Trend or red herring?
The age of the retail recruiter has come to a close, the victim of the financial crisis and brokerage consolidation.
That’s the storyline argued in the May 2010 cover story of Research Magazine. The new-and-improved dealmakers offer a pretty good case, at least superficially.
Why pay for some guy who just makes introductions when nobody in the room is a stranger? You don’t even need a recruiter to get the details on the newest deals available.
The DealMentors’ website publishes the info. All you really need is someone to dot the “i”s on a contract and try to squeeze a few more dollars from the prospective employer. And, yes — someone to talk to.
Someone to talk to. That’s the rub.
Lawyers would like you to think that they can do part-time what full-time recruiters do: collect in-depth information on the industry and provide critical analysis of trends and what they mean to your business and career prospects. Taking advice from lawyers and others who don’t focus their efforts on the nitty-gritty of executive recruiting is a bit like asking your accountant for investing advice. Sometimes, it’s interesting, but it’s dangerous overall.
Think of it this way: An accountant may be a valuable player on an investing team, but never as a leader; just so in the world of recruiting. There are other professionals who have roles to play but never as leads, which is the first reason that it’s vital to turn to a recruiter.
Skilled recruiters are quarterbacks for your career decisions – whether that involves moves or not.
I remember advising one advisor who headed a large team to stay put; he didn’t need a change of firms, but he did need additional help running his practice.
The advisor was grateful. That’s because my job isn’t just to “move” people but to advise them strategically.
Once it’s clear that a move would benefit an adviser and his clients, a recruiter has three critical jobs: due diligence in terms of selecting a new firm; negotiating a deal; and transitioning the practice.
One lawyer, who disparages recruiters as “used car salesmen,” argues that advisers would be better served by people like him.
That would be a mistake and illustrates the second reason to turn to a recruiter.
Your recruiter and attorney should NEVER be the same person. A prudent system of checks and balances requires that your contract be reviewed by a third party who has no qualms about putting the brakes on a risky or subpar agreement.
Advisors should definitely ask their lawyers to review deals as a backstop. It’s always worthwhile to get a second opinion from an outsider.
Lawyers and certain other types of professionals, however, rarely understand the retail brokerage business as well as recruiters.