"Fee-sucking, evergreen income."
That's how Bill Michaels describes our industry's reliance on asset allocation. The problem, he says, is that it doesn't make money for clients. But here's what "diwussification"–his play on diversification–does for advisers: It minimizes risk, locks in annuity revenues, and frees them "to go play golf."
Mr. Michaels, now retired, was the kind of risk-loving stockbroker that has all but disappeared from financial services. During the 1990s, through options and a staggering margin balance, he built a 1,150,000-share position in Dell. It paid off big-time.
His message to our industry: Man up. He's the only adviser I've ever met with the chops to buy one stock with $23 million on margin–conviction that came from long hours of research.
Mr. Michaels met Dell's management and scrutinized the 10ks. He patrolled investor forums and knew which analyst was saying what. He became a true student of the company and, to this day, attributes his success to G.M. Loeb's book for the ages, "The Battle for Investment Survival: How to Make Profits."
I know what you're thinking: "old school," "not my kind, dear," or "lucky he didn't lose his Gucci loafers and then some." I did, too. I thought advisers like Mr. Michaels were extinct.
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