Once again the TD Ameritrade conference was jammed full of great content.  Advisors got a chance to hear a realistic world view from Michael Hayden, an intelligence expert and the former director of the CIA and NSA, a inspirational story from Dara Torres, a legendary Olympic swimmer, and funny political commentary from both Paul Begala with CNN and Tucker Carlson with FOX News.

Along with these speakers, there were many great sessions.  Here are insights from over a dozen other experts:

Put A Succession Plan In Place
Anita Venkiteswaran, VP at Focus Financial Partners, LLC, hosted a panel discussion that covered the Focus “successions” offering.  Two keys points she made are that a robust succession plan should be in place so you know the clients will be taken care of and it also should be set up with someone that can pay for it.  Although a succession plan is critical, she believes 80 to 85 percent of advisors do not really have adequate succession plans.  That is even with regulators requiring a written plan in case of death or disability.

One of the panelists, Jim Betzig, CEO of Beirne Wealth Consulting, detailed his experiences.  He said that the industry is not seeing a lot of younger advisors coming into it.  The approach should just be for the succession of the principals, but it should also benefit the junior advisors.  He explained that his organization takes a multi-generation approach that has been a win-win.  For example, one younger female advisor has almost tripled her revenue.

Betzig cautioned those that think they can put a succession plan in overnight.  Tackling some unrealistic expectations that a lot of advisors have that they believe they can wait and put a plan in place right when they need to, he asked, “Do you have someone already, as you cannot train that person in just a year or two?”  He pointed out that a big part of recruiting the right person is around culture.  In doing so he said advisors might have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the prince or princess.

Robert Glovsky, another panelist and vice chair and principal at The Colony Group, warned, “If you do nothing, you end up with a wasting annuity.”  He brought about some laughs when he advised, “The business is worth more when you’re alive.  My take away –  Don’t wait until you pass away.”

Improve Efficiencies To Grow
Alyssa McNamara Reed, a certified financial planner at McNamara Financial Services, Inc. spoke on a panel about leveraging workflows in your CRM to increase assets under management.   By sharing her firm’s experiences, she validated that it makes sense to create some workflows for the most common tasks for both clients and prospects.

Jon Patullo, managing director of technology solutions at TD Ameritrade Institutional, says the custodian recognizes the importance of creating workflows with Veo Open Access, and now Veo One, that can drive significant efficiencies for advisors. TD Ameritrade makes more than 20 workflows available to advisors and to the 103 vendors integrated with the Veo platform, giving advisors a starting point from which they can customize and implement as they see fit.

“With Veo One, we’re delivering a personalized experience by providing key workflows tailored according to the functions each user performs in the advisor’s office, so they can do jobs as efficiently as possible,” Patullo said.  “Whether advisors are opening accounts, trading securities or on-boarding clients, Veo One is achieving new heights in workflow integration.”

Consider External Partners
Matt Judge, a director at TD Ameritrade Institutional spoke about the benefits and disadvantages of outsourcing things like IT operations, performance reporting and marketing support.  On one hand outsourcing can be detrimental if the fees are too high or if a vendor has a lack of flexibility.  On the other hand it can free up capacity, gain efficiencies and even save costs.

“Be honest.  What talent do you really have?  Understand the inventory or skills you have,” challenged Judge.  He then asked, what are the client needs?  What is the staff capacity?  Do you enjoy doing the task?  He added, “Life is short.  Do you really want to do IT support?  Or do you want to outsource it and spend time with your clients?”