#117 - Steve Lockshin - We Think the Estate and Tax Planning Levers are the Most Important Levers to Push on for Clients

65 minutes

In Episode 117, we welcome entrepreneur and wealth advisor, Steve Lockshin. At Meb’s request, Steve walks us through his professional background in the financial services industry. It’s an interesting story, reflecting how wealth management has changed over the decades.

Meb picks up on a term Steve used in describing his early years – “producer” (referencing an advisor) – making the point that if advisors were expected to produce revenue to the degree that “producer” was their name, it pointed toward a potential conflict with the client’s goals. Steve agrees, noting that the conflicts of interest in the business are challenging. He offers us an example using a mortgage payment scenario. If a client allocated capital toward paying down a high-rate mortgage rather than toward funding his equity portfolio, that debt paydown would benefit him, yet would decrease the advisor’s AUM, hurting the advisor’s personal revenue. Given this, the advisor may not be incentivized to make recommendations that are always in the best interest of the client.

Meb asks for more details about Steve’s fee structure at AdvicePeriod, and why it was set up that way. Steve walks us through the details, noting that their fee structure largely emanates from the value they bring. So, their fees are always clear and capped.

This bleeds into a conversation about an advisor’s biggest value add. Meb wonders if it’s estate planning and tax issues, or if it varies. Steve answers by first referencing portfolio construction, asking a question – if we take the top quartile of advisors, what does Meb think they’d produce, over a 20-year period, in true alpha above the market? Meb answers, basically 0%. Steve agrees, noting portfolio construction is not the real source of advisor alpha. Instead, he points toward taxes as a huge source of real value. He concludes saying “Turning that tax dial is a huge return for clients” and “We think the estate planning and tax planning levers are the most important levers to push on for clients”.

The guys bounce around a bit here, discussing high advisor fees, and how the industry was able to hide them for years… the biggest problems Steve sees with new clients when they bring over their portfolios… and how the general advisor/client process works. But from here, the conversation turns toward how one might find a great wealth manager. It’s challenging, as laws prohibit client testimonials, and as Steve says, most clients don’t know which questions need to be asked. He gives us a few examples of good questions:

  • What will your fees be if I tell you that you can’t use any of your own funds?
  • How often would we meet?
  • What software will you use?
  • How much access to information will I have?
  • What’s your transparency level?

Next, Meb asks how things look going forward on the investment advisor side. Steve tells us that as soon as info becomes accessible and digestible by investors, we’ll see people behave differently. We’ll keep seeing fees come down, and transactional fees will go away. And when moving your entire account from one group to another becomes a matter of just a few mouse clicks, we’ll see a massive shift.

Meb asks when we’ll see an “automated Lockshin”, meaning when will wealth management become automated? Steve thinks it’s far closer than people think. He references Google Duplex, which is basically a computer speaking to us, yet fooling the human on the other end of the phone into believe he/she is conversing with another real human.

There’s way more in this episode: Steve’s favorite private investment right now… how tax planning is the biggest alpha generator out there but doesn’t receive the emphasis is deserves… how the industry goes out of its way to complicate things for investors… Vanguard Life Strategy Funds… and of course, Steve’s most memorable trade.

What was it? Find out in Episode 117.

More episodes from The Meb Faber Show

#191 - Simon Hallett - Wherever We Can, We’ve Added Something That’s Based Upon Behavioral Finance

In episode 191, we welcome our guest, Simon Hallett. Simon and Meb start off the conversation with a run-down of Simon’s firm, Harding Loevner, cover its quality growth investment approach …

#190 - Radio Show: Buying Stocks At All Time Highs…Fund Manager Sentiment…Year End Questions for Advisors and Brokers

Episode 190 has a radio show format. We cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Buying stocks at all-time highs
  • 2010 Fund Manager of the Decade
  • Jim …

#189 - John Parise - 70% Of Wealth Is Lost In The 3rd Generation

In Episode 189 we welcome our guest, John Parise. John and Meb kick off the conversation with the idea of the family CFO and wealth planning. As John gained experience in financial …

The Best Investment Writing Volume 3: Ray Micaletti – The Smart Money Indicator: A New Risk Management Tool

Last year when we published The Best Investment Writing Volume 2, we offered authors the opportunity to record an audio version of their chapter to …

#188 - Andreas Clenow - Trend Following Is…About Taking A Lot of Bets On A Very Large Number Of Markets

In episode 188 we welcome our guest, Andreas Clenow. Meb and Andreas start the conversation with a  hat on what hooked Andreas on trend following, …

The Best Investment Writing Volume 3: Jack Forehand – The Case Against Value Stocks

Last year when we published The Best Investment Writing Volume 2, we offered authors the opportunity to record an audio version of their chapter to …

How you can listen to this podcast

You can listen to episodes right here on the website, or if you prefer, in a podcast app. Listening in an app makes it easier to keep track of what you’ve already heard, listen without using your data plan and many other conveniences.

Recommended apps
Start listening to #125 - Tom Barton - The Biggest Problem Investors Have is Things Change...and They Don't Change
1:24:56
Start listening to #125 - Tom Barton - The Biggest Problem Investors Have is Things Change...and They Don't Change
1:24:56