I run a broker-dealer, but I used to be a producer. Finding and acquiring great clients is often a difficult, cumbersome journey. That’s why it can be especially frustrating when, after traveling that long road, an advisor runs into a problem with the broker-dealer near the end of the transaction. Consider this hypothetical conversation between an advisor, Pat, and a staff person at the broker-dealer:
“I’m sorry, Pat, but we’ve got a problem,” says the person on the phone halfway across the country.
“WHAT?!,” Pat politely asks, now concerned that the “problem” could unravel a huge sale that promises to turn a lackluster year into a highly profitable one.
“Compliance says we have to use a different form,” the person replies with aggravating calm. “Can you go back to your client and ask him/her to sign the other form?”
But Pat can’t, at least not until the client returns from an around-the-world cruise. The delay will prevent Pat from meeting the sales goal, attending the national convention and qualifying for an end-of-year bonus. In short, this snafu could cost Pat a lot of money.
But Pat didn’t get where he is by adopting a “stuff happens” attitude at crunch time. Pat is the kind of person who makes stuff happen. He casts about for an idea–something to prevent this calamity.
Let’s pause here and consider next steps. There are various approaches to resolving these situations and they usually start with questions for the broker-dealer person:
–”Do you know how much money I’ve made for your company?”
–”Why didn’t you tell me this sooner?”
–”Oh no! What am I going to do? You’ve got to help me!”
–”How can we solve this problem?”
There are more versions of the above, but they tend to fall into the same categories: (a) the power wielder; (b) the blamer; (c) the desperate pleader; and (d) the last-minute collaborator. Which category should advisors be in to make the broker-dealer want to bend over backward for them? (Warning: This is a trick question.)
Did you select D? Yes, D is a better choice than the others. But the choice your broker-dealer likes best is none of the above. Ideally, advisors bring their broker-dealers into the process earlier, meaning panic-inducing events are avoided entirely.
Right, you may say to yourself. In a perfect world, we all do everything right and on time. But the world isn’t perfect and sometimes…well, stuff does happen.
You know what? We know that. And it’s OK. Because even though the expression, “I’m from the broker-dealer and I’m here to help” may cause you to raise a skeptical eyebrow, it’s true.
The broker-dealer’s and advisor’s interests overlap almost completely. If the advisor wants a, b, c, d and e, the broker-dealer wants b, c, d, e and f. The areas where their interests diverge are tiny. That’s why advisors tend to get great service from the broker-dealer no matter how they treat the staff.