Next month will mark my one-year anniversary with Carson Group! I’ve had a blast this past year and I can honestly say it has been the most fun I’ve ever had. It has now been more than seven years that I’ve worked with Advisors and had you told me 10 years ago I’d do this and really enjoy it, I wouldn’t have ever believed you. Well, in honor of my first year with Carson, here are some things I’ve learned while working with Advisors.
Keep it fun
This industry is quite cutthroat, and few things are more important than someone’s money. We take our jobs as stewards of assets very seriously, but people also like to laugh and be entertained. So many in this industry are over-the-top serious and dare I say outright boring? No one wants to hear someone in a bowtie and three-piece suit talk about yield curves for an hour.
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When times are rough like last year, that wasn’t fun for anyone. But I’ve learned don’t be afraid to tell some jokes, smile occasionally, and tell stories to get your point across. We like to learn through stories and weaving in a good story with the current state of the economy will be so much more impactful than talking about a bunch of confusing indicators over and over. Over the past year I’ve heard from so many Advisors that enjoy making things fun and relatable, so I’ll keep doing it.
Make it easy to understand
I like to say my job is to take complex data and make it easy to understand. How many people do we see in this industry that talk out of both sides of their mouth? There are a lot of them. I think a lot of times they do this just to confuse everyone and come off as smart. One of the things I’ve found Advisors really want is to make a call and make it easy to understand. A lot of times this could be as simple as chart or table. There’s little doubt that pictures usually tell a much easier to understand story.
We came into this year saying there wouldn’t be a recession and stocks would gain between 12-15%. That was easy to understand. Doesn’t mean we will be right (but we’ve been right so far in 2023), but it helps instill confidence that we have a view and can easily explain it.
Spending money doesn’t mean higher NPS scores, listening does
For some reason big shops think if they hire a bunch of people it’ll improve their NPS score. To keep this simple, NPS scores are Net Promotor Scores and they tell you how you are doing in the eyes of your customers. It is an easy to measure metric that can be compared to the past or your competitors. What always amazed me was instead of asking questions and simply listening to what Advisors wanted, some places liked to tell them what they should want.
This might be more boring content like everyone else, or moving to be more institutional with bland talking heads, or confusing content with various takeaways or points of view. In my years of working with Advisors they want actionable ideas that are easy to explain to a client. I’ll never understand why so many places do the opposite of this, but they do it time and time again and their NPS scores suffer as a result.
The Carson Investment Research team does all we can to meet our Advisor’s expectations and do what they are asking for. We had an enormous jump in our NPS score this past year and our House View models have seen explosive growth as well. You can learn a lot by listening is my final takeaway here.
Have one voice
One of the real benefits of the Carson Investment Research team is we are quite nimble and we have one voice. Advisors want to have one voice. There are shops that have enormous Research teams that require many, many meetings and votes to get anything done. You know what happens when you have a bunch of people voting? You get an average consensus and average results.
I always get a kick out of seeing someone from a research shop on tv in the AM say one thing, then someone else from the exact same research team quoted in an article later that day saying the opposite. One might be bullish and the other is bearish, and it happens ALL…THE…TIME. We have the Carson House Views here and we will never do that. This adds another layer of confidence and consistency to know there is one team voice and Advisors crave this.
Work with people you enjoy
There will always be roaches and rats out there. People you can’t trust, as they only have their own agenda to fulfill and are out for themselves. It is rare to find a team that truly cares about each other and cares about the mission they are on. Advisors can tell if their research team enjoys working together or if they are just a bunch of individuals doing their own thing.
At Carson we call it ‘Find Your Freedom’ and we mean it. We are helping Advisors, their clients, and anyone else out there find their freedom. This can mean different things to different people, but if you work with people you enjoy and have fun doing it, it’ll show.
Our Investment Research team does just this. There are no egos or ulterior motives. We are doing all we can to help our Advisors and we do things we all enjoy. I don’t have nearly as many meetings as I once did. I would be in meetings that I had no business being in, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Now without those meetings, I have plenty of time to totally focus on creating unique and useful content.
The final thing I’ve found Advisors want is a community that they believe in and feel a part of. To be part of something bigger than themselves and feel like they are all in it together is so important. There is little doubt that Advisors in solid communities will see better growth and client retention. If they are simply left on an island to figure it all out by themselves, that will usually lead to a tougher environment to grow.
What has impressed me more than anything in my past year is the sense of community that our Carson Advisors (we call them Partners) have. They truly care about each other and will go out of their way to help each other. Sure, we have research, compliance, technology, marketing, etc. to help them grow, but at the end of the day, hearing from other Advisors what is and isn’t working is exponentially powerful. There’s a reason our Partners are growing faster than the industry average and a big part of that is the incredible community we have here at The Carson Group.