The Commoditization of Portfolio Returns: What’s a Financial Advisor To Do?

We have an operating theory here at DataPoints that goes like this: portfolio returns are being commoditized for the vast majority of retail investors–either by robo-style services or index strategies, or both–and that this large swath of the population will be willing to pay less for the (likely illusory) promise of market-beating portfolio returns from their would-be financial advisors. This development will in turn put pressure on the financial services industry in general and financial[…]

Advisor’s Alpha: 3% Is Good. 143% Is Better

We’ve written before about the often-cited Vanguard “Advisor’s Alpha” study. That research documents the data showing that a good financial advisor can add on average a full 3% in incremental return to a client’s investment portfolio annually. The study then breaks that 3% down into its component parts, showing that the biggest gains–a full 150 basis points–come from effective behavioral coaching that serves to prevent clients from engaging in detrimental investing behaviors (think buying high and[…]

Inter-generational Wealth Transfer Woes

A hot topic in the financial advisory space—or maybe more accurately a sore subject—is the high rate of attrition of heirs when clients die and leave their managed wealth to beneficiaries. We have discussed this topic before, noting that a host of factors are at play including critical features like communication with the family-economic unit, relationship building, and personal differences resulting from a generational divide between the heirs and the advisor. But at the end of[…]

The Value of Client Behavioral Management

All of the studies and resulting data that have looked at the issue appear to agree that client behavioral management is one of—if not the most—important functions of financial advisors. In one of the seminal research studies—although not technically an inquiry into the role of financial advisors in relation to client behavioral management—the researchers concluded that of all the activities undertaken by large corporate pension fund managers, strategic portfolio allocation accounted for on average 93.6% of[…]