Financial Advisers: Show Us Your Numbers was an article written by Jason Zweig a couple of months ago that did not get much press, its mind boggling actually, especially now when everyone with a blog is consider a pro and guru. Here is a short excerpt from the piece.
“If you want to know the track record of a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund, you can look it up in a matter of seconds online. But what about the track record of a financial adviser who is offering to pick investments for you?
“I have to think investors would want to know that, but I don’t know how many are actually asking for it,” says Charles Rotblut of the American Association of Individual Investors in Chicago, a nonprofit with 170,000 members nationwide.
“If the adviser is talking about how much return he can get for you,” adds Mr. Rotblut, “then it’s a very fair question” to ask him what his own returns have been.
While some financial advisers who cater to individual investors are willing to calculate and report their own average historical returns, the vast majority still don’t—and probably won’t until investors smarten up and start demanding it.
“It’s baffling to me,” says Tim Medley, president of Medley & Brown, a financial adviser in Jackson, Miss., that manages $575 million and publicly updates its performance monthly online. “The advisory business has grown dramatically, and I would have guessed that by now a lot more advisers would be posting their rates of return on their websites.”
Mind you, every client opens and closes accounts at different times, in a variety of investments, with various levels of risk. But that doesn’t mean an advisory firm can’t calculate the average return it earns for its clients. Every investor in a given mutual fund also is unique, but all mutual funds report their past returns in the same standardized format.”
The way I see it, they are some real grey lines with showing performance, the rules themselves don’t make it clear for those who want to do it. I see some RIA’S that do it with a million disclosures, I have seen mutual funds that say their numbers are hypothetical on their main site but are the same numbers that morningstar reports, so they are not really hypothetical, some just post back-tested results. Like everything else in life for most people, if you have good numbers you want to show them and if you don’t then you don’t want to show them.
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