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What a successful CEO wants

One of our team members recently spoke with Mary, a woman who was a founder and owner of a very successful business.  She periodically met with a group of 10 other successful Chief Executive Officers or owners of businesses, to discuss different topics that affected them.  So Mary asked the other CEOs one day, if they knew of a financial professional who could oversee all of her personal financial affairs.

She wanted to know what she had to do to accomplish all of her personal financial goals and objectives.  Additionally, she wanted someone to coordinate or oversee her financial affairs, because she didn’t have the time to do this herself.  Yes, she had a CPA, a money manager, an insurance specialist, several lawyers, and others who worked for her individually.  But what she wanted was someone to oversee all of these individuals.  She wanted a person who would pay close attention to her situation and notify her when action was needed…whether for her taxes, money management, estate planning, insurance…and she wanted this person to minimize her costs and to tell her the truth about her personal financial situation.  

She was also concerned that the advice she received from one advisor, such as a wealth manager, might negatively impact the advice she received from another advisor, such as her CPA or estate planning attorney.  She saw this type of thing happen occasionally in her business, and felt it was probably happening in her personal life as well, and she didn’t have time to properly oversee all of these decision makers herself.

The picture above is of her current financial advisors and how they interacted with her. (See picture above “Traditional financial service model”)

So after an extensive search she found lots of specialists in each area.  Some claimed to have expertise in two or even three areas, but not one of these self-proclaimed “financial experts” did what she wanted.  What she really wanted was someone to coordinate all of these specialists in all of these areas…someone who was honest, who would be transparent and show her the true costs of the advice she received, someone who was competent, someone with college and even some graduate school training in finance who was not just a salesperson masquerading as a financial professional, and someone who was capable of overseeing many different financial professionals at the same time.  She also wanted this person to keep her financial advisors on track to make sure every personal financial decision that she could make was made in a timely manner and in her best interests.  She had even had advisors give her conflicting advice and she just didn’t have the time to research each professional’s recommendations, and ultimately determine what the best course of action was.  It was so bad, that it was affecting her sleep at night.

As an aside, CEOs of successful corporations typically have Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) that do just this for their businesses.  These CFOs handle the business’ accounting, taxes, cash flow management, business loans, business insurance, retirement plans, investments, and group benefits…all of their business financial decisions.  So it made perfect sense that she would want someone who would handle these things for her personally.  

So she went to her group of CEOs and asked them for a referral to this type of advisor…to her surprise, none of the other CEOs were willing to refer their financial advisor to her.  And most of them said, if she found such a person, would she please refer them to their group.  So Mary took it upon herself to find this person, if they even existed and to report back to her group of CEOs.    

This is the frustrating experience many people encounter when they search for a truly competent, comprehensive financial professional.  Typically, most people give up after a while and decide that this imaginary person doesn’t exist anywhere today and they eventually stop looking.  Or if they find someone they typically find one person who says they can do all of these things themselves and Mary was too smart to believe that any one person could understand all of these subjects thoroughly.

Here is a diagram of what Mary hoped to find:

Fortunately for Mary she found a person who did just what she wanted.  This “Trusted Advisor” did not do any of the individual tasks financial advisors traditionally do!  This “Trusted Advisor” only supervised her current professionals, and coordinated the recommendations her individual financial professionals made so they were in her best interests.  This “Trusted Advisor” would meet with her several times a year, and would provide her with a short step-by-step list of actions she was to do.  This saved her tons of time because she didn’t have to understand every recommendation her “financial experts” considered and how they determined a specific plan of action.  This “Trusted Advisor” disclosed the full costs she was paying before and after she hired them, and to her surprise they saved her a lot of money.  Mary was so happy with her new found “Trusted Advisor” that she referred all of her CEO friends to them.  You see that is exactly what we do!