What You Need to Know
- Fee pressure remains a key challenge for advisors, according to Commonwealth's Karen McColl.
- She urges advisors to take advantage of the firm's services, like advanced tax and estate planning.
- Commonwealth has boosted its efforts to recruit advisors breaking away from wirehouses.
Commonwealth Financial’s recently appointed senior vice president of wealth management is out to help make sure the firm’s advisors have all the tools they need — and are taking full advantage of all those resources — to meet the increasingly complex needs of clients and overcome challenges that include fee pressure, she told ThinkAdvisor in a recent interview.
In announcing the hiring of Karen McColl, Commonwealth said her role “will be central to shaping the next evolution of Commonwealth’s advisor support model across Advanced Planning, Insurance, Annuity Research, Investment Consulting Services, and Retirement Consulting Services as the firm continues to respond to advisors’ dynamic financial planning business needs.”
Her appointment demonstrates Commonwealth’s “fierce commitment to the wealth management space” as well as its “desire to make sure that we are continuing to provide our advisors with efficient and effective products, services, platforms [and] solutions that will help them really deliver what their clients need, which is becoming more and more complex,” said McColl, who joined Commonwealth from MassMutual.
Also at the top of her list of focus areas is helping advisors “build their businesses in a way that’s scalable — so really supporting their growth,” she said.
Pointing to the many resources that Commonwealth makes available to advisors, she said, “What I really want to see is an increasing number of our advisors take full advantage of all of those things.”
For example, in the area of advanced planning, “we have folks that have law degrees that are expert at tax planning and setting up estates and charitable accounts,” she said, noting they are “incredibly experienced [and] very knowledgeable folks that are basically at the beck and call of our advisors.”
Meanwhile, there are ongoing projects at the firm designed to “refine the ease of use of technology,” she noted. The goal is to make sure the company has “seamless integration across platforms, products [and] services” and that they are easy for advisors to use, she said.
Meanwhile, “there’s so much fee pressure on everyone” that it is an “unfair burden” for advisors today, McColl said.
“There’s a point at which we have to stand up and be very confident about what advisors are doing and [the] notion of value for price,” she explained. It’s important for advisors to make sure clients understand all the things they’re getting for a certain price point when it comes to managing their overall investments and helping them reach their financial goals, she said.