Abhishek: Oh yeah, absolutely! It is not easy to challenge traditional mutual fund/insurance-agent led model which serves their interest but not essentially that of their unitholders/policyholders.
Charlie Munger, Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, explains this well in his speech “Academic Economics Strengths and Faults after Considering Interdisciplinary needs.”
He says, “One of the most extreme examples is in the investment management field. Suppose you are the manager of a mutual fund (or insurance), and you want to sell more. People commonly come to the following answer:
You raise the commissions (or expense ratio), which of course reduces the number of units of real investments delivered to the ultimate buyer, so you are increasing the price per unit of real investment that you are selling the ultimate customer.
And you are using that extra commission to bribe the customer’s purchasing agent (mutual fund or insurance agent). You are bribing the broker to betray his client and put the client’s money into the high-commission product. This has worked to produce at least a trillion dollars of mutual fund sales.”
Fee-only investment advisory is trying to challenge this existing model by always asking the question, which nobody on Dalal Street or on Wall Street asks and which Fred Schwed in his seminal book asked, “Where are the customers’ yachts”.