Broker Check



When it comes to your financial and retirement plans, you cannot leave it to just any financial planner, advisor, broker or insurance agent.  Making the effort to determine if your financial service representative is a market professional or a marketing professional is an absolute must.  There is a difference, a vast difference, between the two.  

Market Professional - an advisor who can competently and successfully make systematic buy-hold-sell investment decisions.  

Marketing Professional – a financial advisor (salesman) who is an expert at the marketing and sale of prepackaged, off-the-shelf investment solutions, but who is generally inept when it comes to making actionable buy-hold-sell decision-making.

To the marketing professional (salesman), it is always a good time to buy. To them, the price of an investment doesn’t matter.  Their advice is for you to be fully invested at all times and always be a buyer of their “product” whether it is an actual product or a service.  If you ask the marketing professional if they have a sell discipline, you are likely to hear silence. After all, they tend to only understand and know how to recommend buy-and-hold. A dirty little secret in financial services is that ‘sell’ is a four-letter word to many.

Unfortunately, most advisors and planners are not market professionals at all, at least by our definition. 

Fancy Financial Titles

It doesn’t matter what the fancy title is, your success will ultimately depend on whether you are working with a market professional or a marketing professional.  

People in the financial advice industry have come up with a myriad of impressive sounding titles. A common title used at many firms is ‘Wealth Advisor’.  But if you were to ask an advisor what it takes to achieve the Wealth Advisor title, I doubt that they could come up with anything of substance. Whatever it was or is, the Wealth Advisor title should not be construed as an affirmation of competence.  The title is mainly driven by marketing - not competence, not experience, and certainly not skill. 

Bottom Line:  Conduct the requisite due diligence.  Take the time to assess the qualities and experience of the people you hire to advise you. You need to ask and determine for yourself if a financial representative is a market professional or marketing professional.  Don’t be surprised if you get a less than forthright answer as many likely have not been asked the question previously.

Having a great market professional advisor can make all the difference. Would you rather receive uninspired, no-value-added, buy-and-hold recommendations from a financial salesman or the greater financial success that can be achieved by working with an experienced, skilled market professional who really gets investments, knows how markets work and how to profit from them.  Unfortunately, most don’t evaluate an advisor much past a gut-feel, fancy expensive looking office, impressive sounding marketing or fancy titles.  

If I could just give every investor just one piece of advice, I would recommend that they work with someone with at least 15 years of market experience, who is a battletested market professional that has been through at least two full bear-to-bull, bull-to-bear market cycles, and can explain how they make investment decisions for themselves and for others.

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