by George M. Smith
The Smith Bruer Advisors team recently attended the 2018 TD Ameritrade LINC conference in Orlando. It was wonderful event that lives up to the meaning of the conference theme – Learn, Inspire, Network and Collaborate. There are three event-packed days full of opportunities to hear from industry leaders, learn about industry trends and evolving technology, and attend sessions on topics that help us better serve our clients. One of the best aspects of the conference is the commitment from TD Ameritrade to support firms like ours and schedule time in the agenda to allow us to explore state-of-the-art technology, study market trends and to exchange ideas with peers.
Here are a couple of items that stood out from the conference:
- Sterling Shea, Global Head of Wealth & Asset Management at Dow Jones, presented findings that were a bit surprising, perhaps alarming. The one that stood out is that 32% of Millennials felt that cash was the best investment. This is opposed to a little less than half that for Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers. Clearly there is educating that needs to be done.
He also pointed out that two-thirds of millennials would take financial advice from FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) companies. I understand that these are admired giants and innovators in the corporate and tech world. I use all of them. Most of us do. But, being willing to take financial advice from a company that doesn’t know your needs and goals, or who you are as a person is astounding. It’s like me wanting to take medical advice from Warren Buffet. He is certainly admired, but not qualified in that area.
So you don’t think I am picking on the “young folk”, over the last few years there has been a rise in hedge funds assets – frequently utilized by the “older folk” – without any corresponding performance to support the trend. In fact, speaking of the Oracle of Omaha, his winning bet that the S&P 500 would beat five hedge funds is a good example. In our view, the fancier you get the more it costs and the likelihood of under-performance increases. If you have any advisor pitching you a hedge fund do your homework and beware.
- Hearing Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis tell her inspiring story and path to her success. She is a talented actress that has overcome tremendous adversity to get to where she is now. She continues to be a leading force in helping individuals overcome poverty by advocating for arts-based grants and programs that help underprivileged kids and young adults go to college.
- Getting to talk with and learn from some of the titan RIA (Registered Investment Adviser) leaders in our industry, spending time with thought leaders on subjects like artificial intelligence, demographic trends and, of course, we all talked about block chain technology and Bitcoin. Finally, being able to take in the entire experience and then sit with my colleagues and share ideas and dreams was the icing on the cake.
As I reflect on what we learned at 2018 LINC and having just celebrated the 3rd anniversary of Smith Bruer Advisors, I realize how we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to create a unique corporate culture and work side-by-side with other professionals who encourage and support one another. We serve the best clients in the world and are able to do so by the support we receive from world-class organizations like TD Ameritrade and Dimensional Fund Advisors. We have every reason to be optimistic about the future. We look forward to deepening our existing relationship and forging new ones. Thank you to all who have supported our journey!