Shorts: On DOL, Talent Pools, Doing Your Homework and Getting Out

May 25, 2017


“Shorts” is a recurring feature on Practically Speaking, featuring items that I thought were important, but didn’t warrant a full article. In other words, too long for a tweet; too short for a full post

Since Memorial Day is the traditional kick off of summer, I thought it would be a good time to share some interesting articles (and a podcast) for you to enjoy while you are waiting for the parade honoring veterans, grilling out or hanging by the pool with the family. Today’s “shorts” touch on the DOL and its ramifications, as well as doing your homework (maybe even while you are out of the office).

Shorts: On DOL, talent pools, doing your homework and getting out Click To Tweet

Deregulators must follow the law so regulators do, too

If you have been reading this blog for the last year, you know that we have been saying that it is best to prepare for the DOL Rule, no matter what the press, politicians or large firms say. Hoping that the Rule would somehow be defeated in court, by a new Congress or president or some other means, seemed to go away with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta’s opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. In his commentary, he did leave the door open for revision (more on that here and here) after the Labor Department completes its economic review, but there’s no doubt the Rule will go into effect on June 9.

I think it will be hard to reverse the Rule once it is in effect; hope is no longer a strategy (if it ever was). If you are still behind on your DOL preparations, you should check out our DOL workflow toolkit. The workflows, designed to walk you through the preparation and execution, can be accessed in a manual, via diagrams (swim lanes) or even downloaded (free) for those of you using Redtail’s CRM. There is even a follow up Q&A blog post on Practically Speaking for those of you who have more questions.

Shrinking talent pool puts strain on advisory firms

Speaking of the Fiduciary Rule, Liz Skinner from Investment News outlined one of the major hurdles of running a successful advisory firm – staffing and the shrinking talent pool of advisors.

We suggested this trend in our The DOL’s Game-changing Fiduciary Rule: What Should You Do? We believe that this will be an even bigger challenge than the industry is projecting. One of the unintended consequences of the fiduciary movement will be aging advisors who don’t want to change commission-based firms to fee based – and more importantly, younger advisors who typically cut their teeth by selling small commissioned accounts who won’t be able to make a go of it with a fee-based business.

The takeaway is to review your compensation plans and training programs and focus today on your future needs. Think about finding ways to improve the efficiencies by looking at workflow, technology and outsourcing non-critical needs. It is much easier to keep an employee happy than to find a new one.

Podcast – Becoming referable

Years ago, I was training a newer regional director. When we walked into an advisor’s office, my colleague barely sat down before laying out his agenda, goals for the meeting and where we needed to be next. As soon as I could, I stopped the proposed flow and asked about a particular picture on the wall of the advisor’s office – one of the advisor with a legendary football coach. That sidetrack took about 4 minutes, but you felt the tension come out of the room. We bonded.

Although it seems like a small thing, clients want to work with someone they like and feel a connection with. But how do you make that connection quickly and gracefully? I was reminded about this when listening to Stephen Weshing and Julie Littlechild’s Becoming Referable podcast with Sam Richter. It is not rocket science, but few advisors really do their homework.

Sam provided all sorts of ideas and tools to help advisors, but his underlying point was this: Finding a way to connect with a client shows that you are prepared. You have to know that your client has searched on your name, looked at your website or social media presence. Instead of launching into a conversation about asset allocation or the markets, break the ice by connecting with them on a personal level. Sam shares ideas on how.

Small business owner, take care of yourself by getting out of the office

At a recent SEI event, I had at least a dozen people ask me if I really write every blog post. The answer is yes – weekly for over 6 years now and twice a week for the first year or two (but Diane, who edits every one, gets major credit too).

The next question is, “Where do you come up with the ideas?” My answer is always the same: I travel a lot, talk a lot and have lots of conversations with advisors and industry experts. In other words, I get out. A recent article in USA Today suggests that small business owners can benefit in a lot of ways by getting out, too. Think about a new perspective; do a due diligence trip to a favorite vendor (or one that you have never used before) or meet with distant clients whom you don’t see often. It is Memorial Day – get out of the office!

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John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is the creator and lead author of Practically Speaking blog and Managing Director of Practice Management Solutions for the SEI Advisor Network.

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