You’re only as strong as your support system, and advisors work with various partners to assist them in their day-to-day operations, from custodians to technology providers.
The end goal is the same: to give clients the best service available as they make important decisions about their financial futures.
Whether they’re providing the valuable services and education that enable advisors to serve clients, offering solutions to critical practice management issues or helping advisors tell their stories, these advisor partners have a clear impact on the way advisors do business.
Colleen Bell, Cambridge Investment Research
Cambridge doubled down on the DOL’s fiduciary rule when it launched a dedicated Fiduciary Services unit in January and named Bell, a former SEC examiner and 10-year Cambridge veteran, to lead it.
“We wanted to know what our advisors needed,” Bell said, and to do so, “we needed to think like our advisors.”
The rule, released April 6, “is making us think about how we do business,” Bell said, and like many other honorees in the 2016 IA 25, she pointed to technology as the way forward.
“The only way to [comply] is to use technology. We have the basis with our technology partners” Bell said, while WealthPort, Cambridge’s tech platform, “will become even more important to us.” Using the platform means “you don’t need to start over, but work with what we’re used to today to comply,” she said, noting that part of the solution will be eased by the fact that the “fintech companies have been very effective with integration.”
Jason Carroll, Live Oak
Carroll is helping advisors solve one of the biggest challenges the industry faces: sustaining it beyond the end of individual advisors’ careers. Advisors struggled to address succession planning in their own firms, and Carroll, through his work at Live Oak Bank, is removing one of the obstacles to that planning by offering manageable financing options to advisors who want to purchase a firm.
“Whether it be strategic acquisition or a retiring advisor who wants to either fully exit their business or develop an exit plan that should be capitalized at a particular point, we do it,” he said.
Carroll leads the investment advisory channel for Live Oak, which offers financing to firms in various dedicated channels. He says the dedicated experts who work in each channel are more important than the loans themselves.
“We look to go into cash-flow rich, recession-proof industries: You’re always going to take your dog to the vet, you’re always going to buy beer and you’ll always need someone to plan your finances,” he said.
Lori Hardwick, Pershing
Pershing’s new chief operating officer is clearly dedicated to serving advisors. While holding top jobs with her previous employer Envestnet, she could usually be found manning the Envestnet booth at advisor conferences.
When asked why, Hardwick would say she liked to maintain direct interaction with end clients — advisors — and conferences where was she could find them.
She said it’s important that leaders “don’t hear just what you want to hear. When people stop complaining, then you have to worry, because they don’t care anymore.”
Chris Paulitz, Financial Services Institute
The first name that comes to mind when you hear “FSI” is probably Dale Brown, but the association’s senior vice president of membership and marketing has been quietly influential as he has helped grow membership, promote events for BD execs and increase the group’s influence in Washington.
As a former journalist and Capitol Hill staffer, he understands how important access is in advocating for broker-dealers. FSI is concentrating its efforts on the states where it has “full-time advocates on the ground.” While FSI is still concentrating on advocacy at the federal level, Paulitz said that because in D.C. “gridlock is so bad, states are taking a much more active role because they can’t wait for Washington.”
Richard Sincere, Sincere & Co.
The real value of a financial advisor is being able to help clients have a happy life, according to Sincere. He helps advisors do that by connecting them with the people and firms that offer the services and expertise they need.
For example, with a background in banking and RIA custodial services, he knows what advisors want when they’re looking for someone to take over their investment management responsibilities.
Sincere knows these are “not easy times for anybody in active management,” as clients will worry even when their portfolios are doing well, but “the real leaders of the industry” have always “wanted to make a difference” in their clients’ lives.