I believe that living by a strong code of ethics makes life better. Leading an ethical life, whether in business or just in general, makes everything so much easier. When you do the right thing, you don't have to think about anything—everything takes care of itself. I think ethics are even more important in the financial services industry because we're given a great responsibility: we handle people’s life savings. We should go out of our way to be open about everything.
I recently learned that Money Matters is a finalist in the North Central Texas Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics*. I’m thrilled that we’ve been given this honor and look forward to finding out who wins in September. I also found that filling out the application was a great exercise, because it forced me to sit down and really think about how we handle ethics at Money Matters.
One of the questions (you can read about two other questions and their answers here and here) asked me to clarify how the leader of Money Matters works to “unify the organization around clear purpose and compelling convictions,” and how “the leader and leadership team work consistently to ensure clarity of purpose and an adherence to clear convictions that motivate and unite stakeholders.”
Money Matters works hard to make sure that our mission is clear to everyone who works for or with us. Our mission statement includes two goals: to give our clients financial peace of mind, and to have our clients' money last as long as they do.
Every Wednesday, we have an all-advisor conference call, one half of which is dedicated to professional education and the other half to a discussion of our core values and goals for our clients. We’ve also written our ten core values on laminated cards that all employees carry with them. Each week, one of the core values is discussed in the context of that employee group’s responsibilities. We also give these cards to our clients, and ask both our clients and our employees to come to us if they ever feel that we are not living up to our core values, plus we actively solicit that information in weekly board meetings with our advisors, our client service associates, and our clients. We believe that these meetings are the equivalent of the “how’s my driving?” sign on the back of a truck.
Everyone in the organization should know it is their responsibility to make sure that they adhere to our core values and to teach new employees how and why we behave the way we do. We tell all of our employees that we want Money Matters to be an even stronger company a hundred years from now. We tell our clients the same thing, because they have a vested interest in having their financial advisory firm remain in existence longer than they do. And we tell everyone that the only way to grow stronger through the years is to keep our culture and our values strong, and to transfer them from one generation to the next.
*I’d like to note that the Better Business Bureau does not endorse MMWKM Advisors, LLC (“Money Matters”) or me as financial advisors. With respect to North Central Texas Better Business Bureau (“NCTBBB”) “Torch Award” for Ethics, please note: Money Matters is not affiliated with NCTBBB. NCTBBB does not endorse Money Matters or its representatives as financial advisors. The NCTBBB’s Torch Award results are not based upon information or opinions of participating companies’ clients. Therefore, consideration for the Torch Award is not representative of Money Matters’ clients’ experiences. Neither Money Matters nor their employees paid a fee to NCTBBB to be considered for the Torch Award. NCTBBB grants its Torch Award based upon internal evaluation of narrative responses regarding 6 criteria that focus upon ethical issues to evaluate “the integrity and ethics behind their business dealings as demonstrated by their policies, education, business-to-business recommendations, customer reviews and financial track-record, among many other criteria.” Consideration for receipt of the Torch Award is absolutely not indicative of Money Matters’ future performance, or any future performance pertaining to its clients’ investments; should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that they will experience a certain level of results if Money Matters is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services; and should not be construed as a current or past endorsement of Money Matters by any of its clients.