I remember when I just started working in Canada as a Portfolio manager and I had to be trained on the investment desk to do international investments for the 250 clients I now had. I was managing over C$100 billion and it was very new to me because the type of investments I was doing was very different from what I was accustomed to in Jamaica.
My supervisor at that time would assign me daily tasks, and as I completed them he would come and check my work. After a while, I got very annoyed and one day I said to him, “I have years of experience, I just finished my MBA in Finance with distinction so why are you standing over my back constantly watching what I do?” His response was “it’s not that I doubt your capabilities or doubt your experience but I have to trust but verify, I trust what you are doing, but I have to do my due diligence as well because I’m training you and I have to verify what you are doing.” Wow! TRUST BUT VERIFY! Let me tell you, that is something that has stuck with me ever since.
Even though you may trust a system, a process, your financial institution, your financial advisor etc, you still have to do your independent due diligence, because at the end of the day you are the one that is ultimately responsible for what happens to your money. Nothing is wrong with trusting the system, there are financial institutions and financial advisors whose number one priority is to help you grow your money and secure it the best way they can, but you also have to always verify for yourself all the time. Trust but Verify.
I often encourage my clients to become active advocates for their money and wealth journey by holding themselves accountable to take the necessary precautionary measures with anything that involves their personal finance, because this can potentially help them to avoid getting into unfortunate circumstances.
Taking the time to do extensive research on an institution or a person you have an interest in doing business with, regardless of your personal history or lack thereof, can provide you with the opportunity of spotting those red flags beforehand. Ask questions, look at the available financial data, and any media reports. Additionally, consistently monitor your transactions to ensure that your money is doing what it is supposed to do, because money left unattended is an easy target.
Now, trust but verify doesn’t mean that you should walk around with the mindset that everybody’s a thief and no one can be trusted. What it does mean is that you should always verify everything before getting into a common business with anyone, even if they seem completely trustworthy. Get the hard evidence of trust and stay alert. While a fiduciary relationship is expected in conducting financial business with the various institutions and personnel in the industry doing what is necessary to ensure your money is protected and is being handled as directed, rests on your shoulders.
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