There are many benefits to hiring employees who provide additional expertise such as tax planning or divorce mediation, not the least of which is that bringing them on board can help build an advisory practice.
Many firms talk about doing overall wealth management, but few actually do it, says Kevin J. Meehan, regional president of Wealth Enhancement Group in Itasca, Ill.
Adding additional expertise more realistically positions a firm to do so, he says.
Another advantage of bringing on additional expertise in the door is that it allows a firm to more broadly market and serve new niches of clients, Meehan says.
“The biggest advantage of adding other professionals is to be able to project to prospects and clients they are hiring a team of experts over just hiring an advisor,” he says.
Alan Moore, founder of Serenity Financial Consulting in Milwaukee, which is now part of Abacus Wealth Partners, thinks that niche marketing is “the way of the future.”
“This means adding advisors with very clearly defined niche markets such as recently divorced, Next Gen and entrepreneurs,” he says.
“It is an awesome way to grow the firm,” Moore says. “This allows you to build out sections inside the firm that focus on ideal client profiles, which helps them to streamline operations and services.”
Ensemble practices can be more financially productive, but the quality of the independent services must be consistent, says P. Jeffrey Christakos, a planner at Westfield (N.J.) Wealth Management.
“In many cases, centers of influence are continuing sources of clients, and if you set up an ensemble, these referrals may dry up,” he says.
More and more companies are consolidating their workspace to offer full services, with accountants, attorneys, insurance specialists and those with retirement expertise all in one office, says Katie Gampietro Burke, a planner at Wealth by Empowerment in Jacksonville, Fla.
But she thinks that concept “can be a double-edged sword,” and she wonders whether clients perceive having all of these areas of expertise covered under one roof, or will they feel obligated to use that one particular choice offered?
Moreover, Burke also wonders whether these companies offer two or three different types of attorneys or CPAs, so that the client can find the best fit.
“Don’t get me wrong. Adding talent with experience is important,” she says.
“I just want to draw attention to the other side of how it can be perceived,” Burke says.
Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer in Running Springs, Calif. She has contributed to American Banker, Risk & Insurance and Human Resource Executive.
This story is part of a 30-day series on smart ways to grow your practice.
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