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LPL Execs Stress the Importance of Advisors Focusing on What They Do Best

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At independent broker-dealer LPL Financial’s Focus conference in San Diego on Tuesday, company executives took the opportunity to stress the importance of advisors focusing on what they do best and the parts of their businesses that they love most.

What’s “A-number-one” when LPL meets with its advisors is to get them to “understand the business that they have” and answer one important question: “Does it actually align with the business that they want?” Matt Enyedi, a company executive vice president, told attendees during an LPL Live conference session that was webcast Tuesday.

That’s a “really tough discussion because you’re going to find more often than not what they might love about this business isn’t actually the business they created,” he said.

LPL is trying to give its advisors the “tools and the understanding to get to a place where the business that they go with going forward aligns with what they truly love,” he explained. Data indicates that the “most unhappy financial advisors are those with about $225 million in assets” despite the fact that seems to be an “incredibly successful business,” he pointed out. That’s often because “the business grew at a pace and at a rate and maybe at a shape that wasn’t what they actually loved,” he explained.

Many advisors entered the business because “they love helping American investors achieve their goals and dreams, and that’s why they do what they do,” he noted. But when a business grows a significant amount, “they’ve got to bring on more staff, they’ve got to bring in more technology, [and] they’ve got to bring in more infrastructure … [and] there’s no one to manage” the business “but them,” he noted.

And so what often happens is “all of a sudden they wake up one day and they say, ‘I don’t meet with investors any longer. I manage a business. I never wanted to do this.’ And they’re miserable,” he said.

Therefore, LPL is trying to help its advisors “understand what it is they’re focused on — what it is that they love,” and if they’re doing something they don’t love doing and is “commoditized,” it’s best to “outsource” those parts of the business to LPL or other companies, he said.

And “this conversation is not just for people in the early stages of trying to build a business,” Angela Xavier, executive vice president of IAS Business Consulting, pointed out. “This is just as relevant for people of highly successful businesses but are trying to get to the next level,” she said.

Based on her past experience working for a hotel that was often ranked in the top 10 out of 1,000 competing hotels in its segment for several years, “it’s harder to stay at the top and figure out where [to] go next and beat your competition and over-exceed what people want,” she said. What LPL is trying to do is “build things for the future” of its advisors’ businesses and help them “take it to the next level,” she said.

But that’s tough for many business owners because they see their organization as “their baby” and are often involved in every single aspect of it, she noted. There are, however, a lot of talented people and it’s often best to “let go” and realize that not every single thing has to be done “exactly your way” to be successful, she said.

Advisors, meanwhile, need to realize that it’s important to focus on all aspects of wealth management today, Enyedi said.

“If you’re going to be an investment manager only, you’re going to be really good friends with a dodo bird because your business is going to be obsolete,” he warned, adding: “You’ve got to go beyond that … This is an advice-based business,” so advisors should be focused on helping their clients achieve their goals by “managing all aspects of wealth,” including the asset side, the liability side, insurance, Social Security and taxes “across all stages of life,” he said.

Although technology can help advisors grow their businesses, it’s important to realize that it can’t be relied on for everything, he went on to say. “What technology can never do is care about you,” he said, adding the “best way to grow your business” is often to “increasingly narrow your focus and become expert at something.”

Separately, LPL said Wednesday that financial advisors Shawn Peroff and Matt Tollett of Inland Empire Financial joined its broker-dealer and corporate RIA platforms. On Tuesday, LPL announced that Certified Retirement Counselors Dennis Priest and Edmond Karam of Benefit Funding Retirement Services joined its corporate RIA and broker-dealer platforms.

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