Advisors: What's Holding You Back From a Move?

Advisors: What's Holding You Back From a Move?

Are you truly in the right place or are you just making the best of a sub-optimal situation?

As recruiters, we talk with hundreds of advisors each month, the majority of whom tell us that they are very happy and have no intention of making a move. Yet, often these same advisors share multiple frustrations that they have made peace with over time: Bureaucracy that breeds inefficiency, problems with client service, platform limitations and reductions in compensation often top the list.

So what’s keeping these advisors in their seats? Is it the simple truth that the pain of staying does not exceed the pain of leaving? Or is it inertia – that natural resistance to change that lives within each of us – that is causing them to settle for less than they or their clients really deserve?

Inertia is often what keeps people from achieving what they are fully capable of. But, it is something that you can overcome. Start by asking yourself these five questions and at least get greater clarity…

1. Just how frustrated are you? Are they minor annoyances or major issues? Have these frustrations impacted your ability to grow the business or service clients?

While we all know that there is no perfect firm, if the daily challenges start to become a drag on productivity, limit growth or, in the worst case, negatively impact clients, then it is time to reassess your situation. Some advisors engage in this exercise regularly, believing that they have a fiduciary obligation to provide a “best in class” offering. Every few years these advisors perform due diligence on a couple of competitive options to ensure they are at the right firm regardless of whether they are committed to making a move or just curious; while others only reassess when the pain becomes great enough.

2. Are you unsure if clients will follow?

The reality is that fears regarding client portability are often unfounded. Advisors with long-term client relationships, and who move for the right reasons, typically bring 90-100% of their recruited assets in the first year. The Broker Protocol has been a game changer in this regard, allowing advisors to move more freely without fear of legal action from the firm they depart. Plus, hiring firms have created dedicated transition teams to help advisors prepare for the move and manage the onboarding process, which includes helping to create messaging that clearly articulates to clients “what’s in it for them”.

Related: Independence for the Not That Entrepreneurial Advisor

3. Do you believe there is nothing better out there?

Many advisors believe that trading one wirehouse for another may not move the needle enough to make the disruption of a move worthwhile. These advisors stay put, not realizing that the landscape has vastly expanded over the last 5 years and that today there are a wide variety of options that can deliver a platform and resources that are superior to what wirehouses provide. Advisors who are not interested in independence, but are looking for a more nimble, flexible, advisor-centric culture have found homes at regional firms. Entrepreneurial advisors, who are looking for the ultimate in control, true customization and open architecture, typically launch independent firms. In order to streamline the process, many leverage best in class platforms, resources and integrated technology solutions that are offered by top service providers in the RIA space. For those that want a more turnkey platform, independent broker dealers provide that with ongoing service and support.

4. Do you stay because retirement is on the horizon?

Recognizing that the advisor force is aging, most firms have responded by enhancing their retiring advisor sunset programs. This is great for advisors who believe that their current firm is the right home for their clients and team. That said, if the retiring advisor does not feel his firm is the right legacy, the opportunity to move to another firm or go independent is something that many are considering as a viable alternative.

5. Are you happy at the current firm?

Happiness is an underrated but important part of the equation. For many advisors, the firm that they work for today is unrecognizable from the firm that they joined. Industry consolidation, buyouts and bank ownership have changed the culture, making the firms feel big, bureaucratic and impersonal. Many advisors feel that this is just the price of doing business in today’s environment. Others have found that you can make a move that ups the happiness quotient and is a better place for both the business and clients.

Thinking through the answers to these questions should help you to clarify whether you are truly in a good place or are just making the best of a sub-par situation. With markets high, clients happy, and a landscape replete with options, many advisors view this as an optimal time to make a move. So, if you’re staying the course because, overall, it is working, then that’s great. But, if you’re staying because inertia is holding you back, our best advice is to get educated on the options available for your business and goals. Once you’re equipped with that knowledge, whether you choose to stay or go, you are doing so from a position of clarity and strength.

Wendy Leung
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In her former career, Wendy’s workday might have included helping a Fortune 500 exporter structure financing competitive enough to win a contract to build a subway in Venezu ... Click for full bio

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

Written by: Jon Sabes

When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward. 

However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:

  • He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
  • He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
  • When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
  • While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
  • In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.

Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (, is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.

Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.

Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.

His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”

When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”

On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.

“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”

That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing.  Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.

Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”

When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it.  He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.

I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.

GWG Holdings, Inc.
Investing in Life
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GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH) the parent company of GWG Life, is a financial services company committed to transforming the life insurance industry through disruptive and i ... Click for full bio