Upon graduating from the University of Florida in 2012 (how has it already been so long?!), I accepted a position as an Assistant Investment Manager with B&C Financial Advisors. In this position, my main roles with the firm were reviewing client portfolios, researching companies for our investment models, and analyzing the existing portfolios of prospective clients. I was excited for this opportunity, because while I had academic knowledge of investing in various assets (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.), I did not have hands-on experience implementing investment and retirement plans for clients. Since there are many financial advisory firms, I welcomed the chance to begin my career by learning more about various investment philosophies and methods of portfolio management.
As an added benefit of working for B&C, I was able to apply these concepts to my own finances as I began putting money away for my future. One of the benefits B&C offers to all our employees is to have our portfolios managed by the firm. So, several years ago, I made the decision to turn my portfolio over to our Investment Department, allowing them to take over the management of my investments. Some may wonder why someone who manages portfolios for a living would have someone else manage their personal portfolio, but, for me (and other advisors at our firm), it was a no-brainer. Below are the main reasons I decided to remain hands-off.
Investing Should Not Be Emotional
When I am managing a client’s portfolio, I remain objective as I make investment decisions on their behalf. As a fiduciary, it is my responsibility to only make decisions that are in the client’s best interests. However, when it came to my own portfolio, I found that my personal views of the market and my emotional attachment to some investments made it more difficult to remain objective. This kind of emotional decision-making is common among those who choose to manage their own investments and can be harmful to any investment strategy. By allowing someone else to make the decisions, I was able to reduce my own stress and eliminate emotions from my portfolio.
Identical Investment Strategies
One of the reasons this decision was so easy for me was that I whole-heartedly believe in how we manage our clients’ assets. I also have a great amount of trust in the competence of those working in our Investment Department. Thus, when I compared how I was investing my money to how we invest for our clients, I found them to be identical. I believed the decisions I was making would be the same decisions our investment managers would make had they been reviewing my accounts. I knew my portfolio would be managed by capable hands. As a bonus, I have found that clients and prospects feel more confident in our plan for them, knowing we believe so strongly in it that we implement the same strategies in our own portfolios.
More Time with Clients
At B&C, we pride ourselves on the high-touch service we provide to each of our clients. We believe this sets us apart from our competitors and instills trust and confidence in our clients, who can rely on us to be there to answer any question they might have about their retirement plan. As I have progressed in my career, I have taken on more of a relationship management role, spending more time meeting with clients, reviewing their portfolios with them, and making any necessary adjustments to their plan as life circumstances change. By giving up control of my own portfolio, I now have even more time to spend with clients on their retirement plans. Not surprisingly, this is a big reason many of our clients hire us—it gives them more time to tend to other things that are important to them, such as their careers or spending time with their grandchildren.
Direct Access to Investment Managers
As the saying goes, “Trust but verify.” Whatever the reason is for delegating a given task to another person, I find it important to follow up on the task to ensure it is being handled according to set expectations. As I mentioned, I have a high level of trust and confidence in our employees and my partners. It is the same trust and confidence we believe all our clients have in us, because by having our team manage my assets, I am also a client of the firm. Just as our clients have direct access to the people responsible for making investment decisions on their behalf, I am able to see the decisions being made on my behalf. I know I can always ask our team why a particular decision was made. This kind of personal attention is something many investors do not have, particularly those who have their money managed in mutual funds, as the mutual fund managers do not know their investors personally.
As both an employee (now as a partner) and as a client, I consider myself fortunate to have found B&C Financial Advisors. It is my immense respect and appreciation for my partners and fellow employees that made the decision to have my money managed by our firm an easy one. I take great pride in what we do for our clients, and I love being able to tell others that I trust in our firm so much I became a client myself!
The information presented in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to provide individual advice to the reader. There is no guarantee the information provided above relates to your personal situation. All financial situations are unique and should be advised as such.