Ten years ago this summer, I was asked to join a study group with 20-25 selected financial advisors from around the country.
This commitment to bettering ourselves has continued over the past 10 years.
This weekend, I will again be traveling to meet with many of the same financial advisors to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the BAM Masters Forum, as the group was later named. We are committed to improving ourselves and our firms, for the benefit of you, our clients.
Over the past 10 years, the BAM Masters Forum has met in person at least 2 times each year, for approximately 6 days per year. I have not missed a single one. Additionally, we talk in smaller groups every other week throughout the year by phone. During this period, I have probably had over 200 hours of these bi-weekly peer call discussions.
If you are a client, this should give you confidence regarding our commitment to excellence. Participating in this study group has provided exposure and an environment to ideas and concepts. We have heard from top speakers, thought leaders and investment experts. It is a way for us to talk and listen to others, learn and to think about how to provide better advice to you, our clients.
While I have participated in the BAM Masters Forum group, my partner Keith joined a similar group which was formed a few years later. His group meets at different times, but the goal and commitment are the same, to exchange ideas with fellow advisors and hear from experts on a wide variety of topics.
In an ever-changing and uncertain world, it is re-assuring for us to know that we can talk and learn with others who are also committed to providing excellent advice and service to their clients. By participating in these groups, Keith and I have formed numerous relationships with advisors across the country. When we have our peer calls or get together as groups, it is an opportunity to discuss issues which you face as clients or challenges that may be going on in the world.
If you work with another advisor, ask them about their commitment to self-improvement. How do they learn? How do they work to improve themselves, for the benefit of their clients? What is the focus of the meetings and conventions they attend? Are they focused on sales? Or like us, are they focused on topics like financial, estate and tax planning as well as investment concepts and planning?
The sessions we attend are not rewards for selling the most of mutual fund ABC or hitting a commission goal. We pay for our sessions and all of the related costs. We are not going to three hours of speakers in the morning and then hitting the golf course in the afternoon (though that would be fun).
Yes, we have had good times and enjoyed some great experiences together. One of my most memorable experiences with this group was our meeting in Napa, CA in May, 2013. I wrote about this in a blog post dated May 14, 3013, which I strongly encourage you to read. Great Relationships, Advice and Wine.
During this meeting, we visited the Staglin Family Vineyards and I was fortunate to experience one of the best meals of my life. I ended that blog post with the following, which is just as true today as it was a few years ago:
Opposite from the entry to the Staglin caves, was a large bench. On the bench’s huge backing, is the following inscription:
Staglin Family Vineyards: where shared values are the keystone of relationships.
The meetings I had with my fellow advisors and the time spent at the two vineyards shared a common message. Having shared values with our clients will produce great client relationships. Having great business partners that we can trust and interact with, like the BAMAlliance and DFA, will benefit our clients. It will enable us to provide our clients with a successful lifetime of integrated financial experiences, so our clients can be comfortable and secure.