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.
December 9, 2014Are You Throwing an Office Holiday Bash This Season?
Ah, the year-end party, when advisors let their hair down in front of colleagues and, sometimes, clients or prospects. Is there one on your calendar?
Of course. It’s one of our most effective business-building efforts of the year.50% We’ll have a party for the team, but we don’t do client events during the holidays.22% No, it’s just not the most productive use of our team’s time and money.
December 2, 2014If You Went Indie, How Much Would You Outsource?
There are lots of options for advisors who want to run their own firm. Which of these strategies would you follow?
I’d build my firm from the ground up and keep operations in-house.50% I’d use as much third-party support for my RIA as I could buy, from CRM to compliance.38% I’d find a broker-dealer with a corporate RIA and stop sweating the details.
November 18, 2014Is Advising Your Relatives Good Business?
FAs often reach out to family members when first building a practice. But what about when you’re already established?
Sure. Who makes a better client than somebody whose values (not to mention blood) you share?58% Depends on the relative. Advisors should enforce asset minimums and hold all prospects to the same standards.17% Never — even when building a practice. It’s a perfect recipe for destroying relationships.
November 4, 2014What Do You Expect From Today’s Elections?
According to The New York Times, today marks the most expensive midterm elections in U.S. history. What kinds of results are you anticipating?
The elections are a referendum on Obama, and I think Republicans will make significant gains.41% The balance of power in Washington won’t change enough to make a difference or break the gridlock.9% On Wednesday, we’ll see each party crystallize its message in the cold glare of hindsight.
October 28, 2014How Useful Are Managed Accounts?
Their selling point is they let advisors outsource portfolio management, freeing up time to serve — and find — more clients. But how effective are they?
Very useful. Most of my clients have some of their assets in managed accounts, and the returns are as reliable as anything else.37% Hit and miss. It all depends on the skill of the managers, and the fees can add up.14% I don't bother with them. My clients like knowing I select their holdings personally, and I don't like to trust a third party with that much of my value-add.
October 21, 2014What Level of Experience Do You Look for When You Hire?
When recruiting a new financial advisor, which do you prefer?
An absolute beginner I can mold to my firm’s unique culture.47% Someone with enough experience so I won’t have to spend much on basic training.37% A veteran who can bring in clients and make money from the start — and maybe take on some management chores.
October 14, 2014Is the Ebola Risk Affecting Your Practice?
According to the Financial Times, ebola has joined the list of risks to world markets. Are you addressing it in any way?
My staff and I scrutinize new contacts for possible ill health, and we wash our hands a lot.0% I’m recommending biotech and hazmat-suit-maker stocks for client portfolios.90% No, the risk in the States is being totally overhyped by the press.
October 7, 2014Are Staff Meetings Useful or a Waste of Time?
Few businesses, large or small, run without meetings. Are group discussions actually helpful?
Meetings are productive, because people get creative and energetic when they’re in a group.11% The loudest people, not the smartest, tend to dominate meetings. So they’re not worth much.68% Sensible managers can organize meetings in a way that gets good results, but it’s rare.
September 30, 2014Should You Ever Share Your Own Financial Problems With Clients?
Advisors can form very close relationships with their customers, but is it OK for them to discuss their personal financial challenges?
No — I can’t think of a better way to undermine their faith in my competence as a steward of money.8% Yes — confiding in clients builds their trust, and I sure don’t want them to hear about my problems from anyone else.46% Depends — some anecdotes might shed light on clients’ situations; others will just freak them out.