2018 Workshops Announced - Download Brochure

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The workshops this year focus around the two skills most needed to achieve great success in your practice and the market. They will be conducted as webinars to eliminate your travel expense, time away from your office, and allow your entire team to participate. 

The first is Think Counter Intuitive, a three half-day webinar series to help you step outside the herd and stand head and shoulders above your peers

The second is Future Proof Your Practice, a two half-day webinar series to help your practice avoid being blindsided by outside forces and give you the tangible tools to become and remain elite in your industry.

Download the BROCHURE here.

Space is limited, register now.

The webinars may be taken back to back in the same week, or scheduled separately throughout 2018.

The Two Most Important Skills

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After thirty years of training and coaching in the Financial Service industry, I have learned that two skills stand out as the most important to the success of any advisor and their practice. Not knowing these skills can not be held against them because they are not taught the skills by their firms and only a few ever discover the great importance of the skills, master them, and rise to the elite ranks of the Chairman’s and Director’s clubs. 

Every practice must contend with two time frames that are vital to success. The present, full of its myriad distractions, and the future, where the hope of greater success always resides. The past no longer exists, but for too many it remains a constant interference. Advisors who place the past in its proper sphere as tutor, and learn it’s lessons, are able to concentrate time and effort in the work of understanding the present and preparing for the future. 

Each of these two times frames corresponds to a specific aspect of a financial practice. The present is handled by the Consulting and Relationship Management  division of your business. The future is the focus of the Administration and Operation division. Whether a practice is managed by a large team or a single advisor, both divisions must be in operation. Even though an advisor’s primary focus is the present, they must place as much attention on the future and this becomes the problem. 

Immoderate attention on the present leaves a practice open to be blindsided by changes in the world around them. Excessive focus on the future undermines a practice from within. Though an advisor should delegate as much as possible, the skills necessary to balance the present and future must reside in their own toolbox, otherwise the team will flounder. 

A practice must protect and grow client assets and reduce risk in the present, that is the purpose of Consulting and Relationship Management. Simultaneously, they must prepare and plan for the future changes necessary to steer the practice through obstacles ahead, that is the purpose of Administration and Operation. 

The present and the markets are not intuitive, otherwise everyone would be successful investing and avoid the losses that frequently occur. For this reason only advisors who master the art of thinking Counter-Intuitively succeed in the present and the markets. 

At the same time, change is a constant and requires continuous adaptation, otherwise you could keep doing things the same way forever. Those who do not change eventually discover their mistake. An advisor must future-proof their practice or risk being blindsided or left behind. 

Your ability to think counter-intuitively in the present and adapt and change your practice in the future, will allow you to exceed your client expectations in the present and also future-proof your practice for what lies ahead.

Habits are Valuable, Until They're Not

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Most would agree a good habit gives individuals, teams, and organizations the power to create successful results. But what happens when the habit becomes "the way we have always done things"? 

A proactive habit creates a routine or process that delivers a desired end result. For many of our desired outcomes, like an improved morning routine, physical health, or lifetime learning, habits help maintain our interest and aid continunity. Personal habits that keep us engaged in the activity are beneficial. 

My life is my life and as long as the results are satisfactory to me, little may change in my habits and behaviour over the years. Though there may be a better end result I am missing, adopting a different habit to achieve that other end result may have little effect on me unless I desire the change. 

Businesses are different because the measure of success is determined outside the business, by the customer. Their satisfaction with the end results can change without notification. For this reason a business must continually ask, “Is this the best way to do this?” to avoid being blindsided by an unseen change in the climate of their customer base. A business must disrupt itself to avoid being disrupted by a competitor. 

Successful entrepreneurs continually disrupt their own business by examining if what they are doing is still relevant to their customers.

Three-Day Practice Focus Workshop in Lunenburg

Download the PDF brochure here.

For three days you and a team member have the opportunity to focus on your practice in the unique seaside community of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. In this historic boatbuilding centre of Canada you will learn the importance of a lean process-driven practice that will future-proof your business. 

This expanded three-day workshop will be open to the first 10 teams only.

Register early

 The workshop will focus on deliverable concepts you can apply immediately to your practice.

Workshop Info

  • Date: October 5-7, 2017
  • Time: 8am-5pm daily

  • Location: Lunenburg Arms Hotel & Spa, 94 Pelham Street, Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0

Daily Agenda

8:00-10:00 session
10:00-10:30 break
10:30-12:00 session
12:00-1:00 lunch in town
1:00-3:00 session
3:00-3:30 break
3:30-5;00 session

For further information email wlw3@mac.com to schedule a call.

 

The Great Wealth Transfer: How to Retain Next-Gen Assets

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Note: the follow is an article written for BMO's Insights after an interview I did with the firm.

For many Advisors with long-standing high-net-worth clients, the intergenerational shift in wealth is of great concern, specifically retaining the assets of heirs after an inheritance. According to Lloyd Williams, it’s even more pronounced than the preceding wealth transfer from the WWII generation to Baby Boomers, since their value systems and work ethics were more philosophically aligned than those of Baby Boomers and Millennials today. “Millennials are a whole different breed; they’ve stepped outside the bounds of their parents.” So how do Advisors keep family wealth? Lloyd Williams shares his six-step process with Insights.

66% of children fire their parents' Financial Advisor after they receive an inheritance1

1. Protect ALL interests

Your natural inclination is to protect the interests of your “lead” client in an affluent family – typically the parents. However, when it comes to the intergenerational wealth transfer underway (approximately $750 billion in Canada during the next decade alone2), it’s important for Advisors to view the family as client – and learn to protect all interests.While you may be an adept mediator, well versed in navigating conflicts as they arise within a group dynamic, it’s critical to meet with family members individually. By doing so you’ll lay the groundwork for a mutually beneficial relationship by facilitating participation; asking questions; and eliciting their hopes, dreams, needs, and vision for wealth. You’re not there simply to share facts and figures, nor are you there to provide all solutions. Your role is to ensure that all parties feel truly heard. The resulting trust is fundamental to retaining assets, and opens the door to potentially onboarding new money: the hard-earned wealth of heirs who may already be established professionals. 

2. Talk business

When dealing with prospective clients, the first thing to identify is if there’s a business connection between generations. If so, despite any succession complexities, this presents an inherent commonality an Advisor can lever – and by virtue of being in the family business, the children have interacted with those assets to an extent, and perhaps already exert some control over the money.

For all families, early wealth education is a must. Help your lead clients to see the value in articulating how they’ve amassed assets, and in integrating their offspring into the decision-making process. By shortening their learning curve, heirs will have a skillset in place by the time wealth transitions.

3. Create value through open communication

When you do put family members together in the same room, you’ll quickly identify the hotspots to work on. For example, a third of my advisory practice was with family-owned businesses in transition, so I’d see retiring parents grappling with which child should take a lead role, navigating potential interference from extended family, and deciding how to deal with business equity.

In this setting, pay attention to the quality of communication: Is there ongoing dialogue? Does the next generation understand their parents’ wealth plan? Have the parents remained secretive? Do siblings see eye-to-eye? The more closed off the relationship is between generations, the more prone it is to real tension. In fact, far too many parents have not opened up with their kids about the family wealth, leading not so much to ignorance – most children have a pretty good feel for their parents’ net worth – but to distrust.  It’s up to you to break the news that the secret mom and dad are keeping likely isn’t a secret after all.

As an Advisor, facilitating these meetings adds tremendous value; you’ll be a catalyst to positive change – making a difference in the lives of each person at the table. The important thing is that everyone gets a vote. And while it’s realistically a much lengthier process to gain family consensus on stewardship and wealth transition, the return on your investment of time should be the retention of all assets

40% of Canadians have not discussed estate intentions with their heirs3

4. Motivate your clients into immediate action

People are motivated by pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain. Use one or both arguments to incite action now and help your clients solidify their legacy. For example, parents may not be eager to integrate children into the planning process, but will become motivated as you help them to focus on the risks of inaction: hard-earned wealth being mismanaged, a business demise, or sibling conflict. The benefits of the process may capture their attention too.  It’s up to you to figure out how to get them up and out of their chair.

Uncomfortable subject matter is par for the course, so on occasion you’ll inevitably find yourself broaching the fear of disaster. An obstacle to planning may be that Mom and Dad are alive and well,but the reality is, nobody’s guaranteed his or her next breath. No one enjoys these conversations, but they will appreciate your ability to help them acknowledge the risks, and be more receptive to taking immediate action.

5. Consider a family office approach

As Advisors become more seasoned, they tend to narrow their scope, establish minimum thresholds, and focus on a particular investment style or niche market. While there’s tremendous upside to being a specialist, you may find your particular approach doesn’t resonate with the next generation.

In my practice, we developed a multi-client family office solution, advocating the power of pooling assets in order to manage money for future generations – creating some real growth-oriented portfolios in the process. We’d then point to our track record, and demonstrate to prospective clients that no one could manage their family’s individual accounts the way we’d manage their collective $10 million – using an endowment model. By the time I retired, we had 26 such family trusts set up. There remains a great opportunity for Advisors, when you consider the sizeable marketplace of $10 million to $50 million family-owned businesses out there. 

6. Help clients avoid pain that goes beyond the grave

You might encounter siblings that initially won’t compromise – or worse, have the means to use legal recourse to dispute estate transfer issues after your original client is gone. To be sure, there are brothers and sisters out there who haven’t spoken for decades after an inheritance battle. That’s a pain beyond the grave that you want to help today’s clients avoid.

Through an inclusive process – and the fundamental act of listening to each individual – you can achieve powerful results for everyone. I remember one client saying to me, “the greatest thing about our transition plan is that it brought our kids together.” It wasn’t the fact that she and her husband were enjoying a comfortable retirement; it was that they felt like a family again. Helping to that extent meant rewards for my team that went far beyond asset retention.

Zero Inbox Solution

One of the most effective forms of communication, has for many become a frusrating distraction. Their inboxes are filled with hundreds or thousands of earlier emails.

Several years ago Merlin Mann introduced the “Inbox Zero” concept to create greater efficiency and productivity around email. Here are a few simple steps to implement and maintain your inbox. 

Step One: Think Process not Storage

Your email inbox is not an archive, it is a temporary holding area for email to be processed, and not a file cabinet to store hundreds or thousands of emails. This is the first step and requires a change in our thinking. Our inbox is where we change information into actions. We are not just checking to take orders like a clerk behind a counter, but to transform through action.

To set up your Zero Inbox Solution create three new folders: Archive, Delegate, Defer.

Step Two: Delete (or archive)

When you look at an email ask does this require action or not? If it does not require action, then delete by moving it to the trash, unless it is something you need to reference in the future, then move it to archive. The search capabilities built into your email program will allow you to find the email quickly in the future if needed.

Step Three: Delegate

If the email requires action, but someone else it better able to handle this, then forward the email to the other person and replace “Fwd” in the subject line to the Name of the person you are forwarding to and add “due xx/xx” with a month and day in the future when you expect to hear from them. Example, "Bill 11/02: Proposal for Account”. Now cc yourself and trash the original message and place the copy in the Delegate folder. 

Step Four: Do

If the email is something you need to do and can be done in 2 minutes or less, do it now, as David Allen teaching is Getting Things Done. Then trash or archive the message.

Step Five: Defer

If the email is something you need to do and can not be done in the next two minutes then move to the Defer folder. If there is a specific due date forward a copy of the email to yourself and replace “Fwd” in the subject line with the due date, so you can prioritize in the future. 

Every email will fit into one of these simple action buckets. Throughout the day let you emails collect in your inbox. Turn off your notifications, sounds and alarms. Set aside two or more specific times each day when you will process your email, and deal with each email message once. Either Delete, Archive, Delegate, Do, or Defer. Your goal is to delete a lot and defer only a few. Most emails should be deleted or archived immediately. Some will require delegation or action, and the least number should be deferred. 

Implementation From Where You Are Today

Whether you have a hundred or thousands of emails in your inbox at present you can find the freedom of a Zero Inbox Solution in a very short period of time by doing the following. 

Set aside an hour and take all the emails that are over six months old and move to Archive. They are still searchable and because they are so old, they are not being looked at anyway.

Starting with the oldest remaining emails. quickly scan the subject and content of the emails moving most to Trash and many to Archive. The remaining ones requiring action will either be done in two minutes or go into Delegate, or Defer as necessary. After only a few focused hours doing this, thousands of emails can be processed. Continue until your inbox is empty. 

Daily Maintenance

Every day process all of your email during the several specific times you have scheduled and move each email out of the inbox into its proper place, i.e. Trash, Archive, Delegate, or Defer, if they are not something your Do in two minutes. By the end of the day you should have a Zero Inbox.

Based upon the volume of email you receive daily, you will review the Delegate and Defer folders at least weekly and maybe more often. Your goal is to continue processing items as action requires, moving them eventually to either Trash or Archive.

Congratulations, everything for the day was processed, not necessarily completed, but processed. By continuing these simple steps daily, you will have a Zero Inbox at the end of each day.

Next Step: Move, Merge, Acquire, or Sell?

Date: February 19, 2015
Time: 4:00pm Eastern

If you want to:

  • change firms, this webinar will discuss the checklist I use with clients to help them change firms and how to negotiate the best contract.
  • grow your business, then a merger or acquisition is your best choice and we will address all the options and how to avoid the pitfalls of others.
  • retire, we will examine the best way to prepare your business for a sale and how to negotiate the best price for the sale of your practice.

More information and registration here

Discount available for clients and past attendees: email wlw3@mac. com for discount code.

Broker/Dealer user only
Space is limited because of HD video

Five Questions Can Change a Conversation

A client recently sent me the following email:

"I have used the five questions several times and realized that It has changed the conversation (for the better).  In many cases, after asking the five questions it has changed my approach in the conversation - which has focused it more on the need of the client.  I am also having better a conversation with certain clients that have been more difficult in the past."

Before you talk to a client or prospect, write an article or blog post, create a presentation, design a web page, or prepare for a team meeting ask the following Five Questions for better results.

Audience?

Who are you addressing? Who do you want to influence educate, motivate into action, or help in some way? By first clearly understanding the audience you are better prepared to focus your thoughts.

Next Action?

What is the next physical action you would like the audience to take after reading, hearing, or seeing your information? If you do not have a specific next action in mind, it is unlikely that your audience will guess what you desire.

Purpose?

Knowing who you are addressing and what you desire them to do, you now know your purpose in creating this document, presentation, webpage, or agenda. Everything you include should support this purpose.

Meaning?

To motivate your audience into action it will be necessary to make the message meaningful to them personally. People are motivated by the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. What are the positive and negative motivators for the audience?

Main Point?

Now that you know the audience and what you want them to do and the purpose of your time together and why it is meaningful for them, identify the one main point that will move them into action and focus your document, presentation, webpage, or agenda around that point.

Download a free worksheet here.

New Webinar

For the past year I stopped all social media and limited my projects while working on creating a series of new webinars.  Today technology exist that will help advisers better manage their practice and portfolios.

These institutional tools do not exist inside the firms and a knowledge gap exists between advisers and sophisticated investors. The secrets that the large institutional traders know and the tools they use are what separated the retail broker from the institutional trader in 2008. The upcoming webinar will inform advisers how to eliminate that risk and turn their existing investment process into a marketing tool.

Webinar Info

Title: New Tools to Help Understand and Manage the Markets (2-part series)
Date: January 6 & 7
Time: 4:00-5:30pm Eastern

Cost: $195 (plus HST for Canadians)

Space is limited because of the High Definition Webinar  bandwidth requirement.

Registration Link Here

Prior to the Webinar:

  • Each participant will complete a Trader Self Assessment
  • Complete an Anymeeting system test to confirm compatibility

Topics Covered:

  • Investors need to understand the trader's mindset
  • Why understanding what happens in the short term will improve your long term
  • How the Big Picture impacts funding accounts, entering trades, and new relationships
  • Determining the market's context and condition to better position portfolios
  • Understanding economic and geo-political risks and how to handle them
  • Importance of managing multiple time frames within accounts
  • Trading tools for investors
    • Market Profile - Looking inside the market
    • Volume Profile - Levels where business is best conducted
    • PnF charting - Information without all the clutter
    • Professional vs Amateur activity in the markets
    • Percent Change - The Flight to Quality Indicator
  • Other outstanding tools and technology available today to simplify your process and create a competitive edge
  • The six keys to a risk-control system
  • Managing risk to maximize investment returns
  • Five fundamental truths about the markets
  • Psychology of trading
  • The seven beliefs for consistency
  • Creating headspace to improve your focus and results
  • How to change bad habits and habit mastery
  • Creating a lean business
  • Systems vs Goals
  • Best processes
  • Turning your practice into a marketing message

Post Webinar:

  • Recording of webinar series available for two weeks
  • Reading list of all references
  • Software and technology list
  • List of essential websites

Email me if you have additional questions: wlw3@mac.com

Margin Days

Every so often a book comes along that changes the way we perceive the world and our place in it.

Dr. Swenson defines margin as “the amount allowed beyond that which is needed.” We each  have a capacity of emotional energy, physical strength, financial assets, and time.  Like a glass that holds eight ounces, once filled to capacity, it overflows.  We tend to run our lives at maximum capacity. There are several ways to add margin into our life or oganization. 

First

Once a month, allow each team member to have a weekday off to spend with family or running errands they are unable to do during the weekend. Start with half days and then move to full margin days. A team member’s absence, one day a month, will not adversely affect your team, and you might find that the remaining workdays have more energy and are more effective.

Second

Set aside a certain period during the work week when each person has uninterrupted time to work on whatever they deem most important. This focused time will yield greater results.

Third

Give descretionary margin days, following a stressful project,. These become days of re-creation, not just recreation.  

Margin Days recharge our batteries and allow us to return ready to tackle the job at hand.  Creativity increases and more work is accomplished in less time. No longer are we operating at the limit of our physical and emotional energy.

The Dark Arts

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The following is a quote from Will Buckingham, writer and philosopher, that may help us better understand the the real value of economic forecasting. Prediction, foresight, or timing are difficult, if not impossible. Their attraction is a great temptation. A better approach is to  observe carefully and react quickly to the trends that naturally occur.

The complex science that in ancient China was known as shuxue 數學 — a term that, when applied to the numerological speculation that surrounds the I Ching, is only inadequately translated as “mathematics” — is no less abstruse than that most divinatory of practices, economics. Indeed, if one wanted to seek out the contemporary equivalents of those ancient diviners, they would be found not amongst the religious, nor amid those strange, otherworldly figures who spend their days enveloped by incense clouds, but instead amongst those other mystics who, schooled in economics and the dark arts of finance, are passionately convinced that in the manipulation of number there might lie the secret of our future destiny.
— http://willbuckingham.com/the-dark-arts/

Emphasize the Good Stuff...

"Emphasize the good stuff, the things you enjoy. Encourage. The rest leave to the morons who judge by counting faults. Be grateful for even one singular phrase or transcendent moment."  - From the movie the Late Quartet at 1:15:00 ff.

Transient

Long-Term Perspective on Interest Rates

Source: Global Financial Data

Source: Global Financial Data

Article of Interest

Systematic Relative Strength brought the following to everyones attention:  

With interest rates surging in recent days, I think it is interesting to stand back and look at a chart of the 10-Year Treasury Yield from a broader historical perspective.
Business Insider’s take:
So if you believe in the power of mean reversion, then it’s not unreasonable to expect yields to head back up toward 4%.
Although investors have grown accustomed to interest rates primarily moving in one direction (down) over the past 30+ years, history shows a number of periods of extended rising rate environments. Needless to say, it is quite possible that there will be opportunities to add value over a passive approach to fixed income exposure by being tactical in years ahead. In the context of multi-asset class portfolios, that may mean underweighting fixed income altogether. For allocations within fixed income, it may mean being more discriminating when determining what sectors of fixed income to own. I suspect that relative strength may prove to be very valuable in the years ahead as it relates to fixed income exposure.