You’re a successful advisor working hard to grow your business and your clients appreciate the high level of service you provide. You’re earning a good living and the firm you work for is also reaping the rewards of your hard work. While there are challenges, you may chalk it up to the price of doing business in an industry that has changed dramatically. But, are you happy and do you feel valued by your firm? It’s human nature to want to feel appreciated and acknowledged for what you bring to the table and it seems only logical that as an advisory team produces more revenue, they should garner greater attention and support from their local and regional management team. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.
Top producing advisors – often generating north of $3 million in annual revenue – are highly profitable for their firms and are typically in major growth mode. Seemingly, it would take very little to make these top dogs happy. Perhaps some extra administrative support or a few extra T & E dollars are all that it would take to make a successful team feel appreciated. It’s not that these folks expect to be placed on a pedestal yet teams like this shouldn’t have to beg for some personalized consideration from management that would make their business run more efficiently. Retention is undoubtedly important to every management team and firms are working hard to acknowledge advisor loyalty, but competing priorities are a reality; specifically the mandate to recruit new advisor talent. Unfortunately, the end result is that it’s often the most productive and loyal advisor who inadvertently feels unappreciated and forgotten. In the end, the firms tend to throw money to gather new assets and little or no resources to retaining what they already have.
Take, for example, Evelyn and Brooke, a $4.5mm mother-daughter team who built a highly successful and growing practice advising recently divorced women. Inefficient technology, a lack of support and the inability to meet the loan terms for an important client were frustrating yet they found ways to work around those challenges. After repeatedly trying to ameliorate their situation, the team decided to take action and began performing due diligence on other firms. What they found, not surprisingly, is that as top producers they had significant leverage when it came to negotiating their wish list. After several months, Evelyn and Brooke found a home in the arms of another firm that was willing to go the extra mile for them.
Moving may have its challenges, but the rewards can almost always outweigh them. Advisors are plagued daily by minor annoyances, many of which have become relatively commonplace. But, the breaking point is highly individualized. For Evelyn and Brooke, what prompted them to ultimately jump ship was a pattern of neglect toward the team by their firm’s management. While the first step should always be to remediate your frustrations, a sad but true fact is that sometimes an advisor has to vote with his or her feet in order to be taken seriously and feel appreciated.