You and your business partner are running a very successful financial advisory practice. You have nearly $2 billion in assets under management and 148 clients. In reality, you have about 76 critical clients; the other clients are family of the 76. You and your business partner each take home between $3 million and $4 million a year. In the world of financial advisors, you are at the pinnacle. 

You have an excellent platform, talented and motivated staff and amazing, ultra-wealthy clients. You are very, very … very good at what you do. You want even greater success, but seem to be unable to excel beyond where you are today. Counterintuitively, the reason you are unable to excel beyond where you are today is your very success. It acts as an anchor keeping you from moving forward.

A very small percentage of financial advisors are in the “$1 million or More” club. These are professionals who are pocketing—after all expenses and all splits—$1 million or more in annual earnings, and they are doing this on a solidly consistent basis. Some have institutionally oriented businesses, such as those serving endowment clients, but the large majority are working with the wealthy and, more likely, the ultra-wealthy. 

While these financial advisors are capable of providing a range of expertise, their dominant focus and primary source of revenue is investment management. They often measure themselves or are openly ranked based on assets under management. 

Through extensive research and by working closely with elite financial advisors, I can cite a number of reasons so many of them hit a revenue and income ceiling. It’s a high ceiling, but it’s still a ceiling. What’s more telling is that so many of these elite financial advisors, who are managing a billion dollars or more, are leaving small fortunes (more commonly, large fortunes) on the table. If they just picked up these monies, their practices would grow tremendously, as would their personal earnings. 

Because of their intense focus on money management, coupled with their astounding professional success, they regularly fail to deliver other types of solutions that can majorly benefit their ultra-wealthy clients. While the financial advisory community endorses a multi-solution orientation, the substantial accomplishments of most of these elite financial advisors end up holding them back.

There is a lot of talk about how having the right platform negates these types of issues. Without question, having the right platform is necessary, but often woefully insufficient. What is also needed is a dexterous methodology that elite financial advisors can employ to strategically expand their ultra-wealthy client relationships and bring in meaningfully more assets to manage. The methodology has to enable elite financial advisors to both identify applicable solutions and fluidly develop the approaches to motivate ultra-wealthy clients to take action. 

The fuel that drives greater success is the commitment of elite financial advisors to achieve more than they have already achieved. But very few are willing to take the requisite steps. For those who do, the rewards are commonly astronomical.