I had an opportunity to sit down with Risley Sams, a San Francisco based Wealth Manager, who’s had a long career helping people attain their financial goals. His firm’s motto is “invest with purpose.” Whether its saving for retirement, education or leaving a legacy, he’s served a number of clients with different goals and objectives for over two decades. He’s witnessed profound change in the industry and in our interview he shares his impressions and insights on how the industry has changed and where it’s going.
What technology/online tools do you use when analyzing the markets?
“We utilize several tools to do our analytical work on the market. We primarily use Morningstar and Y Charts for our market and performance data. For the actual analytical work on the data itself we use excel to update, manage and run our models. We do use data from other sites such as Research Affiliates for a guideline for our capital markets expectations to round out our analytical research.”
What are your views on traditional fund factsheets – crying out for disruption or still an essential tool for investors?
“I’m not sure that the traditional fund fact sheet method of disseminating Mutual Fund results to investors is ripe for disruption, however, it could use a good spring cleaning. At the end of the day, the mutual fund industry must continue to create value for their investor clients. Online financial planning tools, up to date downloadable performance numbers, social security calculators and other features may prove to to be the best way for mutual fund families to help their investor clients.”
What do you think about the future of ETF’s? Is active dead? Is “strategic Beta” a fad?
“The future of ETFs is extremely bright. I cannot imagine the space doing anything but continuing to grow. I will spare your readers all the relevant details as I am sure they are aware of all the benefits of investing in ETFs already. While, I think active management has its place and will continue to be a part of the investment product domain, I think it’s importance will diminish over time. Active managers will have to work harder and harder to add value and justify their fees in an increasingly beta oriented market place. That being said, as the market for beta oriented product increases, the desire to differentiate in that market will surely surface as it has recently. Enter Strategic beta. I do not think it is a fad but rather a differentiator that will likely add value to the investor and perhaps a few points of alpha and therefore, likely here to stay.”
Do you feel the asset management industry has changed much over the past 30 years?
“The asset management industry has changed dramatically since I entered the business in 2002. I would therefore disagree with the statement that it hasn’t changed in the last 30 years. One example I could give is that when I went in to the business at Smith Barney in 2002, everyone I knew told me that I could never compete with Schwab and its $9.99 trades in a commission oriented business, now, I house most of my client’s assets at Schwab and I run money with discretion for a fee. Difference in my book and one I am pleased with.”
What does the future “Advisor” look like? A computer or a human?
“This is the million-dollar question in our industry today. I think the ultimate answer will be a combination of both. We are a quant oriented shop but we utilize human judgement a great deal. I personally spend a great deal of time talking to my clients and I believe that is hard to do with a computer. The computer is and will continue to be a fantastic tool for the advisor to effectively and efficiently, plan, execute and monitor a client’s financial strategy. So my belief is the future advisor will be a very knowledgeable advisor who is adept at asking the right questions of their clients and integrating technology in their platform to deliver a superb client experience.”
Thank you Risley.
Risley Sams is the founder of RHS Financial, LLC, an independent Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm, he and his team take the time to understand each of his client’s life goals and build customized wealth accumulation and distribution plans which fit their needs. He is a Certified Financial Planner® and the creator of the Invest With Purpose® process. He enjoys helping others reach their financial goals by blending rules-based investment techniques so that clients can create the kind of wealth that is meaningful to themselves, their families and their communities. He works with clients to remove the emotional pitfalls that so often cripple investors, while simultaneously inspiring clients to think bigger about their finances. Risley holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from California State University, Chico and an MBA in International Finance from Purdue University. Risley is an avid sailboat racer and an active member of the St. Francis Yacht Club and Staff Admiral and current Secretary of the San Francisco Bay Knarr Fleet.
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