Robert J. Moore bids farewell to the advice industry as he steps down as Cetera CEO

In a letter, he warns of an overemphasis on short-term performance and inertia toward the status quo

Mar 5, 2019 @ 2:23 pm

By Robert J. Moore

Editor's note: The following letter was written by Robert J. Moore, who is stepping down for health reasons as Cetera Financial Group's CEO later this month.

Dear Valued Members of the Wealth Management Profession,

At the outset, let me express my sincere gratitude for the privilege to work alongside so many committed and talented individuals, whose collective efforts make a positive difference in the lives of millions of Americans, who want, need and deserve access to trusted advice and assistance in achieving financial well-being.

Second only to the role of the family physician, the role of the financial adviser is of utmost importance in assisting clients with navigating the complexity and uncertainty that we all face in planning for our financial future. From cradle to heaven, the financial adviser continuously is asked to provide confidence, assurance and expertise in addressing the needs of those he serves.

(More: Cetera Financial Group reels in $5 billion in assets to start 2019)

In addition, thousands of dedicated financial advisers serve their communities, nation and the world in countless acts of true charity and philanthropy. One of the most fulfilling aspects of working in this profession is seeing firsthand literally thousands of examples of the good works and best interests of clients delivered with a sense of dedication and humility that often goes unnoticed or unappreciated.

As I now prepare to move into the next chapter of my journey, I wanted to provide some reflection and introspection for a profession I have come to love, a purpose for which I am passionate, and a challenge to those who follow. There is a legacy I hope that can be given and received in the spirit of helping one another and thereby helping those who are counting on us to continue to evolve, grow and develop in ways that enrich the experience for all participants and sustainably provide world-leading advice for many years into the future.

Although there have been many changes and advances made across the profession, the pace and form of those changes have lagged the broader economic landscape and are in need of greater transformation at a more rapid rate than has been the case historically.

(More: Cetera Financial Group to offer fee-for-service business model).

All facets of the client, adviser and provider experience are ripe for innovation and disruption. I have come to refer to this as the Advice-Centric Experience (ACE). At the core, the ACE is orientated towards a fundamental change in the way we engage with one another, liberated by technology and elevated by those who empathize with the roles of each participant. We stand at the dawn of delivering an experience that delights clients, supercharges advisers, streamlines providers and comforts regulators in a manner that allows for harmonizing and securing the best interests of clients we serve.

It is a vision for our profession that places relationships over transactions, solutions over individual products and outcomes over confusing comparisons with complex benchmarks. This is the time to collectively harness the energy and capabilities within the profession to focus on delivering financial well-being as the standard for our collective success. At the heart of this endeavor is a voluntary commitment to enhance transparency, reduce conflict, improve efficiency, and lower costs to preserve the value found in the advice given and the relationships built.

The primary barrier I perceive from my years of active involvement is the over emphasis on short term performance and a startling level of inertia toward the status quo. Rather than recognizing the sheer abundance of growth opportunities, there is a preoccupation with moving deck chairs in the name of market share. Many of the competitive behaviors of late reflect a small mindedness and lack of civility that are undermining the honorable nature of the profession and impeding progress.

The challenge, therefore, to current leaders is to tap into the latent potential that resides within each person and unlock the energy that desires change and is able to transform the nature of our relationships into the reality of a comprehensive Advice-Centric Experience.

As I take this next step to focus on my health, I am keenly aware that my financial adviser will be a key member of my support team, and I will benefit from their wise counsel. This is an extremely personal example of the difference you make in the lives of so many.

It has been a distinct honor to know and befriend so many wonderful people who have enriched my life and for whom I shall always be grateful.

My sincere regards and best wishes,

RJ

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