At its annual ConnectED Conference in Orlando, Fla., Advisor Group launched new initiatives to tackle what it sees as three of the biggest challenges facing its membership base of independent advisors: marketing, succession planning and longevity.
The biggest announcement was the launch of MyCMO, a new library of original content that advisors can use for personalized marketing and communications to clients and prospects in a scalable, efficient and compliant manner. MyCMO supports email newsletters, social media, client events and seminars, firm and client collateral, and even personalized business stationary and greeting cards.
Advisors can use the various media on MyCMO to develop and execute a full-fledged marketing campaign. For example, after a new client is on-boarded, MyCMO can automatically send a customized welcome letter that is printed and sent in the mail along with an email to review the first statement. Two weeks later, another email can ask the client to connect with the advisor on social media. MyCMO can also be set to automatically deliver annual check-ins, personalized birthday cards, and social media posts throughout the year.
Supporting the technology is a human team of marketing, tech and compliance specialists who develop the content and offer consultations on how to implement MyCMO’s features and campaigns.
Susan Theder, Advisor Group’s chief marketing officer, said many advisors struggle with client communication and poor communication is a top reason a client fires a financial advisor.
“That’s why we built MyCMO—to empower advisors to send the kinds of communications they have always wanted, but never had the time to do,” Theder said in a statement.
Advisor Group president and CEO Jamie Price said what differentiates MyCMO from other advisor marketing technology on the market is having a library full of original content. “Not just curated content that’s pulled off a market place, we are writing this content ourselves” Price said. Over time, the idea is to let advisors contribute their own pieces and share them on the platform.
“I’ve literally looked every piece of content and vouched that it’s something that I would send out, regardless of the channel, to my clients,” Theder added.
Beyond tackling advisor marketing, Advisor Group is also launching My Succession Plan, a technology designed to help advisors with business valuation and M&A transactions. Price said 38 percent of advisors are looking to retire over the next 10 years, but 80 percent of them have no succession plan whatsoever.
The biggest challenge, he said, is finding a partner, so the idea is that advisors looking to merge, acquire or sell a portion or all of their business can source and connect with potential partners on My Succession Plan, both within the Advisor Group and from outside firms looking to execute a succession strategy.
Users can filter candidates using a variety of factors, including revenue, client assets under management, number of households, location and service offerings, and no closing fees are charged for successful transactions made on the platform. Buyers and sellers can also request confidentiality so they can look for deals or advertise their practice anonymously.
Truelytics provides business valuation models, while Live Oak Bank will provide financing assistance.
“Whether its younger professionals capitalizing on an unprecedented opportunity to grow through acquisitions, or industry veterans seeking to transition their business in a manner that maintains their legacy and client promise while reaping the rewards of a lifetime’s work, My Succession Plan will play a vital role in addressing what many consider the single biggest challenge facing this industry,” Price said.
A third challenges Price sees facing the industry is longevity, that is, how does the advisory industry need to change in order to account for people living longer and healthier lives? Mortality tables have remained unadjusted for decades, still presuming most women will live to aged 82, and most men to aged 79.
“We way underestimate the longevity for people still in their 30s, 40s and 50s,” Price said. To address the problem, Advisor Group is organizing a new Longevity Council of representatives from large insurance and wealth management companies, including Nationwide Insurance and AIG, to brainstorm and develop new investment products and services to address issues like outliving retirement savings, prolonged healthcare costs and Social Security uncertainties.
Price said the council will conduct market research, help drive awareness among advisors of the role insurance can play in financial plans, and educate advisors on how to mitigate longevity risk.
Price didn’t offer any specifics on how Advisor Group would measure the council’s success, but said the first step is to “get a bunch of smart people around the table.”
“The way products can be designed is a good way to start,” Price said, suggesting perhaps a bare-bones, less-expensive policy designed to address the gap between retirement savings and longevity.
“The more our industry puts off addressing this looming ‘longevity challenge,’ the more we risk becoming a society of long-lived people with insufficient financial means to carry us through our senior years.”