In my long career of recruiting experienced financial advisors, I’ve seen how different economic cycles have impacted retention and attrition.
In times of uncertainty, advisors crave stability and want to work with a firm with the financial foundation to weather the storm. Alternatively, when the economy is roaring, they might be drawn to bigger payouts and more flexibility.
Today’s environment isn’t as clear-cut. There’s heightened volatility stoked by troubling geopolitical tensions, but unemployment sits at only 3.6%. Investors have amassed huge gains from the stock market in recent years, but inflation is cutting into those returns in a way not seen for the last 40 years. At the same time, some health experts warn the next Covid-19 wave could be beckoning.
Against the mixed-bag backdrop and talk of the “Great Resignation,” I’ve observed advisors taking stock of their careers and how they want to operate their practices in new ways. Three themes have emerged in recent months as I’ve crisscrossed the country talking to advisors.
With greater urgency than ever, advisors want to affiliate their practices with firms that share their values, provide seamless support and resources, and continually invest in state-of-the-art technology to make their lives and the lives of their clients easier, more convenient and more secure.
Advisors know that their reputation is tied to the firm they’re affiliated with — and they take that seriously, particularly in today’s world where clients are more likely than ever to sever ties with companies whose values do not align with their own.
If you’re an advisor moving your practice to a new firm, you want to be proud to have your name associated with the brand and excited to tell your clients about it.
Value alignment extends to the individual practice level, as well. Many advisors I speak with are interested in not only switching firms, but in joining forces with other advisors who can help them serve clients and grow. The team model approach has been around for a long time, but it’s even more attractive today because of the synergies created through technology that enable advisors to integrate their specialties and deliver powerful, comprehensive advice to clients.
Support and resources are the second priority for advisors considering a move. With other heavy demands on their time, advisors want a firm that can give them robust research, deep financial planning capabilities and end-to-end support whenever and however they need it.
If you’re like a lot of advisors, you may also be facing a talent shortage of your own. Look for firms that can provide you with turnkey marketing, hiring and retention resources that make it easier to attract, retain and train qualified staff.
Technology also plays a huge role in influencing a decision by an advisor to stay or leave their firms. As the world moved online during the pandemic, clients became accustomed to increased flexibility and availability. Even today, when people are resuming more in-person interactions, clients expect to be able to work with their advisors anytime, anywhere and on any device.
Advisors should expect their firm to provide mobile-forward, integrated and secure systems that drive client satisfaction and practice efficiency.
We are at an inflection point where a significant number of advisors are taking a moment to assess what’s most important in their lives.
For many, career satisfaction — and the ability to thrive and grow — plays a significant role in their overall wellbeing and happiness. If the current environment is inspiring you to think about the next move in your career, now’s the time to dive in and evaluate what your firm has to offer.
And take it from your peers — shared values, support and resources for growth and technology — can be a game changer when it comes to achieving the goals you have for yourself and your career.
— By Manish Dave, senior vice president of business development and experienced advisor recruiting at Ameriprise Financial