One Step Ahead of the Herd

John Benedict, @geckojb

John is a real professional, which is obvious from everything he does. His attention to detail and his disciplined investing approach make him an invaluable asset for the StockTwits community.


My career started off in the late 1990s at a major brokerage house. From there I moved on to a large broker-dealer that specialized in financial planning. I started like many others in the industry by being an asset gatherer and letting the investment departments at the broker-dealers I represented help me manage the client assets.

It was the same mantra everywhere. You cannot control the markets, so just worry about bringing in assets and we will tell you how to manage the money. The strategy was simply to sell product and keep clients invested no matter what. You are trained from day one that markets cannot be timed and that over 90 percent of your returns are derived from asset allocation.

The turning point of my career came in the 2000–2003 bear market when my clients lost 30 percent or more of their life savings. This affected me emotionally. Watching retirees and those close to retirement lose money weighed on me each time I reviewed their monthly statements. Holding clients' hands while uttering “Hold on for the long term” did not seem like a viable strategy. The investment departments were hard at work churning out brochures and other sales material reminding everyone that markets ...

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