On June 13 in Chicago, four practice management experts in the advisor space participated in a day-long, invitation-only roundtable discussion that tackled the Herculean task of defining “practice management” for advisors and addressed the findings of the first Pursuing Practice Excellence study.
The four experts were David Patchen of Raymond James, Kim Dellarocca of Pershing, Kirk Hulett of Securities America and Jim Komoszewski of Investment Centers of America. (From left to right in photo, Brian Stimpfl and Spenser Segal of ActiFi; Komoszewski, Dellarocca and Hulett.)
The intent of the study, which AdvisorOne and Investment Advisor conducted in partnership with ActiFi, was to devise a practice management survey to assess the current state of practice management, identify best practices among advisors and their partners and to discover advisors’ key unmet needs and their future challenges and opportunities.
Four separate feature articles that discussed the Pursuing Practice Excellence study appeared in the June, July and August issues of Investment Advisor. Those articles, along with videos of the roundtable participants and additional content, can be found on the Pursuing Practice Excellence home page.
In this slideshow we present for your consideration some photographs displaying the individuals at the roundtable, along with some quotes from the participants on the key issues around advisor practice management.
David Patchen, Raymond James
On What Works in Practice Management Programs
One of the great things about practice management, and I think I can speak for the group here, is that some of our top advisors really help us drive content, tools and tactics…
What differentiates your offering from other firms’ from a tools and tactics standpoint is what your specific talented top advisors are doing that’s working and that they are willing to share it.
On the Value of Coaching
There’s no magic bullet, and coaching is difficult. Coaching makes you uncomfortable; it asks you to take risks. It is hard to do, but when advisors come out the other side and see those results, we ask them, “What was the biggest benefit from a coaching relationship?” They’ll have 35% to 40% increased revenue, and they’re very thrilled about that. They’ll say, “It was the accountability, accountability, accountability. I didn’t have that before. I have it now. It allowed me to focus. It allowed me to pick high-priority activities, not things that were distracting.”
Kim Dellarocca, Pershing
On How Advisors Value Practice Management Programs
Prospective advisors are really good at sleuthing out when [in practice management programs] it’s about the custodian or the clearing firm, when it’s about your wallet or when there’s some big check being waved around. The classic ‘You grow, we grow’? That language makes my stomach curl because I’ve been serving advisors for 15 years and no firm looked the same to me. No broker-dealer looks the same to me, and we take every client seriously.
On Succession Planning
I think that the reason succession planning is still such an issue is that nobody wants to think about these things. Who wants to think about death and dying? We all carry around a certain amount of hubris. What people might want to think about instead is not retiring but rewiring. How can they rewire as a leader, as a mentor, as somebody who just doesn’t close their laptop someday and walk out, or cut the cake and leave their clients and associates and a lot of other people in some pretty vulnerable situations? [How can they rewire] as somebody who can transition themselves to leadership? If when we talk about the future, we saw a [theme] emerge for us, it would be around management and leadership, which is an off-shoot of human capital. Advisors can’t go it alone. They need great teams.
What I think we all have is an obligation to help them see the longer term in becoming a good businessperson. These things aren’t fun to do—client segmentation, efficiency, understanding benchmarks, succession planning—not fun at all and very long-term in nature, but it’s our job as an industry to blow on the nerves of the advisors because these are things that are going to help their team and ultimately going to help the investors. The investor doesn’t need another ding in confidence and in trust; and without advisors having these things baked and focusing on business continuity—not sales planning, not succession planning, but business continuity and growth planning—the investors ultimately are at risk.
Kirk Hulett (far right), Securities America