There’s a lot of talk about building excellent practices and improving practice management. But who defines excellence and how do you vet programs that claim to improve practice management skills? The Investment Advisor Group and ActiFi found those questions can best be answered by asking advisors what they need. They also talked to other professionals who interact with advisors to find out where the dollars are being spent in improving practice management.
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Key findings from this six-month study will be presented over the next three months. Most of the respondents were men since they represent over 69.2% of all financial advisors. The usual percentage quoted for the number of advisors over 60 is 14% but almost 30% of respondents in this case were over 60. Around 40% had been in the industry for 20 years or more. Most have a formal, written business plan and over half of respondents said they were trying to tackle the practice management process themselves.
Over 70% of advisors have invested about $10,000. That’s a significant number. For that amount, they expect to receive training that fits their particular practice instead of just generic advice. Most said that their broker-dealers were the main source for improving their client service as well as in helping them to create more business value.
Sales and marketing were ranked most important in terms of improving practice management. This involved improving communications with clients and developing better prospecting and asset gathering abilities. The most effective means of delivering practice management support is on a one-on-one basis.
After one-on-one coaching, conferences and client relationship management systems were ranked as the most effective ways to develop new practice management skills. Less than 20% said delivery by smart phone or iPad applications were effective. To improve practice management and business value, sales and marketing were the areas where advisors said they invest the most money. Improving client service is where they spend most of their time.