Are you thinking about the subscription model specifically or bringing in life-balance activities?
Amy Webber, Cambridge: Ideally it’s on the front end of your financial-planning digital engine. So at the beginning, there are individuals who don’t need the sophistication that we were talking about earlier; they’re paying using Venmo or another digital-payment service, just like Amazon, Netflix and everything else they’re used to.
You’ve also got your documented services, and on the back end, there are all kinds of regulatory issues, which we’ve had to tackle; there’s proving services … and making sure you can do all of that electronically for the most part.
Then the [younger investors] get out of grad school and get an actual job that is paying them income; they need more help than they thought they did [before]. Everyone needs debt management right now, up to a certain age; so debt management is perfect to do on a subscription basis.
Best practices and structure — changes to [help them] change their behavior. You have to give them [ways] to change behavior in a complementary way that’s about documenting and is transparent.
Getting back to basics, how does the BD you lead support advisor success?
David Stringer, Prospera: We stay pretty focused. These are business owners, and [we are focused on] helping them run their business, grow the business, protect their business, marketing, making acquisitions … and coming up with all the capital. We’re putting in place some of these different business services to help them. It doesn’t matter if you do more brokerage business or advisory businesses — just help them run their business better.
Probably the median age [of our advisors’] investor client is in the mid-50s, which is the same as our advisors. So we work on succession planning, and we have advisors’ kids coming into the business. We have seen the transfer of wealth. We provide tools, but it’s really about the advisor coming up with their strategies on how they’re going to build that relationship with the next generation.
The big metric that we follow is asset flows. You can tell that some businesses are lifestyle businesses [for the advisor]; they still have to attract new business to stay put, but some are dying businesses; these are guys coming to the end of their careers.
We’ve also got some practices that are growing like gangbusters and are bringing assets in like crazy. It’s our job to put the tools out there for them.
We’re probably not going to be the first innovator or even the early adopter. We’re going to be a fast follower. There are adopters of clearing firm technology and integrators. I put our firm in that adopter and integrator camp.
And then there are creators. Sounds like you guys are doing a lot of creative building and new stuff, which means bigger budgets and staying on the cutting edge. We’re going to lean heavily on integrating great tools that people need and lean on our clearing partner to bring us some of the latest and greatest.
Lon Dolber, American Portfolios: It’s interesting, because if you look at an interview [Amazon's Jeff] ]Bezos did in 1999. Back then, there were people questioning their model, because they had gone beyond selling books. Bezos didn’t want to talk about the technology at all. He only wanted to talk about one thing: the customer experience. This is the bottom line — the service to the customer and the customer experience.