Author: Abby Crimmins
For the third year in a row, Schwab Institutional is running a series of TV commercials in support of independent Registered Investment Advisor firms. That’s us! The commercials are an extension of Schwab’s long-running advertising campaign, focused on helping the public understand why terms like “independent,” “fiduciary,” and “Registered Investment Advisor” matter – or at least should matter – to anyone seeking solid financial advice.
You can see the TV ads now through mid-May on CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg TV and Golf Channel. They stand out to us for their emphasis on the right kinds of questions to ask when assessing a financial advisor. While most financial services advertising is aimed at products and sales, we’d say Schwab gets it right. Here’s our favorite:
Schwab’s ad campaign is hardly the reason we do business with them. But it’s one more way their thinking aligns with ours, as we turn to them for holding our own, and our clients’ personal investments.
Financial simplicity, like many goals, is as desirable as it is elusive.
Or so it seems.
If you took a sample of 100 investors and asked each one about the vital signs of their portfolios – their fees, returns, and allocations – you’d be hard-pressed to find many who could speak confidently and accurately about them.
This isn’t just a guess from left field. In 2016, MarketWatch cited a Prudential Investments retirement preparedness survey that found more than 40% of Americans had no idea how their investments are allocated. We’ve seen similar stats from other surveys published since then.
What’s most disappointing about this apparent collective bewilderment, is that the system seems designed to be this way. We work in an industry where thousands of “advisors” are not only encouraged to sow seeds of confusion, they’ve made millions of dollars doing so.
When a broker pulls an investor out of their comfort zone and into the weeds, the investor becomes vulnerable. Accordingly, advice becomes a sales pitch, and costs become confusing – a pattern we see time and again.
We know investors deserve better, so we’re on a mission to make the complex simple, to make financial conversations comfortable, and ultimately to shed a liberating light into the dark corners where families have been harboring their greatest financial fears for years.
As our friend Carl Richards has embodied in his Behavior Gap sketch above, an advisor’s job isn’t to prove how much they know. It’s about helping investors see the few, elegant, simple changes they can make to their plan, to make a huge impact over the long-term.
There’s nothing more rewarding for us at Hill Investment Group than seeing someone’s reaction when the air finally clears for them, and they realize that simplicity wasn’t as elusive as they once thought.
In the words of pianist and composer Frédéric Chopin, “Simplicity is the final achievement.”
We wish you and your family a happy and healthy New Year! (Left to right: Katie, Jared, Abby, John, Rick, Matt, Buddy, Henry, Nell and PJ.)