Cutting Back on Administration – InvestmentNews

Of all the tasks financial advisors would like to spend less time on, administrative duties and executive leadership duties top the list. Currently, administration and executive leadership take up 17% of advisors’ time, according to the Advisor Time Use Study recently conducted by InvestmentNews Research and sponsored by Commonwealth Financial Network. If advisors had their way, that figure would be closer to 14%, freeing up more than an hour every week. That’s time they’d rather be spending prospecting and meeting with clients.

Administration includes a host of activities, including all the day-to-day tasks required to manage client accounts, maintain appointments, develop marketing strategy and ensure consistently good service. Executive leadership covers executive oversight of financial management — tasks associated with a chief financial officer. It also includes defining a long-term vision for the firm that aligns with the mission and setting short-term goals to fulfill that vision. That means challenging everyone at the firm to excel, whether through one-on-one coaching and mentoring, general motivation and incentivizing or both.

Leaders at larger firms may be more likely to feel stretched thin by these responsibilities. “There’s a lot that goes into making sure the business is running smoothly,” says Kenton Shirk, vice president of practice management at Commonwealth. “And as firms get larger, those functions just take up more time.”

The overlooked solution: outsourcing

When it comes to tackling this challenge, most advisors say they would try to solve it internally, by adding, promoting or training personnel. They largely overlook outsourcing, which only 17% say they would pursue to alleviate administrative burdens. Meanwhile, only 3% say they would seek help with executive leadership duties.

These numbers represent a missed opportunity, because an external partner can reduce time spent on administration and executive leadership in multiple ways. For example, a third-party tech platform that allows you to automate repetitive tasks can provide greater efficiency than is possible with an internal solution. A partner with expertise in securities regulations can simplify compliance and advise on ways to achieve your goals amid constantly evolving rules. Even if you are looking to alleviate administration and executive leadership duties by developing talent internally, it can make sense to partner with a resource that offers proven development programs for advisors and their staff.

You can also look to an external partner to shoulder some of the strategic planning responsibilities of executive leadership. The right partner can provide guidance and tools to make it easier and less time-consuming to build an overall brand strategy, growth strategy or staffing strategy and then translate that strategy into actionable steps.

You can even go beyond outsourcing, finding a partner that can connect you with firms to tuck into or sell to. By tucking into an already-successful enterprise, newer advisors can gain all the advantages of a firm with a strong infrastructure and an established way of doing business. A “sell and stay” arrangement, on the other hand, can be a way for successful advisors who are nearing the end of their careers to scale back on day-to-day administration and leadership tasks at their firm. The buyer firm takes over people issues, technology and every other part of the business that they’ve come to view as a hassle, freeing them to spend more time on the parts of their work they love the most.

If you need to spend less time on administration and executive leadership in your own practice, consider all your options, including partnering with a firm like Commonwealth. With a full suite of marketing tools and services, a virtual administration team, in-house hiring and development resources and third-party financial management services, Commonwealth lets you take control of your work schedule while ensuring that you’re running your business as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser, provides financial advisors with holistic, integrated solutions that support business evolution, growth acceleration, and operational efficiency. Privately held since 1979, the firm has headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts, and San Diego, California. Learn more about how Commonwealth partners with more than 2,000 independent financial advisors nationwide by visiting

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *