3 Pieces of Advice from Dad that Could Make You a Better Advisor

Jun 10, 2014

As Father’s Day approaches, TV, radio, and other media are blasting away with ads for gifts for dads all around the country. I’ve seen everything from Bonsai trees – “a distinctive gift for dad” – to the more traditional sporting goods stores and ties being hawked. Earlier this week, Insure.com recently updated their “Father’s Day Index,” showing that the value of things dads stereotypically do around the house is worth about $24,103. (In my case, I would be overpaid, due to the lawn care/snow removal components of the index.)

All the Father’s Day talk makes me think about my own father and some of the life and business lessons he taught me.


5 Key Compliance Steps for RIAs Using Social Media

Jun 5, 2014

A few weeks ago, I was participating in our Social Media Lounge at our Strategic Advisor Council national conference and was approached by an advisor. He and his colleagues were interested in getting active on social media, but here’s where he is different from many advisors that I speak with: he’s a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA).

Unlike broker dealer-affiliated advisors, RIAs have to create their own policies and procedures for social media. To make matters murkier, the Securities and Exchange Commission has provided little guidance on social media, but there are some things that are a given.

When I returned to the office, my compliance officer and I jumped on a call with this advisor to help clarify some of the compliance requirements he was encountering and discuss what technologies were available.

Here are some of the key compliance steps we provided to our client that may help other RIAs get up and running with social media. But I would add that the learnings provided here are applicable across the financial advisory industry.


Shorts: Optimization, Fossils, and Talking Heads

“Shorts” is a newer feature on Practically Speaking, featuring items that I thought were important, but didn’t warrant a full article.

Being Refined and Going Advice-based

Last week, Chris Rice and co-hosted a webinar entitled “Refining for Results.” The premise of the discussion was that giving your practice an occasional tune-up is the key to potentially improving your profitability and that now is the time to do it. Chris and I discussed the five keys to optimize your book for better efficiency and profitability. The topics were…


Get Out!

May 29, 2014

Over the years, I have quoted some of Matt Oechsli’s research on elite advisors (those advisors who acquire more than 10 new $1MM+ clients in a 12-month period). The number one marketing activity that those advisors do differently than other advisors is social networking. In other words, putting themselves in a position to be surrounded by highly affluent people, or at least their target niche. We all know it, it makes perfect sense — but how many of you actually do it? Below is a guest post from Bruce Specter, president of 3rd Rock Communications, a strategic planning firm specializing in best practices for relationship management and client retention.


Robo-advisor: Embrace the Name

May 27, 2014

Last week, Cynthia Stephens, the VP of Marketing at ByAllAccounts, invited me to join her on a webinar about robo-advisors. It was fun, and allowed me to do an update on this hot topic.It is amazing how much things have evolved in a couple of months.

In today’s post, I will highlight a couple of the key themes of the webinar and answer some of the excellent questions Cynthia and I received.


The Tortoise and the Hare of Investing

Americans are fast paced. We get up early, work hard, and work late. We are in the pursuit of happiness, and all of our hopes and dreams can’t come true fast enough! That’s why many of us get caught up in the habit of wanting instant gratification – and this sometimes gets us into trouble.

There are tons of gimmicks out there that promise to fulfill our desires quicker and easier, like:
1.Get rich quick without working
2.Build the perfect body in days without diet or exercise
3.Have the face of a 20-year-old again with age-defying creams

This optimism spills over into the investment world, as well. Over the years, there have been numerous investment strategies that claim to capture the market’s upside while avoiding the downside. It has been my experience that these strategies are market timing strategies and, whether they are quantitatively driven or instinct driven, they tend to fail more often than they succeed.


Three States, One Story: How Advisors Can Explain Going Advice-based to Clients

May 20, 2014

It could be déjà vu, but it seems that over the last few weeks, I keep having the same conversation. Case in point: Three weeks ago, I was in Ohio with two separate groups of advisors discussing how to approach existing old 12(b) 1 clients and going fee-based; two weeks ago, I was helping a co-worker prepare for a presentation for advisors who were doing fee-based for new clients, but didn’t know how to approach the rest of their book. And last week, I spoke to a small group via a webinar on transitioning from a commission-based to a fee-based business.

I have been having the “fee-based” discussion for almost 20 years, but lately this conversation is different. The difference in these conversations weren’t the why – they all admitted that they were already doing fee based on their new clients. It was the how… as in “How do I go back to my existing clients and explain my new business model?”

And if you know me, you know my motto is that if I hear something once, three people are thinking it. If you hear it multiple times, you better address it to a larger audience.


Changing the Conversation- A Different Way To Look at the ROI of Social Media

May 15, 2014

There is no doubt that figuring out your ROI (Return on Investment) is an important factor in determining where to put marketing dollars. If you’re not getting tangible, direct results immediately, why spend the money on it, right? Well, not really. As marketers struggle to wrap their heads around how and where social media plays a role in marketing efforts and budgets, there is a shift to start analyzing what really matters for long-term success: the value of the relationships acquired and maintained through social media.

Instead of trying to calculate the exact dollar amount acquired from each new client that you gained solely from social media compared to the dollar amount spent on social media assets (technology, staff, time), we are suggesting that you change the conversation.


Two Critical Benchmarking Mistakes Advisors Make – And How to Avoid Them

May 13, 2014

In a recent “Shorts” post, I referenced that PriceMetrix updated its “State of Retail Wealth Management” whitepaper for 2014. The report aggregates data representing 7 million retail investors, 500 million transactions, and over $3.5 trillion in investment assets, so I think it is one of the most comprehensives studies out there. As with the previous three editions, I was not disappointed with their research and insight and highly recommend you download a copy.

As I read the report, a couple of statistics jumped out at me…


Succession Q&A: Why “When” is Now

Last week’s webinar on succession planning for advisors (with David Grau from FP Transitions) generated more calls and emails than any webinar in recent memory. I can’t tell you how many advisors called me, saying they realized that they had a practice instead of a business, and that attrition was not a good exit strategy. (You should listen to the replay if you don’t know what I am taking about.)

Because the webinar ran long, we didn’t have time to answer all of the questions that we received. I recently asked David if he could take a few minutes to answer some of our listeners’ the questions here. Of course, David was happy to help.




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