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Dimensional Perspectives

Dimensional’s 2019 Global Advisor Conference, where firms are gathering to share ideas on serving clients better and building growing businesses, is yet another manifestation of the increasing momentum behind a new advice model across the globe.

The conference, which takes place every two years, offers advisers around the globe an opportunity to connect with like-minded peers and share challenges, ideas, and world-class advisory practices that can improve their businesses and, ultimately, elevate the client experience.

The conference has been held in Scotland, the Netherlands, and the US. This year’s event—taking place in Sydney to coincide with Dimensional’s 25th anniversary in Australia—marks the first time the conference has been held in the Southern Hemisphere and highlights the global nature of this movement.

Having met over many years with a community of advisers from places including Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the UK, I have been struck by the great energy swirling around the new business model in these countries.

This model stems from the idea that client-centric advice, coupled with efficient access to the capital markets, is a successful formula for both clients and advisers.

When this idea was proposed nearly three decades ago in the US, many financial services professionals presumed that it would have difficulty competing with more established approaches.

Since then, however, we have seen many advisory firms do a masterful job of delivering a great client experience while also building their businesses.

We believe this success happens because the adviser is working on the same side of the table as the client and is aligned with their investment goals.

Across regions, I have seen the early adopters of this new model of advice exude the same urgency that fueled the US advisory movement. This energy stems from the recognition that there is a way to “do better” for every client.

A second reason I expect the movement to continue growing is because regulatory reforms in many countries are leading to a transition away from the old, sometimes conflicted model of advice to a new model that emphasises transparency. Sales commissions have been banned in many countries, including Australia and the UK. In New Zealand, the government is introducing a new regulatory regime and code of conduct.

Complementing these developments is growing worldwide collaboration among advisers through study groups, global conferences, and benchmarking studies.

Our goal is to help support a healthy, long-term relationship between advisers and their clients and, consequently, between advisers and Dimensional.

The global train has left the station and is gathering steam. We believe the solutions offered by this movement of advisers should favourably impact the well-being and wealth of clients for generations.

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Eugene Fama and Ken French are members of the Board of Directors of the general partner of Dimensional Fund Advisors LP (“Dimensional’s Board”). Robert Merton, Ken French, Eugene Fama and Robert Novy-Marx provide consulting services to Dimensional Fund Advisors LP. Myron Scholes serves as an Independent Director on the Board of Directors for mutual funds managed by Dimensional Fund Advisors LP.

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