A number of registered investment advisory firms—including some well-know billion-dollar shops—are vowing to hold on to all of their talent as the coronavirus challenge continues despite anticipating a sharp haircut to revenues.

According to advisors Financial Advisor magazine talked to across the country, retaining staffing is a priority to firms as they ramp up customer service and communication. That’s despite what is likely to be a 30% decrease in assets and revenues for advisor firms for the foreseeable future.

How important is to retain talent now, despite a shrinking bottom line? “Advisors are in the unique position where as revenue goes down, service needs to be at its highest. So keeping our team in place is really important,” said Timothy Wyman, managing partner at the Center for Financial Planning in Southfield, Mich., which has $1 billion in AUM. “We think that it’s people over profits and [we] won’t be doing any layoffs.”

While staff and salaries may be the biggest expense any advisor firm has, “in 2008 to 2009 we worked really hard to keep our team intact and believe that we benefited from it,” Wyman said.

Keeping fully staffed will be more challenging for some firms than others, depending on their emergency planning, liquidity and ability to fund their business operations. The financial models Wyman’s firm uses estimate they need to plan for a 30% financial asset and revenue decrease. “We have to plan for a two-to-three-year period before we see pre-virus revenues,” Wyman said.

He added that kind of challenge is likely to put pressure on more thinly capitalized advisory firms. “It’s not only crucial for firms to be running a fiduciary practice at this moment, they also have to be running a solid business. You have to be both. Time will tell how many are able to do it,” Wyman said.

Josh Brown, CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management in New York City, which has more than $1 billion in AUM, said that rather than laying off any staff, he actually has a new chief compliance officer who will be starting with the firm virtually.

“I made a decision we are not going to participate in this recession,” he said. “There’s too much work to be done. The worst thing you can do right now is to have clients call a phone that doesn’t get answered.”

While Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimated that as many as three million American jobs will be lost by the end of this week, Brown said advisors can only control their response to it.

“Staffing in our industry is absolutely critical right now,” he said.

First « 1 2 » Next
To read more stories , click here