As I was reading the New York Times I came across an article that concerned me. Titled “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs,” the article was written by Greg Smith, the firm’s former executive director and head of United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It describes in detail why he chose to leave such a decorated position at the company.
“To put the problem in the simplest terms,” Smith said, “The interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.”
That’s a bold statement coming from an employee who spent almost 12 years working for one of the largest financial service firms in the world. But it highlights an important issue: can financial firms, advisors or anyone with ties to Wall Street be trusted with your life and financial future? Do they really make clients their number one priority?
Financial Advising used to be considered a noble career. It was a way to help people prepare for future and plan for their goals. Sadly that slowly devolved culminating in 2008; the year trust died. Bonuses, greed and deception drove millions of people out of the money they worked hard to earn. The financial industry was portrayed as a team of greedy, white-collar workers gambling clients’ pensions for their own personal gain. A few in our industry messed up and we all took the fall for it.
Today the qualities of a worthy financial advisor are in line with the profession’s roots. Trust, honesty, and a desire to help clients are the qualities we continually try to achieve. I believe trust is the most important quality a financial advisor and client can share, but it’s also the most difficult to earn.
I can relate with Greg Smith. I left a similar high-profile firm to start Prosperion Financial Advisors for some of the same reasons he listed in the article. I believe in assisting people to accomplish their goals, not using them to achieve mine.
Our goal at Prosperion is, and always has been, to serve our clients exceptionally well. We want to help them work toward their goals and plan for their future. This is based on three principles:
1. We understand and appreciate the level of trust you place in us. After all, we’re talking about more than just your money – we help you manage your future, your retirement and your legacy.
2. We believe exceptional service means availability, quality advice and a clear-cut actionable plan. Our advisors are dedicated to your growth personally and financially.
3. We know trust can’t be bought or sold; it has to be earned. We’re not perfect, but we’re dedicated to helping our clients with a clear plan and the confidence needed to handle the bumps along the way. Through this process we hope to continually earn and maintain your trust.
Our job is to help you plan for your future. It’s as simple as that. I want to thank our clients for the trust they put in us and make a promise to continue to work hard for them. As an industry we have a lot of work to do in regaining the trust of the public. At Prosperion I believe we’re on the right track.