If you don't like watching the Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life" then stop reading now and defrost your veins.
If you haven't seen it, then start your holiday break early and go watch it. Truth be told, it is a movie that consistently brings a tear to my eye — and even more so now that I have kids.
The story of how George Bailey and his Building and Loan touched and influenced the small town of Bedford Falls and beyond draws strong parallels to the modern-day adviser trying to do what is right for his or her clients while protecting them from the Mr. Potters of the world.
George was ambitious and smart but ultimately his success was not measured by economic gain (or the modern-day AUM) but rather by how many lives he touched. And although it took him a while to realize this, George finally saw he was a very rich indeed.
During the past year and in the future, this blog will be filled with tips or discussion points on how you can use technology to cast a wider net and more efficiently process those prospects and clients through your machine for economic gain. Although that may sound overly blunt, the efficacy of your efforts and decisions will ultimately be measured by increases in top-line growth and bottom line growth.
And we, as an industry, will recognize the top firms with published lists, lists, and more lists. We will also read articles about how some of these companies will see a great opportunity to buy other companies on these lists. This loop represents the current view of a successful firm.
Call me crazy, but a better measure of success for an adviser is a determination of what kind of positive impact we have had on the lives of our clients. Advisers touch upon so many life-changing issues that in aggregate we have been had a positive effect on entire countries full of Bedford Falls.
This is true success. Unfortunately, unless we have a somewhat absent-minded angel named Clarence showing us around, we can easily lose sight of this for our firm and ourselves.
I have viewed attaining AUM milestones as the hallmark of success and technology as the Archimedes lever to facilitate it. We even created our own technology platform. Yet, I never have asked myself how I can use technology to have a greater impact on someone's life.
That is the difference between a good and great firm, no matter the AUM.
Alex Murguía is a managing principal at McLean Asset Management and chief executive of inStream Solutions.