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The Elevator Speech That’s Sure to Fail: New Genworth Practice Management Book

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Consider two financial planners, both of whom specialize in working with doctors, making their “elevator speeches” at a cocktail party after a medical conference.

The two planners are talking about the day’s sessions when a doctor walks up to them, recognizes that they’re not wearing the usual attendee’s badge, and asks them what they do.

Matt Matrisian, Genworth Financial Wealth Management's director of practice managementHere’s how The Power of Practice Management, a new book from Genworth Financial Wealth Management’s Matt Matrisian (left) and published by Bloomberg Press, describes the scene:

The first advisor says, “I am a financial planner.” The doctor nods politely, smiles and turns to the second advisor. The advisor smiles on cue and says with confidence, “I help doctors develop an RX for their retirement and make sure they can enjoy it fully by solving the three most common problems they typically face as they retire.”

If you were the doctor, which advisor would you want to pull aside later to discuss your financial future?

Simply saying, “I am a financial planner,” is a conversation killer for most people. Although it’s an important profession, we’ve never heard anyone within earshot respond, “That is so interesting! Please, won’t you tell me more?” More often than not, the interest generated by the first example is a quest for free financial advice, and that’s not the conversation we are looking to initiate.

Matrisian, Genworth Financial Wealth Management’s director of practice management, intends The Power of Practice Management to provide independent financial advisors with “how–tos” for improving their businesses. The book covers everything from “the four essential disciplines” of business strategy and planning, business development, human capital and operations optimization to elevator pitches, niche markets and more.

In an interview in Manhattan on Wednesday, Matrisian described the process of writing the book as a “collaboration” that drew from his years of experience working with financial advisors first at Raymond James and then at Genworth, and also from the “intellectual property” of predecessor firms AssetMark Investment Services and Quantuvis Consulting.

Ultimately, the collaboration resulted in what amounts to a roadmap for turning good businesses into better ones, Matrisian said, including best practices that have evolved from changes in the financial services industry. “We suggest that advisors start with personal goals,” he said. “Whatever their key goals are, we try to help identify them.”

Gurinder S. Ahluwalia, CEO and president of Genworth Financial Wealth Management, said in a statement that the book fits into the firm’s philosophy of helping advisors build great businesses.

Gurinder Ahluwalia“At Genworth, we help advisors navigate their practices with confidence,” Ahluwalia (right) said. “Our purpose is helping them make positive differences in both their clients’ lives and their own businesses. This book is a natural step in our commitment to advisors’ success.”

In March 2013, parent company Genworth Financial Inc. (NYSE: GNW) entered into an agreement to sell its wealth management business, including Genworth Financial Wealth Management and alternative solutions provider, the Altegris companies, to a private equity partnership of Aquiline Capital Partners and Genstar Capital. 

The sale price is expected to be approximately $412.5 million and the company will record an after-tax loss of approximately $40 million related to the sale with approximately $35 million recorded in the first quarter of 2013 and the remainder upon closing, according to a Genworth news release.  The sale is expected to close in the second half of 2013.

Matrisian said the deal will close in September, at which point the wealth management business will announce a name change as part of a new branding initiative.


Check out Mike Patton on Challenges of a Growing Practice: Managing Portfolios at AdvisorOne.


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