In the last few years, the second worst economic environment in history made markets difficult more often than not. As a result, our quarterly letters focused primarily on maintaining perspective and avoiding the pitfalls of emotional investing, which are relevant to both individuals and fiduciaries. Given that the third quarter of 2010 produced strong results, we’ll keep the market message short: don’t expect stocks to remain this strong indefinitely. We still expect a slow, bumpy recovery, given current levels of uncertainty in the global economy.
Maintaining reasonable expectations, embracing the sometimes uncomfortable reality of incertitude, and living within one’s means, are fundamental to defining and achieving realistic goals. Referring to unpredictability, Benjamin Franklin once said that “nothing can be said to be certain except for death and taxes.” In our view, human response to incentives is another near certainty. Insightfully, when asked what his profession was in the 1979 film “Manhattan”, Woody Allen’s character responded, “I’m a stock broker. My job is to invest people’s money until it is all gone… I’m frequently wrong, but never uncertain.” The Advisory Group’s incentives and approach is very different.
Sadly, most investors still aren’t clear about the difference between securities salespeople, i.e. “brokers” or commission-based “advisors”, vs. objective advisors who follow the fiduciary standard. The former are motivated to maximize their income by increasing the number of transactions and/or use of commission-paying (i.e. expensive) investment products, and are not required by law to act in the best interest of their clients. Conversely, the latter are held to the highest standard of care.
While investment advisory work is just one important component of how we help most clients, The Advisory Group has long been part of this select second group. In fact, our firm helped start a revolution in our industry decades ago by creating what is still a leading client-centered alternative:
1) We act as your financial advocate and simplify your life, without a hidden agenda.
2) We accept fiduciary status, in writing, which binds us legally to act in your best interests.
3) We are paid only by our clients, with a transparent fee schedule and no hidden costs or incentives.
4) We are fully independent and completely objective, enabling us to access the best resources for you.
The Advisory Group has a passion for helping you achieve your financial and non-financial goals. We value our long-term relationships, and it is with great pride that we can state that you always come first.
Contact us for guidance with Personal Wealth or Fiduciary Management.