Why Is A Great Investment Adviser So Hard To Find?

By: Roy Macnaughton
Great experts are always hard to find. They're always too busy working for others. Then it's not what you know, but who you know. Or you wait in line. The old expression used to be that "...when you're hot, you're hot!" Hot actors, accountants, doctors or ad agencies are always in demand.

Some say it's just one of those facts of life. Actually, it's basic economics: when demand is specifically stimulated in one area, it highlights the dearth of supply for similar quality. There are only so many great experts to go around.

Why would it be any different with investment advisers? Like architects, accountants, or actors, they come in all shapes and sizes. The problem of finding and keeping a good one seems to be magnified by how much money one has to invest. It logically follows that if an investment adviser is paid strictly by commissions, the more money he manages, the more money he makes.

What would you do? 'Show me the money!' is the old expression. This is not to say that there aren't investment advisers who won't work with you because you don't have millions to invest.

Investment advisers come with different sets of motivation. There are IA's who would rather work only with women, others who like to specialize with those under 40, those who focus only on professionals, or independent business owners; some zero in on seniors, or mature adults, those older than 55.

Each of these respective target groups has its own dynamics and challenges. There are IA's to fit every single market segment's needs. It seems that the most important factor to some might simply be the amount of money you have to invest; or how much time it might take to service that client's account.

After all, the only two things any IA has to offer are her ‘time' and ‘expertise'...or access to it. Time is the one constant. Every expert or investment adviser has only so much available ‘time' to spend on his profession. Each investment adviser has only so much time to dedicate to the servicing and management of each client's portfolio. Naturally the larger the portfolio, the more time that might be allocated.

Some are very efficient and make the best use of this scarce resource. Others are not so fortunate. Which one you get depends on how you shop around, how diligent you are in your choice; what questions you ask during your search. Research has shown that one of the ways IA's greatly improve their efficiency and the accuracy of their work is to use as many digital, automated tools as they can.

These digital and automated 'tools' help speed up the task, save time and greatly improve the accuracy of the stock research results generated. This is where the advantages of the Internet come into play.

It's no secret today that the majority of investors use the Internet to research, educate themselves and calculate potential returns on their market moves. I personally know of one investor who decided to see if he could put together a multiplicity of information sources – in a much different format than usual – so that folks like him could work either by themselves or more closely with their own IA, in the management of their portfolio.

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