As the NCAA tournament unfolds, many people have been asking me about my experience at Indiana University during our run to the national championship. Frequently, I get asked how it felt to be on the bench during a game played in front of 70,000-plus people. Was it easy to stay focused on the game? How did the players maintain their poise? And, the pressure must have been intense, right?
Well, I’ll tell you. When you are “in the moment,” all the distractions seem to vanish or become far away from your focus. Even 70,000 people at high decibels won’t faze a high level athlete. You tend to be focused on the task at hand and the execution of the game plan in order to succeed.
At the end of the day, that’s the same philosophy we need to have when it comes to our clients. If we are solely focused on our clients, we will not be distracted by factors that cause us to stray from our mission: securing the finances for our clients.
The discussions around the fiduciary standards heats up and cools down. However, if we are truly “in the moment” with our clients, we have nothing to fear. It’s when we focus on our business model that we become incongruent with our clients’ needs and objectives. As financial professionals, staying focused on our clients and aligning our recommendations with them in mind keeps us within the fiduciary standard. Fiduciary is not a business model but a way of doing business.
I encourage financial professionals to not be afraid of the fiduciary standard but embrace it. If we really are acting in the best interests of our clients, we won’t see a day-to-day change in the way we do business. It’s important for our broker-dealers and institutions to understand the proposed standards don’t require us to do business differently. True professionals, successful professionals, already conduct themselves in this manner.
The Bottom Line: Fiduciary is not a business model. It’s a level of conduct where we focus on our client. Many of us are already there.
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