Innovation | 02.19.20
Recruiting Financial Advisors in 2020
I happen to live in the Tampa Bay area, and I’m a big Tampa Bay Lightning hockey fan. Recently, I was in my car listening to an interview of Phil Esposito, one of the game’s former greats, and the “father“of hockey in the Bay area. He was speaking very philosophically about hockey and said something that really struck me.
”Hockey is a game of mistakes. Every game is full of mistakes, but the team that best takes advantage of the other’s mistakes will win,” he said.
I realized that this is what advisor recruiting is all about — taking advantage of your competitor’s mistakes better than they take advantage of yours. In hockey, you have bad passes, turnovers and penalties. In our business, you have poor communication, bad commission payout “adjustments,” or poor management support just to name a few.
You don’t need to be a hockey fan, or even know anything about the game, to understand how a bank program’s mistakes can lead to unhappy advisors, or at the very least, leave advisors open to listening to what others might have to offer.
So, it’s worthwhile to take the time to think about what the most common “mistakes” are, and how to avoid them and take advantage when competitors commit them. Here’s a list of what I’ve found having recruited in the bank channel for 25 years:
- Communications. From “my manager lied to me,” to the “the bank says they support us, but then don’t come through,” lack of clear honest and timely communication is probably the most common complaint I hear from advisors looking to move.
- Changing compensation. Advisors understand that this is a business, and banks are in it to make money. But changing formulas and making critical changes to compensation plans has to been done right, with all changes clearly and honestly explained.
- Branch and/or territory changes. “My manger took away three of my branches,” or “I got moved to a lousy branch” is something I hear all too often.
- Not having your financial advisors’ best interests at heart. It’s pretty simple, financial advisors will stay and work hard for managers they believe will support them and defend them, should the need arise.
- Feeling “wealth management” or the trust department taking over. Financial advisors don’t want to feel like second-class citizens. They understand the need to segment the customer base but don’t want to feel like they got the “crumbs.”
- Feeling like they’ve reached a dead end. Financial advisors truly committed to their craft want to grow and learn. They want the bank to support this through advanced training in areas such as tax planning, estate planning, etc.
- Firm acquirement or ownership change. Changes in b/d ownership, clearing firm changes or even internal reorganizations can cause major ripples through a program. From retention bonuses to business disruption issues, these kinds of changes can provide the “kick” some advisors need to seek out a new opportunities.
Avoiding these key missteps will help with retention and attracting quality advisors to your program. Conversely, keep watch on competitor missteps and proactively reach out to prospects. Here again, it’s critically important to monitor what’s going on in your market and have your prospect list ready.
In today’s hyper-linked world of social media, instantaneous information, and public and confidential network, it can be difficult to manage a business and monitor the business environment around you. But the recruiting winner in 2020 will find the time and make the effort.