There are always plenty of opportunities in hard times, says Bill Smith, author of “The Happy Advisor.” Here are some trends that can turn into opportunities and how to take advantage of them.

  1. Money is in motion. “People are open to moving around their accounts,” Smith asserts. “For every one existing client, there are thousands of other well-qualified prospects; the odds of signing on some new accounts are very likely.”
  2. Turn growth into income. If your clients are already set with bonds, look for growth funds with a systematic withdrawal provision. Smith explains, “If you look at bar graphs and charts that mutual funds use in their sales literature, their ‘$10,000 turning into 2 million’ scenarios always begin in times like this.”
  3. Tout your financial conservatism. Take Smith’s colleague’s approach and say, “I was financially conservative when conservative wasn’t cool.”
  4. Put tax laws on your side. Smith says, “Consider using a systematic withdrawal on a tax-managed growth fund. Run a hypothetical on a tax-managed fund, plug in the tax rates and see what happens.”
  5. Look for bargain hunters. “There are actually some investors out there who have been saving their money for a time like this,” Smith says. “Find them and let them know that you are the person they should trust with their money.”
  6. Advice has risen in value. Smith points out, “After the dot.com bust, real investors would rather talk to you than call a toll-free number.”
  7. Look for the silver living. As people leave the industry, you pick up new accounts. “These new clients may come from a branch manager or from friends of your clients who have lost their advisor to sudden career change,” Smith says. “When the market turns, there will be more business for you.”

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Bill Smith is a financial advisor, author and widely read columnist at Horsesmouth Network. For more information, go to www.horsesmouth.com or http://www.thehappyadvisor.com.