2. <b>Alex Murguia</b>, managing principal of McLean Asset Management, CEO of inStream Solutions
Explain Clearly The Value Clients Are Getting From You
As an industry, we dont demonstrate our value proposition. Although advisors provide great value, if you were to ask almost any advisory firm, How many of your clients have achieved their objectives? I doubt that many would answer with any precision. If you were then to ask, How are your current clients doing relative to their objectives right now? I also doubt any advisors would really know that answer.
I find this very troubling and unbelievable that we as an industry have not done a better job. Lets juxtapose that with UPS. They would be able to tell you instantly and to the foot where all their packages are.
If we cant demonstrate our value proposition, then we have not met our value proposition.
3. <b>Deena Katz</b>, chairman of Evensky & Katz, associate professor of personal financial planning at Texas Tech
Employees, Not Just Owners, Need to Prepare For Succession
How do you prepare to be a successor? Seven steps:
Figure out what your career path is where youre working now
Are you working at a firm that has a defined career path with a possibility for you to become involved in management? Are there potential partnership opportunities? If the path is not clear, make an appointment with your employer to talk about advancement opportunities.
Assuming youre in the right place, set goals with your employer
List the responsibilities you will need to accept and perform well before you can move on to the next step. Be sure these are time-specific.
Be a leader
Listen to others around you. Act fairly and ethically at all times. Ask for help when you need it and offer to help others when they do, even if they dont ask.
Bring new clients to the firm
Do this even if its not part of your job responsibilities. Show that you know that growth is important to the survival of the firm.
Be active in your community
You can start by taking an active role in your professional organizations.
Expect to start early and stay late
Set aside a period of time each week to devote to your professional and personal growth. Read management books, articles and other materials on a regular basis and consider how you might use some of these tools in your work.
Ask for more responsibilities
If youre already starting to meet your short-term goals you set, add some more. Perhaps you can participate in the firms investment committee or take responsibility for researching and installing that new software the firm needs.
If you do all of these things, even if you find this is not the place for you later on, you will be well positioned and valuable to someone else who is looking for a next generation partner.
4. <b>Pat McEvoy</b>, president of Woodbury Financial Services
Before Changing Broker-Dealers, RIAs Should Ask Themselves These Questions
Why are you leaving?
Why youre leaving is as important to know as where youre going. The same things that are making you want to leave are the things you need to look into, so you dont end up in a similar situation and feel the need to leave again.
So the first question you might want to ask yourself is: What are the major issues within your practice causing you to find that the current broker-dealer is not a good fit? There usually are just a couple of reasons advisors decide to leave a firm the first might be that the firm no longer lines up with your business, and the second would be the culture.
Once youve answered that question, then decide if you want to make a move to an independent firm, or to a wirehouse or a bank.
Whats the ownership structure of the new firm?
Is it owned by private equity, publicly traded or owned by a parent company, for example? How does that ownership structure fit in with your vision of where youd like to be?
What do you feel you need to be better at?
Whats missing, or whats the flat spot in your practice? Maybe you want to expand into estate or tax planning, or have better technology? See if the new firm is a good fit, given what youre trying to build into your own practice.
What charges and and expenses will you be facing at the new firm?
Many firms have considerable fees that are applied across the board. Look at the non-revenue income of a firm to determine if those expenses are fair and reasonable. Determine if the firm is making a profit on your practice in ways that dont support your business model.
What is the long-term sustainability of the firm? What if there are lawsuits? The answers to those types of questions will give an advisor a perspective about the type of firm theyre joining.
What kind of communication strategy has the firm developed?
Its important to make sure the firm does have a communication strategy in place. At Woodbury, were very persistent in helping our reps and advisors be good at communication, setting up automated ways for them to notify clients if something unexpected comes up like a natural disaster. If they become injured, we have systems for notifying clients as well. Its hugely important to find a firm that will support you in keeping in touch with all your clients.
What compliance tools are offered by the broker-dealers investment advisory platform?
Independent RIA firms are feeling the pressure to comply more and more, and see advantages in affiliating with broker-dealers who can offer the same support at less cost thanks to scale than it would be for the RIAs alone.