What Side Are You On?

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About the author: Trini Guillen is dedicated to helping clients achieve financial freedom. Trini holds a Series 65 securities registration and has a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a focus in finance. He has spent 21 years in the financial industry. His previous experience includes trade system research and development, portfolio management, due diligence and trade execution. 

When I am looking to hire a person in any profession, I rely on my gut to tell me if this individual will perform on my behalf or will they just try to sell me product.  I believe we all have that as our basic litmus test and a financial advisor should not be exempt from this filter.  Do you know the difference?  Do you even care?  Well, you should understand the difference to determine whether or not this is important to you.

I spent 20 years on the investment management side of the business where I would position our assets in the best possible way to generate returns within our predefined risk parameters to achieve our goals.  Pension funds, endowments, insurance companies and hedge funds construct their portfolios to achieve specific results for their assets, this is called Buy Side investing.

Unfortunately, a very large component of the investment world revolves around the development and sales of investment product(s).  Those products are promoted through firms to construct portfolios not for their assets but for investors such as yourself to purchase.  This is Sell Side investing and it may or may not be in your best interest.

Let’s pretend I was the owner of a local Bistro and you came in for a meal.  After several minutes I come back to take your order and you respectfully ask, “what is your personal recommendation?”  I pause and state unashamed, “I don’t have a preference because I refuse to eat here.”

What Side Are You On?

As an investor, wouldn’t you expect your advisor to be similarly invested as you were?  Have you been sold product in your portfolio?  Or does your advisor have skin in the recommendations they are making for you?  What questions did you ask?

I personally enjoy going to my favorite restaurant and watching the owners and employees dine on their breaks at the tables next to me.  I’m comforted to see that by choice, they have chosen to eat there as well.

I believe you can tell a lot about a person or a firm by what they do for themselves and what they offer to clients.  I believe it tells you exactly what side you’re on!


Based in Reno, NV, Cornerstone is for individuals and families looking to create and grow wealth, protect and preserve their life savings, and plan for the distribution of their estate in a tax-efficient manner through a tailored strategy. Schedule a time to discuss your financial goals with us.

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