Have you ever gone to an expensive restaurant that appeared on the outside to be quite sophisticated and refined only to find after dining there that the food itself was less than impressive? I think sometimes the financial services industry can have a similar strategy of dazzling people with their nice suits or fancy offices instead of the quality of product they are actually providing.

I had the opportunity to speak with someone who recently left one of these large firms in the area. I won’t mention their names but you have likely seen their ads on TV and radio. As I examined the investment portfolio, they had put in place for the individual I was shocked by how rudimentary and basic their overall investment strategies were. On top of that, the advisor never seemed to be available to meet with them or answer their calls. Much like the afore mentioned restaurant this advisor is all sizzle and no steak.

I think choosing the right investment advisor is a critical decision and one that too often is made based on the wrong things. A financial advisor should have the heart of a servant and a teacher. Their focus should always be on you and your needs. They should be trustworthy, and they should share the values you hold most dear.

Unfortunately, these attributes I am describing are fairly uncommon in the financial world. Our industry instead places much of its emphasis on the ability to make strong first impressions and close sales. After all, time is money and if the goal of the advisor is to make as much of it as they can, their time must be spent focusing on prospects not clients.

The way many do this is by putting their clients in very simplistic and low-cost index funds and never touching them. Even if the stock market is falling substantially. I’ll be honest, over the past decade or so this has probably produced generally good performance results for the client. But you don’t need to be paying an advisor thousands of dollars a year if that is all they are doing for you. You deserve to have an advisor who is regularly evaluating the investment strategies inside of your portfolio to determine if they are appropriate for current market conditions. They should also be regularly consulting with you to determine if they are appropriate for your current situation as well.

Unfortunately, these practices can slow the ability of a firm to grow its total revenue, and therefore is often deemed not cost effective and set aside for more lucrative endeavors. I don’t mean to cast aspersions on everyone who works in financial services. Many are good people with your best interest truly at heart. But I would say when meeting with an advisor you should be weary of those who seem more interested in impressing you than listening to you. While it’s important that the advisor be transparent about who they are and what they will do for you in an initial prospect meeting, if you are not the center of that conversation before you become a client, I can promise you won’t be their focus after becoming a client either.

These rules don’t only apply to prospects looking to hire a new advisor. They are vital to Investment management companies looking to bring new advisors on board too. That’s why I am proud to share that we at Stewardship Capital have found just such an advisor in Chris Walden. As a Certified Financial Planner with nearly 30 years of experience in the financial services industry he gives us even more of an ability to provide the level of service and excellence that has been the trademark of Stewardship Capital for over a quarter century.

We look forward to working this long-term relationship with Chris and are excited for our clients to meet him as well.

(Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The advice is general in nature and not intended for specific situations)

Welcome Chris Walden to the Stewardship Capital team! Chris has a BS in Business Administration from Kansas State University and an MBA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has held CFP® certification since 2001. Chris’s leadership skills are evident from his tenure as the former President of the Greater Kansas City Financial Planning Association. Beyond finance, his interests extend into the sporting realm, where he currently serves as President of the KC Golden Gloves.
Chris cherishes his family life in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, where he resides with his wife, Kristie, and their two children, Jake and Jacey.