60 Minutes did a great piece on derivatives. They were outlawed
100 years ago because they caused major problems then. Amazingly, with
deregulation they slipped back into the system to cause major problems
once again. Here is the link for those of you who may not have seen
Also interesting, here’s a list of the earnings of the CEO’s
from 2005-2007 of companies in trouble. As David Lettermen
says, “Something doesn’t smell right here!” (Source: MSN Money
Columnist: Michael Brush)
Countrywide: Angelo Mozilo, $361.7mm
Lehman Bros: Richard Fuld, $186.5mm
Merrill Lynch: Stan O’Neal, $86mm
Fannie Mae: Daniel Mudd, $11.6mm
Bear Stearns: Jimmy Cayne, $42.3mm
Citigroup: Charles Prince, $41.5mm
WAMU: Kerry Killinger, $36mm
AIG: Martin Sullivan, $25.4mm
Wachovia: Kennedy Thompson, $16mm
Freddie Mac: Richard Syron, $12.9mm
Finally, in talking to my clients who are well-meaning financial
advisors, there is an underlying theme of feeling like you are doing
the best you can to give the best advice possible and along come a few
people that really mess up the system. Advisors can feel taken
advantage of, lied to, etc. The system is supposed to work within
certain perimeters. We have to patiently believe that we will get this
mess fixed and get some regulations back in place to prevent another
In the meantime, it is more important than ever to demonstrate
you are on the client’s side. The most powerful approach is to
ask questions, encourage them to talk about their thoughts and
feelings and not judge or “make wrong” whatever they say.
Here are some questions you can ask that show you care about their
point of view whatever it is, and that you want to thoroughly
understand their point of view.
Tell me what would be most important to you?
Why did you pick that one?
Why do you say that?
What makes you say that?
Have you had an experience that makes you feel that way?
Can you give me the short version of what happened?
You seem to feel strongly about that, tell me more!
How important is that to you?
Is that something that would be nice or is that something you
If you could do anything you wanted with that situation, what
would you do?
What would be a home run?
Are you open to creative ideas or do you like to stay with the
Remember, your clients goals haven’t changed, just the
resources available for reaching them (in most cases). They need
you more than ever!
Have a productive November,
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