The Transparent Advisor Movement

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The Transparent Advisor Movement’s mission is to promote ideals of clarity, modesty, integrity, dignity, and client advocacy in all aspects of financial advice, with a special focus on Advice Only, Flat Fee, and Hourly service models. There is a special emphasis on clear disclosure of services and their related fees.

The Transparency Movement is the future of the industry – we welcome anyone who believes in our values to join us.

Join the Transparent Advisor Movement

Who am I?

I am Sara Grillo, CFA and I’m declaring war on all forms of deception, manipulation, and other old-school, toxically controlling behaviors within financial advisor practices.

Sara Grillo, CFA is a highly fun and slightly crazy marketing consultant based in NYC.
I am an irreverent and fun marketing consultant for financial advisors.

And who are we?

The Transparent Advisor Movement is a free networking and thought leadership group of financial advisors, thought leaders, and and related professionals who are busy forging a future for the industry that is a transparent one.

The goal of the Transparent Advisor Movement is to create the country’s best financial advisors – the most ethical, effective, and successful financial advisors that the industry has ever seen in its history. To do this, we are dismantling many of the norms and reconstructing them with a sheer focus on the experience of the end client, something that has never been done before.

Join our LinkedIn group for online discussions and to network with those who share our values. Many are financial advisors who practice as Advice Only, Flat Fee, and Hourly planners.

Join our email list to receive weekly “The Transparent Advisor Letter” and notices of our monthly meetups via email.

If you need a mentor, ask me.

If you want an accountability buddy to help you stay on course with your goals (and you will do the same for that person), ask me.

We are having a virtual conference in 2023.

And we’re having an in-person conference in 2024 held in New York City. This will be a zero waste style conference in which there will be no exhibit hall, no sponsors, and no crap giveaways to pollute the event. Just people talking, thinking, and helping each other take as much action as possible in the move to transparency.

Transparency is what financial advice has always been missing

Without total transparency there is no trust.

There is no trust with half transparency and unfortunately that is the mode that the financial advice industry has been stuck in for 100% of its history. It’s not an understatement; you really wouldn’t believe the bogus crap I’ve seen over 20 years.

I’m declaring war on : closedness, half truths, non truths, ignoring, passive aggression, deception, control and manipulation, all of which are fully present in the world of financial advice today, which is why the Transparent Advice Movement is so important.

Example: I cant put my fees on my website because I want to take the prospects to Morton’s Steakhouse before we meet so I can get them to like me.

Example: Here’s our “Board” (so you don’t look like a one person team which is what you really are)

Example: That’s not a kickback it’s a consulting fee paid once a year

Example: This annuity carries no cost (but it does carry an impicity reduction in the yield spread!)

Example: I’m the #2 financial advisor in the country (according to a list that is defined to be social media influencers)

Example: We’re an RIA, we don’t sell insurance (except through our associated Brokerage General Agency, lol).

Transparency is about containment not control

See, almost all financial advisors would say that they love their clients.

Then why are you trying so hard to control them?

Contain is what you do when you love.

Control is what you do when you possess.

Control says, “I want to put this person in a space so they stay there, and I need to do that so that I feel safe and let’s hope they don’t grow out of it.”

Containment says, “I want to create a space where this person will stay because the walls of the container make them feel safe enough to grow.”

When you talk about being transparent with someone, you are talking about a shift from control to containment.

The enemy isn’t the outside, it’s not the market or the Fed – it’s within ourselves.

It’s not about your job title or whether or not you are a fiduciary.

It’s not about whether or not you sell products.

Or how much you virtue signal on social media.

Or whether you are a good person or not.

Or whether you are an honest person or not.

It’s about how you communicate.

I mean, damn, it’s not just financial advisors who get this wrong, it’s society who gets this wrong and it’s the reason the fabric is falling apart..

Communicate transparently if you want to contain; otherwise you are locking your client in a control regime that benefits you more than them and in some cases it’s totally destructive. That’s what we are focused on in the Transparent Advisor Movement; communication, fees, and service models that liberate through the shift from control to containment.

Is this a revolution or a resistance?

Actually it is neither.

It is the birth of a new age of financial advice, one that has never ever been evidenced before en masse. But that is all changing with the advent of more transparent financial advice models such as flat fee, hourly, and advice only planning.

You can read about all this below.

Financial advisor transparency resources

Here are some blogs I wrote/podcasts that may inform you on your transparency journey.

Is your marketing honest? 17 point test

Transparent advisor marketing resource sheet

Advice only advisors are stealing the show

Flat fee advisors are going to take your clients

Hourly planner interview – saving investors from the “Humpty Dumpty” portfolio

How to avoid bad financial advisor jobs

Ethical financial advisors

Low cost financial advisors

Direct indexing sucks

Should you cancel your CFP designation?

Five Lessons I Learned from my Cardiologist

Transparency leaders in the news

Advice-only planning exposes what’s wrong with asset-based fee models

Flat fees gain traction among advisers critical of asset-based pricing

Financial advisers debate the best way to charge clients

Advice-only fees gain traction as advisers opt out of managing client portfolios

Are you ready to join the Transparent Advisor Movement?

I hope so. There’s alot of BS in finance and it’ll be better if you are fighting against it rather than succumbing to it.

If you want to be a part of what we’re doing and make history together with us, see the first section above with action items and thanks for being cool.

If not, I hope you’ll at least connect with me on LinkedIn and say hello. I post at on of stuff to start discussions you may at least find amusing.

Stay transparent!

-Sara G