Do financial advisers who switch their clients’ money in and out of different active strategies behave as badly with their own portfolios? The evidence suggests they do. In fact, as ROBIN POWELL explains in his latest article for Money Marketing, their own returns are often even lower than their clients’.
Imagine waiting to be served in a shop and noticing your GP in front of you in the queue. Now imagine them asking the assistant for a packet of cigarettes. What would your reaction be?
Open-minded though I generally am, I would be surprised and disappointed to find that the person I relied on for advice about my health had such a cavalier disregard for their own. I suspect most of us would react the same.
Smoking used to be commonplace in the medical profession. In the 1940s, most doctors smoked. It wasn’t until the mid-1960s, when the link with cancer became incontrovertible, that doctors started to come out against it in large numbers.
We have seen an even slower rate of progress in the financial advice profession in terms of waking up to the evidence on how to invest. A mountain of peer-reviewed data stretching back to the 1950s shows that investors do best when they abstain from picking stocks and market timing and instead hold widely diversified, low-cost portfolios for the long term. Yet it wasn’t until the 1990s that advisers began to take the evidence seriously.
ROBIN POWELL is the founding editor of The Evidence-Based Investor. He works as a journalist and consultant specialising in finance and investing, and as a campaigner for a fairer, more transparent asset management industry. You can find him here on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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