ELITE ADVISOR BEST PRACTICES
Are You Being Served?
Get the right help you need from your financial institutional partners
By Jonathan Powell
- Work with firms that offer the right kind of support needed to transition your business to wealth management.
- Elite wealth managers typically want support in three areas: marketing, practice management and technical assistance.
- Examine your own practice and decide where you most need support from your institutional partners.
We know that implementing consultative wealth management is the single best way to build an elite financial advisory practice. Wealth managers on average earn more than three times the revenue that their peers do, while serving far fewer clients, according to CEG Worldwide research.
But here’s what else we know: Implementing true wealth management is not a cakewalk. It takes time, effort and plenty of resources to shift from a traditional transactional business model to wealth management.
You don’t have to do it all by yourself, of course. But to ensure a smooth and successful transition, you do need to work with firms that offer the right kind of support and will work with you to turn your vision of an elite wealth management firm into a reality.
Three main areas of support
Our research clearly indicates that elite wealth managers look for support from their financial institutional partners in three main areas that enable them to build and maintain great wealth management businesses:
Marketing. Help with developing referrals from other advisors is of great importance to nearly all wealth managers. For example, in one CEG Worldwide survey of 2,094 financial advisors, 94.2 percent of wealth managers emphasized the importance of getting assistance in this area from the financial firms with whom they work. The vast majority of wealth managers (89.1 percent) also said that it is important to get advanced sales and marketing training from those institutional partners. Most wealth managers also want help in two other key areas of business development: learning how to form strategic alliances with other professionals and learning more about which potential niche markets to target (68.1 percent in both cases). This makes perfect sense, as executing these marketing strategies is vital to the success of a top wealth management firm.
Trouble is, many financial institutions aren’t on the same page as their advisor clients. Consider that fewer than 50 percent of the financial executives CEG Worldwide interviewed believed that the four areas above are important to advisors. When asked what they did think is important, 74 percent said, “Handout materials for clients.”
Wanna take a guess on how many wealth managers want help with handouts?
The answer: 0.0 percent.
Practice management. Wealth managers across the board (91.3 percent) care greatly about learning and implementing best practices of leading advisors—no doubt so they can continue to grow their practices in the years ahead. This also makes perfect sense. After all, smart people know to look to other smart people for clues to success and strategies to raise their game.
But once again, we see that too many financial institutions don’t recognize the value of offering great practice management advice—as evidenced by the fact that only 64 percent said that it is very important to provide best practices.
What do these firms care about? Fifty percent of the executives said that they are focused on providing advice on transitioning to a fee-based business. But none of the wealth managers wants help in this area.
Technical assistance. Most wealth managers (64.5 percent) want training on advanced products. Here, financial institutions get it to some extent: 54 percent understand the importance of this training. That said, there are many areas where financial institutions need to be better aligned with advisors. One example: 60.9 percent of wealth managers want technical support with life insurance, but just 22 percent of firms see providing such support as very important. The areas that these firms see as very important in terms of technical support include investment management proposals (70 percent), retirement distribution planning (60 percent) and retirement planning (60 percent). Unfortunately, almost none of the wealth managers—less than 2 percent in all three cases—tell us they care greatly about getting support in these areas.
Clearly, we see that many financial institutions that serve financial advisors aren’t providing the necessary support in the right areas. Of course, each advisory firm is unique. That means you must examine your own practice and decide where you most need support from your institutional partners.
Armed with that insight, you can assess whether you’re getting the help you need to successfully transition to wealth management and deliver the type of client experience that can generate huge success going forward.