April 30, 2020
Adviser Investments is excited to announce that Vice President Liz Kesselman has been named as one of Forbes magazine’s “Top Women Wealth Advisors,” a recognition celebrating leaders in our field. Liz debuted at #277 on the 1,000-woman ranking, and was one of the few independent advisers to make the list.
Everyone here has long seen Liz’s leadership capabilities as a seasoned wealth manager, mentor to young employees and an exemplar of the personalized client service that’s a bedrock of our business. We’re pleased to see her add much-deserved national recognition to her list of accomplishments; in 2019, she was honored in Boston magazine for the eighth time as a Five Star Wealth Manager.
Each adviser on the Forbes list—nominated by her firm and selected by SHOOK Research—was chosen based on a process incorporating qualitative and quantitative criteria, including: In-person interviews, industry experience, compliance records, revenue produced and assets under management.
We asked Liz to set aside a few minutes to talk about her career in wealth management, how she’s approaching the current market volatilityA measure of how large the changes in an asset’s price are. The more volatile an asset, the more likely that its price will experience sharp rises and steep drops over time. The more volatile an asset is, the riskier it is to invest in. and what it takes to be named to Forbes’ list of “Top Women Wealth Advisors.” Thanks for your time, Liz, and thanks for all that you do!
Liz, congratulations on your recognition by Forbes as a top adviser, particularly during these especially trying times. How are you helping your clients navigate the markets and the unique uncertainties we currently face?
Thank you. It’s a great honor. The experience I’ve gained working directly with clients through other challenging periods, such as 2008, has been invaluable this year. Also, it’s great being part of a firm that puts a high priority on communication. My colleagues and I have put together podcasts, webinars and lots of writing to help educate and reassure clients. I view my most important role as helping clients to focus on the longer term and avoiding reacting to the barrage of noise right now. It’s not always easy, but I hope I’m successful more often than not in providing a calming perspective.
Tell us a little about how you got here today. Whose influences have helped you succeed over the years?
I’ve been in this role working with clients for the past 15 years. Before that, I spent a few years on the institutional side of the business working with independent registered investment advisers, like our firm. It was a great opportunity to gain a front-row seat to the challenges and rewards of this type of work.
I’ve also been really fortunate to have had some great mentors and to still have some of them in my life today—because of that, one of my goals has been to pass it on. I have been involved with our firm’s mentoring program since its inception five years ago and I’ve benefited from “reverse mentoring” too, learning from peers that I have mentored.
What is one of the most common mistakes you see investors make in times of stress?
Investors are vulnerable to the curse of too much knowledge, what we call “the noise that crowds out the signal.” Everyone, including the media, has advice to give! I see a lot of investors who make investment decisions based on what their friends and co-workers are doing. It’s much more important to take the time to assess your own comfort level with riskThe probability that an investment will decline in value in the short term, along with the magnitude of that decline. Stocks are often considered riskier than bonds because they have a higher probability of losing money, and they tend to lose more than bonds when they do decline. before jumping into an investment strategy.
At Adviser Investments, we encourage clients to focus on long-term goals—hence our motto, Time in the Market, Not Market Timing. How can investors maintain focus on the long term in a bear marketA period in which stock prices decline significantly from recent highs and remain below previous high marks for weeks or months. Generally, a decline of at least 20% in stock prices is considered the threshold marking the start of a bear market.?
Every bear market feels different, but one aspect doesn’t change: It’s still impossible to know what the market will do today, tomorrow or even over the next six months. To help clients shift their focus to the long term, we have been revisiting their financial plans, which forces us to step away from day-to-day uncertainty and put the current situation into context. There’s no one solution that fits all, though. Money is emotional, and I try to come up with creative solutions so that clients can sleep at night.
We’re working remotely right now. Has working from home changed your approach to client relationships?
Clients come first and I still spend most of my time on video and phone calls with clients—I’m just doing it from my house now. I’m part of a small team that focuses on client relationships and our team communicates via email and instant message all day. I’m a talker and that hasn’t changed just because I’m not in my “formal” office!
We noticed that you were one of the few independent advisers on the Forbes list. Can you discuss the distinction?
Sure, and it’s an important one. Many, if not most, of the advisers on that list work for large, Wall Street brokerage firms and by definition and regulation they are not held to the highest fiduciaryA person or organization who manages assets for a third party, and is legally bound to act in the best interests of that third party, putting the third party’s interest before their own. standard. Here at Adviser Investments, we are held to the highest fiduciary standards because we are an RIA (registered investment adviser) and I’m proud to be a partner here.
Thanks for your perspectives, Liz, and congratulations!
The 2020 Forbes Top Women Wealth Advisors selection process was conducted by SHOOK research. Candidates were evaluated through an algorithm based on the individual’s revenue production for their firm, client retention data, assets under management by the individual/individual’s team, review of the individual’s compliance record, fee structure, breadth of services offered, professional credentials, years of service, community involvement and an interview (telephone or in-person) with the award evaluators. Minimum eligibility criteria included: (1) at least seven years as a financial adviser; (2) working for current firm for at least one year; (3) individual is recommended by her firm; (4) completion of an online survey; (5) 50% of revenue production attributable to the individual; and (6) an acceptable compliance record as determined by the award’s evaluators. 32,000 participants were nominated for this award. 14,190 were invited to complete the survey and partake in an interview, and 1,000 (7% of participants) were named to the final list. The award does not consider portfolio performance. Inclusion on the list of Top Women Wealth Advisors does not mean that the individual does not have any negative history on their regulatory compliance record. The award is not indicative of client experience or future investment performance. Adviser Investments did not pay a fee to participate in this award. For more information on this award—including eligibility and evaluation criteria, information on the algorithm used to compare and rank participants, and compliance record review methodology—visit https://www.forbes.com/sites/rjshook/2020/04/21/the-2020-forbes-ranking-of-americas-top-women-wealth-advisors-methodology/#67c4ae6c487f.
For information on the Five Star award please visit https://www.adviserinvestments.com/awards-and-recognitions/#five-star-wealth-manager-award.
For additional information on awards and recognition received by Adviser Investments, visit https://www.adviserinvestments.com/awards-and-recognitions/.
Polaris Wealth Advisory Group and Adviser Investments are now under one new brand, RWA Wealth Partners.
Over the next few months, we are transitioning to a new website under our new brand. For you, this means a better experience and more access to valuable education, insights and advice. It also means you gain access to expanded wealth management solutions such as tax¹ and legal services², alternative investments and more. Explore this site for additional information on these new services and call your advisor with any questions at 833-RWA-PLAN.
¹Personalized tax advice and tax return preparation is available through a separate, written engagement agreement with RWA Tax Solutions, LLC.
²Legal services can be obtained through a separate, written engagement via our relationship with Hall & Diana, LLC