The traditional brokerage model for investing is broken, which is why Elliot Weissbluth created a business model to disrupt standard practices and restore the public’s trust in investing.
The HighTower CEO talked with GenFKD about why the traditional brokerage system is ripe for disruption, and how transparency and truly independent advice can enormously help clients in the long run.
The problem with old school investing
Typically, a consumer goes to a financial advisor for investment advice expecting impartiality and is instead met with a salesperson peddling a specific set of products. HighTower is attempting to change this way of doing things by guaranteeing that clients deal with fiduciaries instead of financial advisors.
“Always live below your means, and ask your financial advisor if he/she is your fiduciary,” Weissbluth said.
Federal law dictates that a fiduciary is an advisor who acts “prudents and solely in the interested of his or her client.” Not all financial advisors are fiduciaries.
For decades, traditional financial advisors lulled their clients into believing that they had their best interest in mind, when they were really “manufacturers and purveyors of financial products,” as Weissbluth’s company calls them. Inherently, the traditional arrangement can often create conflicts of interests.
“We’re the only company that successfully merged the sophisticated infrastructure of the research and technology of Wall Street coupled with the fiduciary duty,” Weissbluth said. “We brought them together into one business.”
HighTower is an independent national financial services firm that offers comprehensive financial advice and wealth management. They offer an “open source platform” where “products and solutions compete” for the company’s clients’ hard-earned savings.
By offering this much wider scope of products with the fiduciary duty, the client can rest assured that their investment strategy is always in their best interest, and that they’re not being steered toward certain products.
Weissbluth’s approach has led to a rapid expansion of HighTower across the country. They have been recognized as one of the fastest growing businesses in the United States by Inc. magazine.
For many millennials, the whole idea of investing money seems unfeasible. But Weissbluth stresses the actual key is saving money, regardless of whether you consider yourself low or high-income. “Get used to the idea that whatever your lifestyle is, and you should only spend 80 percent of what you take home. Take that 10 or 20 percent and just put that away.”
If you do find yourself blessed with a large amount of cash, be vigilant about how you invest. Be certain you’re dealing with a fiduciary and not just a traditional investment advisor. If you’re not investing your money with someone who has your best interest in mind, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
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