There are two ways to develop a new product: improve upon an existing one or come up with something that’s never been done. Tom Daley’s brainchild, The Advisor Center, vigorously defines the latter.
“I saw that I could create the destiny for financial advisors. Clearly, there was a gap in the marketplace,” says Daley, CEO and founder of the innovative Web-based recruiting service, where FAs can anonymously search for a new job or a BD connection.
Debuting last December, the Center has attracted more than 16,000 users, according to Daley; and 225 advisors, whose identify has been verified by FINRA, have signed up. Broker-dealers, custodians, branch managers and the like strut their firms’ stuff on individual microsites that they design and maintain. Companies pay an annual subscription charge and a fee based on the FA’s production when a deal is made. So far, there have been five such success stories.
The time is perfect for his idea, the extroverted Daley, 48, enthuses. “The cost of recruiting is skyrocketing. Everybody is fighting for the same pool for recruits, but it’s getting harder and harder to access them. They’re kind of closing themselves off because they’re getting bombarded by third-party recruiters and firms’ recruiting efforts.”
Subscribers to the Center include Commonwealth Financial Network, LPL Financial, Pershing and TD Ameritrade.
“With the market doing well now, advisors aren’t anxious to move,” says Andrew Daniels, managing principal of business development, Commonwealth. “But in this time of relative satisfaction, The Advisor Center is a good seed-planter for down the line when things maybe are less comfortable. An advisor can browse without having a ‘salesman’ come tripping over himself to sell them a car.”
The Center, which was funded totally by Daley, potentially cuts recruiting costs by up to 60%, he says. It is advertising-free—so there’s no playing favorites.
Based in the Chicago suburb of Lake Zurich, Daley has a strong background in recruiting. He was 12 years with LPL and by the time he left, in 2009, had become a senior vice president in charge of recruiting for eastern branches. Keen on working more directly with advisors, he opened his own shop with two partners, Bull Market Recruiting.
But he soon realized there had to be a better way to connect FAs with firms.
“Everyone was focused on lead generation: How do I get in front of the financial advisor? But no one was focused on the methodology to help advisors better discover opportunities or go through due diligence on the front end,” he says.
Leveraging online technology was the answer. “We’re the first place where an advisor can go to one location and look without being seen. You can start [seeking] opportunities without putting your résumé on the Street. That empowers the advisor,” Daley points out.