Len Smofsky Jan 23 ,2017

I speak with my financial advisor once a year. It’s the annual review thing. Follows a set schedule, and it’s pretty old-school.

Does this do it for me? Up until recently, I didn’t give it much thought. Seemed ok, returns not terrible, I’m on track to do something between retiring comfortably and not so comfortably… and that was that.

But times they are a-changing. Fees, everyone’s talking about them. I’m in lots of mutual funds, is this now wrong? Fees too high? What about Robo-advisors? Fintech? These are apparently cheaper alternatives, are they any good? Should I be looking into them?

I probably will explore, of course I want to make sure I’m getting the best service and advice for the least cost. And that’s the problem. Up until now, there’s been NO discussion about cost. Whatever it is, it’s all hidden. And now I feel a little like I’ve been duped.

Does this mean I’ll do something drastic, like drop my advisor entirely? Probably not, at least not for now. But here’s a few things I would like to say to my advisor. In fact I’m going to send a copy of this to him!

1) The fees thing – you should have discussed this with me years ago. Let me
know what it is. Explain your value. Truth is I know I can be impulsive and if
nothing else your value could be steadying my course financially. But
because you never ever communicated this, I’m left wondering how well
you know me beyond my investments.

2) Since I’ve now lost some degree of trust in you due to the fees thing, what
will you do to regain that trust? The once-year meeting thing is…
perfunctory. Same-old. Start by explaining my options… ALL of them. ETFs,
direct stock purchases, yes those where your hidden commission might not
be ideal for you. Do the math. How much am I paying? Maybe offering me
for-service fee would be better. It might go a long way to feeling you’re on
my side in this!

3) Get personal beyond our annual face-to-face! If Facebook and LinekdIn can
get personal for free, why can’t you? Send me content that relates to my
real needs. Not for someone way richer, or poorer, or younger, or something
else that makes what you’re sending me less than relevant.

4) I’ve mentioned some of these things in the past – like ETFs – and this has
been somewhat brushed aside. Treat me like an adult, tell me the real story,
and I’ll feel a whole lot better about working with you!

Don’t get me wrong. I actually like my advisor, he’s a good guy. But here’s the thing. I’m placing all this trust in his direction. How do I know if there are better directions? If he would use some of the new analytics and data to support what I’m investing in, maybe leverage the newer technologies along with a very human approach – I’d be good!

Will he come through? Stay posted…

Previous installment: How digital technology emulates the human experience (in sales)…

About the author: Len Smofsky

Len Smofsky

Len has over 25 years of experience in visual communications and strategy. Over the last decade his focus has been primarily in the digital area.

Specializing in corporate communications, Len founded one of Canada’s most successful production companies. His company created leading edge video production, TV commercials, digital strategy and media.

In 2006, Len and Larry formed a partnership to create a new BlueRush with the intent of creating personalized customer experiences using a unique blend of digital media and deep technology capabilities. BlueRush works with clients in the financial services, healthcare and packaged goods industries leveraging current digital technologies and services, creating great user experiences at all points in the customer journey.


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