Chapter 3The Need for a Financial Interpreter

(Given the Complexity of the Investment Process)

Although in fairness this trait is not the sole province of wealth managers, I have heard many families complain that their advisors do not speak the same language as they do. Whether this refers to advisors using jargon or simply to families not knowing enough about the environment in which they must operate in the end is a moot point. The role of any advisor is to help the family, and his or her first focus should be a diagnosis of what the family needs in order to be able to participate in the management of its wealth. This chapter, which is dedicated to asset management issues, focuses on the principal environmental variables that a family must understand, as well as on the activities the family must be prepared to carry out. Note that we do not mean to absolve advisors by saying that there are things a family has the responsibility to learn. Far from it. Our main point is indeed that financial advisors should see themselves as interpreters. That role comprises both the classic interpreter function and that of the teacher who should help the family learn what it needs to learn, but not more than it has to! The old adage that families are asking us the time and not how to make a watch applies in spades! Although it is tempting to think that many advisors already know this, I really feel that both clients and advisors need to recognize that they must communicate and thus have some ...

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