Lessons Learned

Levin, Ross
October 2004
Journal of Financial Planning;Oct2004, Vol. 17 Issue 10, p30
Academic Journal
This article presents the author's experiences and lessons and strategies learned in the field of financial services in the U.S. as of October 1, 2004. In the field of financial planning, he charged nominal fees and generated nominal commissions. They were pretty good planners, but not such good salespeople. They made strategic decision to eventually eliminate commissions and move virtually entirely to fees in the early 1990s because it felt more comfortable to them. In any partnership, there will be good and bad times. One needs to work with someone who has similar values to his own in order to persevere. Money will not keep one together or make things work. The most trying times in partnerships are when one does not have money or when one does. Working with an industrial psychologist may help partners get into some of these issues. The planners established relatively simple, but extremely important criteria. They wanted people who were able and willing to pay the fee. This meant that they needed to establish reasonable minimum fees to support the practice. They wanted clients who had values similar to their own. This resulted in a client screening process that focused on asking many questions of the prospects about money issues and what they expected from the planners.


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