March 3, 2015Are You Working to Improve Your Firm’s Diversity?
Consultants often say the industry needs more women and minority advisors to serve a rapidly changing client demographic. Are you hiring with diversity in mind?
Yes. A firm with an all-white, all-male profile is poorly positioned to compete for the next generation’s assets.33% Our firm already has a gender and racial mix that reflects the broad U.S. population.22% We take diversity into account when hiring, but it’s not a priority.33% No. Affirmative action doesn’t work, period.
February 24, 2015Would You Help Clients Sell Their Life Insurance?
Like viatical agreements for the terminally ill, life settlements let clients buy or sell life insurance policies. The sooner the seller dies, the higher the buyer’s rate of return. Would you help a client sell his or her policy?
No way. These agreements are legal, but they’re so distasteful they shouldn’t be.10% Yes, I’ve used them and it has worked out well for my clients.65% I’ve never used them but would consider it under the right circumstances.10% I’ve never heard of this practice before.
February 17, 2015What Would Cause You to Leave Your Firm?
Lots of broker-retention deals expire this year. Meanwhile, indies have more and more options for supporting their businesses. What would tempt you to leave your current situation?
A better comp offer from a similar employer.58% Similar pay at a firm whose culture is more advisor-friendly.16% The chance to work independently as part of an established network with a good reputation.16% A juicy offer to buy my independent practice.
February 10, 2015How Much Vacation Are You Comfortable Taking?
It’s midwinter, and you may be yearning for a little vacation — perhaps in a warm clime. But no matter what channel you work in, vacation for advisors generally comes with an opportunity cost. How much time off do you feel you can afford?
I take every day that’s due me. Life’s too short for workaholism.2% I don’t take time off until I’m near exhaustion — advisors don’t get paid unless they’re working.35% I need two or three weeks of vacation a year to stay energetic and give clients my best.19% I take a day off here and there, but it’s almost impossible to get away for longer.37% My team gives me excellent backup, so I go away when I want — guilt-free.
February 3, 2015Do the Wirehouses Have an Image Problem?
From the CFP Board to “Chuck,” rivals are producing catchy commercials suggesting they offer better value than brokerage firms. Should the wirehouses fight back?
Yes. They need to showcase the benefits of their business model and scale.28% No. Clients and prospects still respond to the power of a hallowed brand.
January 27, 2015How Do You Prefer to Get Paid?
Compensation at your firm probably combines several structures. But which kind of payment motivates advisors most?
The grid system, in which advisors keep a percentage of what clients pay, leads to asset accumulation.0% The prospect of big year-end bonuses, based on net new assets brought to the firm, keeps advisors on their toes.9% Equity stakes motivate like nothing else. Advisors who are partial owners do what’s best for the firm.54% A system that combines all three.
January 13, 2015Which Wirehouse Will Gather the Most Assets This Year?
Many advisor-retention agreements are set to expire in 2015, which could lead to a flurry of FA moves. Which firm do you think will come out on top, assetwise?
Morgan Stanley is already off to a great start. The firm will try to make up for the assets it lost in 2014.11% Merrill will address its cultural challenges to reverse the advisor exodus, as the last clients transition to the “One” platform.21% Wells Fargo gained assets in 2014 despite a net loss of FAs, and that trend will continue.39% UBS added assets and advisors last year. It will surprise everyone in 2015 and start closing in on the bigger firms.
January 6, 2015When Should You Talk Retirement With Clients?
Retirement may be the biggest single issue in wealth management, but when should you bring it up?
From the very start. You can never get going too soon on a matter of such importance.19% During the client’s peak earning phase, 10 to 15 years before retirement.0% About five years before retirement. Until then, people can’t make realistic projections about their needs.
December 23, 2014Why Are Broker Comp Plans So Confusing?
Recently, all four wirehouses have tinkered with their compensation schemes for 2015. They differ in emphasis, yet experts say they have one thing in common: complexity. Why do you think that is?
It’s just a function of how old these firms are. Layers of rules around pay and bonuses pile up over time, getting more and more convoluted.16% Management does it on purpose, to make it harder for FAs to compare pay packages between firms.72% The plans are designed to encourage certain behaviors, like selling loans or pursuing larger accounts, and incentives add complexity.
December 16, 2014How Important Is Your Staff to Your Firm’s Success?
Most advisors say their ability to bring in new clients is the main driver of practice growth. How big a part do employees play?
My doors would close in a week if it weren’t for associates and support staff.22% My employees keep the trains running on time, but that doesn’t really affect the bottom line.17% I started out as a one-man shop, and I sometimes wish I could still work that way.