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Why I Joined Personal Capital As A Financial Advisor

July 21, 2014 | Tyler Morris

Quick Biog

Name: Tyler Morris

Education: B.S. Financial Counseling and Planning – Purdue University

Role at Personal Capital: Financial Advisor

Hobbies: Anything active. I enjoy playing basketball, snowboarding, golfing, fishing, mountaineering, mountain biking, anything to get outside.

Family Status: Married to Kim with no children

Investment Style: Smart Indexing

Why I joined Personal Capital?

I had a great, secure, job as a research associate with people I enjoyed working with, but continued to keep a close eye on Personal Capital. The company stood out to me because it was taking an idea I had for this industry in college and bringing it to life (High Tech and mobile with the right blend of high touch service from real, qualified, advisors).

I was not working as an advisor immediately prior to joining Personal Capital. I had left advising in 2011 after being fed up pushing company mutual funds and whichever new product an insurance salesman brought in to sell to clients. There was constant pressure to sway clients into said mutual funds or life insurance products even if I didn’t completely agree with them. I told myself I wouldn’t get back into advising unless I knew it would be in a place that I felt completely comfortable putting my money where my mouth was; Personal Capital (after months of blog reading, using the dashboard, and researching) fit the bill.

If you know me at all, you know I actually enjoy researching various things that catch my interest extensively. I spent months using the dashboard to track my own accounts and reading the blog pieces to get a better understanding of the investment philosophy and advisory services offered. After spending all this time researching I was very excited about the company and everything Personal Capital was “preaching” resonated with my own personal investment beliefs as well as a company I would be proud to say I worked for. I was fortunate enough to get hired and begin working here at the beginning of February. It has been the best decision I have made in my career.

The team here is excited to come to work and help our clients truly make a lasting difference in their financial lives. I am very proud to work with this great team helping better our client’s financial lives while simultaneously taking on all the wrong that is in this industry. Bill Harris, our CEO, said something on my second day that has continued to resonate with me; “30 years ago Charles Schwab changed the industry introducing the discount model, there is no reason we can’t change the industry again for the better with our technology-assisted financial advisory service.”

Personal Capital made sense because I was able to do what I greatly enjoy doing, helping people with planning issues. More traditional advisors have so many responsibilities it is often hard to be exceptional at all of them. They have to find clients, gather information and prepare recommendations, then assist in filling out any documentation needed to open accounts and move assets, choose the proper investments and, to a degree, manually oversee the investments, and finally work on everyday planning issues.

We are moving this industry forward in a big way by working as a team. Clients have two advisors, and entire operations team that focuses on getting accounts opened and assets transferred over as seamlessly as possible for the client, and our investment committee that oversees the investment management duties. Many clients want to know how they should invest in their 401K’s. Should they open 529’s to save for their children’s college educations? Are they on track for retirement; or are there additional items they need to be thinking about?

We don’t sell products at Personal Capital which allows me to be unbiased when providing advice on these various topics. It is refreshing to feel good knowing what you provide to the client is just that, unbiased.

Client Situations

During my five months at Personal Capital I have had the pleasure of working with many different clients with various levels of investment experience and planning issues. I have come to learn that a lot of clients come to us having used the dashboard in various amounts. Some clients used it diligently for months before coming on board as a client. Others used it once and then left it alone. And there are those that start a dashboard, link accounts, and quickly determine they want to be clients.

In all cases I have found that a lot of clients don’t fully utilize the dashboard or mobile apps to their fullest or even forget to use them all together. One case in particular that stands out in my mind is a client who reached out stating he was upset that he couldn’t view his portfolio in the manner he was promised when coming on board as a client. We pride ourselves in being overly transparent on our fees, the securities held in your account, and really anything else you can think of. This client and I got on the phone together and simultaneously pulled up their dashboard together. I took the next ten minutes to walk him through the tools that showed his allocation breakdown from its highest level view all the way down to viewing individual holdings. We also took the opportunity to view his accounts by sector (this plays a major part in our strategies using Tactical Weighting/Smart Indexing).

I was able to show him how to sort by the specific account he wanted to view and then breakdown what stocks or positions made up those sectors in a short amount of time.

The dashboard and mobile apps are something I think this industry desperately needed and is still something people aren’t used to using. Many clients are used to working with advisors, meeting once a quarter at most and then not asking questions or knowing what questions to ask during the empty voids or even the couple hours they meet with their advisor. Our tools are the best I have used or seen available and allows the client to stay in the touch with their hard earned money as much or as little as they wish. It allows the client to see their portfolios in real time and not just a statement that is outdated the second it is printed.

Leverage Our Technology And Our Human Resources

Here are three common positive findings I’ve noticed from some clients who really start utilizing our technology and resources.

• Client’s will view the allocation portion of the dashboard, without realizing they can drill deeper to see the breakdown of say US Equity for example, by size (large, mid, and small cap exposure) and style (growth, core, and value) and then dig even deeper to see what assets actually make up those portions of their portfolio

• We use Tactical Weighting (equal weighting by size, style, and sector) in our portfolios and clients often overlook the portion of the dashboard that shows the sector weightings. By viewing the sector tab they can look into each sector to again see what assets actually comprise that sector. Transparency is key and I believe clients enjoy knowing what makes up these areas of their portfolios

• Our Investment checkup tool is one of our best and most under used tools I feel we have. It quickly analyzes your portfolio (All accounts or only the ones you select) and tells you what is out of balance. It will also analyze stock concentration and the costs to owning any funds in your portfolio. I think clients are often shocked to see what fees they are paying on the funds they own outside of Personal Capital and what that is costing them on a yearly basis. Here’s a post we wrote on How To Minimize 401k Fees With Personal Capital for further reading.

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