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Discussion Starter #1
We've asked our financial advisor (mutual funds) to provide us with an 'analysis' of 'how we've done' over the past decade. We've asked that the analysis include the the impact of fee rebates and dividends as well as our ongoing investing but also account for fees, and that there be benchmark comparisons. It's been six months since our initial request and nothing has yet been presented. (We DO receive regular statements that show amounts invested, fee rebates, and dividends, but there's no benchmarking and nothing that shows the impact of fees.)

I honestly think that this is a reasonable request given that this is the financial industry that depends on performance reports upon performnce reports.

Are we being unreasonable? Are we being redundant given than we have part of the information that we're requesting in the regular statements? Is this a red flag?

Thanks, in advance, for your comments.
 

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This is so typical.
Unless you are a "high net worth" customer, most financial advisors do not care.
They don't wanna go through the trouble to calculating your personalized rate of return.
He/she is probably afraid to calculate this anyway, especially if the rate of return is embarassing or even negative.

You can calculate your IRR yourself if you have kept track of how much money you've put into the account and when.
Then you can compare it against an appropriate benchmark, such as balanced funds index or whatever.
 

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It's totally reasonable (speaking as a former advisor) but unless you have an agreement with your advisor that they are going to provide that kind of information, at that level of detail, going into the relationship, you may well not get it.

There are a couple of issues: the first is that your advisor may not be providing this info for others, so they have no facility with doing it (no pre-made spreadsheets for tracking returns, no customized benchmarks built for tracking your portfolio, etc.).

Secondly, they may not have budgeted the time to do this in their time budget for your account. Every advisor worth his or her salt knows exactly how many hours they are going to spend on your account per year. Their budget for you may not include spending the time required to do this (AND it will take them much longer if they haven't done it before/are not doing it for other clients). I hasten to add that if you had an investment policy statement with your advisor, the kinds of info you are going to get from them and the frequency of meetings should/would be spelled out in that document, which you would sign.

Finally, their compliance department would need to review and approve anything like this they prepare for you. Depending on their dealership, this may be an enormous hassle for them.

You *might* get the info (if you are not going to get it otherwise) IF you indicate you are going to leave the relationship unless they provide it. However, at that point, they would probably conclude that the relationship is essentially over anyways, and (depending on the size of your account and their assessment of the prospects of your business going forward) they may tell you the fit is no longer right. And if you have DSC mutual funds, they've already been paid in spades for your business and will let you go.

Sounds cynical, eh? However: if you are interested in having this kind of information, it would be REALLY fantastic for you to put it together yourself. I can't think of much better (free! not too difficult! not too time-consuming!) ways to educate yourself in the realities of investing that by putting together the spreadsheet which unlocks the puzzle of your returns relative to a relevant benchmark. Seriously: very high reward from this, and I could/would guide you through every step, and I suspect others here would chime in with advice and guidance too.
 

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Wait a minute: I just re-read your initial message. 10 years of data is a long timeframe, and requires them to make and apply a bunch of assumptions. I'm not sure why I missed that on the first go-round.

I am going to say that you have no likelihood of getting an analysis of your performance over the past 10 years except at the most basic level. That is actually a fair amount of work.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, so much, Money Gal and HaroldCrump. This kind of informed perspective is exactly what I need. I may, now, adjust the time frame for the analysis and re-approach them to see what's actually hapening. Honestly, I've been thinking, for awhile now, that we may have come to the end of our relationship. This firm was fine ten years ago when we were naive investors and needed hand-holding. Both my husband and I have been educating ourselves since then and our expectations have changed.

Money Gal, I've thought about putting this kind of info. together for myself but didn't know how to go about it. This may just be the motivation that I've needed.

Thanks again, both of you.
 

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Thanks, so much, Money Gal and HaroldCrump. This kind of informed perspective is exactly what I need. I may, now, adjust the time frame for the analysis and re-approach them to see what's actually hapening. Honestly, I've been thinking, for awhile now, that we may have come to the end of our relationship. This firm was fine ten years ago when we were naive investors and needed hand-holding. Both my husband and I have been educating ourselves since then and our expectations have changed.

Money Gal, I've thought about putting this kind of info. together for myself but didn't know how to go about it. This may just be the motivation that I've needed.

Thanks again, both of you.
You've received some really good advice here, particularly from MoneyGal. It sounds like you might want to dump your advisor anyway but I have another suggestion. I would schedule a meeting with your advisor to discuss clarifying the terms or expectations of your advisor-client relationship. This gives you a forum to make all of your needs very clear. In other words, you may want to give the advisor a chance to hear you out on what you want, on a regular basis. And s/he can tell you if that's even an option and, if it is, what might be expected of you in terms of additional fees if any.

I wouldn't assume that the advisor has done nothing. Maybe that's the case. But maybe the advisor has prepared something and compliance nixed it. And the advisors is in a bit of a pickle. If he complains to you how his dealer won't let him send the info to you, it looks bad on him (because he represents the dealer). So, if you think there's anything to salvage here this might be a good approach to take. Otherwise, there are lots of good advisors who can give you what you want but be prepared for major changes to your portfolio since investment management is as much art as science.
 
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