Yes, this requires the home office to invest added time and energy into managing relationships. But if the outcome is advisors having the discretion to access best-of-breed solutions that will allow them to customize their offerings better and boost growth, it is well worth the effort. 

Does this sound like a tall task? Perhaps. But were firms to tie home office compensation to these regular touchpoints by sending out advisor surveys to keep executives accountable, you can rest assured this will happen.

Another key indicator of a firm's focus on investing in the right resources is its willingness to use its balance sheet to fund succession planning deals and other strategic acquisitions.

When firms are literally putting their own money where their mouths are, it suggests a strong bottom line as well as a true commitment to advisor growth. 

A Culture Of 'Yes'
Cultivating a “culture of yes” is about making flexibility and choice more than just buzzwords. If, for instance, an advisor wants to hold some client assets on mutual fund or annuity platform, try to find a way to make it happen. It could also mean being agile enough to develop entirely new pricing structures, even if it's to accommodate one practice.

In other words, when advisors encounter a client problem that is not addressable using their existing solutions, they need to know that the home office will be willing to mobilize resources to come up with one that will. Anything less means advisors are forced to settle, and no one should accept that when it comes to service.

No single platform could ever address every advisor need. That only happens when firm leaders complement it with personal service and a commitment to converting words into action.

Home Office Size Doesn't Equal Advisor Success
In this new era of mega-broker-dealers, scale and efficiency are critical. However, advisors should continually be on the lookout for warning signals that, in pursuing scale, their firm may have lost sight of individualized service in facilitating advisors' long-term success.

Mark Contey is senior vice president of business development for LaSalle St., a family of firms comprising an independent broker/dealer, an SEC-registered investment advisor and a provider of annuity and insurance products. Headquartered in Chicago, the firm serves 300 financial advisors across the country with $10 billion in total client assets.

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