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.
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.