Those who are part of the financial planning profession know that in times of extreme market volatility, an advisor’s most critical role is to keep clients calm — to help them ride out the storm. They’re there to remind clients that looking toward the long term is important and giving in to the fear can derail years of hard work and discipline.
As an industry, as business owners, as parents and as human beings, we’re all facing an unprecedented and uncertain time right now. But I’m here to tell advisors: Follow your own advice. This volatility will settle — advisors who are focused on their long-term professional goals, and who continue along the path of finding a firm that will help them best serve their clients, will be in a great position when we get to the other side of this.
As someone who works with high-producing advisors who are looking to make a move, I’ve received a lot of calls asking, “Is now still the right time? Should I even bother?”
My answer is this: Transitions take a long time, even in normal circumstances. So, take advantage of this volatility, a time when firms are challenged to prove their value, and use it as a catalyst to explore your options.
Silver linings are everywhere if you look hard enough. Here are some that I believe advisors should be capitalizing on if they want to stay on track toward their long-term goals.
1. Top firms will be looking to “pay up.”
When markets take a downturn, it’s easy to assume that firms will halt their hiring pipelines — but in reality, strong firms who are prepared for the inevitable market correction may use the current volatility as an opportunity to offer hefty incentives for talented advisors to join. For example, incentives could include a 100% payout for a period of time, upfront transition money and assistance with real estate buildouts.
2. Everyone is embracing technology.
Meeting a prospective firm face to face may not be an option right now, but the good news is that 80% of the recruitment process takes place virtually, anyway. From researching firms to assessing potential opportunities via recruitment software, you’ve got the power of technology at your fingertips.
If you’re already further in the process and are ready to meet with the teams in person, think about the dozens of alternatives there are to make virtual meetings possible. Almost every business in the country is fully remote at this time, so take advantage of the accessibility that virtual office hours gives everyone involved. I’ve seen firms give virtual office tours of their spaces, and even host virtual happy hours — so anything is possible.
3. Home offices enable more freedom to search.
For a high-producing advisor looking to transition his or her book of business to another firm, the search process is sensitive, and discretion is important. While advisors are working from their home office, they can use the time it would normally take to commute to work, or take advantage of more flexible office hours, to take exploratory calls with firms and do their due diligence.
Exploring transition options for the long term doesn’t mean that now is the right time to jump. But it is important to lay the seeds, no matter what the market is doing or what is happening in the world. If there is a possibility of finding a firm that has the advisor’s back and helps them to better their clients’ lives, that reality will stand true whether the markets are up or down.
We’re all in this together — let’s help one another get through these challenging times, and let’s not forget to look toward the future.
Ryan Shanks is co-founder and CEO of FA Match, a digital recruitment platform that launched in 2019 and connects wealth management firms with advisors seeking meaningful career transitions.