Six More Phrases Advisors Should Never Use

Six More Phrases Advisors Should Never Use
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The previous article I wrote on this subject was so popular that I had to continue my tirade. Toss these six marketing buzzwords in the never-to-be-used jargon dumpster, in reverse order from the least to most offensive.

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6. Family CFO/personal CFO

These are not accurate. A CFO is someone who handles matters such as payroll, recordkeeping, budgeting and procurement. The CIO handles the investments.

Show me an advisor who is willing to carry out those tedious and low-margin tasks for the average client who has let’s say $1 million. Most advisors are only going to do this if acting as a family office for people with $50 million+. Are you going to send wire transfers when they’re on vacation in Europe when what you want to do is create a financial plan (for which you earn high fees) or run their portfolios (for which you earn high fees)?


It’s a sweet idea, though.

5. Boutique wealth management firm

Small advisor firms like to use the word “boutique” to convey that they serve a sophisticated clientele, but have you ever thought about what the word really means?

“Boutique” is from the Latin word “apotheca,” or storehouse (Merriam Webster, n.d.). Before the investment industry popularized its own interpretation of this word, the meaning it conveyed was that of a small shop. The original storefront meaning is what people who do not work in the investment industry think it means.

Now think about that for a moment. If most people think of a retail store selling trendy clothing and accessories when they hear this word, what is the subconscious effect you are giving them?

Exactly what I said: selling.

We are an industry that prides itself on not being salespeople, but instead being the most loving, huggable, caring people the world has ever seen. We would never dare try to sell you a whole-life insurance policy.

Boutique is for jeans and crop tops, not retirement accounts.

4. Client-centric approach (also called client-centered approach)

Of course, because the client is the one paying the bill! Why shouldn’t they be the center of attention? You’re the service provider and they’re the boss!

There is not one business in the world that operates any other way. Serving the client is the definition of business. It is just so pandering.

I love you sooooo much. Now let’s smooch!

3. Investment committee

This is a hoity-toity, institutional sounding word, so advisors who manage money in-house like to use it because they feel it makes them look like Goldman Sachs. It may seem like it’s lending gravitas to your operation.

But to the outsider it sounds ludicrous.

What is the first thing that comes to mind is when you hear the word “committee”? It reminds me of student council meetings in high school: riddled with bureaucracy, grandstanding and full of people speaking up who don’t know what in tarnation they are talking about.

Moreover, it’s laughable for a small firm to have an investment committee because half the firm is included. It’s preposterous to assert that the investment associate with three years of experience who has failed level two of the CFA exam twice is going to be making decisions that impact whether or not people get to retire. In reality there’s one decision maker, usually the one paying the salaries, and everyone debates back and forth but at the end they all have to agree with him or her or else they’ll get fired.

Don’t be ridiculous. It’s not a democracy, folks, this is capitalism.

Read the full article here by Sara Grillo, Advisor Perspectives

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