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Choose wisely: six things for advisors to consider when choosing a partner
By Brad Hearn, president of Retail Advice and Solutions.

January 06, 2022

The new year typically brings optimism and opportunity – along with the curiosity to explore something new. In our personal lives, the onset of January usually translates into starting new health and wellness routines or enrolling in professional development programs or other educational opportunities.

But what’s the best way to help accelerate your business’s growth in 2022? With continuing transformation and consolidation in the industry, consider the firm you are affiliated with and ask yourself if they are the right partner to help you achieve your vision for your practice.

Regardless of where you align today, shifting revenue streams and a heightened regulatory environment are just two factors accelerating advisor movement, with Barron’s Advisor reporting over two dozen billion-dollar plus teams switching firms in 2021. Add in the last 18 months of limited in-person client meetings and a continuing increase in the demand for advice, and you may be missing opportunities to expand your practice if you aren’t exploring all the options available.

Advisors Moving, Adding Advice Capabilities

Cerulli Associates 2020 U.S. Broker/Dealer Marketplace Report shows that independent and hybrid registered investment advisors, independent broker-dealers and insurance/captive broker-dealers were the destinations of choice for those advisors making a switch over the past few years. The same report also called out the increase in wealth managers providing comprehensive planning advice, up 33% from five years prior, helping advisors create recurring revenue streams.

In addition, for advisors leaning into holistic financial planning, they are well positioned to deliver more customized investment approaches for clients – increasingly important as ESG investing strategies continues as a strong trend.

What to Look For

According to Fidelity Institutional Insights latest report, advisors are looking to move to firms that  can support a fee-based, holistic planning model with 30% seeing strong asset growth after switching. But what are some other factors to look for?

Technology: If the last 18 months taught us nothing else, technology continues to enable the advice business. Whether its industry-leading financial planning software that connects advisors and clients or a state-of-the art client onboarding platform, make sure you understand the tools that will power your business.

Dynamic Product Shelf: Solving client needs across risk management, retirement income and goals-based investing is essential to success for advisors today. Having access to market leading products and solutions is critical to your business growth.

Team Coaching and Business Consulting Services: The days of being a solo advisor are long gone with 60% of advisors today typically operating in some sort of teaming structure. Ask what resources are available for teams to help expand your business.

Business Development Programs: Client marketing resources and support are essential tools for any advisor, but what kind of leads programs are available? How are those leads qualified and shared to help you expand your business?

Flexible Affiliation Models and Easy Transitions: Explore the different affiliation models to get the right balance of cash payout, benefits and support. Also, be sure to inquire about support for yourself and your clients when making a move – dedicated resources can make all the difference.

Strong Brand Recognition and Growth-Oriented Culture: Last, but definitely not least, a powerful brand and culture can help propel your growth. Ensure you’re aligning with a company that shares your values and aspirations.

It’s truly a great time to be an advisor. Position yourself and your clients for a great 2022 by investigating all the options available to take your business to the next level.

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This article originally appeared in the publication, 2022 Market Outlook.