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What cheap lessons Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are teaching RIAs about the dangers of trying to institutionalize their practices


Oct 20, 2015 —

Brooke’s Note: Does the RIA world, like the political world, face an authenticity problem? It seems preposterous until you consider who is coming into the business and why. Wall Street people, Silicon Valley people, private-equity people, bankers and national concerns like Schwab are all doing their best to come into this business. Existing RIAs are feeling pressure to become more like these interlopers in order to compete. The change in business models and business plans is rampant and the word “authenticity” probably doesn’t show up in a single one of their mission statements. It — realness — wasn’t a problem before. It was the nonconformists, after all, who were attracted to the rough-and-tumble RIA arena. RIA pioneers couldn’t help but be authentic. See: What is the value proposition of a financial advisor — and how is a budding RIA culture upping the ante?. So Abby Salameh’s column could hardly be more timely. RIAs sell trusted advice but just as important is the authentic way in which advisors dispense it. As the world gets more cyber and sterile, the investor, like the voter, might go for what looks good on the whiteboards — but only if served with a large side helping of words that don’t seem suffocatingly rehearsed.

A recent article in Salon, a popular and established online publication, diagnosed Hillary Clinton with a Taylor Swift problem, arguing that with her carefully constructed persona, privileges and financial resources, Hillary is less “authentic” than her biggest competitor, Bernie Sanders.

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