Why It’s Hard to Hire Good Investment Advisors (And What You Can Do About It)

Why It’s Hard to Hire Good Investment Advisors (And What You Can Do About It)

Finding good talent is not easy in any industry. However, investment advisory firms are having a tougher time than most. Low unemployment rates, shifting candidate priorities, and a lack of skilled talent — among other factors — are driving a staffing shortage that’s leaving firms struggling to reach their business goals.

Below we explore why it’s so hard for investment advisories to find new talent, and strategies for overcoming this major challenge.

Why Hiring Talent is Harder Than Ever

Demand for investment advisors is higher than ever before, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasting new advisory jobs to grow 13% by 2023 — four times faster than the 3% increase projected for all other occupations over the same time period. Many existing positions are also beginning to open up as more experienced advisors retire — one-third are planning to exit the workforce during the next decade.

In addition, clients today are more conscious than ever of ethical considerations and social responsibility. This requires advisors who know how to incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into their investment strategies. On top of that, the rise of robo-advisors and artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping traditional roles within the industry, and requires professionals with diverse skill sets.

Finding advisors with the specialized knowledge and skills needed to meet these needs can be highly challenging.

All of these factors, combined with low unemployment rates, have created an intensely competitive market with candidates receiving multiple offers. This environment combined with inflation is driving record compensation increases as firms try to outmaneuver their competition. One survey showed that firms need to increase salaries by 15 to 20%  to stay competitive. But that’s not all they need to do.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on candidate expectations and priorities. Most of today’s job applicants expect the flexibility to work from home at least part of the time. They are also prioritizing work-life balance, and are seeking roles that have a clear path for professional development. Candidates also prize roles aligning with their values and beliefs, recognizing the big impact this can have on their job satisfaction.

This is a very tall order to fill —  but it’s not impossible.

How to Find and Acquire Talent

While hiring good talent may seem harder than finding a needle in a haystack, there are some key things your firm can do to attract and hire top performers.

Develop a Competitive Compensation and Benefits Package
To ensure what you’re offering is competitive with other firms, take a look at industry benchmarks found in surveys from Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and others. It also might be helpful to look at sites such as Glassdoor, where employees self-report their salaries.

If you’re unable to compete on salary, consider an incentive compensation plan based on a percentage of AUM billing and revenue.

It’s also critical to offer a comprehensive benefits package, especially if you can’t effectively compete on compensation. A robust healthcare plan is a must — as is covering at least part of employee premiums.An Advisor Growth Strategies study shows that two-thirds of firms contribute to premiums. It also revealed that more than three-fourths of firms offer dental and vision coverage. Many companies are also now opting to offer unlimited paid time off.

Also consider perks such as gym memberships, food delivery accounts, and Netflix subscriptions. These little extras can make your firm rise above the rest when all else is equal.

Evaluate Company Culture and Career Development
Assess your company culture to ensure it aligns with the expectations of today’s workforce. If you don’t already offer a hybrid or fully remote work schedule, doing so can go a long way toward providing candidates with the flexibility they demand.

Examine your professional development opportunities and create defined career paths for specific roles if they don’t already exist. Candidates want to join companies they can grow with, so you should be able to explain what their career trajectory could look like if they choose to join your firm.

Conducting employee satisfaction surveys can be a valuable way to assess your culture and identify areas for improvement. Proactively addressing concerns will increase retention and help create a culture that’s attractive to job candidates.

Think Outside the Box
Consider looking for talent in new places. For example, other industries with adjacent skillsets such as accounting can significantly broaden the candidate pool. Accounting professionals often have a strong foundation in financial analysis, compliance, and attention to detail — attributes highly transferable to the advisory space. Training programs to bridge any knowledge gaps can provide the expertise needed for them to excel in the investment advisory role.  

Create an Intern Program
Intern programs can be a very successful recruiting tool. They provide students and recent graduates with hands-on experience while allowing your firm to assess potential future employees. Check with your local college or university to see if they provide local businesses with interns. If partnering with a local college isn’t possible, there are many other ways to find interns including college fairs and posting internship opportunities on university websites and social media.

Learn More Strategies for Positioning Your Firm as An Employer of Choice
In the face of current hiring challenges, investment advisory firms must ensure what they offer is on par with the competition and find new ways to attract candidates.

Read our eBook to learn more about the factors influencing the investment advisory talent landscape and discover practical strategies for finding and retaining high-performing investment advisors.

Is Your Practice Being Impacted by the Retirement of Senior Advisors?

Is Your Practice Being Impacted by the Retirement of Senior Advisors?

Retirement of senior advisors in the field of investment advisory companies can have a substantial impact on the entire operation and performance of the company. Change is inevitable. In addition to having a plethora of expertise and experience, these seasoned professionals are also essential for attracting new customers. An investment advice business may suffer from the retirement of lead advisers in a number of ways.

Loss of Client Relationships

Lead advisors often build strong and trusted relationships with their clients over the years. When they retire, the firm faces the challenge of maintaining those relationships and ensuring a seamless transition of client accounts to new advisors. The loss of a familiar face and a trusted point of contact can lead to client anxiety and potential attrition. Clear communication, proactive client outreach, and a well-executed succession plan are key to addressing this concern.

Client Acquisition and Business Development

Lead advisors are typically responsible for client acquisition and business development activities. Their retirement can result in a temporary or permanent decline in the firm’s ability to attract new clients. These advisors often have extensive networks and industry connections, which play a vital role in generating new leads. To mitigate this impact, firms need to identify strategies to fill the gap, such as cultivating existing relationships, leveraging digital marketing tools, and investing in professional networking and referral programs.

Knowledge and Expertise Gap

The retirement of lead advisors can create a knowledge and expertise gap within the firm. Their experience and industry insights are invaluable assets that contribute to the overall success of the organization. Knowledge transfer becomes crucial to ensure that the firm retains critical institutional knowledge. Encouraging mentorship programs, conducting training sessions, and facilitating knowledge-sharing platforms can help transfer expertise and ensure a smooth transition.

Team Morale and Culture

The departure of lead advisors can have an emotional impact on the remaining team members, affecting morale and the overall office culture. Colleagues may feel a sense of loss, and anxiety may arise about the firm’s stability and future direction. It is important for the firm’s leadership to acknowledge and address these concerns promptly. Open communication, transparency about the retirement process, and providing opportunities for professional growth and advancement can help maintain team morale during this period of change.

Succession Planning and Talent Development

To mitigate the impact of retiring lead advisors, investment advisory firms should implement robust succession planning and talent development strategies. Identifying and grooming potential successors well in advance ensures a smooth transition and minimizes disruption to the firm’s operations. Fostering a culture of continuous learning, offering career advancement opportunities, and investing in professional development programs can help nurture a pipeline of future leaders within the organization.

The retirement of lead advisors in an investment advisory firm represents a significant milestone that necessitates careful planning and proactive measures. By recognizing and addressing the potential challenges, firms can navigate this transition successfully. Clear communication, effective knowledge transfer, robust succession planning, and a focus on team morale are crucial for ensuring business continuity and long-term success. Embracing change and adapting to new circumstances will position investment advisory firms to thrive in the evolving financial landscape.

If your practice is currently, or will soon be, dealing with transitional issues like these, there is no need to navigate these waters alone. Contact Pohl Consulting and Training to learn how practices like yours are empowering the next generation of advisors to assume responsibility for sustaining, and growing, your practice.

Unlocking Growth Potential: Overcoming a Plateau in New Client Business Development

Unlocking Growth Potential: Overcoming a Plateau in New Client Business Development

In the competitive world of investment advisory, reaching a plateau in new client business development can be a significant hurdle for owners and their teams. While financial advisors excel in their expertise of managing client assets and financial planning, they often face challenges when it comes to sales and business development.

There are many common problems that hinder growth, such as a disproportionate distribution of new clients, lack of business development training, and difficulty in generating new interest. Let’s explore each in more detail:

Disproportionate Distribution of New Clients

One prevalent issue faced by investment advisory firms is that a small portion of the advisory team tends to generate the majority of new clients. This imbalance not only puts excessive pressure on those individuals but also limits the firm’s growth potential. By addressing this problem head-on, firms can leverage the collective strengths of their entire team and tap into a broader client base. Implementing a system for sharing leads, fostering collaboration, and creating incentives for successful client acquisition can help spread the workload and drive more balanced growth.

Lack of Business Development Training

While investment advisors possess extensive knowledge in their field, younger, less experienced advisors may not have received adequate training in the art of business development. This deficiency can hinder their ability to effectively prospect for new clients and capitalize on growth opportunities. Investing in comprehensive business development training programs, workshops, or coaching can equip less experienced advisors with the necessary skills to identify, attract, and ultimately acquire new clients – and for veteran advisors it can help “sharpen the saw” with updated skills and new focus on business development techniques. By bridging the gap between investment expertise and sales acumen, firms can empower their advisors to take charge of their client acquisition efforts and ultimately grow the firm.

Generating New Interest

The ability to convert a prospect to a client is a valuable skill, but without a consistent stream of new leads and prospects, growth becomes stagnant. Investment advisors must proactively generate new interest to expand their client base. By focusing on key areas such as prospecting, client referrals, building relationships with external influencers, and adopting creative marketing strategies, advisors can cultivate a pipeline of potential clients. Embracing digital marketing techniques, hosting educational events, and leveraging social media platforms can amplify the visibility of the firm and attract a broader audience.

Strengthening Key Business Development Skills

If a team is facing any of these types of issues, there are many areas on which they can focus to begin building their skillset and approach to new business development—resulting in new skills that can revitalize their client acquisition strategies and contribute to the overall growth of their firm.

  • Prospecting
    The ability to seek out and engage potential clients is fundamental to expanding one’s book of business. Advisors should refine their prospecting techniques, identify target markets, and develop effective outreach strategies to generate meaningful leads.
  • Client Referrals
    Word-of-mouth recommendations are powerful tools for attracting new clients. Advisors should cultivate strong relationships with existing clients, provide exceptional service, and actively seek referrals. With strong client referral strategies and systems in place, advisors can leverage satisfied clients as brand ambassadors and extend their reach and tap into new networks.
  • Generating External Referrals
    Building relationships with centers of influence, such as attorneys, accountants, and other professionals, can significantly expand an advisor’s network. Collaborating with these influencers, participating in industry events, and offering value-added services can position advisors – who might not yet currently have an existing referral skillset or strategy in place – as trusted partners and sources of expertise.
  • Marketing Ideas to Generate Opportunities
    Investing in creative marketing strategies can help advisors stand out in a crowded market. Developing a strong online presence, publishing thought leadership content, leveraging email marketing campaigns, and utilizing targeted advertising can all contribute to generating new leads and opportunities.
  • Prospecting Follow-up Discipline
    Consistency is key when it comes to converting leads into clients. Advisors should establish a disciplined follow-up process, which includes timely communication, personalized touchpoints, and regular follow-up to build trust and convert prospects into long-term clients.

Addressing the problems behind a plateau in new client business development is crucial for investment advisory firms to sustain growth and thrive in a competitive landscape. By recognizing the challenges of disproportionate client distribution, lack of business development training, and difficulty in generating new interest, firms can take targeted steps to bridge these gaps.

Investing in training programs, fostering collaboration among advisors, and implementing creative marketing strategies can significantly enhance their prospecting abilities, client referral networks, and external influence referrals.

By strengthening these key business development skills, investment advisors not only develop their own books of business but also contribute to the overall growth of their firms, positioning them for long-term success.

Ultimately, the key lies in recognizing the importance of sales and business development skills alongside investment expertise. By embracing a holistic approach that combines financial acumen with effective client acquisition strategies, investment advisory owners can unlock their firm’s growth potential, expand their client base, and establish themselves as industry leaders.

With a commitment to continuous improvement and a focus on these critical areas, investment advisory firms can overcome plateaus, drive sustainable growth, and thrive in an ever-evolving marketplace.

If your team is experiencing any of these issues or would like to explore ways to begin sharpening your business development skills, contact Pohl Consulting & Training.

We have decades of experience helping financial firms navigate their way through business growth strategies, offering sales development workshops to address skill development. Visit us online to learn more.