What I Learned From This Year's Investment Conference

Having had the opportunity to attend the annual Schwab Impact conference in October, I found it to be invigorating and insightful. Those three days exposed me to a very eclectic range of speakers, from former U.S. Labor Secretary, Robert Reich, to Magic Johnson, who is not only a legend on the court, but a visionary in the business world. Magic has a true passion to “reshape the corporate understanding of the urban areas”. 

Fascinating speakers, well-designed educational sessions and the opportunity to network with peers provides varying viewpoints and exposure to different perspectives on relevant issues. Learning how our peers manage their investment clients’ expectations in this ongoing volatile global market is very reaffirming. One of the topics discussed throughout the conference was the ongoing pressure for advisors to lower their investment fees. In our industry, advisory fees are typically 1 to 1½%, and in some cases higher.

It was apparent that many advisors were concerned by this movement, but I felt a sense of calm. Not that we had a crystal ball, but many years ago we as a firm “saw the writing on the wall” and made the conscience decision not to participate in the trend to charge higher fees. Our firm has charged 0.5% for investment management for many years and does not anticipate any changes in the near future. Does that mean our clients are receiving “discounted service”? My answer is a resounding, ABSOLUTELY NOT! One of our core values is to provide an exceptional client experience and make it affordable. I’d like to believe our current investment clients would substantiate that assumption.

Managing your portfolio is just one element of our investment management service, albeit the most important, there are many more. Such as having your calls or emails returned quickly by a knowledgeable team member during your time of need, or the comfort of knowing you are not calling an “800” number, but rather a group of dedicated women.

In closing, I wanted to share my conference experience and express how very fortunate I am to have the opportunity to work with so many delightful clients. The world of investments is complicated and having trusted partners through the maze makes the journey easier.

-       Written by Bonnie Struck, CMF