Create a Sustainable Practice by Developing New Talent

There’s more than one way to shine a penny—or in this case, to grow your advisory business. While adding new clients is critical, when you’re building a legacy, it’s not the only important approach. Another way to create a sustainable practice is by developing new talent.

Hiring an associate advisor can help you grow, evolve, and drive success for years to come, whether you’re a solo practice, or part of a multiadvisor firm, or large-scale enterprise.

Taking the Associate Advisor Path

When bringing another advisor into your firm, you may think it’s best to choose someone with an established book. But finding the right fit can be a lengthy process. Instead, consider hiring a next-gen associate advisor, which brings several benefits:

Growth your way: With an associate advisor, you’ve got a clean slate—someone who will take your lead and adapt to your way of doing business. When ready, they can work with your lower-tier clients, freeing you to focus on serving your top clients and strategizing with your team to drive growth.

The next-gen connection: If you have clients whose children aren’t a regular part of meetings, you may risk losing those assets when they’re passed on. Who better to work with the next generation of clients than next-gen advisors?

Bringing on advisors who understand how to market to and work with those younger, would-be clients will give you a better chance of keeping the assets in-house.

Fresh ideas: Having new eyes on how your practice operates can provide perspectives you haven’t considered, such as how implementing new software, investigating new ways to improve efficiency, or adopting social media use can improve the practice.

Business continuity: If you don’t have a succession plan in place yet, now may be a good time to start preparing. Planning at least 10–15 years in advance will help you stay on track when you’re ready to step back.

So, whether you’re a solo advisor or part of an ensemble, setting a next-gen advisor on the path to partnership can give you time to prepare for your eventual succession and ensure your firm’s legacy. And knowing there will be a seamless transition of the business when the time comes may give your clients peace of mind.

From Hiring to Training: A Guide to Onboarding

It’s true that hiring and training an associate advisor will take more time and effort than bringing on someone with an established book. But doing so enables you to realize the vision you have for the future of your practice. Here are some tips to help you find and develop an associate advisor.

1. Outline who you want to hire. You can begin by determining:

  • How much experience they should have
  • If they should be licensed or which designations they should carry
  • When you’ll expect them to begin meeting with clients
  • If you’ll expect them to build their own book
  • How they’ll fit into the firm’s long-term plans

This guidance will help you define your target candidate (e.g., an intern, a recent graduate, or a new CFP® professional), and qualify them based on your desired career path.

2. Set clear expectations. Ensure that your new hires know what you expect from them. And remember, when setting expectations, you’ll also need to help them maintain their progress.

3. Create a development plan. Bringing on an associate advisor is a commitment of both time and resources. Be sure to plan for the following development needs:

Training: This can include sales and relationship building, business development, and self-management. Also, decide what licenses or designations you want the new associate to attain—and give them a time frame for completion. If you don’t have the time or resources for full in-house training, see what programs your firm partner offers.

Support: Make sure you’re available if they have questions, concerns, or problems. Support them throughout their development and help them through any challenges they may face.

Progress: Did you set timeline expectations for licensing, attaining a CFP® certification, or readiness to sit in on client meetings? Remember to follow up on their progress to ensure that they aren’t juggling too many responsibilities.

Feedback: Make sure they’re achieving the goals you’ve set. If the plan was to begin meeting with clients within a year, are they still on pace for that? Goals can change over time, and the more transparent you are with feedback and expectations, the better off you’ll both be.

Building For the Future

Focusing on both your short- and long-term goals is key to sustainable growth. Growing for the now, with new clients and additional assets, is a valuable start. And developing new talent is a next critical step toward growing for the future and building an enduring practice.


The Next-Gen Practice: How to Plan for the Future

Learn strategies to recruit and develop next-gen advisors.

This post originally appeared on Insights, a blog authored by subject matter experts at Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.

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