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It's all about transition; By Shane D Mullins CFPCM, CEO of Fiscal Engineers Ltd.

Byline: Shane D Mullins

HAVING recently undergone a brand refresh, we've had the opportunity to do a fair bit of constructive navel-gazing - or omphaloskepsis, if you prefer the more high-brow, reach-for-thedictionary term - and truly get to the heart of what we do and why we do it.

What we've come to realise more clearly than ever before is that most of our clients turn to us at transition points in their lives. They might be selling their business, preparing for retirement or even going through the pain of divorce. They want us to help them deal with - and to get the most from - a period of change.

Of course, change can be difficult. More than 50 years ago economist and Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman wrote Capitalism and Freedom, perhaps his defining paean to the free market, in which he observed: "Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change."

He had a point - particularly bearing in mind his own experiences, which included being tasked with trying to rescue Chile's economy after the country fell victim to a military coup - but the remark isn't strictly accurate. Sometimes the driving force of change is opportunity.

Look again at the aforementioned examples - selling a business, retirement, divorce - and you can make a decent case for bracketing each of them in either category or both. Crisis and opportunity often go hand-in-hand. The common denominator is that staying the same isn't a viable option. Change - transition - isn't just inevitable: it should also prove beneficial.

Change almost invariably has financial implications. That's pretty obvious. But what about the human implications? The financial world too often overlooks this element. It's easy to get lost in the numbers when you're measuring risk-adjusted returns, buried in attribution analysis, chasing low-cost beta, identifying effective alpha and calculating asset class correlation.

All this is fun, but what we've come to recognise is that it's the human implications that really make what we do satisfying - not just for us but for our clients. We thrive on relationships and interaction. We like being closely alongside interesting people who need someone they can trust to give them wise counsel at transition points in their lives and to continue to do so when the emotional upheaval and turmoil have settled.

The fact is that the numbers only make sense when we understand the personality of our clients - their situation, their needs and their expectations.

It's a big responsibility, but it's also a privilege and a pleasure. Seeing our clients flourish means we flourish as a team - it's why we do what we do.

shane@fiscalengineers.com

Most of our clients turn to us at transition points in their lives
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 26, 2014
Words:445
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