Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with new guidance from the SEC that is taking an increasingly tough look at proxy voting and how RIAs (and the proxy advisers who give them guidance) are voting their proxies in an age of rising shareholder activism (suggesting that there may be another shoe to drop with additional proxy voting guidance in the coming year as well).
From there, we have several marketing-related articles this week, including a look at how the best approach to prospective clients is better understanding what their biggest worries are (recognizing that when clients feel truly understood after having been asked good questions, they often just presume the advisor will have the skills to solve their problems anyway), a good “probing” question to ask to better understand prospective clients’ real needs, a look at the wide range of reasons that clients actually hire an advisor (hint: it’s not just about solving complex problems or helping them with financial ignorance, sometimes it’s just for the convenience of delegating what they could but don’t want to do themselves!), and ways to field the always-challenging question of “how much do you charge?”
We also have a few investment articles this week, from a discussion of what the inverted yield curve signals (or not), to why there’s actually such a thing as being too diversified in stocks (at least for active managers who are actually trying to outperform), how liquid alternatives may not actually be much of a diversifier to equities (at least compared to just buying old-fashioned intermediate-term Treasuries), and how hedge fund alpha has continued to shrink over the past decade from what appears to be “too much” interest from institutional investors that caused hedge funds themselves to shift their focus and business practice (in not-entirely-positive ways).
We wrap up with three interesting articles, all around the theme of working long hours and the importance of finding balance: the first is an interesting research study that finds it’s not actually working long hours that can cause adverse health effects, but specifically having a workaholic mentality that isn’t able to disconnect from work (even after the long work hours are over); the second provides a powerful reminder on the importance of delegating in order to grow; and the last points out that while being “busy” is almost worn as a badge of honor in modern culture, in practice it’s often just a signal that someone is doing a poor job prioritizing their work and their focus… which means instead of just trying to be Busy, it’s better to try and find Balance by truly prioritizing what really matters most, and learning to let go of the rest that doesn’t really matter in the end (because, by definition, it wasn’t the greatest priority!).
Enjoy the “light” reading!