Bluerating | February 2023     

It has been twelve months since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and financial advisors have stood yet another test – they got through geopolitical conflicts and the end of the age of zero rates, while keeping pace with the relentless evolution of their profession, which seems to know no rest.

Challenges are no news for financial advisors: since the early days of the profession, they had to fight against prejudice and the adversity of the markets, then the pandemic, the war and, lately, a European regulator attempting to alter their role.  

So, it is safe to say that Italian financial advisors do not need to put on a helmet, since they have been wearing it for years together with the armor.

In the beginning, being a financial advisor was more heroic than warlike, just like any other innovative profession operating in markets with dominant positions and no room but for bravery and passion. 

In fact, the field of financial consultancy has always been characterized by loyal competition based on phone calls rather than on cannon shots. The financial promoter of the early eighties shares a distinctive feature with today’s financial advisors: proactivity and listening skills.

Both characteristics are embedded in the genetic code of any freelancer – in fact, looking for clients and meeting their needs are two necessary conditions for survival.

Moreover, relying solely on oneself is a stimulating factor, compared to those who settle for a permanent position.

And, while being a financial professional or an entrepreneur involves risk, challenges can be the spice of life as well as a motivating factor.

The second distinctive feature of financial advisors is the ability to listen, a skill of increasing importance.

The ability to listen is a very rare quality, which needs to be cultivated over time – asking the right questions, listening, calibrating the answer as well as the propositions depending on each individual client (current or potential) are extremely rare skills.

This is what distinguishes hunters from farmers. On the one hand, hunters face the unknown or the forest (a metaphor for the market) with awareness and intuition – each day is different from the other, each new challenge requires a different degree of cognizance and a different approach.

Thus, for a hunter, disruption is the rule rather than the exception.

On the other hand, metaphorically speaking, farmers manage their vegetable garden according to the changing of the seasons – they are committed to repetitive duties, they irrigate the garden (clock in and out) and harvest (report daily to the supervisor).

Clearly, farmers face some challenges too: hail, famine (layoffs) etc. And yet, dealing with uncharted routes every day takes a much higher amount of adrenaline.

There are, of course, several farmers among financial advisors, contented professionals who enjoy their harvest year after year without much effort, possibly thanks to their past hunting activity.

Let’s be clear: farmers and hunters are part of the same ecosystem; they are both necessary and often compensate each other.

In fact, a world populated by hunters would be merciless; and a world populated by farmers would be quite sad.

However, when it comes to the many challenges and mysteries of 2023, the hunters’ set of skills will ultimately prove much more useful than the farmers’ talents.

Nicola Ronchetti