What is the Role of a Physician-Focused Financial Advisor?

Changing Times – Demand Changing Roles

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA, CMP™



As a financial advisor for more than 15 years, it has been my experience that many doctors who require assistance in developing a comprehensive personal financial plan also need help with implementing any investment planning recommendations. While perhaps not so true before the “flash-crash” of 2008-09, the issue seems especially true today as retirement portfolios have been decimated, and the specter of healthcare reform is no longer just a threat but a political reality. The mindset of hubris has been replaced by a tone of fear in many medical colleagues.

The Financial Advisors

Physician investors who develop an investment plan may use a competent financial advisor [FA] or other specialist in the investment area. A financial advisor can help clients understand their current financial situations and develop strategies for achieving their goals. Other FAs are specialists that help clients design and implement plans for investing. Still others use a more comprehensive approach to the entire financial planning process with extreme degrees of healthcare specificity


These Certified Medical Planners™ are fiduciaries at all times and put client needs first as registered investment advisors [RIAs], not commissioned sales agents or mere stock-brokers despite often confusing monikers.


Implementation may be accomplished using professionally managed portfolios and mutual funds. The following shows how a plan may be implemented with an advisor assisting the physician-investor. The process may include:

• Developing investment policy and strategies

• Selecting and implementing managed portfolios and mutual funds

• Evaluating performance on a periodic basis

• Periodically reviewing and adjusting the investment plan as required

Note: The advisor may provide all of the investment services, or the physician investor may use other advisors in the process.


A financial planner has developed a number of financial planning recommendations for a client. One recommendation is to develop a written investment plan, review current investments, and implement changes. The planner has recommended an investment advisor experienced in selecting and monitoring managed portfolios and mutual funds. The financial planner will meet with the client and advisor initially and once each year to monitor the plan.


A financial planner has developed a financial plan for a client. The financial planner specializes in developing investment policy but not in implementing investments. The financial planner will use asset allocation software and develop a written long-term plan for the client. The doctor-client will work with a major brokerage firm to implement the plan using managed portfolios and mutual funds. The financial planner will monitor the brokerage firm and help the client evaluate performance.


A financial planner has developed a financial plan for a physician-client and will assist the client in developing asset allocation strategies. The planner has extensive knowledge in implementing the asset allocation strategies using managed portfolios and mutual funds. The planner will select and monitor the choices. The planner will provide the client with a quarterly performance report and meet with the client every six months to review the plan and strategies.


Understanding the above is more critical than ever as physician-income continues to shrink going forward in the era of healthcare reform.


And so, your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Do you seek professional assistance with your investing needs, or do you go-it-alone; why or why not? Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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4 Responses

  1. The Children of the Wealthy Fire Their Parents’ Advisors—Most of the Time


    FAs: Bye-bye automated revenue stream – now go to work like a doctor and earn your money!



  2. How can an ‘expert’ loses $2 billion?

    Only on Wall Street.


    So, remember this the next time you consider hiring a financial salesman. Better yet; just DIY!

    Anonymous Doctor


  3. Three Ways Merrill Lynch Financial Advisors Screw High-Net-Worth Clients

    Here is an interesting article by Michael Zhuang of The Investment Fiduciary.


    However, it should come as no surprise to readers of the ME-P.

    Ann Miller RN MHA


  4. Landscape Changes as Wirehouses
    [Lose Market Share and Fire Financial Advisors]

    As reported in trade magazine Investment News, on November 2nd 2011, the landscape of the financial services industry will change over the next five years as four wire-houses cut 10% or more of their advisor forces, according to Cerulli Associates, a research firm that specializes in financial services.

    Most of those fired and the others who leave voluntarily will wind up at broker-dealers and at RIA firms, which are posting significant gains in market share.

    Cerulli’s latest research found that the wirehouses’ share of assets under management fell from 49.7% in 2007 to 42.8 at the end of last year.

    What’s more, the number of advisors employed by these companies – Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo Advisors and UBS AG – fell from 56,901 to 50,742 during the same period.

    And so, will Mother Merrill, the “thundering herd” and others, finally be neutered?



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