The Race for Global Assets
Generation X: Are You Missing Out
The New Cross-Selling Push
Bridging the Retirement Income Gap
The Top 50 Bank Reps
Tapping a Vast New Market: 529 Plans

Look familiar? They might for long-time readers. Those are s

ome of our headlines....from 10 years ago.

I was cleaning out the other day and I came across some old BIC issues (and its predecessor, Bank Investment Marketing). They were from before my time. The first thing I noticed was a different general look. A lot of magazines go through re-launches every few years and we’re no different, but I have to admit I never realized just how much our look improved over the years. Then I started noticing bylines. There were some people who I know well but hadn’t realized worked on this magazine. Some names I vaguely recognized. Many I didn’t know at all.

Then I started looking at the stories. And if you pull out your old issues of BIC (you do keep your old copies, right?), you’ll probably notice the same thing I did.

Unlike the general look, or the names, the stories looked the similar to articles we do now. There were several about cross-marketing within the bank; there were several about mass affluent customers; there were many about retirement, of course. There were stories about ETFs and annuities and 529 Plans. And there were many stories about paying attention to your customers.

It had a feeling of deja vu all over again.

I wondered why. I know for a fact that we don’t just re-run old copy (although I’m tempted now). So when I switched gears and assumed that these stories were all originally reported and reflected what people in the industry were talking about, it dawned on me. The same issues truly are important 10 years apart (and yes, that means the stories are valid.)

Consider how different the economy was then. The oldest copy I found was March 2000, the month of the tech crash. The cover story was about increasing referrals. That topic resonated when the Nasdaq market was returning 50% a year. And it resonates now when stocks are characterized by volatility more than anything else. And in 20 years, when some other editor here is combing through old issues, and the average advisor today is retired, referrals likely will resonate then too.

The lesson here is simple: the basics of the job are constant. So pay attention to the blocking and tackling. Regardless of how the economy or the markets are doing, many of the requirements of being a good advisor are consistent.

There actually will be one difference 20 years from now. The retirement stories will reflect a new demographic. At that point, most of the boomers will have retired. And the oldest ones—the people who are beginning to retire today—will be 85 then and have different financial needs.

But even then, the very broad issues will be about taking a holistic look at needs, communication, the proper financial tools and, of course, referrals.

There is one fun point to look forward to, at least for my industry. When Generation X begins to retire, we can start using ‘X Marks the Spot’ again as a headline.