When Looking for a Firm, Seek a Partner and Not a Clone

By Ryan N. Shanks, CEO, FINETOOTH CONSULTING on Friday, February 3rd, 2012

One of the up-and-coming advisor service organizations told me a few days back that one of their brokerage clients is using the relationship as a recruiting tool.

Or more to the point, advisors who want to provide this service are actually calling the brokerage firm to see what it would take to get it for themselves. They’re lining up as qualified leads for this firm’s recruiters to prospect at their leisure.

What’s pulling all these advisors into the net? Expertise that they don’t have.

This firm recognized early on that this service would be a tremendous value add for its affiliates. It will help them land some big accounts and keep better tabs on their existing clients, so they’re first on the spot when there’s a life-changing event.

They did the due diligence, found a vendor they’re happy with and are now training their affiliates to integrate it into their business development activities.

Outside advisors see the results and want their taste of the success. They know they could do their own research, interview vendors and find consultants to teach them how to use the system.

But it’s easier to partner with someone who’s already done all that work, and that’s what they’re doing.

The moral: If these advisors were already experts in this area of the business, they wouldn’t be calling. They’d stick with their existing relationships and grow their practices in the same old ways.

They wouldn’t be stretching themselves or really evolving.

I see a lot of advisors looking for firms where they’d be “a great fit,” by which they mean they look a lot like everyone else who’s already on the roster.

And I see a lot of firms doing much the same thing, looking for recruits who already match the profile of the people they already have.

They figure that simply bolting on the AUM is the cheapest and easiest way to grow. As they argue, they won’t have to spend a lot of time training people with radically different experiences, or converting client assets from one platform to another.

This particular brokerage with the unusual service offering counters that argument through its very success. Opposites not only attract, but they help each other succeed.

The next time you’re looking for a new industry partner -- a recruit, a firm, a service organization -- ask yourself whether you want someone who matches your strengths and weaknesses, or someone who can shore up your weaknesses and multiply your strengths.

The more we can teach each other, the smarter we all get.

Ryan is the Founder and CEO of Finetooth Consulting, a national boutique firm providing business advice to Advisors and the firms they partner with. He started the firm in November 2006 as he recognized a need for advisors to have someone represent their interests in the market, much like the representation of an athlete by a sports agent. Ryan is also the Co-founder of Join A Firm, an online recruiting service that helps financial advisors and firms connect, allowing advisors a turnkey transition to independence by joining existing firms. 

You Might Also Be Interested In:

comments powered by Disqus