Blue Water Capital Management, LLC has been selected in previous years as a FIVE STAR Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager.  Don't be impressed though.

It is our opinion that this "award" is pretty much worthless.  Here's how Five Star describes their services:

"Five Star Professional conducts research to help consumers with the important decision of selecting a service professional. The Five Star award is presented to wealth managers, real estate agents, mortgage professionals and home/auto insurance professionals in more than 45 markets in the U.S. and Canada. The Five Star award goes to service professionals who provide quality services to their clients.

In each market, award winners are listed at no cost in a special advertising section within the city/regional magazine and on

Five Star Professional also provides options for award winners to expand their presence in the magazine and to share their award with clients, colleagues, family and friends."

OK, look back at the professions represented - they are all sales.  When you work in sales, you need to gain trust and credibility.  What better way to emphasize those attributes than to promote an "award".

The 2nd paragraph is also telling.  If these were truly awards, why are they in a special advertising section?  Shouldn't the publication write a story about them without getting paid?  Why not just throw in the top 10 steak restaurants or plastic surgeon lists found in airline magazines...

The last paragraph pretty much sums it up though.  Winners can promote their award through various paid activities (plaques, expanded profiles in the publication, etc.). 

The process goes like this - 1) select an industry that really needs trust and credibility to operate, 2) give out a lot of awards, 3) collect lots of money from desperate professionals, and 4) repeat year after year.

We're not the only advisor discussing this either.  Check out what Bryan has to say at :

In fact, this is not the only "award" going around.

Consumers’ Research Council of America ( – yes, that’s their joke of a website) has also awarded Blue Water with inclusion in the “Guide to America’s Top Financial Planners”. Of course it also came with advertising opportunities. They say that the selection process is “based on a point value system that awards points for education, years in practice, and affiliations with professional associations and organizations”. Wow, what strict criteria! No thanks…

Media Networks, Inc. runs an award called “Registered Investment Advisors You Can Bank On”. Advisors can purchase profiles (for $2,995) in the likes of BusinessWeek, Fortune, Money, and Forbes. The key here is that they only appear in the “San Diego County Edition”, not nationwide. Their brochure literally says “This program is strictly available on a first come, first served basis”. You can’t get more pay-to play than this…

Even industry awards are misleading. Reuters, Wealth Manager Magazine, and Investment Advisor Magazine all run some sort of “Top Wealth Manager” list. Advisors on these lists are not evaluated by consumers or judged by peers. Their advisory skills are not measured at all. It is really just a measure of how much money a firm is managing. Advisory firms have the incentive to inflate their figures because some publications go by what a firm reports to them and do not double-check the numbers.

A truly unbiased "best advisor" award based on meaningful metrics does not exist.

We recommend that you be wary of any financial advisor (whether Fee-Only, Fee-Based, or Commission-Based) that promotes these type of awards. Unless they are completely ignorant, these advisors are engaging in deceptive promotion.

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