Lessons from Shakespeare on financial advisors: Part 4: Trust your advisor as they are YOUR advisor
In Parts 1 to 3 we discussed lessons from Shakespeare; the concept of the trusted advisor; and the importance of strong communication and trust. In Part 4 we look at how you should trust your advisor.
After the famous Battle of Agincourt, the French King, Charles VI, sought to negotiate peace with the victorious English King, Henry V. Henry gave this order:
“Go, uncle Exeter,
And brother Clarence, and you, brother Gloucester,
Warwick and Huntingdon, go with the king
And take with you free power to ratify,|
Augment, or alter, as your wisdoms best
Shall see advantageable for our dignity,
Anything in or out of our demands,
And we’ll consign thereto”
Note that Henry gave his trusted advisors “free power to ratify, augment, or alter, as your wisdoms best”. He did not say ‘Discuss things with the French, report back to me and let me decide’. Henry trusted his advisors and gave them full power to represent his interests and act on his behalf.
Delegate tasks but not responsibility – Unlike Henry V, we do not recommend you give discretionary powers to any advisor. However, once you appoint an advisor and you trust them, you do need to let them get on with their job without smothering them. The flipside to this is to ensure delegation does not lead to an out of sight, out of mind situation. No matter how good the advisor is or the advice they give, remain vigilant and never passive. It is your money and no one will ever be as passionately dedicated at protecting and growing it as the person staring back at you in the mirror. Strive for a happy balance where you delegate tasks to your advisor but never the responsibility for your money.
Listen to uncomfortable truths – Look to an advisor who is willing to tell you things you do not necessarily what to hear. When King Lear presses his daughters to find who loves him the most his youngest daughter Cordelia, rather than answering obsequiously, replies honestly “I love your majesty according to my bond, no more no less”. Lear then disinherits her and when his loyal advisor Kent steps in to advise him against his actions “when majesty turns to folly” he is immediately sacked. The lesson? Banish not your advisors who may tell you uncomfortable truths.
Getting the right piece of advice from the right person is nearly always worth the price and sensible investors are willing to pay a good advisor well. You certainly do not want unwittingly to employ an advisor intent on lining their own coat and attending to their own interests
“Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves,
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
Do well thrive by them and when they have lined their coats
Do themselves homage.”
 King Henry V, Act V, Scene 2
 King Lear, Act 1 Scene 1
 Othello, The Moor of Venice Act I, Scene 1
‘Part 4: Trust your advisor as they are YOUR advisor‘ is Part 4 of a 6 part Series. Keep an eye out for ‘Part 5: How do you spot an Iago? (1 of 2)‘