The decision to switch from commissions to fees can be an unnerving one. But for many, it’s just the next step in the trajectory for growing their businesses. To ease the process from an income standpoint, many raise their minimum investment requirements. This can be tricky to do and can cause you to lose clients. But having the right conversation with them can also result in a higher quality book of business.
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Advisors who have successfully made the transition viewed the process as moving up market. They wanted to attract clients with larger assets and to develop better quality relationships by working on a fee basis. The advice is to start with your most valuable relationships
and explain the benefits of a fee-based model to them.
Some advisors advocate giving clients the choice of going fee-based or finding another advisor. From a fiduciary and client service standpoint, it may make sense to talk with the client about what would be better from an individual needs perspective instead of giving clients such an ultimatum. Some clients may, actually, come out better with a commission-based model if they do not trade much. Of course, you have to weigh your business goals against the ideal client base you wish to build.
It can be a mistake either way to impose a specific process in blanket fashion to your entire account base. Carefully reviewing your business goals, your staff capabilities, and the respective talents of your team members from the perspective of what your ideal clients need from you may be a much better—and more productive—approach. The conversations you need to have with your clients in the process will either deepen those relationships or show you that you may be better off without them.