As an expert in the Financial Planning Association’s Coaches Corner program, I was asked to speak on a marketing panel and consult one-on-one with financial planners at the FPA’s annual conference last week in Minneapolis. I also was able to attend many presentations and heard helpful advice given to attendees.

In this article, I provide some of the common threads of advice I gave in those consultations as well as insights from high-profile speakers.

Focus On The Foundation Of Growth

I am the FPA’s coach focusing on business growth strategies, so it’s no surprise most of the attendees I met with came with growth questions.  They all had a sense of the growth rate they want to achieve, but very few had the long-term focus on what the foundation needs to look like to achieve their goals.

Kate Healy, managing director of generation next at TD Ameritrade Institutional, also noted in her presentation the lack of focus on the longer term. The FPA and SEI also revealed a study that showed advisors aren’t adequately considering the rapid changes that will affect their businesses over the next decade.

Healy pointed out the importance of diversity and gave tips about things like running intern programs and mentoring to develop internal talent.  “Mentorships are important to developing talent.  It is time-consuming, but it pays off,” she added.

Healy also cautioned that financial planners should not have the expectation that new advisors, many right out of school, be fully responsible for the growth of the business. “There is no other profession that requires people to get out of college and bring in their own clients,” she said. It is not fair that our industry pushes the ‘eat what you kill’ mentality, she said.

Too often growth is hindered by bad human capital strategies.  “We are notoriously bad in this industry at hiring,” said Healy, because many are often too slow to bring in needed additions to staff to sustain longer-term success.

Be Self-Aware

One of the key things that I found with the advisors who came in for consultations is that they did not have well thought-out plans, even though they are planners by profession.

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