Stewardship vs. Management: How are you handling your client’s assets?

More times than not, I found that firms highlighted their investment skills and focused on their winning track record to try and gain my business; I could be another valued statistic. The investment focus was indeed measurable and highlighted the firm’s value proposition, yet I struggled with ensuring that my hard earned money was nothing more than a top-line addition.

Don’t get me wrong, the skill of investing assets is a key to my future success (and theirs), but in my opinion, it is a segment of success.

Since 2008 our industry has focused on righting the boat and distancing ourselves from a few wrongdoers – Wrongdoers which took an approach to manage their client’s assets by maximizing the return and placing large bets to maximize their own income stream.

I offer an approach which I believe will resonate with asset holders today and future generations: firms need to highlight how they are a steward of assets.

The slight adjustment in wording may seem nominal but in actuality it is huge. Stewardship changes the conversation from ‘management’ to ‘strategic partner’.  Just as in my life, people desire to find a firm that will walk through life’s triumphs and disappointments head on – together. Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care, while management on its own is the ‘act’ or ‘skill’ of controlling and making decisions.

As I look into the future, I see firms that grasp the principle of stewardship growing significantly. Firms that do so will highlight not just their investment management philosophy but they will focus on their ability to be entrusted with the assets. Stewardship will also highlight how your investment management is tied to the client’s investment goals, which speaks in terms that your client will understand. The public is clamoring for businesses that take the initiative to be better and do better.  Being and doing better will be related to the client’s perspective – together. Just as perspective becomes reality, highlighting your stewardship for it touches on the skills of money management and your goal of building a strategic partnership with the client. I believe wholeheartedly that the industry will follow your lead and your clients will be positively impacted!

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