10 Smartest Ideas From TDAI National Conference
Images courtesy of TD Ameritrade.
Think about cash flow. "Make sure you get your pricing right," said Brent Brodeski (center) during a session on powering practice growth. "If you give away boutique quality service with Walmart pricing, you don't have anything left." And if you don't have your staffing level right, he added, you won't be able to service the clients you're bringing in.
"Young people don't want to work with their parents' advisors -- but they don't mind working with their parents' firm," noted Kim Brown (speaking), president of JNBA Financial Advisors in Minneapolis. JNBA assigns a younger staff member to attend every client meeting, Brown said -- and then if the client has Gen Y offspring, the senior advisor will ask permission to have the junior team member reach out to the client's kids. Also, she notes: Gen Y hates getting a sales pitch, but they don't mind getting information at work -- and many workplaces are open to having you run programs for their younger staff on topics such as budgeting or saving for your first home. So use those seminars as a source of prospects.
"Only about 6% of the specialists focused on retirement plans are RIAs," TDAI president Tom Nally (pictured above) told the audience as he introduced a new TDAI initiative aimed at giving advisors the tools to develop a retirement plan offering for business clients. The "turnkey program," created by TD Ameritrade Trust, will offer recordkeeping, custody and plan administration, as well as a how-to guide for advisors looking to set up a retirement plan operation. And for those advisors who are not interested: "How many of your clients add money to their accounts every two weeks?" Nally challenged the group, pausing to let that sink in. "Because that's what retirement accounts do."
One best practice: When you get a client request via email for a wire transfer, the first thing you should do is contact the client by phone, said Justin Kam of consulting firm National Compliance Services during a session on protecting clients from fraud. And make sure you use the phone number you already have on file, not any substitute number included in the email, Kam emphasized. In the same session, former FBI staffer Dan Larkin (left), who is now with the National Cyber Forensic Training Alliance, raised a red flag about credit card rewards programs, which he said are vulnerable to fraud because they are often are managed elsewhere than the financial institution.
Make sure your events stand out and provide a point of differentiation, advised TDAI practice management consultant Dan Klein. Instead of a wine tasting or cooking class, for instance, create a series -- such as wines from different regions, different courses of a meal -- to get multiple touches with a prospect. Or if you're considering a museum visit, arrange a behind-the-scenes tour for a more exclusive experience. And unless you've structured the event around a financial topic, skip the sales pitch. "People will respect you more," he said, adding: "Besides, the prospects are going to meet your clients -- and your clients will tell them how great you are."
“Our goal is to become the premier asset gatherer,” TD Ameritrade president and chief executive officer Fred Tomczyk (pictured above) told 3,200 attendees to kick off the company’s national conference. Tomczyk said TD’s decision to go “on the offensive” in 2008 was alive and well. TD’s new dashboard for advisors will debut this summer, he promised. In addition, the financial giant was “well positioned for rising interest rates” expected to kick in this year.
“Advisors who don’t enhance the client experience will become the travel agents of the future,” according to Ron Carson (pictured above), founder and CEO of Omaha-based Carson Wealth Management. Leading a session based on lessons learned from a panel of prospective clients, Carson, who is also founder and CEO of Peak Advisors Alliance, stressed the need for advisory firms to connect with and enhance the experience of younger clients. They want to know how firms can help them, and don’t want their time wasted, Carson noted.
“China is serious about reforming banking, but their timeline is not the same as ours,” said Chris Dillon, a global fixed-income portfolio specialist for T. Rowe Price, speaking at a panel session on geopolitical risk. “I worry that a crack in the shadow banking system could lead to a sudden stop in the super-cycle of export growth, as opposed to the gradual stop they would like.”
“Millennials seek mentors that will take an interest in them and help them grow towards goals,” said Cam Marston (pictured above), president of Generational Insights at a session on “maximizing the potential of an age-diverse workplace.”
“Advisors have to be using mobile technology if they want to capture the younger generation,” Kate Healy (pictured above), managing director and head of institutional marketing for TD Ameritrade said in interview. “That’s where they are, and that’s where they get their information – in quick bites.”
Enterprise growth, Gen Y outreach and a "war for talent" were in the spotlight last week as more than 1,600 advisors and about as many vendors and industry consultants gathered in Orlando, Fla., for TD Ameritrade Institutional's annual national conference.