There’s no question that every investor, myself included, has the same goal: to make sure we have enough to fund our dream retirement, to see us through to the end of our days; and, also, to leave something behind for those we love.
Which is where Investment Advisors come in, to offer sound, objective advice based on knowledge, experience and skill — ours and the experts and specialists who are part of the extended team.
What’s interesting, though, is that when we consider our relationships with our Advisors, we tend to
focus only on the numbers — what we paid, earned, lost and what went up and down and by how much.
It’s important to remember that investors are also people
What is often overlooked, by investors and those of us who work in the industry, is the “softer” side, the human side of the investor/Advisor relationship; which, in my opinion, is every bit as important as the financial expertise we provide.
Because engaging deeply with our clients is a critical step in helping them become successful investors:
We need to be good listeners, to really “hear” what our clients are telling us about their concerns, their comfort zone, their hopes, their plans, their families and their futures — and also to realize ours is not a one-size-fits-all business — every investor and every investor’s needs are different.
We must make sure they fully understand what we say to them. Investing, like most industries, has its own language and not everyone speaks it as fluently as we do. This is not to say investors aren’t smart, the point is that we should always remember to speak English rather than jargon.
We must appreciate that, when it comes to their money, even sophisticated investors often make emotional, rather than rational, decisions; and, as their Advisors, we must have both the ability and the willingness to put ourselves in their shoes.
We can’t lose sight of the fact that it’s not just their money we’re being entrusted with.
Some of it will belong to future generations. And many of the choices and decisions our clients have to make regarding what they leave behind, to whom and how much, can be very difficult. It’s a delicate matter that we have to be sensitive to, and we have to be there to provide objective counsel, thoughtful advice and referrals when appropriate.
We don’t know everything, no one does. It’s important to be forthcoming with our clients about our limitations. Honesty builds respect and trust, and if our clients don’t trust us, they will never accept our advice. When world events cause market volatility, it will be us they blame for their disappointing returns.
When all is said and done what investors need, want, expect and deserve is more than our analytical skills and expertise. They want us to acknowledge their human side and, also, our own. They want us to treat them like people, not portfolios.
Shelly Steidman is an Investment Advisor with CIBC Wood Gundy in Toronto. The views of Shelly Steidman do not necessarily reflect those of CIBC World Markets Inc. CIBC Wood Gundy is a division of CIBC World Markets Inc., a subsidiary of CIBC and a Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. If you are currently a CIBC Wood Gundy client, please contact your Investment Advisor.
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