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Schwab Examines the Pain Points of Financial Pros

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Schwab Independent Branch Services released its first Examining the Mindset of U.S. Financial Professionals survey, which finds that client-facing financial professionals care deeply about their work and are pleased with their jobs, yet 76% say they have experienced obstacles that have limited their success, citing lack of support and limited autonomy.

The 994 survey participants, who have worked in the financial services industry for at least seven years and interact with investors at least once a week, prioritize clients’ happiness over everything, yet 73% wish they could better assist clients and had more time to make an impact in the communities they serve.

According to Craig Taucher, senior vice president of Schwab Independent Branch Services, “these survey findings reflect common perspectives that we’ve heard when talking to candidates about running our franchise branches.”

Schwab Independent Branch Services launched in December 2011 to accelerate growth in new markets by attracting successful financial advisors to run franchise branches that complement Schwab’s existing company-managed branches. Today there are 44 franchise offices in 24 states.

Before Schwab started the Independent Branch Services, the company had financial consultants that work in retail branches, and the Advisor Services business for RIAs.

Taucher told ThinkAdvisor that Schwab saw an “opportunity to attract talent and create a business literally right in between those.”

Independent Branch Services decided to do this survey to both get the pulse of the industry and to validate the decision to build the Independent Branch Services seven years ago.

According to Taucher, the survey results did validate the decision and showed that the Independent Branch Services’ model is on the right track.

“Their clients are at the heart of what they do,” Taucher said in a statement. “Some want to be employees within established firms, but many feel they can serve clients more effectively by operating totally independently. Our hybrid model is the ideal solution for those who want the best of both worlds.”

While the vast majority (86%) of those surveyed feel successful, there are many respondents who identified a number of obstacles that they’ve encountered in their careers.

“They’re finding difficulties with the way that they’re running their businesses today. There’s a lot of different pain points that they have,” Taucher explained to ThinkAdvisor.

For example, 41% say they’ve had negative experiences in their professional lives that still keep them up at night, and 26% fear compromising their personal values.

The survey also finds that 30% of those who experience obstacles say they are too busy servicing existing clients and lack support to pursue new business. And 26% say they’ve been promised things by employers that were never delivered.

Those surveyed also say that continually improving the client experience through innovation is crucial. In fact, 86% say that the financial industry has changed more in the last five years than in the previous 15 years, and 76% believe that new technology is changing the industry to the point where it will be unrecognizable in 10 years.

— Check out How an Ex-Customer’s Complaint Shook Up Schwab on ThinkAdvisor.


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