John, when did you meet Nic?
Actually, I think we met once at a dinner party, maybe 10 or 12 years ago.
Did you become a client then?
No. I had been working with a couple of advisers who were friends of the family. But as technology improved, and with so much information at your fingertips, I started to drive the conversations and meetings with my advisors. In all honesty, I didn’t feel as if we were all on the same page. Don’t get me wrong, I value advice, but I was finding it a struggle to find advice that was relevant to me. They kept suggesting funds that I didn’t feel were right for me. And so often, what appeared to be a good decision to buy 12 months ago, didn’t appear right any more. There were always good reasons to buy or sell, but I didn’t feel as professionals they were right often enough. So we agreed to disagree and decided I could do better myself.
What did you do?
It was a time when every year so much information was available on the internet. We were heavily involved in new technology at work and I could see investment services changing rapidly. I must have been one of the early adopters of online stockbroker accounts. I even got involved trading futures, but one or two bad deals was a good lesson for me to know my limitations.
Do you feel you have been successful?
I suppose it’s how you define success! Am I happy with the results? Yes I am. I have made some good decisions and some not so good. The more I read, it became clear to me to use to use index funds most of the time. I also liked to test my gut reaction on up and coming companies. After a while I felt I got a good balance.
Nic, How did you get involved with John?
I remember getting a phone call from John. It was a tax issue. He wanted to discuss something his accountant had said to him. When we met, I asked John how much money do you need? I think he looked at me probably thinking what a stupid question. But the more we talked, it became clear to me, he had neglected succession planning. John had more than enough money, the question was, what was he going to do with it?
Is that a fair summary John?
After a couple of years of doing it myself, I felt I was missing something. I didn’t need advice on what funds to buy or sell, it was the bigger picture I needed help with.
How does Nic help you?
We talk about what my future looks like. As a child I remember having adventures as a cowboy. So we talked about taking time out from work. My holidays tended to be no more that one-week at a time. I took a little convincing but I’m getting used to the idea that work can actually exist without me for more than a week. So much so, I’ve made the decision to take 2 months away in Canada to the rockies! The kids are grown up now and when I broached the subject I had looks of amassment and then a touch of envy.
That sounds interesting?
It’s taken a lot effort to convince myself, but, I am really looking forward to the break…and the challenge. I feel now that I am starting to get a balance between work and play. I also take time out to think about the future more. We also talk about different investments I’ve made and its good to get someone to challenge my decision-making. If I can understand more about why I have made a decision on a particular investment, it creates a framework for making future decisions. Taking to someone without an axe to grind is therapeutic.
Who knows, maybe Miss Right will come along and we’ve actually talked about that too.
John is a successful businessman. He has 2 children and is divorced. He is also interested in understanding more about investing.
John likes to discuss his investment ideas and relies on us to provide a new perspective. Our role is not to choose a fund that we believe is better, in fact, that is almost impossible. Not because we are not able to provide the research, but fundamentally, none of us have any idea of the future.
We talk about creating a strategy and plan for the future. We help John think about when to sell assets; how and when he will transfer money to his children; how the succession process evolves; his favourite charities, and of course, letting me know what investments he has bought and why. He is now talking about a trip to Australia next year.
As we are not focused accumulating client assets on which we can charge, we are able to bring a new perspective and work with clients to deliver peace of mind.