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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: Michael Gennawey on Building a Practice Within a Credit Union

SoCal Wealth Management's Michael Gennawey explains how his firm works within the umbrella of the Credit Union of Southern California.



FAS Ep. 163 - Michael GennaweyWelcome back to the 163rd episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is Michael Gennawey. Michael is a financial advisor and program manager for SoCal Wealth Management, a hybrid advisory firm in Southern California that oversees $260 million of assets under management for nearly 1,800 clients.

What’s unique about Michael, though, is the way he’s been able to build SoCal Wealth Management under the umbrella of the Credit Union of Southern California, which itself has nearly $1.6 billion of credit union assets serving almost 120,000 members across 18 branch locations and feeds a continuous flow of prospect referrals to Michael’s advisory firm, with the caveat that, as part of the credit union, they have to take every client that is referred to them.

In this episode, we talk in depth about the unique structure of credit unions as customers or, rather, member-owned financial institutions, and how the member-centric culture of credit unions can be so complementary to the client-centric culture of advisory firms. The way that Credit Union of Southern California structures its referral program and trains its Member Service Officers across branches to identify members with client needs and steer them toward SoCal Wealth Management at a pace of nearly three new clients per week, and the way SoCal Wealth structures its offering on the LPL platform to keep it efficient enough to run this kind of high-volume client business.

We also talk about the way that Michael’s firm uses an internal team member supporting the financial advisors to both set initial appointments with referrals but also to help screen them to ensure they’re a fit for the firm in the first place, SoCal Wealth’s financial planning process and their two-meeting approach that delivers the plan interactively with MoneyGuidePro, not only to engage clients but also to save significant time in the plan preparation process, and the way that Michael’s firm segments clients for ongoing services, given the incredible range of who the credit union refers to them, from multimillionaires to those opening their first IRA.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Michael shares how to figure out which credit unions have the right client-centric culture and which are just offering wealth management as a product-based profit center, the typical payouts that advisors receive in a credit union environment in exchange for having to do little or no business development, and the unique structure that SoCal Wealth has built for its advisors where clients that are referred through the credit union must stay behind, but advisors can still have their own personal clients that the advisor can take with them if they leave in the future.

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