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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: Kelly Shikany's Career Path Under the Employee Model

Lakeside Wealth's Kelly Shikany describes why she decided not to hang her hat as a solo advisor and instead navigate existing established advisory firms.



Welcome back to the 159th episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is Kelly Shikany. Kelly is a financial advisor and director of wealth management for Lakeside Wealth, a hybrid registered investment advisor based in Chesterton, Ind., right outside Chicago, where Kelly manages a base of nearly $90 million of client assets.

What’s unique about Kelly, though, is her decision to not hang her hat as a solo advisor and instead navigate existing advisory firms that have already established the necessary infrastructure to operate the firm, allowing her to focus on clients and not needing to live in an “eat what you kill” grid-based environment.

In this episode, we talk in depth about Kelly’s career path through the advisory industry under the employee model. From starting out as a trust accountant for ERISA plans with Northern Trust, shifting to become a trust officer with an independent trust company, transitioning to the independent channel under the Wells Fargo FiNet platform, and then joining her current firm with an opportunity to grow by servicing clients that the firm acquires in its own efforts to grow.

We also talk about how Kelly grew her client base in the early years by conducting women’s circles as a way to network and establish relationships in her small town community. The reason she decided to pursue the CDFA designation as a way to initially differentiate herself, and how ultimately she decided the best way to differentiate herself was simply her ability to have a different kind of conversation with her clients in the first place.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Kelly talks about how she structures her week to maximize personal productivity. Why it’s so difficult for most of the employee model to even figure out the right questions to ask when evaluating potential advisor job opportunities, and why it’s important to balance a positive desire to be loyal to your firm and clientele with focusing on your own needs to find a fulfilling career and the right place to work as a financial advisor.

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