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Timing is Everything

By Jeff Spears | April 26, 2016

Good timing is an essential component to most successful endeavors.  While that is an enduring fact, technology has shortened the window to make good decisions.  We will look at the importance of timing in our business and personal lives and suggest how we can increase our odds of success.  I realize that good timing and luck can be considered kissing cousins but both are essential components of our success.

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By Jeff Spears | March 28, 2016

The financial services industry is engaging in a fierce debate regarding full adoption of the fiduciary standard.  The friction to adopt this standard, which is very client friendly, is confusing.  To help eliminate our confusion we look at other professions and the standards that they have adopted and the impact it has had on their business.

Professionals are our trusted source for expertise and advice in areas that we don’t possess the required knowledge or experience.  While the internet has challenged some of the profession’s historic monopoly on advice we believe the Big Four Professions will survive if they hold themselves to the higher standards they proclaim.  We examine each standard:

1.) Educational requirements 2.) Licenses 3.) Oaths


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Tocqueville  we need You

By Jeff Spears | February 23, 2016

Have we reached a tipping point with the US citizens and US investors?  It is difficult to watch the political campaigns with their populist mantras to win votes and not come to the conclusion that we have.  The same can be said about money management firms when you watch their commercials and read their blogs that claim if you invested with them you would feel safe despite the vumultuous moves in the markets.

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Looking For a Good Coach

By Jeff Spears | January 27, 2016

The Super Bowl is upon us, and the Oscars are just around with corner, so it’s natural to think about what it takes to be a top performer, whether it’s in professional football, the entertainment industry or the wealth management business.

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2015 Greatest Hits

By Jeff Spears | December 18, 2015

We often find refuge and comfort in old and new media. 

With that in mind, I wanted to share a few of my favorite secret hiding places in 2015, which turned out to be a challenging, if not disruptive year, for many in the wealth management business. 

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An Epic Reunion

By Jeff Spears | November 27, 2015

Reunions are always an interesting experience, whether it’s with your family, schoolmates or former colleagues. 

The personal dynamics at play are at once fascinating and entertaining. 

I was reminded of that on November 4, when I attended a reunion of Montgomery Securities that commemorated its acquisition by NationsBank 18 years ago. 

I was looking forward to this epic gathering to see my colleagues, many of whom have gone on to achieve even greater accomplishments. It was going to be fun to relive the glory days – even momentarily – of when Montgomery was the big daddy investment bank in San Francisco. 

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Segmenting Your Life

By Jeff Spears | October 31, 2015

Segmentation is a very powerful strategy in the wealth management business, as it is in any industry. Numerous cases studies demonstrate the effectiveness of market segmentation to narrow your focus and achieve your goals.

The intriguing question is whether that same segmentation strategy can be applied to our personal life. 

Let’s try it out. 

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The Winding Road To Authenticity

By Jeff Spears | September 29, 2015

From an early age, our society promotes a very well-defined path to success in our personal lives and in our careers. 

Problem is that the well-defined path creates more problems than it solves. 

When we meet someone who appears to have taken a direct line to a perfect life, we have one of two immediate reactions: We either don’t trust them or we hate them. 

Keeping It Real
It’s taken me 53 years to realize that the straight-and-narrow path is more fiction than fact. More authentic is the road most of us take – one full of surprises, joy, disappointment and completely unpredictable outcomes. 

That’s the good news. Not taking the well-worn path – doing it your way – is incredibly liberating and ultimately satisfying. 

Sharing that idea with friends and family is also very liberating, and it is heartening for them as well. That’s because the cultural conversation about success is drowned out by the deafening chatter of people talking about the road successfully traveled. 

As I continue along my own path, now more than ever I want to share my authentic journey in the hope it will help others, as well as me. 

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Please Take Our Blind Taste Test

By Jeff Spears | August 27, 2015

In the 1970s, Pepsi was the disruptive agent in the soft drink business with big ambitions to grab market share from Coca-Cola. 

To take on the market leader, Pepsi adopted the “Pepsi Challenge,” a maverick approach: Show loyal Coke drinkers that Pepsi was better by conducting blind taste tests in the parking lot of their favorite supermarkets. 

The marketing geniuses at Pepsi got exactly what they wanted. 

More than 57% of the tasters chose Pepsi over Coke. It was a game-changer. 

Fast forward a few decades to today’s supermarket – the Internet. In the same spirit of Pepsi, I conducted my own blind test of wealth advisors by analyzing the websites of Wall Street firms, independent advisors and robo advisors.

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Let’s Solve This Together

By Jeff Spears | July 24, 2015

I attended a presentation last week about how to manage your online profile, and I was surprised by the average age of the audience. 

It was predominantly 20-somethings who also work in the tech industry. I was a bit confused. If anyone should understand social media, it’s this demographic. 

Their questions and concerns were both refreshing and enlightening. The experience left this 53-year-old Baby Boomer contemplating how our two generations can collaborate to create solutions that work for all of us. 

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