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[…]

Building Wealth: The Magic of Focus

The state of flow from a psychological perspective is when you are completely engrossed in a task and are able to work or create in a productive way. It requires removing all distractions and being in a state of deep concentration. You hear about flow when someone shares that she wrote a book in four weeks, or maybe spent 14 uninterrupted hours creating a sculpture. It’s almost superhuman, but it can happen when you work[…]

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[…]

Advisors: Role Expansion to Coaching

Family/marital issues, health issues, grief, religion: just a few of the non-financial topics that advisors work through with their clients. A few years ago, a large-scale study of advisors yielded a wealth of information on the evolving role of financial advisors as coaches (Dubofsky & Sussman, 2009). The research, which included approximately 1,400 advisors associated with either the FPA or CFP board, highlighted the topics, challenges, and critical incidents faced by advisors related to non-financial issues.[…]