A Letter from the Editor
We are proud to introduce to you the inaugural issue of Senior Consultant. You have been selected as a reader because you are either one of the top 3,000 investment management consultants in North America, who account for about one-half trillion dollars under management, or a key decision maker in the financial services industry who will shape its future course.
The mission of Senior Consultant is to advance the idea of adding value into the mainstream of the financial services industry. Anecdotal and empirical evidence strongly suggest a trend toward investment management consulting and fee-based compensation. Instead of charging a commission to execute trades, a consultant charges an on-going advisory fee for addressing and managing the investment values (risk, return, tax efficiency, liquidity, cost structure, etc.) most important to the client. As a result, clients are better served; firms are rewarded with lower costs, higher earnings and margins and three times the multiple; and financial consultants are better positioned because their expertise is the value being added. Even regulators are openly advocating this trend toward adding value.
Yet, to the financial services mainstream, investment management consultants and independent financial advisors who add value for their clients remain an enigma. As a point of reference, the industry remains oriented to product distribution and trade execution. Senior Consultant will be the voice for the investor, the investment management consultant and the investment management consulting initiatives within the industry as well as an advocate for vendors and institutions that support the consultant in their work.
Our editorial focus will be on issues that interest the investment management consultant. We will make consulting less of an enigma. We will remove the mystery and provide clarity that will make investment management consulting a viable mainstream alternative for financial services professionals, whether they be brokers, bankers, accountants, estate planners or financial planners.
Senior Consultant is unique. Rather than conventionally speaking to investment products and related issues, we speak to the investment process and its associated service technology through which the consultant is empowered to add value.
We will report on current industry news and developments, industry trends, practice management, the investment process, asset management, portfolio construction, marketing, regulatory updates, technology and the people, programs and firms which drive the industry. We will also profile leading money mangers and consultants.
Although there is no one who would disagree with the thesis of adding value, we realize there are difficult cultural, structural and technological challenges that must be managed before it is possible for financial consultants to address even the most fundamental values most important to all investors. And yet, this is a particularly dynamic time in the financial services industry as Nobel Prize-winning investment theory is converging with advanced systems technology that can empower the broker to deliver an unprecedented level of investment counsel and value to their clients. Over the next ten years, the competitive character of our industry will change dramatically, and it will be the senior consultants in our industry who will lead the way.
Senior Consultant will also create a Consulting Hall of Fame, which will link Nobel laureate-caliber contributions in investment theory to those who have advanced the practice of investment management consulting. Those who have already contributed to this field are names like Markowitz, Sharpe, Fama, lbbottson, Sinquefield, Brinson, C. Ellis, J. Roosevelt, Schiffarth Lockwood and Reinhart, among many others. The greatest honor that can be bestowed on those whose contributions have been so significant is to be recognized by real world practitioners whose use of their technology or practices impacts upon thousands of clients each day. Senior Consultant also plans to work with our separate account advertisers on creating a standardized protocol for investment managers to interface with brokerage firms outside of the five major firms. Limited access to the top separate account managers has been a major inhibitor to the industry growing outside of the major firms into the financial services mainstream.
Thanks to the good advice and counsel of Sydney LeBlanc, a founding editor of Registered Representative Magazine, we have decided to make Senior Consultant available to anyone who is serious about consulting. Although our focus is on top consultants, if an adviser thinks of themselves as a consultant, and more than half of their firm or our advertisers, then we will gladly extend to them a subscription to Senior Consultant at no cost.
Of course, what makes this all possible is our advertisers. We are indebted to CapTrust and Dimensional Fund Advisors, our initial advertisers who have made Senior Consultant possible. They share our vision of taking investment consulting into the financial services mainstream, which we believe will lead to explosive growth, not only for investment management consulting, but for consulting related products and services as well.
Personally, I would like to thank Jim Owen, without whose financial support, Senior Consultant could not have been developed. Also, I would like to thank our inaugural Advisory Board which will play the important role in creating a standard for investment management consulting and raising the level of investment counsel and value that is provided within our industry.
Stephen C. Winks, Publisher/Editor