In a launch moved to Monday because of anti-racism solidarity, FA Match is unveiling an overhauled version of its advisor recruitment platform. Called FA Match 2.0, the tool now allows advisors and firms to filter compatibility, using factors like AUM, geography, advisor experience, fee models and more, and includes a new videoconferencing feature. The tool was scheduled to be released last Friday, according to co-founder and CEO Ryan Shanks, but was delayed out of consideration for the activism surrounding the death of George Floyd.
Besides new functionality, FA Match 2.0 also comes with a new pricing model and consulting services led by Shanks.
Firms using the platform are charged a monthly membership fee of $200 and a flat $10,000 commission when an advisor is placed. Advisors looking to make a move do not pay for the service.
Recognizing that not all factors in a successful advisor-firm recruiting experience are quantifiable, Shanks is complementing the tech platform with an offer of “coaching services,” to prevent both advisors and firms from biting off more than they can chew.
In doing so, Shanks is working with advisors to evaluate options and negotiate with firms, as well as offering a three-month accelerated recruitment push for firms needing to make quick hires. In doing so, Shanks hopes to address situations where a small firm may want an advisor with a huge quantity of assets—but lack the resources to support that advisor. Similarly, situations have arisen where firms’ histories suggest that they’re a revolving door for advisors—not necessarily a long-term fit—and only qualitative coaching will steer advisors clear of those rocky shoals.
In the future, Shanks hopes to have some “scoring mechanisms” for the more qualitative factors that go into recruitment, but for now, he’s developed a three-star system of evaluation. The first iteration of FA Match, he said, lacked the ability to filter based on particular criteria or specific needs. The relaunched platform solves for that by assigning advisors and firms with a three-star system: a single star means the two parties are “capable of doing business together,” based on their criteria, whereas three stars is the maximum level of compatibility.
Videoconferencing on the platform will feel familiar in the age of Zoom meetings, he added. The conferencing is built using open-source video coding supported by Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla, among others. Conferencing parties can interact within their web browser and without needing a software installation, using the platform’s custom URL and PIN as a countersign.
Because FA Match came of age in the COVID-19 era, it is well-suited for the continued remote working that may be around the corner, said Shanks. He’s had advisors go from A to Z in the recruiting process during the pandemic: from using the platform for the first time all the way through onboarding with a new firm.
In a sign that Shanks attributes to advisors feeling more comfortable with the platform, FA Match has seen a change in how it is being used. Just months ago, over 70% of the interactions on the platform were initiated by firms looking for advisors. Today, however, 60% of the interactions are being initiated by advisors. “Advisors understand the product and they’re going in and taking control,” said Shanks. “Instead of the firm pursuing an advisor, this is the advisor using the platform to reach out.”