“Hiring more advisers is not part of our plan,” or “I’ll never hire another adviser ever again.” I’ve heard a variation of these lines from almost every firm I’ve ever worked with.
They’ve been burnt before; sometimes badly. They’ve hired someone who didn’t share their core values around customer service, or ethics, or standards, and it’s all gone pear shaped.
Worse still, if they’ve given the new adviser some of their existing client relationships, they may have left and taken clients with them. Ouch.
Has this ever happened to you? Or are you worried that it might happen if you take on another adviser?
I’ve got four or five firms I’m working with right now who are hiring new advisers, and I suspect some of them have also uttered these words in the past.
What are the lessons they’ve learned? What’s allowed them to move on from these limiting beliefs?
The thing is, there’s a time and a place to hire new advisers.
The wrong time:
When managing your business feels like you’re riding a bucking bronco and can barely keep hold of the reins
If current advisory team are not yet performing to their full potential; that is, they are not managing between £400,000 and £600,000 in annual revenues each
The right time:
When you’re right on it and are in full control of your business with:.
Good support people around you
Well defined processes
A clearly mapped client experience
You have a full-time business manager.
Along with strong business management processes
You’re trying to create succession options within your firm.
Which may be part of a possible future sale or exit
However, you realise that businesses with continuity already in place are more attractive to purchase
I’m a Financial Planner, get me out of here
If you’re feeling like you just have to sell and retire, let me assure you you’re not alone.
Most Financial Planners I know got into the business because they love giving good advice to their clients. In fact, that’s what forced them to start their own firm. Wherever they were working previously just didn’t do things right.
The challenges come from being successful. Over time you do find clients that want to work with an ethical adviser who does things right. Once things start going well you need to hire a support team, start outsourcing, find premises, talk with a telephone supplier and an IT company, and on it goes.
All of a sudden what used to be fun has become a real pain.
Yes, you can sell out, but how much will you get for what you’ve built to date and then what the heck will you do with yourself? You’re a long time retired.
To be honest, the only way is through.
And that means getting organised, efficient, and surrounding yourself with a good team. You need to start putting some management in place to run your business, so you can focus on what you’re good at and what you love doing.
What happens next?
Sharing their experience
The senior adviser/owners within the firm are really enjoying the process of passing on some of their hard-won experience and knowledge. In fact, passing on that knowledge has made them acutely aware of how much they’ve learned over the years and it’s exhilarating.
Additionally, they’re leaving a legacy and securing the future of the Financial Planning profession. Leaving things in good hands for when they do choose to retire.
Youth meets experience
Working with younger, fresher, smarter versions of themselves provides late career reinvigoration. Not that they want to come back and work 50 hours a week, but the time they do spend in the office is with new, enthusiastic and talented people. An energising way to spend your work time.
Reinventing their role
As the new advisers gain experience the senior advisers are able to pass on the bottom half, or more, of their current client bank. This allows them to focus their time and energy on their top 30 or top 50 clients only.
Let me be clear, they’re not passing on clients that shouldn’t be in the firm at all; they’ve dealt with that prior to arrival of the new hire. They are passing on good-quality clients that need to be serviced.
It’s also not a fast process, it might be planned to take place over 2 or 3 years. For some clients there are joint meetings initially to allow for knowledge transfer, and to allow the relationship handover to happen correctly. For other clients the handover can happen more rapidly.
As soon as they prove themselves, which can be ascertained within 6-12 months, the younger advisers and future potential owners of the firm are schooled in the new management processes that have taken the firm to this next level. For example, they might include the new adviser/s in the weekly leadership team meetings and business planning sessions.
The aim is to create fully functioning successors in a much shorter time frame than that which occurred for the initial founders.
These new advisers should be employed by the firm. A real part of the team that is growing the business. See my article recently, Employed vs Self Employed Advisers – which is best for business? for more on this).
Get a hire education
If you can get your business firing on all cylinders it can get a whole lot more fun again, even if it’s late in your business career. Many of the firm owners I’ve alluded to in this article are in their late 50s or early 60s. It’s never too late.
If you’ve sworn off ever hiring another adviser ever again, maybe it’s time to revisit your larger business goals. With some sound business management you might just find it’s your logical next step.