Do you remember when a firm with 5000 advisors was a large firm? Or when firms would hire and train 100 rookies per month? Do you remember when advisors would work past 4:00 pm on Fridays with the anticipation that accounts would be distributed from an advisor that just resigned?
If you do, you also remember how different a “wirehouse” versus “bank broker” looked. Or how an “Independent” advisor looked like a unicorn, because it was so rare. And their business mix was so different.
Today we see a different story, the industry landscape is changing with the numbers of advisors who work in wirehouse and independent broker dealer channels down – and the numbers of advisors who are dually registered or working as RIAs continuing to increase.
However, while shifts in channel affiliation represent an important change, the lines between the channels have become blurred for a variety of reasons: access to technology, the growth of firm aggregation, Turnkey Asset Management Platforms (TAMPS) and the increased acumen of the advisors themselves. Most importantly, advisors in every channel face a shared imperative to meet the expectations of an increasingly sophisticated client base and differentiate themselves from advisors who are doing the same. The emergence of technology, including robo and AI which has automated functions formally. The responsibility of advisors has only increased the pressure to demonstrate a clear value proposition to clients.
This shared need among advisors from every channel has created an important opportunity for the firms who partner with them. Access to product and performance of that product is clearly important but delivering best-in-class value add content plays a crucial role in the practices of an advisor across all channels.
In the practice management space, advisors should expect at least some of the following from their financial services partners.
As advisors, being a client “Partner” means more than solely providing a reliable estimate on what is being left to the beneficiaries. Advisors may also want to be that “first call” when the client is making any financial decision. More than being known as the “investment manager”, advisors should want to be a companion who is entrusted with helping their clients create a life and legacy of significance.
Similarly, advisors can tap their financial services partners to provide advice on how to direct the conversation to focus on shared values – to engage the client in thinking about traditional goals of performance, but also to consider more broadly how their wealth is leveraged in direction of achieving life goals.
Institutional quality investing
Advisors are increasingly leveraging models and managed money programs to provide their clients with personalized financial advice. Advisors should work with a firm that not only creates the platform but provides advisors with diverse solutions available on these platforms. This allows advisor to create a personalized plan, which sophisticated clients are increasingly expecting, with ease and efficiency.
Advisors have many choices as to where they can look for insights into capital market trends. A financial services partner will work with advisors to tailor these insights to meet their specific needs, whether for client education or to develop their own expertise. A financial services partner will also collaborate by providing access to market experts and supporting client education.
Gone are the days when a one-size-fits-all approach works to selling. A partnership should provide insights into the communication and trust style of the client. In addition, they support the advisor by providing a toolbox the advisor can use to meet the needs of different clients.
Personal and Professional Balance
Research shows that advisors feel increasingly under pressure. Notably, there are many new entrants to this business who have not experienced an economic downturn. It will be especially important for advisors to know how to take care of themselves under the demands of changing market conditions. A financial services partner will provide these resources – and help an advisor work to integrate them into their practice.
In today’s changing environment, we know that you do not need to carry the same business card to be a member of the same team. The question for the thoughtful advisor needs to be:
What can the tools of a partner do to grow your business, grow your knowledge and grow your results?
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