While growing his own advisory business, Austin Lewis supports four established advisors, charging them $50 an hour or $500 to construct a financial plan. But he has yet to snag an advisor client that pays him a monthly retainer. For now, 50 percent of his advisory practice is working with clients and 50 percent is working for other advisors.
“I update their client data, build the financial plan, set up recommendations and meet with the advisors on a regular basis,” Lewis told Financial Advisor magazine. “If a client’s circumstances change, they call me to do the maintenance.”
The Fort Worth, Texas-based financial advisor says outsourcing his planning services allows him to make extra money while doing something he loves.
“I would enjoy doing this long term as long as I am engaged in the financial planning process,” Lewis said.
The 25-year-old connects with new clients on job boards maintained by XY Planning Network and SimplyParaplanner.com, where advisors in need of planning, bookkeeping and marketing assistance post advertisements.
“Three years ago, very few advisors used these outsourced resources and now we are seeing more demand from smaller firms,” said Alan Moore, co-founder of XY Planning Network in Montana, a virtual membership service for financial advisors.
The demand for outsourced advisory services is being fueled by rapidly changing labor laws that have increased the price of maintaining an employee, people in the industry say. These added costs include new overtime rules taking effect December 1 and Affordable Health Care Act requirements for insurance coverage.
“There are many small employers in the financial advisor industry for whom the budget is tight,” said Robert Braglia, a New York-based financial advisor with $110 million in assets under management. “We end up sending workers home after a certain number of hours because overtime throws off the spending plan.”
To avoid spending $50,000 to $70,000 a year on a full-time, on-site support person, Taylor Schulte contracts with a Texas-based virtual paraplanner on an as-needed basis.
“I am no longer working 15 hour days,” said Schulte, founder of Define Financial in San Diego. “Real financial planning is a lot of work and having someone available to take that weight off my shoulders has freed up my time so that I can focus on other areas of my practice.”