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Are You Evolving or Are You Falling Behind?

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This content originally appeared in the summer 2017 edition of LPL Magazine

In the world of financial advice, I consider myself to be an outlier. I started as a financial advisor at the age of 23, and now at 34, I have over a decade of real-life experience advising high-net-worth individuals and families. This is unusual, considering the industry-average age of a financial advisor is close to 60, with 43% more than 55-years-old and only 11% younger than 35 according to research firm Cerulli Associates1.

While change has always been constant in our industry, it has accelerated over the past three years. Clients have always asked me the same questions: “How am I doing?” “Am I getting value for what I am paying?” “What do I need to do going forward?” It was difficult for me to provide these answers in a clear format. I listened and decided I needed to devise a better way to meet their needs. Being an entrepreneur at heart, I began considering my options for how to achieve this in my practice and decided becoming an independent advisor was the way to best serve my clients. After much thought and research, I officially resigned from my previous firm and joined LPL Financial on January 20, 2017.

Becoming an independent advisor and transitioning a book is in itself a major challenge. But achieving my strategic goal of client empowerment and confidence required creating a brand that embraced technology, provided quality advice, streamlined processes, and delivered a consumer-centric solution and experience for a reasonable price. I focused on three things to bring this brand to life: pricing flexibility on a scalable platform, e-signature capability, and an interactive planning tool that’s easy to use, especially for client engagement.

Upon joining LPL, I immediately took advantage of the opportunities and services offered to create the practice I envisioned. Using eSignature, I opened and transitioned close to seventy accounts in my first two weeks. I built out my webpage (mostly between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.) in the two weeks prior to my transition so it was live the day I joined. I adopted SAM II as my investment platform and by week four, I was fully operational with WealthVision℠, what is, in my opinion, an essential financial management program. In an increasingly competitive market-place and at a time when a stock trade can be executed online for $1.00, an advisory firm’s added value needs to be stronger than ever. WealthVision allows me to organize a client’s financials and to deliver data in a simple, understandable format.

In 2017, I anticipate receiving more referrals than I ever have due to the changes and enhancements I have made to my practice. I think adding efficiency, reducing cost, and providing user-friendly interactive tools and education is essential in today’s market-place. I truly believe that if you aren’t evolving, you’re falling behind, which underscores my decision making for me and my clients. Change for advisors and clients is inevitable. It’s our choice whether or not to embrace it. It doesn’t come without hard work, but it can be done. In less than six months of resigning and changing firms, I have fully transformed my practice into a forward-thinking wealth management business that utilizes technology in every capacity.

1 Butchman, Dan.“Are wealth management firms really facing a shortage of financial advisors?” efinancialcareers, http://news.efinancialcareers.com/us-en/230242/wealth-management-financial-advisers. Accessed 4 April 2017.

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