“It’s almost like we’re the Un-cola,” Barry Schmidt said of the practice management program he leads. “So many people say, ‘the independent advisor has to be a CEO,’ but that’s not true; their skill set, what brought them in to the advisory business, might not necessarily fit with that role.”
For that reason, Schmidt (left), the vice president of practice management with Cambridge Investment Research, based in Fairfield, Iowa, takes a completely customized approach with coaching issues.
“It can be one working with [many] advisors, or one-on-one,” he said in an interview at the firm’s Women Advisors Forum in Denver, Colo. on Thursday. “It is more labor intensive to provide one-on-one help, but we’ll do it. If someone wants help in their office for an entire month, that’s a different conversation, but one we will gladly have.”
While a number of independent broker-dealers charge a nominal fee for practice management help—if only so the advisor has ‘skin in the game’—Schmidt takes a different approach.
“There’s no fee, but they sign a commitment contract up front,” he said. “If, for instance, they sign a year-long commitment and they quit after six months, we charge a back-end load.”
The No. 1 request he’s currently receiving from the advisors with whom he works? How to maintain a better work-life balance.