As journalists, we are trained to be objective about the people, the companies and the industries we cover. In fact, objectivity is a defining characteristic of our profession. It makes it easier for us to be fair and truthful — also central tenets of our profession.
As soon as we are handed our first “reporter's notebook” and a pen, we are told to go out and develop sources — not friends.
David Tittsworth is one of those people who makes that difficult.
When I started working at InvestmentNews as a reporter 17 years ago, I was immediately instructed by my editor at the time, Glenn Coleman, to “get to know David Tittsworth.” So, I began calling on David — almost constantly.
David, who was fairly new in his role as president and chief executive officer of the Investment Adviser Association, always took my calls and always answered my questions — even the ones that clearly highlighted my scant, newbie knowledge of the financial advice industry.
Even back then, it was clear to me that David was one of the good guys.
Not only was he a tireless proponent of the IAA, but he was a staunch advocate of the entire profession and interested in seeing it grow and prosper.
That's not to say David and I have always seen eye to eye. For example, I know he wasn't happy with InvestmentNews when our editorial board came out in favor of a self-regulatory organization for advisers in 2011. Even so, he expressed his frustration in a way that was both unambiguous and respectful.
On Friday, David is leaving the IAA altogether. Since relinquishing his role as president and CEO of the organization to Karen Barr in November, he has stayed on as a consultant to help with Ms. Barr's transition.
I was fortunate to have had dinner with David a little more than a year ago. He had recently undergone a stem-cell transplant that had put his multiple myeloma, which is a form of blood cancer, into the equivalent of remission. It was then that he told me he was looking forward to a healthier and more balanced life.
So, I wish him well as he ventures off on that endeavor. And, of course, I thank him — both for the dedication he brought to our industry and for answering a million questions about the distinction between a broker and an investment adviser (all from me).