November 2, 2009, 5:00 am

Do You Cheat Sometimes? A Look at Fidelity

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career,Personal Finance
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cheatingAs many of you know, I go to the gym every workday (which is 4 times a week in my case 😉 ). So I arrive at the gym the very same hour 4 times a week. After a while, you get to know the people who share the same routine. At one point, I know that when I sit on the bench press and look to my right, there will be a girl smiling at me. If I smile back, am I cheating? Nope. I guess that we would at least need to go out to call it cheating. Then again, if we don’t kiss, if we don’t touch, if we simply are going to have a beer and talk; many probably would not call it cheating. But, if I touch her arm while talking, and she looks deeply into my eyes and we make “the” connection… we are getting closer to cheating… but not there yet. If I kiss her and she kisses back during a small moment of irrational passion and we stop after realizing what is happening. Like two magnets that separate… once it is too late. If I regret my move, did I cheat?

I guess that if my wife knows about the girl from the gym, she might feel uncomfortable and ask for more questions. She might also decide to question herself and start changing stuff and act like she loves me more, like I am precious. Or… she may decide to simply wait until I “officially” cheat on her and let me drift away (but keep my income as family alimony!).

I obviously didn’t write about my own situation (gotcha!). I am actually describing how fidelity or lack thereof can occur between a client and his financial advisor. Funny enough, the business relationship is quite similar to being with someone you love.

The girl smiling at the gym represents other financial advisors (aka competitors 😉 ). Technically, it is not too bad if you look at what others have to offer from time to time. You can look, you can talk, and you can even meet. As long as you don’t touch and you don’t kiss, most of us won’t considerate flirting as cheating on your financial advisor 😉

If you let know your financial advisor about your adventure, he might want to adjust and become more efficient, more proactive. He might ask what led you to meet with another advisor. He should ask about what can be improved in your relationship.

But, as is the case with personal relationships, if you push the game too far, that you actually touch (sign) and kiss (transfer out), you may lose your original advisor for good. Worst than that, if you have a mortgage or mutual funds with closed end fees, you might sign a last cheque before officially leaving for good.

Sometimes it is worth it, sometimes it is not. It all depends on how good your financial advisor is and the quality of your relationship (notice any similarities with your girlfriend?).

On the other hand, I really don’t mind when clients look elsewhere. I think it is part of the game and they need to reaffirm from time to time that you are the best advisor for them. However, I value the relationship I have with my clients. I want to become more than the “guy from the bank”. And if they are ready to flush me for beautiful eyes, I would not hesitate to leave them and concentrate on other, more loyal, clients.

What you need to learn on this Friday morning is that you can play the seductive game to make sure that everybody is working in your best interest, but don’t play too hard because you may be left with no advice at all 😉

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In the financial industry, I often see clients use 2 or 3 advisors at a time for years, because they want competing opinions or don’t trust all their money to one person. However, typically the happiest clients are the ones who have one trusted advisor who can advise them on a complete picture of their financial situation.

What a great analogy! You drove the point home in a very clear way…thanks


@Lisa – couldn’t disagree more – I thought it was quite a poor analogy. Comparing the love and commitment you have to your partner to a service (financial advisor) is ridiculous.

by: The Financial Blogger | November 8th, 2009 (9:30 am)

when you look at how people manage their relationship (divorce rate, cheating, etc.), I think that some people are more loyal with their financial advisor than with their spouse 😉