According to Financial-Planning.com, in the first 4 months of 2019, more than 222 advisors switched firms, taking nearly $47 billion in assets with them. And nearly a quarter (23%) switched firms in the last 5 years according to a Fidelity study – with 56% considering a switch in that same timeframe!
We know that times of disruption are prime to attract new advisors. So how exactly do you entice advisors during the COVID-19 pandemic (or any down market)? There are measures you can take that will make your firm more appealing to advisors contemplating a move.
Give them something they can’t get anywhere else
The fastest way to attract advisors is to give them something they can’t get anywhere else. This could include access to technology (like Truelytics), business coaching, enhanced employee benefits, or dedicated home office support. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box either – you may be surprised by what motivates people. Differentiate yourself and the services you can bring to the table and you’re sure to draw attention from advisors considering a change.
Take the focus off payout
Sure, there will always be advisors that will move for an extra one or two basis points on their payout. These likely aren’t the kind of advisors you want to attract though. When the focus is on something other than payout, you’ll garner interest from quality advisors who care about more than just their bottom line – which will create a mutually beneficial relationship going forward.
Concentrate on culture
Just as cultural fit is of utmost importance for M&A, so should it be of equal consideration when recruiting advisors. Get clear on your corporate culture and the type of advisor you want to appeal to. This is one of those often-overlooked areas that could ultimately save everyone a lot of hassle in the long run (by not bringing on the “wrong” type of advisor). Once you’ve defined your profile, stick with it and don’t deviate from your decision. A strong, defined culture will attract advisors that believe in and want to be part of your “story” – and it’s a create way to develop loyalty.
Reputation goes hand-in-hand with culture. Advisors will obviously consider your public reputation when contemplating a move (just as you’ll review their U4 and U5). If you’ve faced negative media coverage, be sure to have a consistent story about what went wrong and how you’re moving forward. Acknowledge the mistake or misunderstanding but maintain a positive attitude.
Measure commitment at every step
Every firm has their own process for recruiting advisors, but many miss an important opportunity when navigating those phases. Utilize a trick that investment bankers use in M&A and measure commitment at every step. Each stage of the process should have a clear directive that indicates interest. Bankers use this to achieve gradual buy-in while ensuring they’re not wasting time on someone that’s just window shopping. Revisit your recruiting process to determine if you can add measurable calls to action and make your process more effective and efficient, and one that quickly weeds out those who aren’t serious.
Think like a wirehouse
Something’s that noticeably missing in our industry is the lack of training programs – particularly for young advisors. Many of our founding owners got their start in the wirehouse space where they spent two years learning the ropes. While we certainly don’t need to revisit the days of throwing a phone book in front of an advisor to make cold calls and take a wait-and-see approach as to whether they’ll survive, the industry would be well-served by formal training and mentoring programs. Make sure you offer the resources to not only train on how to be a better advisor, but also a better business owner. Match younger advisors with those who can provide wisdom and experience. Also consider the use of peer groups within your network. Gone are the days of advisors thinking of each other as competitors for business; today, they’re invested in helping each other succeed.
Look for opportunities to better serve clients
Contrary to public perception (many compare advisors to used car salesmen), most advisors really do think and act like fiduciaries for their clients. One of their top concerns is offering the best possible customer service to their clients – whether that be access to products or ease in answering their questions and providing guidance. Client-facing technology is ever-evolving and requires (at least) annual review. Additionally, younger investors tend to favor trends that pop up as quickly as the latest iPhone release. Regularly revisit your service offerings and make sure it’s easy for advisors to best serve their clients.
Help meet career objectives
Owner liquidity is a significant challenge in the industry – so much so that advisors are often waiting too long to begin transitioning their businesses (and losing considerable value in the process). Invest in solutions to help advisors think (and act) like business owners and accomplish corporate planning objectives. Also consider programs to match buyers, sellers, successors, and next gen advisors within your network (link to TrueMatch?). Provide a path to retirement and not only will you win new advisors, but you’ll retain those assets as those businesses evolve and transition.
Consider Using TrueRecruit
Truelytics recently launched a new module specifically designed to help firm improve the quality and scale of their recruiting efforts. You can hear Terry Mullen explain how the module came to be in a recent episode of the Modern Financial Advisor Podcast.
Schedule a demo with a member of our team to see how it can benefit your firm.