Timing is Everything

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  • Disaster Recovery Plans and Succession Planning RIAs owe a fiduciary duty to clients to prepare for disasters and other contingencies. If an RIA does not have a disaster recovery plan, clients’ financial well-being may be jeopardized.  RIAs should also engage in succession planning, ensuring a smooth transaction if an owner or principal leaves.   
  • Conducting Due Diligence of Sub-Advisors and Third-Party Advisors Engaging in due-diligence of sub-advisors isn’t just a recommended best practice— it is part of the fiduciary obligation to a client. An RIA should be extremely reluctant to enter a relationship with a sub-advisor who claims the firm’s strategy is proprietary.

If not one of the biggest, certainly one of the most common career mistakes that I see young advisors make is timing. They don’t seem to realize that when they ask for something—a raise, a new job description, a vacation, partnership, etc.—can be just as important as what they are asking for.

In fact, more often than not, junior advisors go to their firm owners with their requests at exactly the wrong time: at the end of a quarter. Most independent advisory firms charge their advisory fees to their clients at the beginning of each quarter; which means by the end of the quarter, cash reserves are at their lowest. It doesn’t take Nostradamus to predict this would be the worst time to ask for anything.

After the beginning of a quarter, then, would most likely be a good time to make your requests. And as luck would have it right now is an excellent time. That’s because it’s both at the beginning of the fourth quarter and after the stock market has made one of it’s biggest run-ups since the ’08 meltdown. The S&P 500 is up about 10% since the beginning of September, which means those quarterly client fees collected 10.1 were the highest they’ve been in quite some time. And I can tell you, the optimistic feeling I get from my advisor/clients and prospective clients is higher than it’s been for years.

So, if you’re thinking about sitting your firm owner down for a chat about getting compensated for those long hours, lower pay, deferred bonuses, and additional responsibility that you shouldered when you stepped up during those dark months last year--now’s the time. Your firm is back on its feet, the owner is feeling good, the bank account is full. it’s high time you got rewarded for your loyalty and dedication by getting back to normal and back on track toward your career goals.

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