Brian Stimpfl, the former TD Ameritrade managing director, has joined ActiFi as senior VP of Relationship Management, effective immediately. In an interview on Wednesday with AdvisorOne, Stimpfl said his focus would be on implementing ActiFi’s global growth strategy by fostering adoption of the firm’s research and practice management technology tools among individual advisors and particularly among advisor-related enterprises.
“ActiFi is uniquely qualified to help advisors and enterprises build their businesses,” Stimpfl (left) said, identifying three areas of growth for his new firm. The first, he said, is to continue to provide “robust research around advisor technology and process,” while the second is to continue ActiFi’s legacy of providing “direct consulting to advisors.” The third opportunity, he said, was helping enterprises “build scalable practice management tools to help their advisors achieve their goals.”
While at TD Ameritrade, which he left last fall, Stimpfl worked with ActiFi in implementing and fostering adoption of the custodian’s Roadmap program for its affiliated RIAs. Prior to leaving TD, Stimpfl had moved into the role of advocate for the custodian, particularly on the fiduciary issue.
The ActiFi approach to those larger firms, such as independent broker-dealers and custodians, said Stimpfl, is about” looking at the intellectual capital, the assets, the knowledge that the enterprise has” and then make it scalable and consistent to affiliated reps and advisors, “so the experience being delivered is consistent, not varying. ActiFi’s Roadmap system can help them better organize and deliver that experience.”
While many institutions have adopted practice management programs for their advisors, those initiatives have too often “been delivered as one-off training here, a technology system there, but very little consistent coaching and no benchmarking data,” he said. The “bottom line,” he argued,
is that “firms spend millions on practice management, but don’t know” what they’re getting in return and can’t track the success, or failure of those programs. That, he suggested, is where ActiFi’s tools and benchmarking data can solve the problem.
“Coaching consistency and reporting consistency ensures a degree of accountability that didn’t exist before,” he says. Firms can take “educated guesses, but if you want to repeat that and scale that, it’s hard to point that to the activity that helped you get there if you haven’t systematized, and placed accountability for what got you there.”
Over his nearly 20 years in the business, and his understanding of technology and business development for advisors, Stimpfl can discern trends, particularly in the independent channel. Following the financial crisis and the concomitant crisis investor confidence, he thinks in this decade that “advisors will focus on building better businesses; it’s the next frontier. It will be deliberate. It will require discipline and training, and that’s where ActiFi will add tremendous value.
As for the report released last week by the SEC recommending an extension of the fiduciary standard to all advice givers, Stimpfl admits that he can’t predict whether the fiduciary standard for all will “really change how advice is delivered.” He argues that it will, however, “change processes and lead to higher compliance costs, which will affect the competitive pressures” on enterprises and individual advisors. If you don’t have the technology or processes to stay current, you can be left behind; it can threaten your business