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Glengarry Glen Ross.

20. Glengarry Glen Ross.

4 mins read

What’s the third prize?

If you know, you know.

It’s not the steak knives – and that’s the issue.

Wealth is individual. It’s for the person. It’s not a mutual fund. It’s not the product. It’s not the sale. It’s not the plan. It’s not the life-term policy. It’s not ETF. It’s not the diversification. It’s not the tech. It’s wealth. For the person. Enough money to live the life they can and should, and if lucky, enough for the life they want.

But we sell wealth like wealth is a product.

Don’t get me wrong. I am as guilty as the rest. At least I was. I started my career as a financial advisor. I worked for a company called Allied Dunbar. We were known as Allied Crowbar. Because we would get your money out of you.

On day one, I turn up. Suited and booted. I’m told that if I sell the best I can, and the most I can, I will be rich. We were given a script. A phone book. Smile and dial.

“Hi, Mr. Smith. How are you? Would you like to live
your best life? … Don’t we all? We have justthe productfor you.”


And it was commission only. Base salary? That’s for losers.

Did I really care about Mr. Smith’s life? No. I wanted to have my best life. So I sold the products that Allied Dunbar had. That made my commission. Hey, they were still good for Mr. Smith.

But I was incentivized to max for me. I’m only human. I wasn’t paid to get the absolute best for Mr. Smith. I like to think I am a good person. So was Mr. Smith, I hope. But the structure wasn’t optimized to align that. Maybe Mr. Smith didn’t need the exact product. But I needed a wage.

The wealth industry needs to change. We need to maximize for the customer. Not for the industry.

Advisors are crucial, and so helpful. But it has to be structured the right way.

Some ideas.

  1. Tech doesn’t earn a commission. It’s here to do the right thing.
  2. Advisors should get paid for the achievement of customers’ dreams and goals.
  3. Everyone gets advice. Not just the ones with money. We can already do this with robo-advisors.
  4. All the data is used with complete security. There is a way.
  5. No small print. No jargon. No BS. Just do it right.
  6. Normal people should be part of the regulation of the industry.

We can all do better. Let’s do it.

Third prize? You’re fired. That was the problem. If you didn’t sell enough you got fired.

And that is not good for Mr. Smith.

Ned Phillips
Founder & CEO










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