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    As a Distinguished University Professor and Endowed Department Chairman, Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBBS DPM MBA MEd BSc CMP® was a NYSE broker and investment banker for a decade who was respected for his unique perspectives, balanced contrarian thinking and measured judgment to influence key decision makers in strategic education, health economics, finance, investing and public policy management.

    Dr. Marcinko is originally from Loyola University MD, Temple University in Philadelphia and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in PA; Oglethorpe University and Atlanta Hospital & Medical Center in GA; and Aachen City University Hospital, Koln-Germany. He is one of the most innovative global thought leaders in health care entrepreneurship today.

    Professor Marcinko was a board certified physician, surgical fellow, hospital medical staff Vice President, public and population health advocate, and Chief Executive & Education Officer with more than 425 published papers; 5,150 op-ed pieces and over 135+ domestic / international presentations to his credit; including the top ten [10] biggest pharmaceutical companies and financial services firms in the nation. He is also a best-selling Amazon author with 30 published text books in four languages [National Institute of Health, Library of Congress and Library of Medicine].

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Should You Comparison Shop for an Investment Advisor?

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By Rick Kahler CFP® www.KahlerFinancial.com

Rick Kahler CFPYou can spot comparison shoppers a few aisles away at any retail store. They are the ones carrying articles from Consumer Reports, badgering the salesperson with a million and one questions. People who manage money well are usually big fans of comparison shopping.

If comparison shopping is important before choosing a new refrigerator or lawn mower, it’s even more essential before choosing an investment advisor. Unfortunately, there is no easily available consumer’s report on advisors. Even more frustrating, those selling financial products often have incentives not to be forthcoming with the information that is crucial for comparing advisors.

A Focus on Investment Returns

One aspect of shopping for an investment advisor is to know what questions to ask. One common mistake is to focus on investment returns. Shoppers may ask for the average recent returns of the advisor’s portfolios or may want to know whether the advisor’s returns beat the market averages.

Problems:

There are several problems with focusing on returns.

First, the numbers mean nothing without also knowing how much risk the advisor took to produce the return. It’s like someone on a diet focusing only on fat grams without regard to total calories. Consuming ten soft drinks in a day may give you zero fat grams, but you could easily exceed your daily calorie limit before eating one bit of food.

Second, any unscrupulous advisor can put together a portfolio consisting of the hottest investment classes over the past 10 years and show you how fantastically they did.

Third, whether an advisor beats the market is overrated. Why? A whopping 97 percent of all mutual fund managers don’t generate an “average return” over 20 years. Just finding an advisor who has done so means you found someone in the top three percent.

Fourth, some financial advisors may show you a phenomenal track record for the short term (under 10 years). Since wise investing focuses on the long term, beating the averages over a short term isn’t necessarily significant.

Gamesmanship

If so many games can be played around returns, what questions should a savvy comparison shopper ask? Focus on one word: transparency. You want to find out if the returns, costs, and risk (standard deviation) of your portfolio will be clearly displayed and contrasted against appropriate benchmarks.

Transparency

Here is how to accomplish that goal. Most advisors have model portfolios. Ask them to show you the standard deviation and the expense ratio of their model over five and ten years. Ask them to contrast the return of the portfolio against a similar benchmark.

For example, if the portfolio has US stocks, US bonds, and foreign stocks, have them compare it to a benchmark of indexes proportionate to those asset classes.

Next, either ask the advisor to run a similar analysis on your existing portfolio or have one done independently. You may even have done better than the advisor’s model.

Ask the advisor to disclose all fees in addition to the expense ratios charged by mutual fund or sub-account managers. You need to find out how the advisor is paid and how much. Ask whether there are any wrap fees, transaction costs, administrative fees, mortality fees, redemption fees, annual 12b(1) fees, surrender charges, or up-front sales charges.

Referral

Assessment

Don’t be surprised if you get a bit of resistance when you ask for all this information. Brokerage firms, life insurance companies, and many commission-based advisors don’t have much incentive to give you this data and may not even be able to.

If you don’t get clear disclosure on fees and costs, keep asking. If you persist and still don’t get understandable answers, you may need to do more comparison shopping before you choose an advisor.

Conclusion

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. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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One Response

  1. Separate Account Management [SAM]

    Separate account management offers medical professionals customized personal money management services.

    In the typical separate account structure, a money manager invests the individual’s assets in stocks and bonds (as opposed to mutual funds providing exposure to specific asset classes) on a discretionary basis.

    For healthcare providers with significant investment assets (e.g., $100,000), a separately managed portfolio can be customized to reflect their tax situation, social investment guidelines, and cash flow needs. An additional benefit of the separate account management structure is that a client’s portfolio may be positioned over time as opportunities arise, rather than forcing stocks into the portfolio without regard to current conditions.

    Although separate account management generally offers a higher degree of customization than mutual funds, fees for separate account management are generally consistent with mutual funds fees, especially given that separate account managers may discount their fees for larger portfolios.

    Dr. Butch

    Like

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