One advisor likened the following to being kicked in the stomach twice: He had just changed broker-dealers when the new B-D was purchased and he had to begin again the search for a B-D. He estimated that he lost significant revenue as a result of the time spent transitioning to another broker-dealer.
No one has extra staff to process excess paperwork connected with such transitions. It is always a distraction from the team’s primary sales and customer service efforts.
There are several reasons why changing broker/dealers is such a tough job and why outsourcing should be considered. Chief among them: Office staff that have the skills to handle transition tasks already have a full plate handling current needs.
Office Staff Requirements
Advisors hire to fill three positions:
? The early bird who processes all the paperwork, gathers data and prepares reports for clients. This individual needs quiet, uninterrupted time to do the job well.
? The client liaison–the person who has a smile in her voice and whom clients often prefer to speak with because a long-term relationship has been established.
? The office manager, the most important cog in the wheel, who is involved in firm strategy, communicating with other team members and keeping everything on track.
When any of these important team members get sidetracked from regular tasks to handle parts of a broker/dealer transition, it quickly becomes apparent that business will suffer during that transition.
How can one avoid this problem? One solution is to outsource a B-D transition to a vendor that has developed systems and skilled staff to handle the work.
But before doing so, one needs to carefully investigate people outside the office to trust with the very crucial task of handling transition paperwork. Mistakes in such work can quickly lead to client dissatisfaction. The work required to move to a new broker/dealer sounds straightforward, but includes many detailed steps, such as:
? Process “Change of BD” documents as they come back from clients.
? Follow up for missing information.
? Follow up for those not returning documents.
? Review and confirm completion of all documents.
? Confirm and enter new account forms on the new broker/dealer system and move to an electronic file system.
? Forward all originals to appropriate parties such as a new B/D.
? Scan documents to new or existing imaging systems.
? Prepare new account forms for client meetings.
? Prepare reports to track progress of the transition.
? Secure reappointments with insurance carriers on accounts.
In addition, an outsourcing provider for a broker/dealer can support on-site staff by processing all new business and following through until the business has been moved and funded. The trained staff at the outsource provider can confirm that all paperwork is complete and filed correctly.
An outsource provider can manage other tasks as well. Among them:
? Helping a broker prepare for meetings. An outsourcer can consolidate new account paperwork and create reports on various software platforms.
? Managing calendar appointments. An outsourcer’s trained staff can call an advisor’s existing and prospective clients to schedule appointments and handle in-bound calls. The outsourcer can also help prepare seminars and mailings.
? Converting to a document imaging system. When a broker knows that his or her practice would be greatly enhanced and empowered by converting to a document imaging system, but in-house staff have no time or appetite to make the conversion, an outsourcer can step in and make it happen.
Avoiding the Hassles
It is no longer necessary for an advisor or broker to suffer the expense and demand of processing day-to-day documents or the spikes of transitioning to a new broker/dealer. Consider an outsource provider who has the understanding and skill to provide meaningful, accurate and timely assistance to your paperwork hassles.
Glen D. Shepherd is president and CEO of My Office Gurus LLC, Omaha, Neb. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.