The desire for greater control and flexibility has become the single most powerful driver of advisor movement and change. This concept of “wanting greater agency over their business lives” cuts across all business models and has never been more prevalent.
And it’s a mindset that is influencing the choices advisors make both as to where they work and how they want to run their businesses.
Over the past few years, advisors started viewing their practices as “true businesses” and this has created new expectations for control. As such, advisors are looking to take on more decision-making authority than ever before when it comes to certain aspects of their professional lives — accepting less intrusion from their firm, whether they are employees or business owners.
So as advisors think through their business lives, they are asking these 10 threshold questions around the areas where they are looking to exercise more control:
1. Teaming: “Do I need or want a partner or to be part of a team?”
There may be value in being a part of the right team, but it’s not ideal for every advisor, especially if a suitable partner can’t be identified.
Advisors increasingly take issue with firm incentives to be on a team, or disincentives to remain a solo advisor — and are looking to feel equally supported regardless of which path they take.
2. Client relationships: “Which clients can I/should I work with?”
Client relationships are often the result of very personal decisions that can reflect an advisor’s key values.
Advisors want to decide who they take on as a client, often objecting to requirements to add a certain number of new clients each year or only to work with clients above a certain asset threshold.
3. Growth: “What are the appropriate growth goals and measures?”
While growth is a top priority for most advisors, they want to create their own benchmarks, rather than be obligated under a firm’s mandates. This is especially true for advisors who don’t feel they have capacity to add relationships.
4. Compensation: “What compensation structure or metrics work best with my client values and business goals?”
Advisors can struggle with bonuses and other elements of a compensation plan that reward certain types of behavior; for example, making referrals to other lines of business such as banking.
Quality advisors tend to have comprehensive practices that incorporate a variety of resources to serve clients, yet they want the autonomy to decide what resources and for which clients this is appropriate.
5. Support staff: “Can I hire the talent I need and want, and can I determine their roles and compensation?”
The appropriate amount and quality of support is critical to an advisor’s success. Yet, they often feel most challenged in this area because a firm’s hiring practices can be formulaic, inflexible and seemingly unresponsive to specific needs.