Close Close
Popular Financial Topics Discover relevant content from across the suite of ALM legal publications From the Industry More content from ThinkAdvisor and select sponsors Investment Advisor Issue Gallery Read digital editions of Investment Advisor Magazine Tax Facts Get clear, current, and reliable answers to pressing tax questions
Luminaries Awards

Industry Spotlight > RIAs

Virtual Assistant Helps RIAs Fill 'Void' as They Grow: XYPN Founders

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

What You Need to Know

  • The expansion of XYPN's virtual assistant program is a core goal of the organization for 2023.
  • More than half of XYPN members don't want to hire employees, and many are nearing their personal capacity, Kitces and Moore say.
  • The average XYPN member firm grew its client headcount by 36% in 2021.

XY Planning Network’s RIA members are finding that the virtual assistant program it’s piloting now is helping them fill a “void” as they grow and scale their businesses, according to Michael Kitces, XYPN co-founder and its executive chairman.

More of XYPN’s RIA members “are hitting the personal capacity of how much time they have to serve their clients on top of everything else it takes to run the business,” Kitces told ThinkAdvisor in an interview on Tuesday, as its eighth XYPN Live conference in Denver came to a close. “More and more of them are looking to expand hiring. And so the rollout of XY virtual assistance is specifically meant to help them fill that void as they continue to grow and scale up.”

According to a poll of XYPN members, just over 50% of them say they never want to hire employees, Alan Moore, XYPN CEO and co-founder, pointed out. “They don’t want to build a big business. They just want to build a business for themselves.”

That is “really indicative of the type of advisor” starting an RIA firm now, Moore said, noting they also “want a lot more flexibility in their lives.” That flexibility wasn’t something advisors had when they worked as employees for larger firms, he noted.

Virtual Assistant Program to Expand

XYPN’s “core goals” for 2023 include an expansion of its virtual assistant program to more advisor members after a pilot that kicked off in 2021, it said.

“About 10 advisors were part of the pilot,” said Moore, who noted XYPN now has just under 1,700 members.

The planned expansion to 75 members next year as part of a “controlled launch” is the “most significant” of XYPN’s core goals for the coming year, according to Kitces.

“Because of the number of members we have, we can’t exactly open a virtual assistant service to all of them at once,” Kitces explained.

XYPN has been getting “really phenomenal feedback” about the virtual assistant program from members, Moore also said.

Other 2023 Core Goals

Another core goal for 2023 is the enhancement of XYPN’s annual benchmarking survey, Moore said. “Data collection will exist inside of the member portal experience” next time, “whereas right now it’s sort of a separate form” that advisors are asked to fill out, he said.

That change will help XYPN move more towards a “real-time benchmarking data versus a once a year benchmarking survey,” he noted.

XYPN will also be able to “aggregate” the data it gets from members and “then be able to cohort that data,” he explained. “What we want to be able to do is allow advisors to say, ‘Hey, of the firms that are building a firm like mine, that started when I did, what technology are they using? What is their revenue? What’s their niche?…. What performance reporter are they using? What CRM are they using?’”

Other XYPN core goals for 2023 include a “more personalized approach to membership, deeper integrations across the XYPN tech stack, and continued expansion of XYPN’s service offerings to members” overall, it said.

Moore also re-emphasized XYPN’s anti-harassment policy, saying in a news release, “This is not a joke, and XYPN has enforced this policy at least once already with a prior conference attendee who will not be permitted to return.”

“When women have uncomfortable or threatening experiences at conferences and other events, they don’t come back, limiting their professional opportunities,” according to Moore. “XYPN is committed to creating a positive space for all advisors, including women and BIPOC professionals.”

2021 XYPN Growth

Among the key growth figures from XYPN’s 2021 benchmarking study, the findings of which were released at XYPN Live on Monday, were that the average XYPN member firm grew its client headcount by 36% in 2021.

XYPN member firms in the aggregate have also added over 20,000 new clients within the last year, it said, adding XYPN members comprise 25% of the Investopedia Top 100.

And two XYPN member firms, along with XYPN itself, it said, were included in the latest Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies.

In the past year alone, the XYPN Compliance team registered 186 new RIAs, boosting XYPN’s total to more than 1,200 firms and 1,650 members, it also said. In the aggregate, that means XYPN accounts for almost 11% of all state-registered RIAs offering financial planning services in the U.S., it added.

The next XYPN Live is planned for Sept. 19-21, in Atlanta.

(Pictured: Michael Kitces, left, and Alan Moore.)


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.