To understand the framework of the financial services conundrum of fiduciary versus suitability we must look no further than the WWE.

The grand master of illusion for profit is, hands down, Vince McMahon. He is the ringmaster of the most successful good versus evil empire that has ever raised a dollar. The concept of creating chaos by design may not have been his invention, but he is the modern day master of all that it entails. Getting people to buy into the perception of reality that is scripted by dozens of writers for an ongoing never ending soap opera that has lasted generations of loyal viewers.

Jump to the NFL and look at the perception of the league… Roger Goodell, the commish, is the embodiment of evil to the New England Patriot nation and the hero of the rest of the NFL fan base. If we hadn’t been conditioned to presuppose the evil of deflated footballs, in a game in which the deflation of footballs had little to no bearing on the outcome of the game, what would the NFL be trying to defend against? Concussions, domestic violence, drug abuse… and many more negative aspects of the profession. The noise in the bushes, what the league wants the public to talk about, is the feud between its commissioner and the Patriots. A feud which is non-existent yet fueled by the 24 hour machine of sports reporting and analysis… agonizing analysis of every aspect of the game… except for the issues that Americans should be talking about. Concussions, domestic violence, drug abuse, etc…

From my nearest recollection…The noise in the bushes refers to a time in the old west when cowboys would rest around a campfire at night and become unsettled by a noise in the darkness that was in some bushes in the distance. The noise was often a distraction… a rock thrown…a trap of sorts. Anyone with ill intentions could easily sneak up behind a distracted desperado at night if his pistols were pointed in the wrong direction.

The noise in the bushes tactic has helped Vince McMahon come out unscathed through a plethora of scandalous activity surrounding his company. Too numerous to mention… the unseemly conduct that resides throughout the WWE is legendary and now, largely accepted as normal activity for professional wrestling.

The noise in the bushes for the NFL is deflated footballs and the suspension of the league’s poster-boy. The deflated footballs issue has lasted for 2 years…The real issues are going unnoticed or overlooked (by design) as a major part of the grander scheme of profit.

Let’s jump back to financial services…

The noise in the bushes that is creating divisive camps within the industry as well as the regulators of the industry is fiduciary vs. suitability.

This is a very cogent move by the industry to create turmoil and provide a solution to an issue that has, fundamentally, the wrong framework… we are not asking the right questions or demanding the right answers because we are being led down the path that the industry is paving. The framework of the issue is fundamentally flawed… yet, some industry stalwarts would rather take sides in a good versus evil winner-take-all scenario. Meanwhile, the investor gets shunned. The illusion of transparency, which is readily available, is masked by the opacity of multiple definitions and retooling of legislation that even the highest paid lawyer would find tedious to comb through. The industry is creating the false sense of security… an illusion – that it is trying to come up with a solution that has the best interest of the investor at stake ahead of c-suite and shareholder value. What a crock of sh!t.

This is the fundamental flaw…The industry can’t police advisors or advisers (part of the problem) into stewardship roles… nor does the industry (pick a firm) have the time or the resources to train salespeople to become relationship managers. The fix must come from the bottom up… the advisor must take ownership of the responsibility of stewardship owed to the client in the form of autonomy. The advisor and the advisor alone is responsible for his or her stewardship. This can’t be mandated but it can be quantified… oh yes… it can. 

The industry wants to keep the status quo built on a foundation of opacity while replacing the advisor with technology. Not all advisors, just the weak, will be replaced by technology… tech paired with the design of intentional misrepresentation of what wealth management truly has become. Who are the investors going to trust? You, the trusted advisor, have a say in this outcome. I think the weak advisors should be replaced by stewards of wealth. What say you?

It’s time to start asking better questions and demanding better answers. 

So you’re a fiduciary… what does that mean to your clients? So you’re a financial planner… what does that mean to your clients? The elements of your business that create authentic value for your ideal audience require definition by you.

It’s time for advisors to stop learning how to handle objections and start asking better questions.

This “noise in the bushes” scenario offers us a unique moment that no advisors have seen before… it is truly the greatest opportunity in the history of financial services for trusted stewards to own the perception of their value and become irreplaceable to their ideal audience… in spite of the industry that is trying to replace them. If you are an advisor and you wish to rise above the flawed framework of the industry designed “noise in the bushes” there is a great opportunity for you to become irreplaceable. Discover more while you still have time. You might want to get it done before the count of three… #TangibleAlpha