My firm's wrap program..your thoughts?

Jun 24, 2005 1:43 am

Being involved in a bank program I see many clients who have much of their investments in products such as CD's, checking, and savings accounts usually not even beating inflation rates.   Many of my clients are older types who have been burned in the stock market before.

In attempting to build relationships for the long term and knowing my customer base I have been using predominantly my firm's "Preservation" model in the mutual fund wrap program.

This model is currently 55% cash (2.75% money market fund), 25% bonds and 20% stocks.   My firm's advisory board does quarterly rebalancing and has the ability to tweak the allocations slightly based on market factors.

I would like to hear some constructive feedback regarding this model as I'm still relatively new to this business.  I have run the hypos back about 20 years and this model, net of our 1.5% wrap fee, averages 5% annual total return.

I make sure to explain the 5% is not fixed every year and your prinicipal does fluctuate but very little.   I set the ceiling at 10% in a great year and the floor at a 5% loss of principal in a bad year.   I also explain that our goal is to simply beat the inflation rate by a small margin while keeping your funds liquid as opposed to CD's and FA's.

I do make sure to set my clients expectations realistically by telling them this model is for someone who is extremely conservative and wants alot of downside protection or someone who has a short time horizon (12-24 months).

Thanks in advance for any constructive feedback.

Jun 24, 2005 11:27 am

I think we seem to be in a bit of a sideways market.  What if the
stock martket only goves us 5% returns and bonds and cash float 3 to
5%.  Our fee’s, 1.5% of that are taken and the clients are barely
beating inflation.  Lets be honest- your (and all of ours) mutual
fund models will, at best, beat the market by a hair net of
fee’s.  Clients will tire of these fee’s and fire us with 5%
returns. 



I believe there has to be something else in our briefcase, something
other that mutual fund wraps and the like, to get and maintain long
term clients.  This may be more advanced planning (no more
deterministic financial plans!), more advanced investment stratagies
(not just mutual funds), certifications (if your not now, or not
getting your CFP…), tieing portfolio returns (both robust and not)
into life goals (hence the non-determnistic planning) tot ake the focus
off of the sideways market, and finally just being different. 



Being in a bank, I believe, will make this very challenging because a
bank reps focus is less on the existing client and more on the branch
and new clients( after all-that is the big benefit of being at a
bank).  But then again- who cares when the client fires you for
the mutual fund wrap right?  The branch is sending you 10 more
prospects next week.  Its actually pretty sad and will not
last.  

Jun 24, 2005 2:59 pm

[quote=scrim67]

Being involved in a bank program I see many clients who have much of their investments in products such as CD's, checking, and savings accounts usually not even beating inflation rates.   Many of my clients are older types who have been burned in the stock market before.

Thanks in advance for any constructive feedback.

[/quote]

"I am more concerned with the return of my principal than the return on my principal." Will Rogers

Your plan substancially increases the risk your clients are taking without sufficiently rewarding them.

Here's the problem, and understand upfront that this is not an attack on you personally. Your clients lived through a period of time when no one had any money. We can try to imagine this horror story, but honestly we can't. No money, no food, no shelter. Their parents, honest working people, lost everything in the depression. They understand what real hunger is and they have no desire to relive that part of their lives. This made them life long savers. They are strong believers in the "those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it" way of thinking. They are realist. And to realist cash is king.

To that end, one day they walked into your bank, drawn by the implied guarantee of the deposit insurance offered on CDs. That day they didn't realize that the bank was sizing them up as a future revenue source. They didn't know that the people they were dealing with are paid to sell them products. They just want a safe place for their money. And here you are using the trust they've placed in the bank, trying to talk them out of it. Why? What do you know that they do not? Read the quote above and understand it's where your clients live. Then within the context of the quote deliver what your clients need.

Jun 24, 2005 3:44 pm

[quote=tjc45][quote=scrim67]

Being involved in a bank program I see many clients who have much of their investments in products such as CD's, checking, and savings accounts usually not even beating inflation rates.   Many of my clients are older types who have been burned in the stock market before.

Thanks in advance for any constructive feedback.

[/quote]

"I am more concerned with the return of my principal than the return on my principal." Will Rogers

Your plan substancially increases the risk your clients are taking without sufficiently rewarding them.

Here's the problem, and understand upfront that this is not an attack on you personally. Your clients lived through a period of time when no one had any money. We can try to imagine this horror story, but honestly we can't. No money, no food, no shelter. Their parents, honest working people, lost everything in the depression. They understand what real hunger is and they have no desire to relive that part of their lives. This made them life long savers. They are strong believers in the "those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it" way of thinking. They are realist. And to realist cash is king.

To that end, one day they walked into your bank, drawn by the implied guarantee of the deposit insurance offered on CDs. That day they didn't realize that the bank was sizing them up as a future revenue source. They didn't know that the people they were dealing with are paid to sell them products. They just want a safe place for their money. And here you are using the trust they've placed in the bank, trying to talk them out of it. Why? What do you know that they do not? Read the quote above and understand it's where your clients live. Then within the context of the quote deliver what your clients need.

[/quote]

I UNDERSTAND!!!

"return OF my principal"...AN IMMEDIATE ANNUITY!!!

Jun 24, 2005 5:01 pm

thanks for the constructive feedback.

My view is that anything I can do to help my clients minimize their chances of outliving their nest egg than I have provided a valuable service for them.

Having all of your assets in CD's and bank products obviously contains risks albeit different types of risk.

Diversification is the key at any age IMHO

Jun 24, 2005 5:14 pm

Tj -

Well said - some people just need to be in CD's. They really don't care about inflation etc, they just want to know that they are not going to lose any $$. 

Jun 24, 2005 5:20 pm

I agree too.

CD's should be a part of their overall asset allocation but not 100%.

Jun 24, 2005 10:15 pm

[quote=jamesbond]

Tj -

Well said - some people just need to be in CD's. They really don't care about inflation etc, they just want to know that they are not going to lose any $$. 

[/quote]

Man, this is a strange comment for this industry.  EVERYONE needs to make sure they can keep their lifestyle as adjusted for inflation.  The typical bank CD customer is the one who does not have enough money to self insure against inflation, which is exactly why they need an inflation hedge on their assets.  Just ask the guy who was pulling in $1,000 per month from the CD in 1985 and today is getting $250 per month from the same investment.  Yeah...their not loosing money.  Educate your clients, don't sell them stuff.
Jun 25, 2005 12:04 am

With some clients, you can educate them about the effects of inflation on the dollar, until you're blue in the face and they still won't consider equity investments. Even incorporating zeros in the equity portfolio doesn't allow them to feel at ease about the return of their principal. That's fine.

Then it's time to change direction and consider only investments which offer a return of principal.

I don't believe any broker has been ordered to arbitration because their recommended investments were too conservative for the client. However, force-feeding a reluctant client some equity investments is a surefire way to end up in arbitration.

Jun 25, 2005 4:13 am

I can't believe that no one has suggested a VA for clients who are risk adverse yet need inflation protection.  You just need to be careful about how old your clients are.

On the wrap program, I cannot fathom charging 1.5% for a 2.75% MMA.  Put the MMA funds in a bank MMA and charge 1.5% on the rest of the investments, when your really doing something constructive for the client.  The above scenario is just an underhanded way for your bank to pay MMA depositors 1.25%.

I assume that this bothers you too, based on the tone of your question...

Jun 25, 2005 9:15 am

Doesn't bother me at all.

This is a package deal.

The bank MM fund doesn't pay too much differently than 1.25% anyway.

Also, my firms advisory board can tweak that 55% level at any time based on economic conditions.

Still, the model is to "preserve" capital and return somewhere between 4-5% annually after expenses.

My most conservative clients agreed this is their goal.

Jun 25, 2005 9:25 am

Va’s don’t work for alot of my circumstances as my clients want liquidity and most of them are seniors.

Jun 25, 2005 1:42 pm

[quote=doberman]

With some clients, you can educate them about the
effects of inflation on the dollar, until you’re blue in the face and
they still won’t consider equity investments. Even incorporating zeros
in the equity portfolio doesn’t allow them to feel at ease about the
return of their principal. That’s fine.

Then it's time to change direction and consider only investments which offer a return of principal.

I don't believe any broker has been ordered to arbitration because their recommended investments were too conservative for the client. However, force-feeding a reluctant client some equity investments is a surefire way to end up in arbitration.

[/quote]

Wow.  Then they are not investors or potential clients, they are purchasers.  I would politely refer them back to the bank manager for CD's...and no, I would not do a fixed annuity or guise a return of principal via a variable annuity income benefit.  BTW- I speak from experience in doing all three of the above actions.

As for covering the pricipal with a Treasury Strip, one has to be careful here.  While your principal is protected at a date in the future, they ARE the most volatile in price movement (within a matury set) due to the duration and maturity being the same.  PLUS the taxes paid on income that they are NOT getting (it is the return of their prinicpal) can be confusing and a little upsetting to the presumabley uneducated investor...although I see the strategy in action quite often, and it works.

I guess making sure the clients fits our model is as important as making sure we fit theirs.
Jun 25, 2005 1:53 pm

Scrim. I'll save the Put-styled lecture and just point a few things out as food for thought.  While your clients may have agreed to this goal, they shouldn't have, and while I certainly don't blame you for doing your job, I don't think too highly of your advisory board for their allocation model.  According to Bankrate.com this morning, the average money market account currently pays 2.12% and if you can pass the tall hurdle of $10,000, it goes to 2.35%...a far cry from your bank's net of 1.25%.

Most VA's offer 10% liquidity each year without any penalty, and I only suggest VAs for the true market portion of your program...for their short-term liquidity, I still believe that a 2%+ money market would be preferable...and they could even write a few checks (3/month) on the account instead of coming to you to ask for money.

Getting back to the VA, several of them offer guaranteed accumulation of 5-7%, with annual rachets on your principal, so if you have a bad year and the client dies or decides to annuitize, the contract backs up to the highest market value from any previous year.  Your clients have guaranteed principal protection, which they don't have now, even at 55% in the money market.

Again, I use fee-based much more than I use VAs, but I can't help but believe that at least some of your clients would be better served by a VA and a money market, rather than the scenario you describe.

...and I'd lay odds that the more you think about it, the more bothered you'll be by your advisory board (which I'd lay odds has zero licensed investment professionals on it) taking advantage of your clients like this...

Jun 25, 2005 3:06 pm

[quote=Indyone]

On the wrap program, I cannot fathom charging 1.5% for a 2.75% MMA.  Put the MMA funds in a bank MMA and charge 1.5% on the rest of the investments, when your really doing something constructive for the client.  The above scenario is just an underhanded way for your bank to pay MMA depositors 1.25%.

[/quote]

Troof. I have no problem with wrap fees on equity and bond portfolios, but a wrap fee on a MMA or CD is just plain greedy.

I ran across a prospect who had bought a VA with a 1.5% M&A fee. The VA was OK. What was grievous was that the cocksucker advisor put a 2% wrap fee around it! Once this was pointed out the prospect (now a client) was furious.

And I would beat the living fxck out of any advisor who pulled - or even advised - this $#!+ on my parents.

Jun 25, 2005 3:17 pm

Indy,

Great feedback and yes, food for thought.

Without giving away who my employer is I will say that our advisory committee is overseen by one of the most respected economists in this entire industry.    Personally, I would love to see them drop the  money market allocation a bit to boost the return but they must stay to their objectives of Preservation of principal.   Perhaps after the FED cuts rates again they will lower to MM allocation and raise the other asset classes somewhat.   We have a conference call next week with him and it should be interesting.

That being said, I do agree with much of what you stated.  However, my clients and I usually agree that they are more comfortable with 100% liquidity our program offers as opposed to 10% per year.  

I know I will get flamed for this but I admit I have a bias against VA's and annuities in general.   My opinion is that they are mostly smoke and mirrors with all their guarantees and such.   Are they appropriate sometimes?  of course but they are way oversold and only appropriate to a very small percentage of customers IMHO.

Ok, I'm stepping off now.

Jun 25, 2005 3:20 pm

Pants,

I have a feeling your post will eventually get deleted because of the language but I'm curious if your rant was mostly aimed at the VA scenario?  

I don't want to get pummelled

Remember, our allocations are not static.   It's 55% MM now but not necessarily in the future.

Jun 25, 2005 3:50 pm

Let me add one more thing:

I'm still a newcomer to this field.   My goal right now is to collect assets and I feel this approach is best right now.

I'm collecting the assets; getting the client in a comfort mode to work with me going forward; letting them get a hands on feel for our program as they see how the statements, performance reports, rebalancing and newsletters look.

My clients can change their strategy at any time with no charges.   What I anticipate happening is as I meet with some of my "Preservation" clients I can see them transitioning part or all of their portfolios to our "conservative" model which is basically a 40/60 allocation of equites/bonds.    This allocation has proven over time to be the best combo of risk/return over the long term from the research I've done.   Net of expenses this model returns approx 7% annually.

That's my plan.  Will it work over the long term?  Obviously I think so.  But you know what they say about the best made plans.

Out of the 45 models i'm servicing right now about 10 our preservation.

Jun 26, 2005 2:26 pm

Scrim-



Your wrap acount is an account under the ACT, therefore the fee is not
in leu of commissions, it is an advisory fee- if, within that advisory
fee, is the talent of your chief calling for large cash positions from
a tactical standpoint, then the fee may be justified.  If the
market dops 15% this year will they get what they paid for? Yes. 
They are paying for a conservative approach and that is what they are
getting.



On the other hand- YOU could allocate funds to a more aggressive model,
and leave the cash in another vehicle to accomplish a similar
allocation with less cost.  The reality here is that this is a
conservative model, and the cash allocations, while not static, will
remain high.  If it were me, I would educate the client on this
and have a discussion with them.

Jun 26, 2005 5:16 pm

I have a client right now who is a surviving spouse of a good friend of mine who died last week. Anyway he left her about $800k. $220k in a 401k program, $175k in life insurance and about $430k currently with me. She has 2 college age kids, one has 3 years to go, the other has 2 years to go. Her house is paid for, she has no job except for substitute teaching, and her health benefits from her husbands job will run out in one year.

I'm wanting to roll the 401k into an IRA using a balanced 50% stock funds/50% bond fund managed fund wrap program charging 1.35%. Take the after tax $430k and put that into the same balanced  managed fund wrap program, take the $100k put it into a liquid CD, and the 75k into her checking to cover living expenses and school.

What do you think of this plan?

Jun 26, 2005 5:25 pm

Ez, take a look at all of the assets together, rather than breaking out qualified and non-qualified monies, then plug the total into your allocation model.  Dependent upon the widow's income status, would it make more sense to put all of the fixed income instruments in the IRA?  Why take a stock portfolio with a 15% capital gains tax and turn it into a 27% taxible IRA distribution?

Just something to consider.......

Jun 26, 2005 8:01 pm

It’s likeley she will never be in a high tax bracket. She is currently unemployed or makes very little. I don’t see her making more than 30-35,000/ yr.

Jun 26, 2005 9:55 pm

I would complete a financial plan for her.  Item 1 would be to
make sure her estate plan is in order-taking care of her minor children
being a single parent.



A plan will provide you with the asset allocation that will provide the
highest probability of achieving all of the goals (probabalistic
planning, not deterministic).



Depending on how old the younger children are, I may take advantage of
529 plans.  Make sure she is taking advantage of the Hope credits
and the like with the tuition being paid. 



It all would come together with a good plan- start there.

Jun 27, 2005 12:56 am

Back to the money market scenario…if you have to keep that much in cash, try laddering CDs. That will get a better return and may make the client more comfortable with moving into some slightly more aggressive investments.

Jun 27, 2005 1:41 pm

[quote=ezmoney]

I'm wanting to roll the 401k into an IRA using a balanced 50% stock funds/50% bond fund managed fund wrap program charging 1.35%.

[/quote]

yeech, bond funds, and with a wrap fee...

Jun 27, 2005 2:11 pm

[quote=stanwbrown][quote=ezmoney]

I'm wanting to roll the 401k into an IRA using a balanced 50% stock funds/50% bond fund managed fund wrap program charging 1.35%.

[/quote]

yeech, bond funds, and with a wrap fee...

[/quote]

Agree! Wrap fees may seem reasonable for a bond portfolio, afterall, at about 75 beeps what's the harm? Well, at a 5% yield it's 15% of the return. That's a chunk considering bonds are an investment that don't need management. Just buy and hold. Same goes for MOST bond mutual funds. Another problem with managed bond portfolios regardless of ilk is that MOST are managed for total return. OK if the ONLY reason the fund is included in the portfolio is for asset allocation purposes, not OK for income buyers. And on the total return front, looking back at 1994, and 98/99 MOST of these managers did not do their clients/shareholders any favors. As long as clients have enough cash to buy individual bonds that's where they belong. A buy and hold strategy never loses money.

Jun 27, 2005 2:39 pm

[quote=scrim67]

Let me add one more thing:

I'm still a newcomer to this field.   My goal right now is to collect assets and I feel this approach is best right now.

I'm collecting the assets; getting the client in a comfort mode to work with me going forward; letting them get a hands on feel for our program as they see how the statements, performance reports, rebalancing and newsletters look.

My clients can change their strategy at any time with no charges.   What I anticipate happening is as I meet with some of my "Preservation" clients I can see them transitioning part or all of their portfolios to our "conservative" model which is basically a 40/60 allocation of equites/bonds.    This allocation has proven over time to be the best combo of risk/return over the long term from the research I've done.   Net of expenses this model returns approx 7% annually.

That's my plan.  Will it work over the long term?  Obviously I think so.  But you know what they say about the best made plans.

Out of the 45 models i'm servicing right now about 10 our preservation.

[/quote]

Scrim, go thru the portfolios offered and take them apart. Instead of looking at the 3,5 and 10 year annualized returns look at the year by year returns. For the equity heavy portfolios look at the years 2000,01 and 02. On the bond side we're interested in 1994, 98 and 99. How'd they do? Did the porfolios act as they should have to protect client assets in those years? If not, why not? Any portfolios that had losing years? If so how much? For an equity portfolio a 10% loss may not seem like a big deal. That is until you realize that it will take an 11% gain just to get back to even. The greater the loss the harder it gets to get back to even. Down 20% takes a 25% gain to break even. Their are many equity investors 2000-02 that would be more than happy to settle for just getting their money back. This includes wrap acct clients. How about your plans? Any still net down from the market decline? Have the bond funds recovered their 94 losses? Many have not.  Are they trading at pre 98/99 levels?  Again, many are not. That's what happens when a manager puts his job security ahead of the shareholders best interest by putting near term performance ahead of long term performance.

Take the allocations apart, understand the pieces and how they fit together. Understand the managers style, how and why they invest as they do.

Lastly, only real performance counts. Do not accept any back tested models.

Jun 27, 2005 9:59 pm

So I get a call from my client. She tells me her and her kids, all of whom know nothing about finances have decided they don't want to do what I'm recommending, they don't like the fees.

 I mean who's the expert here?. Her husband's last wish was for me to handle the money and now she tells me she is talking to her friends and maybe the best thing is to put the money into cd's. She says she's going to go down to the bank and talk to somebody. Hell I work for the bank. I have really had it for the short amount of time I've been dealing with her. I feel like telling her to go elsewhere. What should I do. She's really absent minded.

Jun 27, 2005 10:07 pm

Tell her to go to the bank.  If she’s not going to take your advice then she’ll never be a good client.  PITAs are not worth your trouble.

Jun 28, 2005 12:47 am

I mean who's the expert here?. Her husband's last wish was for me to handle the money and now she tells me she is talking to her friends and maybe the best thing is to put the money into cd's. She says she's going to go down to the bank and talk to somebody.

ezmoney

-------------------------------------------------

Don't write her off just yet. Based on the problems you're having, I'm guessing that most (if not all) of your meetings with the now deceased husband (concerning investing) excluded the wife. If true, that's a mistake you need to correct with your current and any future clients.

If you excluded the wife from any investment meetings involving her husband, you can be assured that you now have to start from square one with the widow, just as if she was a prospect. (That's why involving a spouse or significant other, in such meetings, can help you avoid these problems.)

As for the problem at hand, if there are no significant taxes or penalties involved, I would recommend you place all of her investments in a money market account, for now. This will get her to relax, 'cause I guarantee you she's watching CNBC and the market volatility is driving her nuts! She won't listen to you or anyone, until she can relax.

Now, you can start selling her on investing in the market. Present your case for investing, then let her decide. Granted, she may start with a much smaller amount than her husband previously invested, but it's a start. If you can't sell her on investing, let her go. It's not worth the risk having it blow-up your career because you hard-sold her on investing.

In fact, it's almost a cliche' in arbitration: "Greedy broker takes grieving widow's savings and loses it in the market". Not that you would have her in anything that risky, but losing even 25% of her savings would put your career at risk. It just isn't worth it.

Jun 29, 2005 12:45 am

Sounds like you need to call this woman and ask for an appointment with

her and all the decision makers (kids, postman, etc…).   Set them straight

in a calm, reasonable, and professional manner.



or,



you can tell her to go climb up a tall building and jump!

Jun 29, 2005 1:57 pm

On the surface it looks like your mistake was in hitting her with your investment recommendations so soon.  Of course she's scatterbrained...her husband just died.  She's in grief, she's scared, she's faced with making all sorts of decisions by herself.  To come in so quickly with an investment proposal was very premature.  You may well have come across as someone who was more interested in quickly making some money off of her than someone who really cared.

As someone else posted you should have first done a financial plan of some nature.  You need to explore with her needs, goals, risk tolerance, etc.  She needs to be educated, to understand the reality of her financial situation, etc.  before she's in a position to say "yes" to anything you have to say.  She seems reasonably young (40's, early 50's ??) and her husband didn't leave her a lot.  At a minimum she needs a cash flow analysis to show the reality of meeting (or not meeting) her anticipated income needs during her lifetime.  She may have to go to work.  She may have to cut expenses.  She needs to have all this laid out for her first. 

After discussing such an analysis with her (during which you'll learn other things about her and her risk tolerance) you can then go back to her with an asset allocation strategy and demonstrate how these will specifically address her needs.  (Frankly, I don't know how you could have possibly come up with an asset allocation without having first done all this.) You've got to be a consultant to her first and foremost.  Once you've gained her trust and confidence at the planning stage, then and only then will she be in a position to have a positive frame of mind to listen to your investment recommendations.

Jun 29, 2005 10:17 pm

As this is relevant to my initial post here is more info:

My bank partner's CD rates are:

24 month 2% apy

36 month 2.25%

48 month 2.49%

60 month 2.74%

120 month 3.99%

Jun 29, 2005 11:21 pm

Wow those suck.

Here are some bank cds I can offer my clients.  These aren't even brokered cds.

No fees, no minimums and the security of FDIC insurance.

Term Effective Date APY 1 Year  document.write(str12CDEffectiveDate) 06/21/05 document.write(str12CDAPY) 3.80% 2 Year  document.write(str24CDEffectiveDate) 06/21/05 document.write(str24CDAPY) 4.00% 3 Year  document.write(str36CDEffectiveDate) 06/21/05 document.write(str36CDAPY) 4.05% 4 Year  document.write(str48CDEffectiveDate) 06/21/05 document.write(str48CDAPY) 4.10% 5 Year  document.write(str60CDEffectiveDate) 06/21/05 document.write(str60CDAPY) 4.15%
Jun 29, 2005 11:22 pm

Sorry, excuse the cut and paste leaving in the coding. But I guess you can see the rates.

Jun 30, 2005 4:02 am

I'll second that...those rates bite big time.

Your bank could make a lot of $$$ selling customer lists if it weren't for that ^%!##!^ privact act!!!  Reminds me of the little bank around here that used to pay 0% on it's Christmas Club accounts AND they wouldn't let people withdraw the money early!!!

Jun 30, 2005 2:28 pm

some additional pertinent info:

the banks plain money market rates are 1.00% for balances over $1,000 and 1.50% for over $25,000.

the money market fund in the wrap program is 2.80% currently

Jun 30, 2005 3:01 pm

The bank I used to work for had a trust department that charged a fee
to hold C.D.'s.  At the same time, brokerage houses were getting n
trouble for tiny spreads on stocks.  Ridiculous.

Jul 5, 2005 10:19 pm

so now this dim witted [email protected]#$%! calls my assistant and tells her she thinks I took advantage of her because she could have sold her stock elsewhere for $8. She says she may write a letter. I only spent about 8 hrs of my time trying to help her. #1 advise was for her to sell about 400k of one stock in order for us to diversify down the road. I’m getting rid of her. Life’s too short. What do you think.

Jul 6, 2005 12:34 am

ezmoney: so now this dim witted [email protected]#$%! calls my assistant and tells her she thinks I took advantage of her because she could have sold her stock elsewhere for $8. She says she may write a letter. I only spent about 8 hrs of my time trying to help her. #1 advise was for her to sell about 400k of one stock in order for us to diversify down the road. I'm getting rid of her. Life's too short. What do you think.


-----------------------------------------------------


Yep, time to dump her. When a client gets to the point of writing letters to complain, it can only lead to arbitration. Send HER a letter stating that you can no longer serve her financial needs and give her 30 days to find a new broker.


I guarantee she'll be down 30%+ within a year. Why? She's not going to transfer to a full service broker (since she's harping on the commission costs), so she'll end up at Schwab or some such, based on the recommendation of some of her friends. And you've already stated that her friends had some stock tips for her. Between her own ignorance of the business and her friends, her portfolio is headed for the dumper.


If you really want to get her goat (Southern expression), send her periodic updates on how well your previous recommendations have performed. For example, if you recommended XYZ mutual fund for her before she left, be sure and update her as to how well it has performed. Hopefully, she'll be looking at her Schwab statement in one hand and looking at your letter in the other. And for that moment, the value of your advice will crystalize. Heck, she may even come back to your firm.

Jul 6, 2005 2:54 am

Nothing to arbitrate. She made money on the stock. Cost her less than 1% to sell, but she came out all right. She isn’t worth the time. I can make up 600k in fee based in no time. Not worth the hassle. she has called me more times in the last 30 days than my best clients have for the last 3 years. The end for this rock head.

Jul 6, 2005 3:49 am

Doberman is right. Dump her and let her screw herself into the ground.  My be nice mode when dumping clients is "I don't feel that you and I have the the same philosophy on investment strategy and that you would be better off with another advisor"  Adios, hasta la vista baby and don't let the door kick you in the ass.....too hard.  Just be sure that you have given her the best  and most legal advice you can and DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT.

Jul 6, 2005 10:53 am

[quote=ezmoney]Nothing to arbitrate. She made money on the stock. Cost
her less than 1% to sell, but she came out all right. She isn’t worth
the time. I can make up 600k in fee based in no time. Not worth the
hassle. she has called me more times in the last 30 days than my best
clients have for the last 3 years. The end for this rock head.[/quote]



Make sure you get YOUR manager and compliance dept on board with the
situation asap and have them approve/draft the process in firing the
client.  This will give them ownership and they will be more
likely to defend and support you in the future.

Jul 6, 2005 3:13 pm

thanks. all good advice.

Jul 7, 2005 12:34 am

[quote=Indyone]

I can't believe that no one has suggested a VA for clients who are risk adverse yet need inflation protection.  You just need to be careful about how old your clients are.

[/quote]

These days, if you're an RR, you're at risk no matter what you recommend. Pretty sad, I think.

Jul 7, 2005 4:27 am

EZ, your name says it all about your business practices…

Jul 7, 2005 1:25 pm

guest,

A bad assumption on your part. My business practices are of high standards. Thank you.

Jul 23, 2005 4:31 am

If a newbie can be so bold, may I suggest we go back to the topic...

Back to the first post- 150 bps annually for the client to get 500 bps annually? Over a period of 20 years? (Keep in mind that 20 years ago the S&P was at about 192 vs. todays close of 1228.65.) Ignoring the fact that it's almost 1/4 of the client's earnings (150 bps/650 bps gross return = 23.07%) it's rather dismal performance given that the long bond returned nearly as much as the S&P over that time frame and for much of that time money market funds exceeded 500 bps annually.

What the H**L will you do if we are in a long period of low single digit returns from the S&P? It has happened before: 1930-1949, 1965-1982, 2000-? That's longer than the entire careers of many on these boards. There have also been long periods of flat to negative returns from bonds- try combining those with the above.

For your long-term planning purposes, if you're generating >100 bps on your clients' assets (note that the assets belong to your clients, not you) then you may be charging too much. Granted that those in the business for a short time may be over that number, but long-term survival & prosperity depends upon being able to continue to bring that number down.

Jul 23, 2005 2:09 pm

I charge .75% up to $500,000 then .50% next $500,000- .4% 1 to 2 Mil.-.3% next 2mil.  Please note I use DFA for investments passive investing.

My next question is. I am thinking about advertising my fee schedule.

Has anyone else done this and what was the result?

Jul 23, 2005 2:47 pm

So I guess we should take a haircut on what we charge the client if the market performs poorly. Oh yea I see this all the time in other professions. Doctors, lawyers, CPA's will reduce their rates because the economy is sluggish. Give me a break! That's idiotic.

Jul 23, 2005 8:45 pm

Just laying it on the line. If you can charge more, be my guest. But if we get a prolonged period of relatively flat performance you'll be taking a much larger portion of the clients' returns and they won't put up with it, especially as other advisors are charging less.

It's not unlike technology, doing more for less money. You don't have to like it but you will have to live with it.

Jul 23, 2005 9:00 pm

That’s fine if my competitors reduce prices than by all means I will also to compete. However I don’t see the flat market ahead you’re forcasting.

Jul 23, 2005 9:01 pm

BTW 1.5 % for rebalancing and active management is a good deal. No that does not include fund expenses.

Jul 29, 2005 8:06 pm

EZ-

If you can keep clients when you charge them 1.5% plus fund expenses then more power to you.

My opinion, for what it is worth, is that any program that causes total expenses (fees and fund expenses) to exceed 200 bps will be difficult to keep clients happy with. It was EZ in the 90's but I don't think it will be in the 00's and maybe even the 10's.