State Street: Change is here, now

Local biggie State Street (STT) held its annual RIA Symposium last week, a must-be-there event for the industry. With $28 trillion (!) of assets in custody and $2.5 trillion under management, our One Lincoln Street neighbor is uniquely positioned to comment on what’s happening right now in money management. What I heard was good news for investors and confirmation of key principles we hold at Osbon Capital. Here are four takeaways:

1) Simplicity winsil_fullxfull.296436703

The investment management industry used to thrive on selling complex solutions – the more complex they sounded, the better. And for a long time, clients bought it. That was the 20th century model. The firms of the future will thrive by providing simplicity and clarity to customers who crave an antidote to an increasingly complex world.

2) The end of sales 

The investor of the future wants two things: transparent advice and meaningful advisor relationships. Toward these ideals, implementing a fiduciary relationship is a great step forward. Fiduciary, fee-only advisors, like Osbon Capital, have no financial incentives to sell products or to gain commissions. Fee-only advisors will continue to gain market share over non-fiduciary quota-driven salesmen. This largely explains why so many wealthy families have recently left their wire house product-based relationships with firms like JPMorgan, UBS, Goldman and the like. See more about The Future of Advice, click here.

3) The survey says… 

State Street revealed the results of its client surveys within the investing industry. We were heartened by the results as they mirror the tenets on which Osbon Capital was built. (It’s All About You, Or Should Be)

Clients said they most often wanted an advisor who is:

  • Conscientious – Pays attention to details
  • Empathetic – Cares about what’s important to you
  • Trustworthy – One part consistent behavior, one part gut feel
  • Respectful – Not dismissive
  • Comprehensible – Explains things in plain English
  • Conservative – Not about get-rich-quick schemes

4) Technology is disruptive – in a good way

The rate of financial technology innovation is picking up, with many benefits. As an investor, you can expect more transparency, lower costs and a higher quality user experience. Here’s an STT checklist for you as you evaluate the technology tools of an advisor:

  • Simple experience
  • Lower fees
  • Transparent glass box
  • More control
  • Insight, not just data
  • Anywhere, anytime access
  • Personalized
  • Make technology human

Change can be difficult, but we embrace the various developments we’re seeing in the investing world. It’s great to see real alternatives to traditional practices that put Wall Street interests ahead of investor interests. There’s still a long way to go, but State Street confirms that progress continues in the right direction. I feel smaller more personal firms like ours are leading the way.

If you’re not experiencing with your own advisor the kinds of changes that State Street describes, let’s talk. As we often say, Raise Your Expectations.

Max Osbon –



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