December 27, 2013

Coaches Corner: New Year, New Hire

Making the right hire, in the right way and at the right time is essential to retaining talent and increasing growth. This is especially true when it comes to adding associate wealth advisors to your team.

However, the process of searching for, qualifying and selecting the perfect candidate for an associate wealth advisor can be much more difficult than it sounds. Most advisors are so busy focusing on finding new clients and bringing in new assets they often ignore the opportunity altogether. Finding the right candidate is daunting, not to mention time-consuming, but it is one of the best investments an advisor can make when looking to grow a firm. Hiring an associate advisor can lead to more clients, new assets, more time to focus on bigger-picture issues within your firm, and, perhaps most important, a better work-life balance.

The key to making the right hire starts by asking yourself one simple question: “Why am I hiring an associate wealth advisor?”

To answer that question you need to define the roles and responsibilities you expect that advisor to fill. In almost every case, an associate wealth advisor fits into one of three roles:

  1. A Rainmaker: someone with experience bringing in new business or who has the skills to become a rainmaker down the road. Perhaps this is someone who could eventually become a partner in your business. 

  2. A Relationship Manager: a person who may not have the experience or personality to generate new business or revenue for your firm, but would provide excellent service to clients and help with overall retention. This is a great model for a successful, rainmaking advisor who has too many clients and needs to find someone to help service them.

  3. A Planner: an advisor such as the relationship manager but who also has the skills to do internal work, such as financial plans for your firm, investment research or even execute trades.

If you don’t have a strength for growing assets and struggle to bring in new clients, you may be looking for an experienced rainmaker to join your practice: someone who can go out, meet new people and attract them to your firm. However, some advisors are perfectly comfortable taking on this role. 

In the case where you consider yourself to be a strong rainmaker, look for more of a relationship manager to simply act as a servicing advisor for your clients. By servicing the existing clients of the firm, this relationship manager can lighten the load for the senior advisors and allow those advisors to focus on the bigger picture. Now, instead of spending all your time on the day-to-day operations, you’ll have the ability to concentrate more on becoming a strategist, a leader and the voice of the firm.

Once you decide the type of position which will address your needs, analyze what type of personality is best suited for the position. An advisor who is quiet, introverted, and organized might be a great fit as a relationship manager and/or planner, but obviously would not be someone you would want functioning as a rainmaker. Most important, any advisor you hire should have excellent interpersonal skills and be committed to providing outstanding client service. They should be strong listeners and communicators and committed to always doing what’s in the best interest of the client. Strong organizational and management skills are crucial and they must realize the importance of prompt responses and accurate answers to client inquiries.

A strong rainmaker should be excellent at networking, especially with those you would like to have as clients. They should also truly enjoy socializing and meeting new prospects. Alternatively, if you’re only looking to hire someone to help with financial planning or investment research, your candidate should enjoy deep thinking, quiet concentration and attention to detail. No matter what direction you decide to go, keep in mind it can be very difficult to find a candidate who exhibits strength in both of these categories, as these are very different skills. 

Plenty goes into hiring an associate wealth advisor. So before you begin talking with potential candidates, be sure to carefully identify the type of role you wish to fill and the type of talent you wish to bring into your firm. To help you get started with this process, go to the Peak Advisor Alliance website and click on the Free Tools tab. Enter the code “AWA” in the appropriate field and receive a sample job description for an associate wealth advisor.

Remember, there are many ways to structure your practice and your staff, but only you know what’s best for your firm. Carefully consider your needs this year as a firm and mold the job description to fit your specifications. Think it through, use our tools, and hire the ideal candidate!

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