Making life easier for the 3,300 advisors affiliated with Cambridge Investment Research is job No. 1 for CEO and President Amy Webber. To do that, Webber recently met with about 25 groups of advisors to hear their thoughts about the business.
The meetings “brought some really interesting business models and service ideas to the table for us,” Webber said in a recent interview in Chicago. “For instance, a subscription model … It’s been talked about, but I don’t know how many people are actually executing it.”
The executive says Cambridge is working to support those who want to offer a subscription-based service and to integrate this work into the firm’s Wealthport, Clic Advisor and Clic Client technology. (It has about $100 billion in assets under advisement.)
Being flexible and listening are key to advisor growth. If business partners like Cambridge “do not come to the table with a value proposition that helps them do things more efficiently and effectively, [advisors] won’t be able to serve smaller investors,” she explained. “And we all lose if we don’t take that seriously because it’s a very real threat.”
About 17% of Cambridge-affiliated advisors are under 40, 13% are over 70, and 17% are women. The firm’s advisors have an average age of 53. Close to 90% of advisors are on fee-based platforms.
Webber’s meetings were organized by advisors’ practice type, such as solo practitioners, multi-advisor firms, large enterprise advisors and ensembles, which is “our fastest growing segment right now,” she says, and “resonates with the younger generation, [as] they like to work in teams.”
To help advisors attract younger clients, Cambridge helped them host and promote 90-day “boot camps” with a nutritionist, fitness instructor and advisor. “It helps bring financial wellness prospects together,” Webber said.