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Beware The Tinkerman

12 January 2024

I went to see a doctor the other day. She was very professional.

She performed a thorough examination, discussed my symptoms, and came up with a thoughtful diagnosis and treatment plan that was laid out in a very structured and easy-to-understand manner.

I was impressed.

Then I told her about this medicine that I’d read about on the internet that I thought should be included in my treatment plan. It was all the rage, I told her, and a lot of people were talking about it.

She sighed and told me that the treatment plan she’d already designed was all that I needed and that I shouldn’t get distracted by things I read on the internet.

But I protested further and explained that a colleague had been taking the medicine and it had done wonders for them. They couldn’t speak highly enough of it.

She sighed again and told me that treatment plans are tailored to the person and that the diagnosis, surrounding symptoms and other people’s treatments, especially self-prescribed ones, had no bearing on her professional recommendations.

I didn’t think that was particularly good customer service, so I told her that if she wasn’t prepared to include this other medicine in her recommended treatment plan, then I would go elsewhere.

I won’t tell you what she said to me after that….

I bet when you read that story, you were absolutely on the Doctors side and probably thought I was being somewhat unreasonable.

And you’d be right.

Of course, that conversation never actually happened.

But that is how it would have gone if it did.

And yet, if we substitute ‘Doctor’ for ‘Financial Adviser’ and swap ‘medicine’ for ‘investment’ in the story, it will probably have a very different ending.

There are always those clients who have read about a star fund manager or the next best thing in the investment world and want it included in their portfolio.

And there’s always a guy at work peddling stories about how fantastic this new investment that he found on the internet is, which must be great because the YouTuber said so.

But yet, where the Doctors response to a patient attempting to subvert their medical degree and thirty years of experience with an idea they saw on Facebook, is to stand firm in their professional beliefs, knowledge, experience, and most of all, pride—that’s not always the case in the world of financial advice.

All too often, an Adviser is so desperate to appease a client that they’ll allow them to influence their recommendations and start including the client’s investment ideas and choices in their portfolios and recommendations under the belief that:

  • It’s good customer service.
  • It’s collaborative.
  • It’s giving the customer what they want.

But, as Henry Ford famously said, ‘If I asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have told me a faster horse.’

And if you really do believe it to be collaborative, wait until it all goes wrong and the client and the FOS are looking for someone to blame.

There’ll only be one person hanging on the hook in this so-called ‘collaborative’ relationship.

And it won’t be your client.

Or the guy at work.

Or the YouTuber. – Software, Training & Business Services for Financial Planners


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