For some of us, 2014 performance has been more difficult to explain to clients than 2008, and I understand why. U.S. Large Cap indexes, the ones our clients zero in on, have been up over 10% for the year, strongly outperforming a globally-diversified portfolio.

We recently hosted a webinar with members of the Loring Ward Investment Committee, Dimensional Fund Advisors and Barry LaValley, Founder of The Retirement Lifestyle Center, to provide insight into what happened in 2014, and to help give you confidence when you talk about performance with your clients. In this blog we share some of Barry LaValley’s comments about communicating with your clients. For a replay of the webinar, see the link at the end of this blog.


Barry LaValley – Talking to Clients about Performance

Your conversations with clients need to make them feel better about where they are. You want to make sure clients feel you have given them 3 things:

  • Clarity – Finding the question within the question. If they are asking why performance is not there or why they’re not doing what everybody else is doing, get down to what the question really is. Are they concerned about losing their money, are they concerned that you’ve made a mistake, or are they concerned that they have to change their goals? You want to let them know that everything is still on track.
  • Insight – Provide clients with better understanding of why performance was not what they had expected .
  • Partnership – Together you agreed upon a portfolio that was going to help them meet their goals, and that has not changed.

What We Can’t Control:

  • Which stocks will be winners or losers
  • Which managers will be superior or underperform
  • When stocks go up or down
  • Financial news

What We Can Control:

  • Not trying to outguess or outsmart markets
  • Portfolio diversification
  • Building a long-term plan and sticking with it

Remind your clients that the Dow or S&P is not their portfolio.
Learn more from Barry LaValley about client conversations, and hear details about performance from Loring Ward and Dimensional, by clicking here.


Past performance does not guarantee future results.
Dimensional Fund Advisors is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and is unaffiliated with LWI Financial Inc.