5 Reasons to Have an Investment Philosophy

5 Reasons to Have an Investment Philosophy

David Booth, co-founder and executive chairman of Dimensional Fund Advisors, has said, “The most important thing about an investment philosophy is that you have one.”
Do you have one? And if you do, does anyone else know about it? Is it on your website, in your marketing materials and part of your prospect/client conversations?
Here are five ways an investment philosophy can impact your practice:

  1. Efficiency
    Once you have a set of guiding principles that don’t change when the market changes, everything you do aligns with those principles. It may be easier to figure out what to spend time on — and what not to.
  2. Client Experience
    You can’t provide a good client experience to someone looking for something you don’t offer. Having an investment philosophy — and being up front about it — may help you find clients who are a good fit, and avoid those who aren’t. Better to find out at the beginning than spend time cultivating a relationship that won’t last long term. And having one clear investment philosophy may allow you to be more efficient in working with clients and helps you deliver a more consistent experience.
  3. Better chance of consistent investment results
    Changing investment philosophies every time the market changes is a bit like the driver who keeps changing lanes on a crowded highway. We’ve all done this before: The cars in the next lane keep passing you, so you change lanes…only to find that now the lane you were just in is moving and you’re stuck again. Choose a philosophy you can believe in, and stick with it.
  4. Differentiation
    Having a clear and public investment philosophy may help you stand out from advisors who do not. You may also attract centers of influence who can help you build your expert team.
  5. Client conversations
    Your investment philosophy provides a foundation for client meetings and conversations. Once your clients understand and believe in your philosophy, you can spend more time talking about their goals and how to reach them, and less time on what markets are doing.

“When you’re about to do something small, you need a reason. When you’re about to do something big, you need a plan. When you’re about to do something life-changing, you need a philosophy.”1
Taking the time to determine your investment philosophy forms the foundation for your practice, and makes it possible to do something potentially life-changing for your clients.

1“How to Formulate an Investment Philosophy,” Investopedia, Zina Kumok, June 17, 2016.

6 Ways We’ve Just Enhanced Loring Ward’s Blog

In January of 2014 we introduced our Advisor Insights Blog with the goal of providing financial advisors and their clients with timely and timeless financial education and insights.
Since then, we’ve published more than 200 articles — with 85,000+ views — on a wide variety of topics, from Asset Class investing to financial planning, retirement, behavioral finance, practice management and marketing. We’ve even included a few recipes from employees along the way.
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Building Stronger Relationships via Your Digital Ecosystem

Two big revolutions have occurred in marketing in recent years:

  1. Marketing has moved from being an art to becoming a science, with an ever-increasing ability to pinpoint the effectiveness (or failure) of marketing campaigns and initiatives.

  3. There has been a broad move away from product to experience as the key differentiator. As McKinsey Quarterly noted in 2011, “Customers no longer separate marketing from the product — it is the product….In the era of engagement, marketing is the company.”

At Loring Ward’s National Education Conference at the end of September, we will look at what these two revolutions mean for financial advisors and how they establish and nurture client relationships across the digital spectrum, from websites to social media to CRM systems. Some digital ecosystem best practices to keep in mind: Continue reading

Set Up Your Space for Success

I’ve had the great pleasure of visiting hundreds of advisors’ offices over the years. While I’ve certainly seen a distinctive shift to a warmer, less formal feel, many recently redecorated spaces are not always friendly for clients in mid to late retirement.
Why does this matter? Your office is an important part of your brand and your client experience. Unlike many younger clients, older clients tend to prefer visiting with you in person. And there is a great deal you can do to make their visits convenient and enjoyable. Continue reading

7 Things to Do Before Hitting the “SEND” Button

Email has become one of the most popular ways to communicate — whether to family, friends, or someone from Craigslist inquiring about that old futon in your garage. Email is also a popular way for businesses to connect with prospects and clients. In a 2015 study done by MarketingSherpa comparing print, TV, email, text message and social media, an estimated 70% of people prefer that companies communicate via email.1 (Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that you will get a 70% open rate when you send an email!)
In partnership with Dimensional Fund Advisors, we recently surveyed more than 1,400 investors and found that when it came to email: Continue reading

Your Website — What It Should (and Shouldn’t) Be

Blog_Website_DelwinMany web development companies and marketing specialists suggest that you fill your website with articles and blog posts so that it will rank better in search engines. And by ranking well in searches your website will generate leads from “cold” prospects.
Although this tactic used to work, it often fails these days, because you’re going head to head with content providers such as Forbes and Investopedia. It’s much harder to come out near the top in search results these days.
In fact, putting content on your website for the sake of search engine optimization may have a negative impact on your most valuable visitor — the referred visitor.
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