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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Change a' Comin'!

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I’ve been married to my wife for 21 years, and while we’ve grown comfortable with each other, I can still be surprised, delighted, and impressed when I watch her operate away from our comfort zone and in her own sphere–explaining and then demonstrating to a rapt piano recital audience, for instance, the delights of three beats against two in an etude of Debussy. I had the same feeling, though of a non-uxorial nature, while listening to Mark Tibergien present some of Moss Adams’s latest findings at the Pershing Insite conference in June. Mark has shared with Investment Advisor readers his unparalleled insights into the advisory business through his Formulas for Success column since 2003, and I’ve grown comfortable with describing Mark as the quintessential practice management expert who combines mastery of Moss Adams’s trove of data on the advisory universe with the hands-on personal expertise gained from consulting with hundreds of firms around the world on their unique issues. I don’t know anyone in the business who would disagree with that assessment.

In Mark’s 45-minute Pershing presentation, however, I felt anew the satisfaction of listening to a master educate and inspire a standing-room only crowd. Mark made some bold predictions about the future of the RIA business, and created a sense of urgency that his audience better be ready to respond to the new world a-borning. There will be an explosion of advisors in the near future to match the blossoming of demand for financial advice emanating from the boomers, Mark argued, but then pointed out in his scholarly, authoritative way that demand for advice will be matched with demand for people who can provide said advice. That’s good news for those now studying financial planning and those young advisors whose time and talents will be in great demand: It will also mean that salaries for those newcomers will soar. In fact, that competition resulting in rising return for advisors may already be happening.

Mark’s colleague, Philip Palaveev, gave me a sneak preview at the Pershing show of Moss Adams’s study on compensation that will be published later this year. Take-home pay for advisors is sharply rising, Philip said the preliminary data shows, and that holds true for principals of both smaller firms as well as larger ones. Those trends will be discussed in greater detail, and the correct responses for advisors will be delivered, at the second Investment Advisor-Moss Adams Advisor Summit, a two-day workshop-like affair that will be held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Pentagon City, Virginia, on November 27-28 of this year. Look to the IA Web site at for more details on the conference, which will focus on how successful advisory firms can not only overcome the looming “people issue,” but form the processes and compensation schemes that will help assure their continued success. Look to the site and these pages for more practical tools from Mark Tibergien, Susan Hirshman, Angie Herbers, our staff writers and contributors on how you can prosper in the years ahead. The strength of the independent advisory profession is its people–its pioneers and the next generation alike–and we’ll keep playing our role of bringing the wisdom of those people to you.