Finetooth Consulting founder and advisor recruiter Ryan Shanks has launched FA Match, a digital recruitment platform designed to connect financial services firms with producing advisors, à la Match.com. The website, going live today, is one of the few recruiting platforms created with the nuances of the advisor business in mind.
It’s free for firms and advisors to register on the site. If a firm has success in bringing an advisor on board, they then pay a fee. The technology collects advisor information that firms might be interested in, such as revenue, assets under management, years of service, professional licensing, breakaway status, their compliance history, etc. It also collects information on firms that advisors might want to know, such as transition assistance, access to capital and friendliness to outside registered investment advisors.
But in this business, an advisor’s information is sensitive, especially if they’re looking to jump from their current employer.
“It’s kind of cloak-and-dagger stuff when advisors want to switch firms,” said Tim Welsh, president of Nexus Strategy in Larkspur, Calif. “If [their firm senses] any sort of disloyalty or any sense of flight risk, they just fire you as a matter of course. So you can’t hint to anyone that you’re thinking of doing this.”
On FA Match, advisors have total control over the sharing of their information. It will be disclosed to a firm only if the two are shown to be a match and the advisor authorizes it.
“We’ve given an avenue to be able to register and be able to evaluate who’s a fit with them and to be able to look at a distance before they choose to get closer and share that information,” Shanks said.
The idea, he said, was to eliminate some of the friction points involved in advisor recruiting and bring more efficiency to the process. With traditional recruiting, there’s currently a lot of time wasted on both sides.
“The firms are out there; they’re talking to lots of the wrong advisors, and we’re trying to help them with speaking to advisors that are compatible with what they’re looking for out of the gate,” Shanks said.
To help with that, the technology captures advisor sentiment. Advisors may register for free and just be curious, but if they don’t indicate they’re actively looking to move, they won’t be matched with a firm.
On the other hand, there are a lot of firms out there that aren’t a fit for the advisor; they will never see them, Shanks said.
“Let’s try to take a lot of noise that goes on in the industry around recruiting—lots of firms want to recruit advisors; lots of advisors aren’t happy and would like to look at finding the right fit for a move—we just would like to eliminate a lot of those wrong discussions from happening.”
Shanks is not trying to disintermediate third-party recruiters; in fact, they are welcome to use the platform to scale their search capabilities. If an advisor they’re working with gets hired through the platform, the recruiter gets a cut.
FA Match recently raised $500,000 in seed capital funding, led by MassMutual. The platform currently has 14 firms on board, including Atria Wealth Solutions.
It’s not the first recruiting tool tailored to the advisory space. AdvisorBid is an online marketplace aimed at connecting advisors with broker/dealers, RIAs and offices of supervisory jurisdiction.