There’s no doubt that the advisory industry has been hit from all sides with one storm after another:
- The threat of robo advisors;
- A more onerous regulatory environment;
- A culture with greater scrutiny and zero tolerance;
- Recruiting packages in flux;
- And a whole lot of questions surrounding our new President and the impact his administration will have on the industry.
If you’re still dwelling on these waves of disruption, however, it’s time to look for ways to accept the new normal and thrive within it. It’s certainly not all bad, because with change comes opportunity.
- We now have a greatly expanded industry landscape that has really legitimized and validated the independent space. So for advisors who seek a greater level of freedom, flexibility and control, there now exists a real alternative to employee status.
- While the headline numbers surrounding recruiting packages may not look as sexy as they once did, advisors are finding that with more money being offered up front and deferred compensation being reimbursed, the overall packages provide more certainty and less risk when it comes to capturing the full deal.
- And where robo-technology may feel like a threat, those advisors who have built strong relationships with their clients are discovering that there is no substitute for sophisticated and custom advice; in fact, technology can actually enhance their capabilities and relationships.
Embarking on exploration of the new world of opportunity
With all of the change around you, it’s time to turn your energy from frustration and fear to a more positive initiative. Whether you’re considering a move or not, it’s time to take an objective look at your business and evaluate your situation: is where you are now currently serving your career and your clients best—and if indeed it is, how do you move your business forward with renewed energy?
Dig deep and consider these 6 criteria to chart your course into the future:
- View your business as a business. Look through the eyes of an entrepreneur, instead of an employee. What is your mission? Your vision? What will it take to get yourself where you want to go?
- Ensure that your only mandate is serving the best interests of your clients. Chaotic environments often drive people to make decisions out of fear. Resist that temptation and focus instead on what you are trying to achieve, not run away from.
- Be clear on what you are looking to solve for. Are you looking for more freedom and flexibility? Less bureaucracy? Better take-home economics? The ability to monetize? While no solution will ever be perfect, prioritizing what you are looking to solve for will ensure you find the best fit.
- Know what will serve your business and clients best. Understanding the factors that may be limiting your growth or ability to serve your clients will allow you to choose your next steps wisely. Do you have the freedom and flexibility that you need to build your business as you see fit?
- Learn now what it will take to get from where you are to where you want to be. Are you taking full advantage of all of the support your firm offers? Are you doing everything possible to provide the best for your clients? While you may not be considering a move now, knowing what it will take to achieve your goals is the only way to chart an effective plan.
- Don’t stick your head in the sand. Waiting for the next storm will not serve you well. Be proactive: Get educated about your options regardless of whether you are looking to make a change or not.
After some soul searching and due diligence, you may find that where you are now does indeed serve you best, allowing you to move forward with a more positive focus. If you’ve been considering a move, don’t let the winds of change throw you off course or paralyze you into inertia—and conversely, don’t allow the noise to drive you to rush into a move out of fear. Use the knowledge gained from the exercise above to guide you on your next journey.
In business as in life there will always be change. And while change can be uncomfortable, it typically brings about opportunities that soon become a new and often better “normal”. The best course in times like these is to know – and stay true to – your core beliefs, and continue to serve the interests of your clients to the best of your abilities, regardless of changing tides around you.
And let that thought drive your actions from here on out.
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