Last week somebody asked me if I knew of any movies that featured investment advisors. After thinking about it for a long time, I could not come up with any. Sure there are plenty of movies about brokers like Wall Street, Wolf of Wall Street, Boiler Room, Pursuit of Happyness or Trading Places. But I could not think of one that depicted an investment advisor.
After having this realization, quickly I realized why this was the case. A movie about brokers is exciting and funny. I spent about 9 years working at broker dealers. While I never experienced the excesses that made those movies great, I understood the mentality of the people who worked there. Brokers make money on commissions, so there is huge incentive to sell product to make money. This can cause people to do things that they might not ordinarily do.
I cannot imagine what a movie about an investment advisor would look like or how they could even get more than 10 people in the seats. Unless of course the advisor was a secret agent or alien from Mars. Then maybe you could get 30 people in the seats.
The bottom line is that being a wealth manager is not exciting. Sure it may be an interesting, intellectually stimulating and fulfilling profession, it does not make for a good movie. The reason is that wealth management is about financial planning, investment management, risk management, and working with people. Before I go on I it is important to discuss the difference between being a broker and being an advisor.
What is a Broker or Registered Representative?
A Registered Representative is a person who works at a broker dealer who has passed the licensing requirements for the series 7 test. This title, registered representative, allows the person to sell investment products and earn a commission for that sale. These investment products can be stocks, mutual funds, bonds, variable annuities, managed futures hedge funds and more.
The registered representative, or broker as they are also called, has to provide “suitable” investments to his clients. However they are not required to follow up with the client after the sale. Many of the brokers provide other services to their clients as well, but it is not required by their license.