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Can Your Firm Withstand the Three-Year Challenge?

Here are 10 criteria that will determine if your firm is still right for you and your clients.

With so much choice in terms of business models and affiliations, advisors have little excuse to stay at a firm that no longer serves their clients or their careers in a way that’s anything short of optimal. Yet the day-to-day of business and relationship management often takes priority, and few rarely stop to take a closer look at their firm.

Why Every Three Years?

The notion of challenging your firm is part of an advisor’s responsibility as a fiduciary. The reality is that every 36 months or so, most firms and the industry as a whole will evolve substantially enough to ultimately impact your business. Gauging that impact is critical to ensuring your ongoing growth and overall satisfaction.

All things being equal, everyone should go through this exercise at a minimum of every three years, regardless of how content you are at that point. Some advisors even go through this exercise annually as part of their regular business planning practices.

Should I Do This Even If I’m Happy Enough?

It’s not just about qualifying your happiness level, nor is it even done with the consideration of making a move. The three-year challenge is intended solely to ensure that as the advisory world evolves, you and your business are best positioned to reach the fullest potential.

10 Questions

Advisors start by asking themselves: “If I were searching for a new opportunity now, would I still choose my firm and model?”

Keep in mind that the answer to this question isn’t always a simple yes or no. There needs to be a basis for how you define what makes a firm or model right for you and your clients. That basis lies within the answers to these 10 questions:

  1. Do you feel you are getting enough value relative to what you pay for?
  2. To what extent do you rely upon the support your firm provides, and is that support robust enough?
  3. What restrictions and limitations have been placed upon you, and to what extent do they impact your ability to get it done?
  4. Does your firm’s brand help or hurt you?
  5. Is the advisor community still right for you?
  6. Do you feel there is the right amount of compliance oversight? Too much or too little?
  7. Have you outgrown the model? Do you feel as though being an employee or under an independent broker/dealer umbrella limits you in any way?
  8. Will your firm’s succession planning support allow you to get where you want to go?
  9. Does your firm have the scale to continue to invest and innovate with respect to technology, platform, thought leadership, for examples?
  10. Do you believe there is congruence between your beliefs and goals and those of your firm?

Don’t wait until you’re unhappy or things get so frustrating that you’re making decisions out of haste. Carry out this thoughtful process on a regular basis.

TAGS: Careers
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