Advisor Corner

Advisor Corner

Question: What steps are you taking to better manage your fee-based business amid declining revenue?

Advisor Corner

Question: When it comes to moving ahead in your career, what keeps you up at night?

Michael Kay

Name: Mark J. Snyder
Firm: Mark J. Snyder Financial Services Inc. in Medford, N.Y.
Assets under management: $180 million
Years in business: 18

"To better manage our business in this difficult environment, we are seeking to increase our market share by attracting new clients. We have increased our advertising, which resulted in the addition of 52 new clients last year, and we have recently started advertising dinner seminars locally. The response has been excellent and with a maximum of 60 attendees, we are well oversubscribed and most likely will be offering additional dates."

Levi Lamfers

Name: Dan Gensler
Firm: The Gensler Group in Coronado, Calif.
Assets under management: $170 million
Years in business: 24

"Due to the downturn in the markets and revenue decline of over 30 percent we've cut our marketing expenses, personnel and 401(k) matching contributions. We've also reduced our charitable contributions, employee training/development and modified our bonus structure. Advisors have committed to calling goals and are reaching out to prospects like we did when we first started in the business and didn't have any clients. Additionally, we're more active in serving on charitable boards, fundraisers, rotary projects and the like which can bring exposure. As for our existing clients, we're reaching out much more than we have in the past with routine telephone calls, personal meetings, e-mail updates, an internally generated newsletter, lunches, etc. Comparatively, we're spending a great deal less and having much better results."

Charles Zhang

Name: Timothy Halls
Firm: Moneta Group in St. Louis, Mo.
Assets under management: $300 million
Years in business: 7

"I am using our fee-only approach to reinforce with clients how firmly our interests are aligned. Reminding clients that my income has fallen in concert with their portfolios builds up their trust in me, strengthens our relationship, and increases the probability they will refer me to people tired of the commission model."

Jeff Gitterman

Names: Vic Greenstein and Kelly LaVine
Firm: Stifel Nicolaus & Company Inc. in Golden Valley, Minn.
Assets under management: $108 million
Years in business: 35; 22

"With the market's recent volatility, we have made every effort be in contact with our clients and meet with them to review their investment portfolios and revisit their investment objectives, goals and risk tolerance. As you can guess, many clients’ appetite for risk has diminished. Our fee-based business is down, but we have increased our total assets under management by bringing in new money in the fixed income arena. It has been a process of reviewing what worked and what did not and taking advantage of the dislocation in the markets to make up some lost ground."

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