The recent passing of Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard, was truly a loss to the financial services industry. Most notably, he is known for creating the first index fund and promoting his 8 common sense rules for investing, which included:
- Selecting low-cost funds
- Considering carefully the added costs of advice
- Not overrating past fund performance
- Using past performance to determine consistency and risk
- To beware of stars (as in, star mutual fund managers)
- To beware of asset size
- Not owning too many funds
- Buying your fund portfolio – and hold it
Believe it or not, there was a time when some of these rules were radical. But, it wasn’t the creation of the index fund, or building an investment company with over $5 trillion in assets under management that distinguished him. His greater legacy is defined by his sense of character and vision for what the financial services could become. In a commencement speech he gave to a group of MBA graduates in 2007, he said:
“…no matter what career you choose, do your best to hold high its traditional professional values, now swiftly eroding, in which serving the client is always the highest priority. And don’t ignore the greater good of your community, your nation, and your world. After William Penn, ‘we pass through this world but once, so do now any good you can do, and show now any kindness you can show, for we shall not pass this way again.'”
I’d encourage you to read the entire speech. The industry is rampant with a lot of talk about integrity, honesty and placing the needs of the client above those of the advisor or investment company. Actions, unfortunately, do not often match the words. Incentives and expectations can override the integrity in the best of us. So, it is important to always remind yourself how awesome a privilege and honor as well as responsibility it is to have clients entrust their lives to you, their advisor.
Good thing you are up to the challenge.
Now, go change some lives and do some good! Because, you will not pass this way again!
How do you keep focused on your client’s best interests? Let me know by going to my Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter page, and leaving a comment under this post.
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