Most Americans say they're loyal to brands, sports teams, even corporate entities. But is it really possible to be loyal to an advisory firm instead of the people inside it?
Nice editorial in Investment News that got a little lost in the post-Super-Bowl shuffle.
The author's a recruiter so he's naturally interested in breaking the traditional bond that a lot of advisors feel about various firms.
It's a fair point. After one of the most dramatic decades of industry M&A ever, it's hard to tell what of the old world of highly differentiated firms survives.
We might remember the E.F. Hutton commercials, for example, but nobody cares what E.F. Hutton says today. The company's legacy and unique culture are now just another piece of the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney empire.
In the long run, people are loyal to people and ideals, but only incidentally to corporations. Building interpersonal loyalty takes time and effort.
But it bears saying again. Clients are loyal to people too, and that means relationships to an advisor are stronger than nearly any corporate relationship.
Independent advisors depend on their own personal brand to win and keep clients. It may take a little longer to get them in the door, but once you've got them, they're going to be more loyal to you than to any corporate logo.