One of the buzz terms in the financial advisor industry is “wealth management.”
The term is increasingly used by advisors who once charged 1% of assets to manage investment portfolios but whose clients can get the same thing at Wealthfront, Vanguard, etc., for 0.25% - 0.30%. Therefore those advisors have to expand their services to justify the 1% fee.
And of course the term is used by the Wall Street crowd (Morgan Stanley, UBS, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, etc.) who, having long ago co-opted the term “advisor” for their financial product salespeople, now see the opportunity to do the same to wealth management and improve the branding for their sales tactics services.
Fair enough. They can have “wealth management.” It’s not what we do. I mean it is what we do, in the sense that we can address all the things that typically come under the wealth management umbrella (cash management, investing, trusts and estate plans…). But it’s not why Bluestone exists.
Wealth management has the connotation of wealth that’s already been created; of “managing,” or moving some things around but not too much; of making a change or two here and there but not too much; of being conservative; of coloring inside the lines; of observing prudent investor rules (i.e. doing whatever everyone else is doing); of not messing things up.
All well and good. Many families need and want “don’t mess it up.” But our target audience is different. The people we are here to serve are value creators.
Value creation means leadership – not management. It means doing things in a different way; seeing opportunity where others do not; seizing opportunity where others will not. It means stepping into the ring and putting yourself on the line in order to create value for others – which in turn creates value for oneself. It means using business and organizations and teams to solve real world problems and address the needs of customers and suppliers and employees and other partners.
The value that’s created can be defined in many ways. Money is just one way to keep score. Cultivating connections in the local community? Sure, that definitely has value. Fair compensation for farmers on the other side of the planet? Absolutely.
Value creation is a major commitment, emotionally and financially. It’s a commitment so great that major changes in one’s personal relationships and financial position become routine. It’s a commitment that endures through good and bad – some days floating with ease, other days barely crawling through mud. It’s the struggle, and it’s overcoming the struggle. And it might not work. In the end, a value creator might not build lasting value.
Value creators are our people.
We do not aspire to be wealth managers. We aspire to help the value creators do what they do best.