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market spotlight | quarterly review

The third quarter proved to be very strong for domestic stocks. July saw the major benchmark indexes listed here enjoy robust gains, led by the large caps of the Dow and S&P 500. Global stocks also rebounded in July, with the Global Dow surging 3.76% by the end of July. Favorable economic indicators and encouraging corporate earnings reports were enough to quell investor concerns over the continuing saga that is the back-and-forth trade tariffs between the United States and China.

August saw stocks continue to push ahead. Several of the benchmark indexes listed here reached record highs during the month. Both the Dow and S&P 500 posted monthly gains of 2.16% and 3.03%, respectively. However, tech stocks and small caps made notable monthly gains. The Nasdaq increased by almost 6.0%, while the Russell 2000 eclipsed 4.0%. Corporate earnings continued to soar on the heels of corporate tax cuts, consumer spending, and global growth.

did you know?

In his book, The Checklist Manifesto, author and surgeon Atul Gawande found that several industries use checklists to verify their work and to aid them in making important decisions. As Gawande writes, “The volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably.” In studying different industries, Gawande found that:

  • In major construction projects, more than 16 disciplines use checklists to coordinate efforts and vary each step of the process. This discipline has kept the building failure rate in America at 1 in every 50,000 projects.
  • Venture capitalists who take a checklist approach to verify investment decisions experience 45% larger returns on average.
  • Surgeons and nurses who started using checklists before surgery saw deaths reduced by 47%.

Sources: The Checklist Manifesto,,

bright ideas
Your Checklist Manifesto
Why Financial Advisors Need Efficient Systems in Place

As financial advisors, you find yourself working through similar processes with clients, regardless of their age or assets. You’ll find yourself walking through their investments with them, analyzing those investments and offering proposals. While each client’s specific needs might vary, your processes in providing them with advice should not. So, to run through those processes more efficiently and productively, and also to protect yourself and your clients, you’ll want to have a checklist that guides and directs you through your client meetings.

The Checklist Manifesto
Perhaps the best example of building out checklists is found in the bestselling book, The Checklist Manifesto by surgeon and author Atul Gawande’s. In the book, Gawande uses case studies to show how surgeons, architects and pilots employ checklist to significantly reduce errors and improve discipline.

In your practice, it’s likely you already create checklists of one type or another. The most common checklist is the to-do list. A to-do list allows you to set goals for the day and mark them off with the strike of a pen. Maintaining a to-do list can give you a sense of accomplishment such as setting appointments with three clients or working out at the gym. But when working with clients, a to-do list offers too much room for error and inefficiency. Instead, you need a checklist.

A Life Saver
In one example of The Checklist Manifesto, Gawande explains how a two-minute checklist saved lives. During a typical operation, Gawande writes, “there are a thousand ways things can go wrong. Doctors are human. We miss stuff. We are inconsistent and unreliable because of the complexity of care.”

By implementing a simple guide that reminded doctors and staff to wash their hands, make sure their masks were on, keep wounds and dressings clean, infections dropped dramatically and infection-related deaths at these hospitals went from eleven to zero.

The Advisor Checklist
Once an advisor gets a routine that works, they might be reluctant to make changes to that system, but what if a simple checklist brought client errors to zero or at least lowered the risk of them occurring? Would that be worth the time to put together a standard list of items to discuss for each client meeting?

At Beacon, we believe in the efficiency, increased productivity and reduction in errors that carefully crafted checklists can create. As financial advisors, you’ll want checklists for your different processes such as client onboarding and client maintenance. Then, each of those categories could have different checklists associated with it.

One aspect of client maintenance, for example, is client marketing. Client marketing will keep you in touch with your clients through regular emails, blogs, newsletters and social media posts. How often you touch those clients or through which delivery system is up to you, but a well thoughout checklist will keep you on track and provide you with what Gawande calls “a cognitive net.”

To learn more about creating a financial advisor checklist manifesto that creates seamless processes for client onboarding and client maintenance, contact your wholesaler today!

beacon news

Be sure to visit Beacon’s News & Press page for the latest credibility pieces to share with your clients and prospects, and follow Beacon on LinkedIn for the latest updates as they happen.

Check out this USA Today article to read Chris Cook’s insight on recent market volatility.




Beacon Capital Management, Inc. is an investment advisory firm registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Additional information about Beacon Capital Management is also available on the SEC’s website at under CRD number 120641. Beacon Capital Management only transacts business in states where it is properly registered, or excluded or exempted from registration requirements.

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