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Michael Kitces’ #FASuccess Podcast: How Kathleen Kenealy Provides Financial Advice Without Business Development

Boston Private Wealth’s Kathleen Kenealy oversees more than $300 million for 75 clients.

Welcome back to the 103rd episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast. This week’s guest is Kathleen Kenealy. Kathleen is the managing director and senior wealth advisor for Boston Private Wealth, a private bank and trust company in the Boston area that oversees nearly $8 billion of assets under management, of which Kathleen manages more than $300 million for 75 client households.

What’s unique about Kathleen and her role at Boston Private is that she wasn’t responsible for doing the business development to get those 75 client households over the past 3 years, which was handled by the business development officers for the private bank instead, allowing her to spend all of her time simply focused on really doing financial planning for her affluent clients, and also improving the financial planning processes of the entire firm, for which she was recently recognized as an InvestmentNews 40 Under 40 Honoree.

In this episode, we talk in-depth about what it’s like to work within a larger advisory firm that has separated the prospecting and business development from the financial planning work, which its wealth managers are responsible for. How the firm does still involve its wealth advisors towards the end of the business development process to ensure that prospective clients are connected with the right advisor, what it’s like to come into existing planning relationships with existing clients who may not actually be happy about being transitioned to a new advisor in the first place, and why it’s never bothered Kathleen nor hindered her career as an advisor to not have her own clients, and instead be focused solely on working with clients of the firm instead.

We also talk about what it’s like to be a financial planner in a large firm whose roots are in the standalone investment management business, the steps that Kathleen has taken to expand adoption of financial planning by all advisors in the firm, why the company decided to switch from eMoney Advisor to MoneyGuidePro for their financial planning work with clients, and how the firm looks at the capacity of a wealth advisor to service a certain number of clients and why that number must vary between investment-only and financial planning clients.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Kathleen shares her path on building a career of working with advisory firms and their clients rather than going out on her own. The upside career aspiration she sees for herself, even if partnership happens to not be an opportunity at her current publicly traded firm, how she’s been able to find job opportunities with firms that won’t require her to do business development but will reward her for being a great financial planner to clients, and her interview tips on how to show well as a financial advisor trying to get one of those job opportunities in the first place.

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