The Advisor Institute: Coach's Corner
Midyear reviews: A herd of elephants?

Practical messages intended to help you elevate the success of your practice.

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      By David GordonDirector, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

      Many advisors we know have traditionally used the summer months for midyear client reviews. This summer's reviews are more likely to be virtual than in-office, but that is probably the least significant departure from the norm. Far more significant, we expect, will be the content of your conversations.

      No midyear review should ignore the herd of elephants in the room:

      • COVID-19 continues to disrupt all facets of everyday life
      • International vacation travel is virtually impossible
      • Schools may remain closed this fall
      • Unemployment hovers at generational highs
      • Many businesses remain shuttered, and some will never reopen
      • Cities across the country are gripped by protests
      • The approaching elections portend significant tax changes
      • Interest rates (and interest income) wallow at historic lows
      • Equity valuations appear to shrug off softening earnings

      Are you addressing the herd of elephants? Clients rarely expect you to have all the answers, even in the best of times. But they do expect you to have an opinion about what the list above means for them and their investment portfolios. If you can express a timely and relevant opinion in a short and memorable way, you have a thesis.

      Your thesis does not have to be correct when the dust settles. Clients do not keep score this way; however, they will remember whether you had something relevant to say. If you think your clients should be keeping larger liquid reserves in their portfolios, tell them how and why. If you believe clients need to adjust expectations for portfolio growth, tell them how and why. If you believe asset allocation and asset location should reflect different tax expectations, tell them how and why.

      Bottom line: For better midyear reviews, develop and articulate good theses to address the herd of elephants in the room head-on.