Reps of Securities America Inc. are thrilled with the company’s new initiative, a knowledge-sharing and peer support program called AskSamX, which makes use of the Internet so that reps can share their brain power with each other to enhance the business performance of their practices.
AskSamX–which stands for “Ask Securities America Experts”–is a multifaceted offering whose cornerstone is an online e-mail listserv through which advisors can ask questions on any topic ranging from financial and estate planning to college and retirement planning, and get an array of answers from their peers via e-mail. It also has a wealth management blog, where users have access to commentaries and articles posted by experts in various fields. Its third component is an online directory, where reps are classified according to their area of expertise. Finally, AskSamX also helps create special advisor-led conference presentations arranged by Securities America, where those with specific expertise can present their work to a broader audience.
Reps who have already signed on to the service believe it fills a much-needed void in their practices because it allows them to share their knowledge and their experience with others, and gain from the experience of others in areas where they might not be so well versed. AskSamX also allows reps to find each other easily and determine who is an expert in what, thereby opening up the channels of communication and encouraging a free flow of information between reps across the country.
“This forum provides a way for all of us to expand our knowledge base and better serve our clients,” says Lori Price, the principal at Wilton, Connecticut-based Price Financial Corp. “It seems as though we have a core group that are really helpful in sharing their ideas and experiences and, hopefully, the more experienced planners have a chance to mentor a large number of other planners without a big time commitment.”
“From an industry perspective, this is a great program because it is a real brain trust of hundreds of advisors who don’t always run into the same situation,” says Louis Morizio, founder and president of the Center for Financial Planning in Albany, New York. “It is a tremendous resource and I feel like I’m learning something all the time.”
Securities America had been working with the idea of providing a collaborative, technology-based support system from the beginning of this year, say Paul Lofties and Steve McWhorter, the VP for wealth management services and chairman and CEO, respectively, of the Omaha-based broker/dealer. Ultimately, the firm decided its reps would be best served by sharing their collective expertise in an open forum that promotes debate and discussion.
“We are using the communication tools available today to harness the knowledge of our reps and to better our workforce overall,” Lofties says.