What do the most successful financial advisory firms have in common? Read on to find the answers.

1. They have a clear vision, roadmap and organizational structure that can deliver.

Creating a clear vision for what you want your financial advisor firm to look like five, ten or even 20 years from now is a critical piece and sets up everything else you do. Once you have the vision spelled out clearly, you can begin to build a team and structure that will get you there.

Talent, technology, and marketing strategy will be among the core elements of a successful structure. The fast-growing financial firms have a “now” and “future” organizational chart, so they never lose their way.

2. They invest in their business before there’s a need.

Successful advisory firms know that if you wait until the need is obvious, you’re already behind. Make investments before they become critical. That means they hire real talent before they need them. They anticipate. They implement new technology when they see the opportunity, and they refresh their messaging while the existing stuff is still “alright”.  The pace of change in the financial industry is increasing rapidly, and you need to be willing to reinvest in your business.

3. They are shifting to the team approach for client services.

The financial advisor/assistant model has been a solid one for some time but is evolving into a team approach, where each member of the team is a specialist in one area, whether that be financial planning, customer service, investment management, marketing, or relationship management. The goal is to provide clients with better advice, better service and confidence that comes with an entire team working to help them reach their goals.

4. They encourage their advisors to be great at a few things rather than average at many.

Not only do the clients appreciate  a team approach as we pointed out in #4, but CEO’s know more than anyone how difficult it can be to play the role of financial planner, portfolio manager, investment analyst, relationship manager, business development officer, marketing director, client service manager, and CEO. Successful firms allow their advisors to be focus on fewer non-client related activities and hire specialists as needed to support the advisors.

5. They put financial planning into the center of the client relationship.

Too often advisors overly emphasize portfolio performance.  Successful firms understand that they are solving client goals and long term objectives and financial planning is better for the client-advisor long term relationship than focusing on short term performance and market swings.  As a result, they will have greater retention of clients in up and down markets.

6. They’re relentless about always improving the client experience.

Many firms talk about wanting to improve the client experience, but successful advisory firms are making sure it happens. They use retreats and focus sessions on client experience and hammer out actionable plans to make sure it happens. The mindset has evolved beyond simply keeping clients, the goal now is to absolutely thrill them.

7. They have advisory councils and additional methods of getting client feedback.

The best way to truly know what it’s like to be a client of your firm is to ask them. Successful firms don’t assume they know what their clients want and need; they have proven methods to get high-quality, insightful feedback from them. Client surveys are the least you can do but having real dialog among a group of clients you’d most like to replicate is one of the best ways to get the kind of feedback you need to become a truly successful firm.

If you are interested in learning more about who some of the most successful firms are or interested in learning more about what makes a firm successful, contact us at Bridgemark Strategies.