What I’ve Seen: Helping The C-Suite Navigate Today’s Complex Wealth Management Industry

F2 Strategy’s Executives in Residence bring years of high-level experience to our clients and with that comes unique perspectives and powerful insights that wealth management firms can use to make critical decisions. Our “What I’ve Seen” series gives the executives an outlet to share their insights with the industry in three categories: driving change, marketing and sales, or customer-centric business.

Neal speaks to driving change by defining a value proposition and leveraging relevant technology tools to support it.

CEOs, CTOs and other C-Suite executives are navigating small and mid-sized broker dealer firms through a complex and challenging time. Consolidation, private equity investment and large firms recruiting advisors all keep wealth management leaders on their toes. Advisors have never had more choice of where they want to affiliate themselves. As these leaders determine how to remain competitive and retain advisors, they need ways to differentiate their offerings.

Articulate Your Value Proposition

It’s probably already quite obvious to many CEOs that the days of expecting the loyalty of your advisors simply because you've had a relationship with them are over. To retain them now requires firm introspection that defines how you distinguish yourself from other medium size broker dealers or even the larger players in the market and how you position yourself in a unique and compelling way to the advisors that you have today and those you want to recruit into your firm.

  • Define your value proposition to the industry
  • Define what's unique about you as a broker dealer to the advisors that you currently have (culture)
  • Decide how do you use it to attract new advisors and maintain the loyalty and trust of the clients that your advisors have

There are a myriad of directions a broker dealer can take in establishing a value proposition. For example, driving a regional focus, or a financial planning focus, or developing a reputation as a technology innovator with best-in-class tools.

Manage Change Across the Firm

When it comes to the best way to institute change across the firm, it’s simple—don’t force it. Build consensus, bring stakeholders—other leaders and advisors—along the journey with you so that the vision isn’t just your vision, but everyone’s. Solutions that are built on top down, bottom up consensus are easier to implement and ensure success.

Weave in Technology

Technology is a support mechanism for the firm’s value proposition and culture. Decisions about technology investments cannot be made effectively without a strong foundation. Once you've defined the value proposition and culture, you can begin to determine what investments you will need, including the technology, to represent that value proposition effectively and be more competitive than the market.

Four best practices for technology investment decisions are:

  1. Conduct a rigorous and objective assessment of your current state and lay out a project plan based on those results in order to prioritize projects that will get you closer to your end objective.
  2. Plan for an evolution, not a revolution. Strategize thoughtful and measured technology investments over the long term instead of immediate frenzy.
  3. Remember to emphasize the advisor-client relationship over technology initiatives.
  4. Leverage the tools you have, integrate them so that they provide a seamless experience and add enhancements.

Minimize the Size Advantage

Third party tools make it possible for small and mid-sized firms to have the same capabilities as large firms. Creating an integrated experience will be the differentiator for most broker-dealers. Using technology in smart and creative ways will be the factor that keeps them from being swallowed up by an aggregator and on a path of sustainable growth.

Contact us for support developing and aligning your value proposition with your technology.

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