Advisor Benchmarks

The New Digital Footprint

Originally Published 12.27.2016

Building a digital footprint is critical in the era of collaboration.

Everything that you publish, whether it be in the form of comments as in this article, or in the form of blog posts as seen here on this blog post… or a combination of the two, curated to bring meaning to my beliefs and opinions in a tangible fashion. This blog post is a working example of HOW to leverage your digital footprint by exuding your authentic value 24/7. Your ideal audience will find you so you had better be publishing with a purpose.


The Future for Advisors is about proving value. 24/7.

When Advisors allow any other entity besides themselves to define their authentic value they diminish the chances of survival and hinder their plans to thrive in the digital age. You mustn’t allow your plans to thrive in the digital age be undermined by anyone… much less yourself. Avoid self-sabotage by reading on…screenshot-2016-10-04-at-11-11-48-pm

The advisor in the future must look beyond industry standards and minimum antiquated regulation to demonstrate in a tangible fashion why anyone should do business with them Pertaining specifically to this article, (Original Article from the advisor who relies on the industry to demonstrate his or her value through a benchmark is more likely to be replaced by the industry.  Advisor autonomy goes beyond the realm of value props.. In order to thrive in the digital age of transparency advisors must own a “client-centered purpose.” Technology and transparency will weed out the ne’er do wells. It’s already happening without (and in spite of) regulation. Clients are becoming more empowered through transparency and technology , which is a beautiful thing. Advisors must also leverage the same transparency and technology to empower themselves.

You can’t police advisors into stewardship roles.

Any form of industry standard benchmark weakens the advisor… it does nothing to empower the perception of value, which is under the complete control of the advisor… more specifically, the advisor who owns a client-centered purpose. – Most advisors are good.-(Especially those advisors who subscribe to RIA Biz.) More industry drafted oversight is only adding to the digital noise. Advisors must become empowered through autonomy to thrive in the new collaborative world of 24/7 advice. My opinions about the facts in this article are backed by my conviction about HOW advisors can and should become empowered. Advisors must be afforded the opportunity to exude their authentic value through – ownership – of the perception of their value.  Acquiescing to antiquated industry standards that limit the ability of the advisor to own the perception of his or her value, in my opinion, is a catastrophic mistake that can and should be avoided. Now, more than ever, investors are searching for a trusted source of wisdom. Advisors who are empowered through autonomy will be more likely to exude that wisdom than those advisors who agree to become suppressed by industry created benchmarks. ((BTW, this is a great article that shines a much needed light on the difference b/t portfolio alpha and advisor alpha. Keep ‘em coming.)) This article is an important component in moving the conversations away from the “what” that most RIABiz readers are already well aware of.

The comments after the article (found in the link above) are nearly 2 years old… and there they sit… Conveying my unique beliefs and opinions about this business.

If advisors rely on the industry to define their value will they be replaced?  

Who do you trust?

Who should your clients trust?

Better conversations start with questions that lead to better definitions which lead to better solutions that can truly make a difference in the lives of trusted clients…  


By posing these questions I am reminding my current ideal clients of my authentic value while exuding my alpha to a new audience who is looking for a trusted source of wisdom to help them see hear and feel about their business in a different dimension. The perception of my value is entirely up to me. There has never been a greater opportunity for advisors to take advantage of technology. By ignoring this statement you risk extinction… discover as much as you can as soon as you can.


Always available when the time is right for you.

Are You A Trusted Source of Wisdom?

Content Curation

Advisor Why

Content Curation

In this blog I curate articles from around the world because there’s no sense in reinventing the wheel. There is no shortage of incredible content available for advisors that will help them achieve the big three…
  • amplify their value
  • control how that value is perceived 
  • maximize their relevance
What I do in this blog is simplify the process for finding that information. I make it categorically available for advisors so they can simplify their lives.
Read the article below and the notes that follow to add tangible advisor alpha to your business.

Curated Article

As an information scientist, one of the most depressing aspects of modern social media is the way in which it is reshaping our global society to focus on the what, rather than the why. From the sciences to the humanities to the arts, the underpinning of the scholarly knowledge that advances our collective society is the understanding of why the world is the way it is. Documenting the “what,” the state of the world, is a necessary and important component of that process, but without the synthesis of those observations into the “why” that describes how they came to be and explains their outcome, we can never truly understand our world. This raises the question of how to restore the “why” in a social media world that teaches us that all that matters is the “what.”

The social media revolution has turned everyone with a smartphone into a realtime embedded reporter, live chronicling their own lives and events they experience and commenting on events happening elsewhere across the world. When journalists and tech experts start seeing a strange survey from Facebook pop up in their newsfeed, their first reaction is not to turn to the company to learn more about the feature, to examine it through the lens of proper survey design, to consider the implications of its design in terms of limiting the insights it can provide or to ruminate deeply on what it means for Facebook to be asking such a question and its societal implications. Instead, they all respectively race to be the first to plant their flag in the Twitterverse of having been among the first wave of people to mention it. Speed matters over comprehension.
The realtime conversational nature of Twitter in particular is often touted as offering a global scale collective collaboratory that extends the realtime nature of environments like Slack to the entire planet, allowing adhoc teams to form across geographic, disciplinary and cultural boundaries. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead of the world’s citizens working together towards a greater good, cataloging all known information about an emerging event and trying to synthesize a basic understanding of its scope, scale and characteristics and bringing in experts from related fields to comment on the potential meaning of each element, the online conversation simply devolves into a bunch of users saying they saw it too and competing for the snarkiest or most meme-worthy response in their never-ending search for viral fame.

Knowing that Facebook is running a new opinion poll might be of interest to media strategists, investment analysts and government regulators, but just knowing there is an opinion poll is of little use without the why, the understanding of what Facebook intends to do with the collected information.
Similarly, in the physical world it can be of great use to first responders to get a realtime alert from a surge of tweets in a particular city block reporting a giant plume of smoke emerging from the roof of a building. The problem is that without knowing the why, it is impossible to know if that “smoke” is simply steam from a vent, humidity from an air conditioning plant, ordinary pressure exhaust from a liquid nitrogen storage system, routine maintenance sandblasting or simply a rooftop party featuring a fog machine. Focusing on the “what” can mean critical resources diverted for a false alarm that makes them unavailable for a real emergency elsewhere in town.

At least one can argue that having increased situational awareness can be of benefit to first responders in alerting them to situations they may wish to examine further. The same can’t be said, however, for the deeper implications of teaching an entire generation of people that relentless focus on speed over comprehension is what affords one success in life.
Perhaps most remarkable is the degree to which academia has embraced social media to discuss issues ranging from developments in their own fields to events and topics completely astray from their own expertise. In contrast to the general public, which might be forgiven for focusing on simplistic reporting of what they see in front of them, the scholarly and scientific worlds emphasize the search for understanding, that the why matters far more than the what.
One might assume therefore that academics would bring that search for understanding with them to the social sphere, lending a critical perspective to raging debates and seeking to explain why it is that everyone else is seeing what they see. Instead, much of the academic discourse on social media is little more esteemed that the rest of the billions of ordinary users they engage with.
Rather than the measured informed discourse and heavily cited and referenced exposition that would be found in an academic journal or the Q&A section of a conference, these same academics that ordinarily pepper their speech with “isms” and speak as though they’ve memorized Roget’s Thesaurus from front to back will suddenly devolve to one-line responses and petty flame wars where the most meme-worthy response wins and adherence to scholarly norms of debate, including sticking to factual statements and citing the source of all claims, goes right out the window.

Putting this all together, social media’s fixation on realtime updates and the unfortunate fact that it is the most entertaining comment rather than the most enlightening that tends to go viral and reward its author with fame in today’s world, means we are teaching an entire generation to focus on information in isolation, rather than spend the time to properly situate it in context. Indeed, this is one of the driving forces behind the ease with which false and misleading information spreads on social platforms. When even the academic world discards millennia of tradition that evolved to maintain the scholarly and scientific world’s focus on the why over the what, we run the risk that social media will ultimately permanently refocus humanity to forget the past, ignore the future and live in a world in which information no longer has any context and where all that matters is what we see before us at this moment, not the understanding of why it is that the world is as we see it. In short, for the thousands of years of human history that we have sought to understand our world, we stand today amongst the unimaginable riches of having all of human knowledge at our fingertips and a quarter of the world’s population just a mouse click away, but rather than harness this brave new world to reimagine how we understand ourselves, we have instead taught an entire generation that speed matters more than explanation, entertainment more than enlightenment. From the Age of Enlightenment to the Age of Entertainment.
Based in Washington, DC, I founded my first internet startup the year after the Mosaic web browser debuted, while still in eighth grade, and have spent the last 20 years…
Kalev Leetaru


Are You A Trusted Source of Wisdom?

Advisors must be more than social influencers to survive in a robo-world.

In a robo-world advisors must become more than simply social influencers. The seriousness of the undertaking of your calling must be made tangible within your own unique CliqPage.

Now more than ever your ideal audience is in search of a trusted source of wisdom.

This isn’t entertainment and it’s more than just enlightenment… this is about the quality of life, the dreams, the goals, and the aspirations of your ideal audience.

This is a serious business and the context of your meaningful digital engagement must reflect exactly how serious this business is.

The scholarly implications and the meanings in academia referred to in this article will all sort themselves out… my genuine concern is for advisors and their clients… my concern is for you… it is entirely up to you to create the meaningful context that will guide both you and your clients through the digital noise that grows exponentially in today’s robo-world.

You must be able to walk the talk.

You must promise your behavior.

Your clients must promise their behavior to establish a trusted collaborative relationship.

You must frame the relationship with your rules.

Your filters must be designed by you topically to lead to the value you can control the most.

Discover your why and make your what relevant.

This is how.

Promise Your Purpose

Learn More About You

McKinsey: Time to Manage Behavior, Not Just Portfolios

Big Data Kills

Curated Article Commentary

by Grant Barger

The big data that gets reported from McKinsey has very little to do with the success or failure of your business as an entrepreneurial financial professional.

The title of this curated article (below) has it right, but the content of the article gets it wrong. This is digital noise. 


Read The Curated Archived Story Here

McKinsey: Time to Manage Behavior, Not Just Portfolios

The low-hanging fruits in financial markets leading to easy investment profits are well picked over. Now advisors need to focus on blocking and tackling – the basics of wealth management.

At least that’s the insight many FAs glean from the latest market warnings from McKinsey & Co. After a fairly “stellar” era of investment performance across broad stock and bond asset classes over the past 30 years, the consultancy is forecasting “returns are likely to come back down to earth over the next 20 years.”

“Although we’re not necessarily in agreement with all of their numbers, we think that this latest market forecast by McKinsey is spot-on,” says Andy Kapyrin, a partner at RegentAtlantic in Morristown, N.J., which manages about $3 billion.

Still, Kapyrin is finding rather limited remedies in terms of portfolio moves. He’s tilting some clients towards small-cap domestic stocks and emerging markets. But only on the edges, he adds, making sure not to expose investors to greater portfolio volatility than they’re likely to feel comfortable accepting over time.

“A more fundamental solution we’re finding is to re-assess a common concern we’re hearing these days – that lower returns will leave couples short in meeting their retirement goals,” says Kapyrin.

So his staff has been analyzing spending patterns of the independent RIA’s 1,200-plus clients over longer periods. Supported by outside research from JPMorgan, among others, Kapyrin’s starting to share with his clients a reassuring message: Even in less rosy economic times, retirement might not be as scary as first imagined.

While expenses might go up shortly after leaving the workforce as couples take more trips and “celebrate retirement,” Kapyrin relates that most of his clients’ golden years are characterized by moves to downsize and live more simply.

Paul Bennett
“The McKinsey study is another good reminder of the need to lower investors’ expectations over the next few decades,” he says. “But what research like this leaves out is that most retirees aren’t likely to go on any extensive spending sprees that will bust their budgets.”

Taking emotions out of the process isn’t just a matter of developing more realistic views of what a family might need to save and spend going forward, points out Paul Bennett, an advisor in Great Falls, Va., with United Capital, which manages more than $15 billion.

“I’m readdressing with our clients the need to make sure they’re not falling into certain mental traps when making choices about how best to invest,” he says.

A major bias that Bennett is urging investors to watch out for is something he calls the myopia trap – when clients become so focused on one aspect of investing that they miss the bigger picture.

It’s a behavioral trait Bennett says he tries to avert by making sure investors aren’t creating “mental silos” where they’re “fixating” on a relatively small number of holdings or accounts.

Right now, he’s also finding many clients falling into what he refers to as the “confirming evidence” trap. This, he says, is where “people tend to remember things selectively and interpret information in a biased manner.”

For example, investors might emphasize one politician’s take on economics with relative zeal. The veteran FA isn’t trying to take sides, however. “In those situations, I think it’s important as an advisor to objectively point out that they’re effectively devaluing anything that might come along in the future that contradicts those preconceived notions,” says Bennett.

A good start is to make sure clients’ goals are put into proper order, suggests Michael Liersch, head of behavioral finance at Merrill Lynch.

“It’s common for people to have very implicit ideas about money,” he says.

During times of lower market expectations, FAs must strive to become even more articulate to flush out clients’ true bucket lists, recommends Liersch.

“The challenge is to refine your interviewing process so that a family’s goals are laid out in a more quantifiable way,” he says. “As an advisor, that’s going to allow you to align clients’ investment plans and track their progress in a more definitive manner.”


By Murray Coleman 


When someone uses the phrase “blocking and tackling” and they aren’t a football coach,  you know they are dead behind the eyes. The basics of wealth management? Really? Because it’s so simple…

It’s ridiculous that financial services publications continue to equate conversations about investor behavior with lowering expectations. Conversations that matter about behavior have more to do with the actions of investors that correspond with the overall success or failure of their goals and dreams. Advisors must stop allowing themselves to be measured by the antiquated metrics of an industry that continues to publish tripe (like this) that only adds more confusion to their daily lives. Advisors must start designing the metrics that matter (to the advisor and the client).

Your Reading Filter

This article is two years old… the financial services industry has been publishing shit like this for 40 years… you can find one just like it  anywhere you turn these days. The point of this post is to help you see what you are reading… don’t just go through the motions with the same old assumptions.

Some Good Thoughts

If the words in the article are highlighted in green the concept is sound… you might think about how you might implement those words into meaningful conversations of your own.

This isn’t about destroying the author who is just doing his job by interviewing an advisor about how they do stuff. This is about rethinking the status quo. 

Think Outside The Black Box

The concept covered in the article is sound… you have to become more than a portfolio manager to add value to your clients. Holistic is a term some like to use… I don’t. You are managing Net Worth. The net worth of your valued clients requires you to get off of your ass (mentally) and be proactive about setting and maintaining expectations. If you are unable to set and maintain behavioral expectations with your ideal audience, your chances for survival in a robo-world are slim to none. It’s time for you to think outside the black box of industry defined value which is focused on ROI from capital markets… you must become more than a middle-man to your clients.

Collecting Meaningful Data

To remain relevant there is a progression you can follow that allows you to collect metrics that are germane to your existence. The progression is outlined throughout this website. Your unique data will help you thrive in a robo-world but you have to learn how to get that data in the most effective and efficient manner. Stop wasting your time on big data articles published by the industry and start discovering your own unique KPI. Then you will be able to filter through the noise (the stuff in red) with a more efficient outlook and highlight the stuff in green on your own.

Rethink your value and formulate your own plan here. 24/7




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My Advisor Data