I was recently listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz. (I urge everyone to listen to the weekly interviews, they are fantastic!) One guest on the podcast said some things that explained exactly how I’ve been feeling for the past year. David Rosenberg was his guest. Mr. Rosenberg used to be the Chief Economist at Merrill Lynch and is currently the Chief Economist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc, a Canadian Investment Advisory firm that manages several billion dollars.
Below are two of my favorite segments of the podcast. Before you listen and learn from them, let me give you some background.
In the industry there are two types of firms . . .
- Buy-side – Those that manage money for clients. Investment Advisors, including our firm, would be a buy-side firm.
- Sell-side – Those firms that sell products. Think of a broker-dealer that sells stocks, options, research, education, etc. from. Schwab and TD Ameritrade would be such examples.
For 10 years I worked on the “sell-side” of the industry. (You can see my bio here.) I taught classes, provided opinions, trading ideas for stocks and options and did my best to teach people to manage their own money. During that time I took pride in what in I did. I cared about people and whether they succeeded or not. However, I was also subject to what the firm wanted me to do and sell and at the end of the day I did the best I could and went home.
Fast forward to my current job . . .
Today our “buy-side” firm (recently ranked in Utah’s Top 25 investment firms), manages just under $100 million. I can honestly say that I had no idea what helping people was all about until I started managing their money. Teaching, providing educational content and trade ideas was one thing . . . managing money is another.
I think Mr. Rosenberg explains my feelings best in the two short segments below.
In this first segment he explains the difference of working at a buy-side vs. a sell-side firm. He then goes into the personal connection that he has with clients and how much he cares about helping them.
In this second segment Mr. Rosenberg and Mr. Ritholtz discuss those that provide commentary vs. those that actually have skin in the game as far as money management.
In summary, I can honestly say that I care more about others on a professional and personal level in a way that I never did before at TD Ameritrade. I wrote an article about it called “The BIG Fallacy: “No one cares about your money more than you do.”
I would also offer a word of caution. Be careful who you listen to. Ask yourself the following questions, “if this person is so great at what they do, why aren’t they managing money?” “Do they have skin in the game?” “Do they have any idea how it feels to be a fiduciary and act in the best interest of others?”
While many people have great intentions, there is a big difference (as Mr. Rosenberg, Mr. Ritholtz and I know), between a sell-side firm and a buy-side firm.
To listen to the entire podcast click here.