Education, Active Listening and Emotion Over Data

In this episode, Steve talks with Apollo Lupescu, Vice President at Dimensional Fund Advisors, about his academic approach to investing and the power of effective communication.

While in college, Apollo struck up a conversation with a classmate’s father about the stock market. Apollo’s inherent fascination prompted a few extra classes in investing and, ultimately, the pursuit of a Ph.D. Many advisors begin their careers with the same academic passion and overall fascination with money in motion. What we forget, however, is that advising and investing is first-and-foremost a people business. And so often our expertise in mathematics doesn’t translate to expertise in communication, empathy, and conviction.

Apollo talks with Steve about the power of passion, moving beyond the numbers, actionable steps for improving client relationships, and the most effective communication strategies all advisors should implement.

“Advisors are not necessarily only in the investment business, but in the people business. And in that respect, knowledge alone is not sufficient. What I think I had to develop over the years – because I did not have it – was a set of communication skills that can be acquired, that can be learned. And I think what’s hugely important is that advisors realize that it’s not just about the knowledge but also how do you convey that in an effective way?” ~ Apollo Lupescu

Main Takeaways

  • Advisors, especially younger advisors, want to reference a lot of statistics and research. When it comes to client communication, less is more. Simplify your answers and avoid endless jargon. That simplicity will come with experience and confidence.
  • You have to make choices and stand behind your commitments. Clients are more likely to listen when you bring a sense of conviction.
  • Pivot your strategy in both style and content depending on your audience, but always stay genuine to who you are.
  • Trying to address problems with data and numbers doesn’t work. To help clients listen and engage, you have to approach their problem from an emotional perspective. Start by validating clients and making sure they feel heard.
  • Practice listening to understand rather than listening to reply.
  • Have scheduled meetings or events with your clients so they always have something to look forward to.

Links and Important Mentions

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