are rewarded by, to provide what you ask for, advice and service. They are not allowed to give specific advice by their regulators and they are paid for completing transactions, not for providing ongoing service.
Look at 2008's collapse of credit markets and housing. Lay blame at the feet of the investment banks, hedge funds, and government meddlers who all chose to try to get loans into the hands of people who could not afford them. They then sold off the risk (loans) to their "customers" as investments. Also lay blame on those who attempted to disguise the results of leverage as skill in management. You would not have these situations without some extreme motivations to simply "sell something".
Another fraud risk has been the Ponzi schemes and outright theft of client assets by so-called (mostly unregistered) investment advisors. Bernard Madoff being the most extreme example in history, but just one of many in the last two years. If you’ll note on the What Makes Us Different
page, one of our principles when hiring an investment advisor is that the custody of your assets should be independent of the advisor providing advice and services for your accounts.
"Our advisory and performance reporting is complemented by separate and independent custodial reporting, and they’d better match."
This principle has existed since the founding of Ben’s first investment advisory firm. In every single one of these Ponzi schemes, had the advisor responsible to manage the client accounts housed those accounts at an independent custodian of a nationwide scale, unauthorized withdrawals would have been reported to the client by the independent custodian on the next custodial statement. We insist on monthly statements directly to our clients from our brokerage custodians.