It’s almost time for a well-worn Canadian summer tradition: the political barbecue circuit. Many will know it as the time of year when politicians of all levels and persuasions set out from the safety of their suits and legislative tribes to don boxy golf shirts and eat some barbecue, reconnecting with the pulse of the nation.
Or something like that. A cynic might say communication at these events too often moves in the wrong direction, with MPs reciting party lines rather than absorbing constituents’ wisdom to bring back to Ottawa.
But last summer proved there’s some power in these hot dog heart-to-hearts: Liberal MPs working community grills found themselves sweating more than usual, and the earful they received contributed to the government rethinking a few elements of its tax plan for private corporations.
What will be on the menu at this year’s community events? For those dissatisfied with the government’s compromise on passive income in the federal budget, the topic may be the same.
But there will also be marijuana, a burning policy and investment issue as legalization nears; pipelines, as the federal government continues to navigate its compromise between frustrated premiers, proponents and protesters; and NAFTA, with the window for a revised deal shrinking ahead of Mexican and U.S. elections.
And, of course, something entirely new could dominate the summer discourse, catching investors—and those poor MPs trying to put back some potato salad—completely off guard.
This anniversary issue of Advisor’s Edge looks to do some of the summer barbecue circuit’s work. To mark our 20th anniversary, we sought 20 tips to improve your practice. Like the MPs, we fanned out (by phone, at least) to consult advisors and clients across the country. The idea was to gather their wisdom for you to enjoy from the comfort of your porch, dock or summer flight.
But we’re not suggesting that clients are cranky constituents you only have to face once a year; in fact, in several instances we’re reporting just the opposite.
CFA Institute’s 2018 global survey and report, “The Next Generation of Trust,” which came out in March, provides useful data on what matters to clients. Our interviews complement those findings and give them a personal touch.
For example, the report found significant gaps between the importance retail investors place on certain issues and their degree of satisfaction with what their advisors are offering. The three biggest were fee disclosure, data protection and investment reports that are easy to understand.
Our articles include tips on having that fee discussion in more volatile markets, on assuring clients their personal information is safe, and on creating personalized newsletters in your own voice that are tailored for, and digestible by, your client audience.
The survey also found that, after underperformance, lack of communication was the top reason investors listed for leaving their advisors. We include stories from frustrated clients, as well as tips for determining the appropriate level of follow-up for different personalities.
Like the questions MPs will be fielding this summer, the topics we cover won’t all be surprising. But we think the stories from real people provide a fresh perspective and a renewed urgency to the issues they raise.