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01 Introduction to The Whole Truth: Why This Podcast?

Steve Seid & Kurt Dupuis
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episode 1 the whole truth

Steve Seid:
Welcome to the whole truth for financial advisors. In this show, we explore the topics that are interesting and important to you. Ready? Let's do it. 

Disclosure:
The views expressed herein are those of the participants and not those of Touchstone Investments.

Steve Seid:
And welcome everybody to the whole truth from the Bay area, California. I am Steve Seid and I'm joined by my esteemed cohost, Mr. Kurt Dupuis from Atlanta. Kurt, welcome.

Kurt Dupuis:
Hopefully not too esteemed. It's not summer yet in Atlanta, so we're not too steamy right now.

Steve Seid:
Oh, good point. Coming out hot there, beautiful. All right Kurt, so what we're going to do is this episode is about providing an overview. What we're doing here, why we're doing it, that sort of thing. So it has been a long time coming, getting this show off the ground, we've had some great support, but give the objective of the show. We're two wholesalers, we're creating a podcast. Why?

Kurt Dupuis:
Well, a lot of reasons. Probably the main reason though is that it's needed. Advisers today are running an ever more complicated business with increasing amounts of technology, and the way you did things five, 10, 20 years ago just doesn't work anymore. And we know that because our clients tell us that, and we know that because their managers, and complex managers, and regional directors tell us that. And so because we get to touch and interact so many different teams, and sole contributors on a weekly basis, it really puts us in a unique spot.

Steve Seid:
Yeah. And it's an important point. So yes, we're wholesalers, but we approach our job very differently. I'll talk a little bit about my background and why I approach it this way. So I've been at my firm for close to 11 years at this point. And wasn't always in the field, I was what was called an Investment Specialist for a lot of years. And what I was tasked with was being a technical specialist on our strategies, but also developing value adds for financial advisors.

Steve Seid:
And so I'd go to a field and a wholesaler would bring me into a meeting and they'd say, "Okay, here's the guy who can actually talk about the investments, and here's a guy who can actually help you with your business." And you realize that, I'm observing this and I'm like, "Well shouldn't the wholesaler be the one that can be able to do this?" So when I looked at the role of what a wholesaler was, I thought, "Okay, there's something I can bring to it that's entirely different from what they're getting today." And so for the last six years I've done that, my approach has been to get in and have deep consultative type relationships. And I know you approach it the exact same way, which is how we started talking about this whole thing.

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah, exactly. Two very different paths to get to a pretty similar end point. At least how we do things. I've been wholesaling for a decade, but the first many years of that career was wholesaling internationally because that was my background. And never once talked about practice management, or never once got into the weeds with a client. It was all technical, it was all about investments. And covering the US now for a number of years I've realized, as much as advisors businesses have become more commoditized, our business becomes more commoditized. So how do you still make an impact on people's lives and businesses that is a win-win for everybody? And so similarly we have both taken this approach, and taken not so great territories. Is that a nice way to say it?

Steve Seid:
That's a nice way to say it.

Kurt Dupuis:
And taking them to territories at our firm that are towards the top. So this stuff works for us, this stuff works for our clients. And just like anything else under the sun, it's not for everybody, but we know there's this need out there, and hopefully this podcast is another way for us to interact and reach people that do realize this is a need. And by the way, this is not a need that we just woke up one day and said it was there.

Kurt Dupuis:
I was at a complex partner's kickoff meeting at one of the big wires just a couple of weeks ago with a complex manager for a top 10 complex in the country said these exact things that we're talking about, these are our problems. It's how our advisors interact with our clients. It's how to run a business, not a sales organization. And the laundry list of things that that we have on a docket to talk about, it's exactly what the brass at all of these firms are talking about as well. So I think it's really timely, and hopefully our small voice in this big wheel can be heard through this platform.

Steve Seid:
And what's interesting is so many people talk about practice management and business management, things like that. But...

Kurt Dupuis:
I know, I hate it.

Steve Seid:
It's approached so superficially, in other words, in a lot of cases, they'll throw out concepts, "Hey, here's what you should do for your business. A, B, and C." But there's nothing on the execution. The stuff that they provide is very, very high level. And so we're going a lot more in depth than that with these teams. And so what this show is about is bringing those best practices, those findings, those experiences, to our audience. This show should have a localized feel, if you're an adviser anywhere in the country you're welcome to listen, but you're definitely going to get really localized feel. And the other thing about this show is we want it to be interactive, so we are going to do a lot of the work for you. If there's something just on your mind, like, "Man, I'd really love to help here. Or I'd really love to explore this topic." But if you're a successful FA, you don't have the time to do a lot of that stuff, we'll do it for you. Right?

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah. Hit us up.

Steve Seid:
So that's the approach. Yeah, I mean that's exactly it. We have an email address called thewholetruth@touchstonefunds.com and so we'll be interacting with our audience in that way. So with that, Kurt, maybe we'll talk about show structure and what people can expect with each episode.

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah. So we think of this in three blocks, and keep it under a half an hour. So it's easy to listen on your commute to or from work. The first block will just be this, a little bit of banter about what are we talking about? What are we seeing? Maybe some interesting things we read or talk to clients about this week, and introduce the big topic of the day.

Kurt Dupuis:
And most often that will be either an opportunity or an obstacle that we're hearing from our clients, that we're starting to dig into, or have fully dug into, that's helping our clients grow and optimize their practices. So that'll be the meat of the show. And we hope to have a lot of special guests to include clients, to include subject matter experts from our firm, or probably people that we don't even know yet, that we'll be able to interact with through the pod.

Kurt Dupuis:
And then lastly, the third segment, and we spent a fair bit of time talking about this and it's funny how it struck a chord with both of us, is we want to end on a high note. So we're going to call the closing segment, the Costanza Corner. So if you know anything about Seinfeld, and if you don't I'm sorry, I fear for you. But we want to end on a high note and something uplifting, something positive, something inspiring to end with. So easy peasy, that's what we're looking to do in that three block episode.

Steve Seid:
Yeah, it's that episode of Seinfeld where George is in a conference at work, I think it was Kruger Enterprise if I remember right. But he realized, okay, I say something that's really good and everyone's excited and laughing and happy and appreciates it. I know it can only go downhill. So I'm just going to go leave at that point. So what Kurt talks about is our way to leave on top of something positive and uplifting. So let's talk about takeaways because it's really, really important, Kurt, that this is actionable. We're not doing this just so you can be entertained, although we hope you are. We're doing this so you can take away and really make tangible progress. So talk about that a little bit.

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah, that's it. I mean, in full disclosure, I may bust out in a Coach O voice every now and again, but this podcast is not purely for entertainment, it's mostly more educational and resource driven. So it's important for us that for every episode there is something actionable, so that the topic that we're talking about resonates you in one way or the other. We can give you some sort of process or framework that, in all honestly Steve has probably come up with, that helps people think about and progress on these opportunities and obstacles that they're facing. So the takeaway is that if there's not a takeaway, we haven't done our jobs very well. And so it's really important for us to have a tangible action step after each episode. Otherwise, what are we doing here?

Steve Seid:
Absolutely. So that's the overview of the show. We're going to come back in a minute and talk about our first topic, which we're going to get to in a pretty robust way. This is The Whole Truth, stick with us. And welcome back. So what we're going to do now, in the second part of the show, is talk a little bit about where we're headed and introduce our first topic, which is going to be client service. And we're starting with client service for a reason. One of the reasons is its very, very important. There's nothing I think that matters more than client service in this industry at this point. But the other is there's opportunity for a lot of improvement in this industry. And even if you're sitting there and you're like, okay, my clients love me and we do client service really, really well. This is something that each and every year you should still be raising the bar.

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah. And I'm sure a lot of people are thinking is, Oh I do a client appreciation event every year for my clients. And that's great, that's awesome. I'm sure your clients really appreciate it, I'm sure it's a way for you to deepen and broaden your relationship with clients. But that really ain't what we're talking about. We're talking about more of a systematic way to service and manage a bunch of relationships, because let's be honest, I mean this is a scale business and so you're probably going to have more than 30 clients that you need to interact with on a regular basis. So how do you think about that? And most importantly, how do you implement that? How do you come up with something actionable?

Kurt Dupuis:
So this is a huge topic. This is going to be a number of episodes where we're going to try to take bite sized chunks. But you know what's interesting about this whole topic is that, two things. First of all, anybody that you talk to in the financial services industry, or the wealth management industry, you ask them, does client service matter? What are 100% going to say?

Steve Seid:
They're going to say, yeah.

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah. Absolutely. When you follow that up though with, Oh well, great, well what does your client service model look like? There's one of two reactions. Either you say, Oh, well I try to talk to my top 10 clients every month. It's like, okay, that's a start. Or what I hear more often, I have no idea, or I have nothing. So I think unanimously people would know that this is important, but this gets to the heart of why this podcast exists. Few people have the time, energy, or expertise to put thought around what that should look like.

Steve Seid:
Yeah. Yeah, it's reactive. Absolutely. And we're going to go down this topic, there's a couple of different ways that you can think about it, and so we're going to go down all these different paths. So the first, it's probably a good point to stop and talk about some of those differences in definitions. And the first is minimum standard of care versus differentiation. So we're, again, we're going to explore both of these, but what does that mean? We're going to start with a minimum standard of care.

Steve Seid:
So if you just want to make sure the basic boxes are checked in a proactive and systematic way, that's setting your minimum standard of care. At some point down the road we'll talk about differentiation, which is to say if you want to build a model that is different, that is top tier, that separates you from all the other FAs, or most in the industry, what does that look like? And that's going to be a lot of fun.

Kurt Dupuis:
This is that shopping experience, I don't know if I've ever done this, but the differentiation is the shopping experience where you come in, they give you a bottle of champagne and a bonbon or something. That's highly elevated, right? That's not minimum level of service. So we're going to tackle both of those. But with a minimum standard, putting some thought, putting a little bit of work in and hopefully we can help advisors transition to that reactive nature to a little bit more proactive, and get some of their life back.

Steve Seid:
Yep. And that's where we'll start in the next episode, and listen, I think about this outside of our industry, we've all dealt with companies that we knew valued our business, that we're like, wow, this is really enjoyable to do business with this organization. And you want to go back. Right? And it's things like that, that really differentiates you.

Steve Seid:
But we're going to just start with the basics as Kurt said, within the next episode. Okay. So we have to talk about a little bit, another couple of topics that will delineate here. And that's going to be, I would say supernova versus non-supernova. So can you tackle that Kurt?

Kurt Dupuis:

Oh sure. So supernova is, not the flaming ball in the sky, it's a way of thinking about your practice that was developed by a guy named Rob Knapp, who is a former executive at Merrill Lynch that has since retired and coaches people on this philosophy and this ideal full time. And he actually donates all the money to charity, it's kind of a cool thing. But the idea is, so if you think of what a supernova is, and I'm not a science guy, but it's a star that implodes and then bursts out and grows bigger.

Kurt Dupuis:
And so the idea is that by getting smaller and tighter as a practice, that will enable you to grow and expand over the long-term. And so what that nets out to is saying, we're not going to have a first-class experience and a coach experience. All of our clients are going to be first-class, top tier, set your minimums at whatever, and we're only going to deal with this level of clients. So there is beauty in that simplicity, I think. But Steve would you agree that most clients, most advisors that you interact with, this isn't really the structure for them, or at least some modification of this is probably warranted.

Steve Seid:
Yeah, because it's hard to cut households. We run data on businesses all the time, and even those that have, no one could argue that they have way too many households. Some people just don't want to trim their book down, and we get that. And so we'll talk about the supernova route as I mentioned. But what we're going to start is the base case. We're going to start with a minimum standard of care, the non-supernova route, just with the households you have today, and how do you build a proactive service model. That's where we're going to head in our next episode. So what's the takeaway with this? We're going to come back with that because Costanza Corner in a moment. But I do want to talk about the takeaway, the action item.

Steve Seid:
The takeaway is this, do an objective and honest evaluation of where your client service is today. You can do that through self-reflection, through talking to your assistants, your support staff. You can even go the extra mile and ask your clients. And that's something that is always illuminating to do from time to time. But do that evaluation. And then what you'll be able to do is set yourself up to gain the most from our next series of episodes around this topic of client service as we talked about. There's going to be a lot of work done here because it matters. So with that we'll come back shortly with our Costanza Corner. This is The Whole Truth, stick with us. And welcome back everyone, this is the Costanza Corner, the part where we leave on a high note. And so with Kurt, why don't you share with everyone what you have today?

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah, sure. So this just proves that Twitter can be used for good. I saw this...

Steve Seid:
Is that true?

Kurt Dupuis:
I saw this this week on Twitter... Very slightly.

Steve Seid:
Slightly.

Kurt Dupuis:
Most of its evil.

Steve Seid:
Mostly evil. Yeah.

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah. But this is just one of those bright rays that shoots out of all of the darkness.

Steve Seid:
Good.

Kurt Dupuis:
So I saw this tweet a few weeks ago and it struck home with me. So I grew up in South Louisiana in a, let's just call it not affluent family, but also grew up doing various mission trips to countries and people that had way less than even we did. And the idea of poverty and how the world and society is doing overall is something I care about pretty profoundly. And I knew that we were heading the right direction on this as a world, and with fewer and fewer people in poverty, but I don't think I really understood to what extent. This tweet is from a guy named Eddy Elfenbein, from a website called ourworldindata.org. And it said the number of people in extreme poverty has fallen from nearly 1.9 billion in 1990, to 650 million in 2018.

Steve Seid:

Wow.

Kurt Dupuis:
So Seid, you're a numbers guy, that's saying a few different things, all of which I think are powerful.

Steve Seid:
Yeah. So obviously we've got a whole lot more people in the world today, and a whole lot less in poverty, which in my mind is pretty awesome. So with that, I think that's our way of leaving on a high note. I really want to thank everyone for listening to this, for giving us a shot. We're really, really excited to go on this path with you. We're looking forward to it, and most importantly, we're looking forward to being of value to you. So thanks so much for listening, and we'll see you next time.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
Please note that this content was created as of the specific date indicated and reflects views as of that date. It will be kept solely for historical purposes, and opinions may change, without notice, in reacting to shifting economic, market, business and other conditions.  

Touchstone Funds are distributed by Touchstone Securities, Inc., a registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC.