As I write this, I’m attending Securities America’s annual conference. My team from Impact is here talking with advisors about how they can add multi-media to their websites, create custom magazines for their clients, learn how to work with the media, and add social media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to their marketing plan.
Securities America has just announced their new social media policy, which allows the use of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, as long as advisors complete a short e-learning module and install the Socialware compliance software on the computers they’ll be using to interact on those social media sites.
There’s some really good practice management content and marketing advice being shared. So this week, I thought I’d take a break from the Client Communications 2.0 series I’ve been doing for The Marketing Maven blog (I’ll return to that theme in a couple weeks) and recap some of what I’m learning here at the 2011 Securities America Connect! conference.
I’ve been tweeting throughout the conference, which ends Tuesday afternoon. If you’d like to follow the conference on Twitter, sign in to your account and do two things:
Find the hashtag #SAI11 and you will see all the conference related tweets, including some photos I’m snapping with my Android
OPENING KEYNOTE SPEECHES
The event kicked off Saturday night when Kirk Hulett, who served as the evening’s jovial host, welcomed to the stage Lou Holtz, one of America’s most famous NFL coaches, and Jim Nagengast, CEO of Securities America. Holtz talked about having a game plan for success and said that challenges make us better business people.
In his inaugural conference address as CEO of the seventh largest independent broker/dealer in the nation (according to Financial Planning magazine’s June 2011 broker/dealer listings) Nagengast addressed the challenges Securities America faced in the past few years and talked about the future. “We are in an excellent position to move on to the next chapter,” he said.
"As the sale process progresses, we have a keen focus on finding a new ownership structure that creates the least disruption to you and your clients," he said. Nagengast then announced the members of the newly created Advisor Committee, which will provide feedback on select aspects of the new ownership process.
“Securities America believes so strongly in the importance of retirement income planning – both for clients to prepare for the distribution phase and for advisors to best serve the needs of those clients – that we offered our NextPhase™ University as the only pre-conference session at this year’s annual conference. More than 70 advisors attended the daylong session,” Hulett said.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM NEXTPHASE UNIVERSITY
Before retirement, the average investor has three financial advisors. After retirement, investors pare down to just one advisor. How does an advisor become a client’s only advisor during retirement?
That’s the question Securities America asked in 2005. The answer started with studying systematic withdrawals, variable annuities and time-segmented distribution, resulting in the white paper “Capturing the Income Distribution Opportunity.” That white paper recently received the Thought Leadership Award from the Retirement Income Industry Association (RIIA) and was published in the inaugural issue of the Retirement Management Journal.
In the six years between publishing the white paper and receiving the award, Securities America has been building an extensive support system targeted at helping advisors become the income distribution specialist in their community. A new white paper, “Positioning Yourself as a Retirement Income Distribution Specialist,” provides dozens of great marketing tips -- no matter what niches you choose to serve.
Zach Parker, Securities America’s director of insurance and annuities, has been a part of the research and development team. “Regardless of the niche in which you concentrate your business, the transition of the baby boom generation will touch every advisor to one extent or another,” Parker said during the Next Phase preconference session. “Every advisor needs to have a plan and be prepared to address this need for your clients, or risk losing clients to an advisor who is prepared.”
Like many advisors, Patricia Hinds, CFP®, a Securities America advisor in St. Cloud, Minn., says that in her early years, working with clients focused on accumulation. “I had a few clients taking periodic distributions or occasionally a lump sum, but there was no focus on creating an income stream from the assets,” she says. “As the clients – and I – got older, we talked about how they would need to use the dollars they saved. It became clear we couldn’t haphazardly have investments out there and just tap into those accounts arbitrarily. It’s interesting that although our view of how we will spend our time in retirement has certainly changed, clients still arrive at my door with old-fashioned investment methodology ingrained in their thinking.”
While developing the initial income distribution white paper, Securities America realized the importance of addressing the impact that clients’ emotion-based decision making regarding finances can have on portfolio performance. Soon after publishing the white paper, Securities America introduced the ROI* Reliability of Income Profile, a questionnaire designed to help advisors assess and measure clients’ emotional need for guaranteed income and reaction to volatility. To Securities America’s knowledge, the ROI Profile was the first of its kind in the industry.
Earlier this year, Securities America expanded the ROI Profile to include questions to determine whether a client will need large lump sums during retirement and their desire to leave a legacy. The expanded tool, which includes an advisor scoring key and suggestions for products and services based on client responses, has been renamed the Client Fact Finder.
“Traditional risk profiling methods have attempted to quantify a client’s sensitivity to financial loss in a portfolio,” said Parker during his presentation at the pre-conference. “These tools tend to work better during accumulation years than in distribution years when clients have less time and fewer new assets coming in (such as wages) to recover from losses.
Tools for risk profiling that rely on hard numbers like assets and income can certainly give the client a ‘number,’ but they don’t address the client’s needs for major expenses or the impact on the client’s legacy plan. The expanded ROI Profile allows the advisor to take a comprehensive look at all of the client’s needs to create a more effective income distribution plan.”
To help advisors determine which products may be suitable for each segment when investing client assets into the NextPhase strategy, Securities America created the Product Allocation Model. “We identified several options in each segment advisors could consider as suitable alternatives when creating a plan for their clients,” Parker said. “In addition to summarizing the product options, we highlighted factors for advisors to consider when deciding which products to use. We also provide an Efficient Practice rating to indicate how easily each product type could be implemented.”
In addition to the white papers, client ROI Profile, and coaching programs, a number of additional resources are available to Securities America advisors through the e*Office NextPhase Support Center. Client materials include tri-fold brochures, Retirement Myth flyers, seminar modules and visually compelling proposals that the advisor can generate through the NextPhase platform.
Envestnet and Nationwide Financial have partnered with Securities America to create a robust platform and suite of solutions that will help advisors master the financial and emotional aspects of retiring a client.
MARKETING MAVEN ON THE PROWL
As I head back to the convention center this morning, I’ll be looking for more good ideas to share with The Marketing Maven readers. My presentation – Get Exposed: Working with the Media and Building Your Online Presence – is in just a few short hours so I’ve got to run now but will be tweeting live from the Super Women’s Luncheon, where three of Securities America’s top women advisors will be sharing the insights, beginning at 11:00 am eastern time today. The official conference hashtag is #SAI11.