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Home > Opinion > Dennis Hall

Advisers should stop venting and confront industry issues

I would be interested to see the correlation between advisers who recommended Arch Cru and those against higher qualifications.

By Dennis Hall | Published Sep 05, 2012 | Your Industry | comments

I have recently spent a couple of weeks in Japan, something I do every two or three years, in part because that is where my in-laws live. Knowing people with local knowledge and who speak the language has allowed me to delve deeper into Japan and its culture than I would have otherwise done. On this trip I spent several days exploring important Buddhist shrines and temples, and received several pieces of wisdom.

In the ancient town of Kamakura, about 50 minutes by train from Tokyo, I wandered around several shrines and during one visit I received a proverb – about a spoon of all things. The spoon, it is said, is soaked in soup several times a day, but itself cannot understand the taste of soup. Yet just one drop of soup on your tongue allows you to fully comprehend the taste.

It goes on a bit longer but the meaning imparted by this proverb is this: while you can meet the most learned of people, and read the best of books, if you are insensitive like a spoon the experience is worthless. If you are too insensitive to take wisdom from what you have experienced, it makes the experience worthless.

My take on this relates to the attitude of some people I have encountered on issues such as exams and education. There are some advisers who resolutely believe these activities are a waste of time, and continue to shout down the system that forces them to undertake them. Whereas other people, who were perhaps reluctant at first, have since embraced the challenges and gained something positive from the experience – as have their clients, I am sure.

Yet it is not just the critics of exams that are missing the point, there are advisers, possibly the same advisers, who want to pass the blame for every bad outcome they experience. If a client complains or if an investment goes wrong, instead of savouring the experience they reject it as someone else’s fault. Rather than put themselves in their client’s shoes to see why they might be complaining, they ignore the opportunity and then wonder why it seems to happen again.

Instead of looking at why they may have recommended a duff investment, they blame others, and having missed the opportunity to learn from that experience, go on and do the same again. I would be interested to see what the correlation is between advisers who recommended Arch Cru (for example) and those who are against higher qualifications.

Those advisers who try to get a sense of peace or relief by giving vent to their anger will likely always find themselves angry and unsettled. Those advisers (and clients for that matter) who seek to blame others for their own failures are likely to continue failing. That does not seem to be a pleasant or efficient way to go through life.

We might not always like what we experience, but by thoroughly embracing our experiences we can take steps to avoid the things we do not like and, perhaps more to the point, we can take steps to avoid putting clients through experiences that they do not like.

It is not just the critics of exams that are missing the point, there are advisers who want to pass the blame for every bad outcome they experience

Dennis Hall is managing director of Yellowtail Financial Planning


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