Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Conferences

Conferences-- love them or hate them, you have to attend some time. The Boss says so.

Unfortunately, the Boss asked me to attend the week-long slam-fest, and I'm finally back home. I learned a lot of important stuff. I learned it is important to look for clients that want your help (oh really?), asset allocation is still being talked about ad nauseum by every speaker out there, the hot button right now is all the talk about hedge funds (even though most people don't know what they are), and fees are a big issue with clients. The fees are the big deal for some clients with most brokers asking for 1 percent or thereabouts to manage a client's account. But the bitching begins with clients complaining about the one percent fee, even though they just handed over 3 to 6 percent to someone that sold their home. Whaaa??? So, hand over 25 to 50 THOUSAND DOLLARS to someone to sell your home in six days, but complain that a broker charged you 1 percent to manage your account to a gain in a tough market this year? I'm confused about your priorities.

Yes, you learn a lot at conferences. I've been going to conferences for almost 20 years now on various subjects, but the one thing that remains the same is that after all the talk and meetings, you learn the most at the bar having drinks after the day is done. That's when you get to sit down with other guys and gals and talk about the real world. You talk about how clients are ignoring their accounts, how junior associates are wasting the salary you pay them, and how your assistants are waiting for retirement (all except for mine, that is).

Actually, I'm glad to be home. It's really a pain to be out at a nice hotel with a $250 per day meal budget. It's tough to eat that much and to treat so many other potential new hires to drinks. After all, that's why the Boss sent me to the conference-- to spend money and wine and dine the bigger hitters and to convince them to work with us.

It's not about the conference, the speakers, the information to be learned, or anything like that. It's about influencing other successful brokers to move over and work for our firm. After all, the Boss gets that big bonus if he sucks brokers away from other firms this year. Needless to say, I spent the week doing the job for him.

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