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Oct 7, 2008 10:08 pm

Our firm has some old timers, 30+ years in the industry, and after today...well, after today they looked terrible.  You have clients coming in who you've had relationships for over 20 years pulling out, moving to cash, annuities, etc....  Some of our guys are having the largest sell-outs in their career history. 

Our clients are depressed, but even more troubling, is that some of our stalwart advisors are depressed, and today there were even tears.

We all got here for different reasons.  Some wanted the challenge, others the money, many of us wanted to help people out, or all of the above.  But at the end of the day, we're here because of our clients, because of how involved we have become in their life.  We know their kids, their grandkids, their parents (most of the family usually), their plans for landscaping the backyard this week, that their spouse is having surgery; we know one of them was just diagnosed with cancer, and has 5 years to live.  We have come to know their hardships and aspirations, their dreams and their hopes. 

Now, I understand why we are troubled.  At some level, it doesn't feel fair, and it just sucks to watch 10-15 years of work (especially for our pre-retirees) suddenly go bust at the end. 

I feel terrible for some of my newer clients who came on at the worst possible time. 

I know I'm not the only one who's feeling a bit emotional these days.

But, as unfair as some of us might think it, we are still getting paid to assist in our client's lives.  I just had a client meeting today where the client expressed his deep hatred of these executives who are getting paid huge severance packages for bad performance.  We talked about this for a good while, and I was secretly waiting for him to bring up the fact that I am getting paid for bad performance.  He never brought it up though.  He later thanked me for all the work we have done for him. 

People here have said it before: set expectations, tell them that we will lose them money at times, etc... The point is, most of our clients know that we are not just here to achieve a % return per year.  We are more than that to most of our clients.  Don't get me wrong, that's a wonderful and important aspect of it, but this is why we have on-going reviews, this is why we are here to make changes as needed. 

I'm not here to tell everyone to hang in there and keep everyone invested (I sincerely hope we don't hit 8000).  But, I am saying that we need to take a step back, we need to be more to our clients than the somewhat-panicked, sniveling, teary-eyed advisors that the last 2 weeks have turned us into. 

Take a deep breath, raise your arms, and exhale with me.


Oct 7, 2008 10:27 pm

Guy here, 123MM in AUM. Out on a 8 day vacation right now paid by the firm for top advisers. 60% of those invited declined to take time away from office and clients.

He wasn't one of them.

Client calls. Pissed. Where is my adviser? What's his cell phone number? I don't want to speak with his personal assistant. where is my adviser?

client moves his 9MM to a different broker in the office.

I believe in Karma and the guy is a complete farce (has that voice and fake smile in person, goes to topless bars and hookers in the evenings).

Market's like these are good filtering out the phoneys from the good intended. Don't think for one seconds the guys in it for the money give a rat's ass about their clients. Some do not.

Oct 7, 2008 10:53 pm

Now is not the time to be ducking calls, taking vacations, or leaving early. In a bull market, maybe.... Not now. Clients need us more than ever. Not for predicting where the market will go or to guarantee things we can't, but to talk to them. All I get all day long from client is "you've got to be swamped, but I won't take much of your time." I tell them that they deserve my time and I will give them as much as I can. They are respectful and brief. They get it.



As for the vagina advisors that are crying -> time to get a new career, you don't have the stones for this. People lose money, people make money, get over it. As long as you did what was right at the time and explained it properly, you did your job.



I can't wait for these losers to retire or fail out. There's going to be a cleansing.

Oct 8, 2008 5:58 pm

I have a doctor I've been seeing for years. Good guy, diligent, seems competent. Asks about my family. But I'm sure he could give me six months to live and go home whistling, and I wouldn't expect any differently.


Oct 8, 2008 7:00 pm

" People lose money, people make money, get over it. As long as you did what was right at the time and explained it properly, you did your job. "

 
Amen.
Oct 8, 2008 9:02 pm
anabuhabkuss:

Guy here, 123MM in AUM. Out on a 8 day vacation right now paid by the firm for top advisers. 60% of those invited declined to take time away from office and clients.

He wasn't one of them.

Client calls. Pissed. Where is my adviser? What's his cell phone number? I don't want to speak with his personal assistant. where is my adviser?

client moves his 9MM to a different broker in the office.

I believe in Karma and the guy is a complete farce (has that voice and fake smile in person, goes to topless bars and hookers in the evenings).

Market's like these are good filtering out the phoneys from the good intended. Don't think for one seconds the guys in it for the money give a rat's ass about their clients. Some do not.

 
I hesitate to post this for reasons that will quickly become obvious.  I've received three calls today from pissed EDJ clients who claim that all the local EDJ reps are in St. Louis for something (regional/national meeting?  Spiff, can you enlighten me?)  One I share with an EDJ broker -  he is consolidating.  The second is a new prospect and is hell-bent on moving.  She was really pissed that they left town when the markets were in free-fall.  The third is angry, but is just in the discussion/negotiation phase at this point.  I solicited NONE of these phone calls and didn't even know the third guy.
 
I remember my former firm cancelling a regional after 9/11 because they knew we would need to be there answering client calls.  This is also the reason why I rarely go out of town without full voicemail/email/internet access.  Sometimes it drives my wife nuts, but ultimately, she understands the importance of staying connected with nervous clients.  The guy in your description deserves to lose clients - he's shown no empathy for their feelings whatsoever.
Oct 8, 2008 9:11 pm

play a prank on him. Put a week old fish in the space behind a drawer in his filing cabinet. He'll never find it, and it will stink for a long time.

Oct 9, 2008 9:38 am

Interesting post and observation. I was viewing Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly last night and part of their respective shows had a segment about " the past " and growing up and having an understanding of : 1) A Set Of Values , 2) Being Responsible , 3) Having A Purpose and a host of standards ( that by today's yardstick is at best quaint or part of history ). Perhaps it is my age but I refected on my upbringing and what was instilled in me by parents , family , teachers and society.

On to the original post ...... last week I appeared in my office Monday through Sunday to meet with clients. They wanted to chat , be heard and more importantly wanted to know that I was there WITH THEM. Several clients ( new & older ) I gave them our Unlisted Home Number to call if they had concerns or questions.
I say this NOT to make me out as exceptional but more of a standard of what my parents/family would have expected me to do in any job/situation or currently what I suspect/believe that my clients have expected of me. Each working day I come in early and leave late ( in this situation ) and am there to assist my clients and yes in fact I consider many of them to be friends.
To be away at times like this is in my humble opinion is plain and simple not right. Any professional has an obligation to his client/s and now is definitely the time to be available.
 
Oct 9, 2008 12:24 pm
Right on Norse man.
 
This the time to take the relationships deeper, to the next level.
 
For myself, I am thunderstruck that if I cut certain costs, I will never have to market again. Just service what I got, and grow by referral. That takes real emotional connections, and of course I have to deliver outstanding value.
 
In crisis, opportunity.