Soil your reputation, ruin your career, believes Wall Street veteran Joseph Perella.
“If you’re an advisor, the most important thing is your reputation… If we jeopardize our reputation, everything begins to melt down and erode overnight,” Perella said in a recent interview with finance career site, OneWire.
The founder of Perella Weinberg – a global, independent advisory and asset management firm – admitted that, even he, with 40 years in the business behind him, could risk losing everything if he lost focus on the present.
“If I screw up next month, 40 years doesn’t matter,” Perella said. “It’s what I did today.”
Canadian advisors seem to agree. Emphasizing 'really' listening to clients and continuing to educate yourself throughout your career, Greg Stevenson, wealth advisor with of
Richardson GMP, says building and maintaining client trust is paramount to an advisor's survival in the business.
“If you lose the trust of your client you really have nothing to offer people and the measurement of trust is in your reputation,” he says. “It even supersedes the firm that you work for.”
Stevenson and his team believe regulation, ensuring an advisor’s fiduciary responsibilities, will help keep those with a like mindset thriving in the business.
“We (his team) are all for more regulation, and licensing of financial planners as fiduciaries,” Stevenson says. “It’s so easy for a couple of bad advisors to ruin our whole industry.”
Arthur Salzer of Northland Wealth Management agrees – referencing the trader’s motto ‘my word is my bond' – however he says that how advisors build their reputation depends upon what approach they are taking when servicing their clients.
“It really depends what side of the street they are standing on. Some advisors are coming from a sales’ perspective, as a broker or as an RR, and others are coming from a portfolio manager’s or an investment councillor’s (perspective),” he says. “They are very different registrations and very different backgrounds. One has a fiduciary duty to find the best and cheapest solution for the client and the other one doesn’t.”
The problem is when clients don’t understand how to differentiate between the two, Salzer says. He hopes increased regulation, like that to be imposed through CRM2, will clarify and differentiate these various approaches to financial advising.
“There are a lot of good people on both sides, but there are also a lot of scoundrels,” he says. ‘Obviously, you have to make good long-term calls, but I don’t think there’s enough differentiation in candidates.”
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