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Category Archives: Advisor Perspectives

How To Make Better Hires

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Dear Bev, We just fired the fourth operations manager in six years. I find it tough to believe that a simple role like this can be so hard, but we’ve had no luck in keeping someone for the long haul. My partner thinks we need to hire an expensive recruiter. I don’t agree. Can paying someone 30% of the salary plus bonus (the recruiter’s fee) to identify the right person really make a difference? — George S. Dear George, Having spent some of my career as an executive recruiter, I am going to have to say that in many cases the 30% is well deserved! Is it the right thing in this situation? I’m honestly not sure. You will want to pose a few questions to yourself and your partner before you decide to hire an outside recruiter. Are you both clear and on the same page about what this…

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Jumping into the Fray with Divorcing Clients

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Dear Bev, When is it appropriate to recuse ourselves from a nasty divorce situation between existing clients? We are in a losing place if we take sides, and I do not prefer one member of the couple over the other. I enjoy both and what they are doing to each other – and to their investment portfolio – is atrocious. — Douglas N. Dear Douglas, This is a very sticky wicket, indeed! In fact, there are a number of governing rules, depending on the state you work in, that you must heed. Be sure to find out what rules there are governing financial professionals in your state. To my knowledge, from an ethical standard there is nothing “wrong” with representing both sides in the financial matters. More importantly, you have an opportunity here to have a very direct conversation with these two people that you have worked with and care…

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What Makes a Compelling Marketing Hook?

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Dear Bev, How do we improve our image in the market? We are not well known for what we do, although we believe we do it better than the competitors. We talk about being fiduciaries and having an objective voice, but I don’t know if our message is powerful enough. What else could we do? — Ronald G. Dear Ronald, Standing out in a crowded market is not easy. Think of all of the different types of people – insurance brokers, financial brokers, financial planners, bankers and so on – who call themselves “financial advisors.” Unless one is in this business, it’s hard to discern who does what and how it is different from another. That said, I suggest staying away from differentiators like being a fiduciary or offering objective advice. Most investors would not understand the importance of this, and you’ll spend too much time trying to educate and…

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Dealing with Your Less Experienced Team Members

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Dear Bev, Are we the only place where the soon-to-retire advisors struggle to communicate with the newer staff members? We are not as tech-savvy or are marketing-savvy as they are, but they could learn a lot from our experience too. They seem too cocky to me, and I don’t know how to get through. Any suggestions? Frank F. Dear Frank, Are you sure it is only the newer advisors that are hard to reach? Do you think they may experience the same issue getting through to the older, more-experienced advisors? I hear a great deal about multi-generational issues. We’re living in times when three or four generations can work side by side, and life-expectancy projections say that we may have a time where there are five. That means that an advisor could be working with colleagues who could be their great-great-grandchildren! This is a very real issue for this industry…

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Developing the Next Generation’s Leaders

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Dear Bev, We have hired three advisors younger than 35 years old, with the expectation they will help us to grow the business. I understand it can be hard for advisors coming into the business to close sales, but shouldn’t we expect something out of them? How do you teach younger advisors to sell effectively? — Tom D. Dear Tom, Have you set clear expectations with them? Do they know what you are expecting them to do and what success looks like to you? Are they clear on the goals and the measurements? Developing the next generation of leaders is becoming an imperative as the industry continues to age – research shows that over 40% of advisors are over the age of 55, ready to retire soon in some cases. Having a younger staff that can run the business, grow the clientele and manage clients will be crucial if advisors…

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When Senior Managers Make Bad Decisions

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Dear Bev, So, what do you tell an insurance-based planning organization that owns a mutual fund company, a broker-dealer and an annuity company and has a 150-year track record as a mutual life-insurance company but does not require its recruits to be equities licensed at even the Series 6 level? These so-called advisors meet with clients but cannot provide the full suite of products and services that the parent company has available. — Bert Dear Bert, I spent many years working for a large insurance and financial-services firm, and I wish I had the answer on how to easily get through to the managers of large firms. All too often, employees see the negative impact of decisions made but the folks in senior management do not seem to connect their decisions with actual impact marketing the industry. That said, the answer to your question varies based on your role within…

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Advisors Dealing with Illness in Their Family

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Dear Bev, I am in my mid-50’s and run a fairly successful practice. For the last two years I have been dealing with significant personal issues. My only brother is dying of cancer, my parents have both moved into nursing homes and we have a sick son who is in need of care. Given the number of advisors in my age category, I can’t believe my situation is unique but I don’t read about this anywhere nor do I know where to turn for support. I am maintaining my business but I can’t focus on growth. Any suggestions on how to find resources to help me? — John G. Dear John, Let me offer my condolences for everything you are dealing with right now. It sounds very difficult. I agree that I have not seen much written on this topic or programs specifically set up for baby-boomer advisors who are…

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Helping Clients Redefine Retirement

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Dear Bev, How can I help clients get a better idea of what they want to do with their retirement? I don’t view retirement as a chance to play golf and travel, so I don’t want to assume that my clients are thinking this either. Sometimes I fear they do not know what retirement will look like to them and so planning for it, financially or otherwise, is challenging. It’s why I believe they need an advisor, but I want to be sure I am doing the best I can for them in these discussions. — Robert D. Dear Robert, YES! I am thrilled to read this question and read about your desire to truly help your clients understand what they want. I have spent a lot of my career in the retirement space, so this area is of particular interest to me. The pictures of the beach and the…

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