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Advisors Need to Follow More of Their Own Advice

April 18, 2017

As financial advisors juggle an onslaught of challenges from fee compression to the urgent need for viable succession plans in a fast-aging industry, few think to apply remedies they urge on clients every day, practice management consultant and ex-FA Hoon Kang writes for Advisor Perspectives.

But they should, Kang urges. After all, they’re out there helping clients “transcend” wealth and invest in “lives fully led.” So why shouldn’t they take time to consider exactly what — beyond just money — they want from life and work?

But when Kang asks advisors such questions in his capacity as a succession planner, most have no clue what to say.

“If I had to guess,” he writes, “they’ve never asked those questions of themselves.”

Most FAs are too disengaged to contemplate such things, Kang reckons. They “do what they do because that’s what they did yesterday,” he says. “They occasionally try something new they learned at a conference or heard from their advisor buddies. Morning huddle does wonders to employee productivity? Done. Client appreciation events help firms to grow by 20%? Done.”

So when it comes to succession planning, they often do what they feel they’re supposed to do rather than what they want to do, according to Kang. They’re so hobbled they fail to explore — or even contemplate — approaches closer to their hearts because, sight unseen, they deem them onerous or impractical.

As an antidote, advisors thinking of monetizing their books should stop thinking about valuations and multiples and start thinking — first and foremost — about the extra-monetary outcomes they want.

If this sounds familiar, says Kang, it should. “Most of you do this daily with your own clients.”

And if it’s good advice for clients, it’s good advice for FAs, writes Kang.

Follow the advice you give clients, Kang suggests. “Money and work are but a part of their overall happiness and fulfillment.”

By Thomas Coyle
  • To read the Advisor Perspectives article cited in this story, click here.