Dan Wheeler- Director of Financial Advisor Services at Dimensional Fund Advisors, Inc. 1989-2010
The Financial Advisor business I created and managed for over 20 years was far more successful than I ever imagined it would be, but the goal was never to make a lot of money. I was always telling everyone in the Advisor Group, “if we do our job, the numbers will take care of themselves.” And they did. But what was the job?
Quite simply, it was to give investors the opportunity to have a more successful investment experience. How? First and foremost, we had to create a network of “fee only” investment advisors, eliminating the inherent conflicts of interest present when a financial advisor is a sales person earning a commission. Secondly, we needed to educate investors regarding the failure of “active money mangers” to consistently deliver returns superior to the capital market rates of return.
You would have thought it would have been easy, but when you stop to think that most of the financial services industry was built and prospers on a commission based distribution system selling high cost active management, we realized it was going to be a challenge. But the challenge was the source of our motivation in the Advisor Group. When you achieve success doing the “right thing” life is good.
The active managers and commission-based distribution will no doubt always be with us, it’s simply too profitable for the financial services industry. But I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that thanks to all the fee-only advisors doing it the ethical way, investors have a choice.
Now that I have retired from DFA, I can focus on other issues, some investment related, and others outside of that arena. That is why I set up this blog, to write about other self-evident truths that get buried by those who’s self-interest is threatened by the truth.
As a Marine in Vietnam, a Corporate Controller in London and a Philanthropist with past projects in Central America and Africa, I believe I have learned a few lessons in life. I hope to share some of those lessons, as well as my ideas for making this world a better place, with the readers of my blog.