Michael Lane is the Head of iShares U.S. Wealth Advisory at BlackRock and a member of the US Wealth Advisory and US iShares Executive Committees. Michael has worked with financial advisors for nearly three decades and oversees the development of advisor-xcentric solutions helping advisors build better portfolios.
Prior to joining iShares at BlackRock in 2018, Michael served as the Global Head of Strategic Retirement Initiatives at Dimensional Fund Advisors where he was responsible for the strategic development and global distribution of retirement solutions for one of the world’s premier asset managers.
Michael has published three books, including “Secrets of the Wealth Makers,” as well as a range of articles on financial planning and advisory practices. He’s also a member of the Carson Wealth FinServ Advisory Council and he is kicking off the FinServ Foundation’s Next-Gen program—an initiative that will focus on bringing diverse talent to the financial services industry.
He’s a fellow Binghamton University alum and serves as an Executive Committee member of the Binghamton University Foundation Board and received the Medal of Distinguished Service in 2019. Listen in for some great takeaways about Michael’s journey from Binghamton to BlackRock and how he’s making an impact on the profession.
You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…
- Learn more about Michael Lane [3:54]
- Michael’s favorite memories from Binghamton [6:03]
- The transition from farm life to big city living [9:59]
- What Michael wishes people knew about BlackRock [11:30]
- How to reach people in need of financial literacy [14:55]
- Parents need to instill financial literacy in their kids [20:07]
- Michael has always sought to “Do the right thing” [24:34]
- The intersection between technology and risk [28:35]
- What does “Find your freedom” mean for Michael? [34:09]
- Michael shares how his love for wine became a venture [38:54]
- Why Michael is launching a podcast with his son [41:10]
- What Michael did today that put him in the mindset for success [44:35]
What Michael wishes people knew about BlackRock
Michael points out that when you’re the largest asset management company in the world, of course you catch most of the negative publicity. But BlackRock manages over $8 trillion in assets for nurses, firefighters, and teachers to massive institutions. They manage money to improve the investment experience of their clients.
BlackRock employs over 20,000 people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, countries, political beliefs, religions, and more. They represent diverse perspectives. And as they continue to grow and scale, they continue to drive down costs so more money goes into the pockets of their clients.
How to reach people in need of financial literacy
Different countries—such as Australia and the UK—have differentiated financial advisors from salespeople. The person that represents the client can be different than someone that represents the firm. They make people put different tiles on their business cards depending on their role.
The challenge with social media is that we don’t hold anyone to the same standard. Someone that posts something on social media can do it without regulatory oversight or licensing. They don’t have to say that it’s purely for entertainment. It’s hard for everyday investors to delineate regulated advice from people who are saying whatever they want.
Michael points out that everyone should take what they’ve read on social media and speak with a financial advisor about how that advice could apply to them. You need to make sure that the financial information applies to you and doesn’t conflict with your current arrangements.
Michael has always sought to “Do the right thing”
When Michael launched his career in 1991, he was taught to ask questions to bring them “suggestions” on how to invest their money. Michael sat down with a family and asked them a series of questions:
- How much do you have in mutual funds? Nothing.
- How much do you have in your 401k plan? Nothing.
- How much do you have in stocks and bonds? Nothing.
Then he asked how much they had in their checking account. The answer was shocking: $300,000. They were investing none of it. But this couple needed more income than the husband would get from social security, savings, and his pension when they retired.
At the time, Michael wasn’t a fiduciary. He was a salesperson. He looked at the options that existed for them and suggested they put a portion of the money in a lifetime annuity. Michael felt great about it. He felt it was the right thing to do for the client.
But his manager was furious with him. Why? Because he’d only get paid a commission once. But Michael didn’t care. He was 23 years old and decided he would always make sure he did what was right for his clients. He’s followed this policy ever since and seeks to spend the rest of his life making an impact on other people’s lives and helping them achieve their goals.
Why Michael is launching a podcast with his son
Generation X, Millennials, Generation Z, etc. don’t have the same investing experiences. Their appetite or understanding of volatility is far different from each other and each generation approaches investing differently. Michael thought—why not start a podcast that dissected investment strategies and mindsets from each generation’s perspective?
Michael hopes to help people create better dialogues with their children about money and what it means to them. It’s an important conversation that needs to be improved. He wants to provide a pathway for approaching those conversations.
Michael also shares some of the technology BlackRock is leveraging to help his clients manage their portfolios through different environments. Don’t miss this episode!
Resources & People Mentioned
Connect with Michael Lane
Michael Lane is Head of iShares U.S. Wealth Advisory and a member of the US Wealth Advisory and US iShares Executive Committees. Working with financial advisors for nearly three decades, Michael oversees the development of advisor centric solutions, due diligence and implementation of iShares, helping advisors build better portfolios with core, fixed income, factor and model-based ETFs.
Prior to joining iShares at BlackRock in 2018, Michael served as the Global Head of Strategic Retirement Initiatives at Dimensional Fund Advisors, responsible for the strategic development and global distribution of retirement solutions for one of the world’s premier asset managers. During his 14-year tenure at Dimensional, Michael played a range of leadership roles, including CEO of Dimensional SmartNest LLC, providing customized managed account solutions for defined contribution plans. He additionally worked in the office of the chairman as well as leading the development of the retirement, broker-dealer, bank and TAMP businesses. Prior to Dimensional, Michael served as a director of advisor services at TIAA-CREF.
Michael has published three books, including Secrets of the Wealth Makers, as well as a range of articles on financial planning and advisory practices. A member of the Carson Wealth FinServ Advisory Council, he is kicking off the FinServ Foundation’s Next-Gen program – an initiative that will focus on bringing diverse talent to the financial services industry.
An ’89 graduate of Binghamton University in New York, he serves as an Executive Committee member of the Binghamton University Foundation Board and received the Medal of Distinguished Service in 2019. As a former men’s tennis student-athlete at Binghamton, the tennis complex was renamed the “Lane Tennis Center,” based on his passion for the sport and involvement with the program.
Most importantly, Michael is a father of three, residing with his family in Austin, Texas.
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