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Engaged stakeholders key to growing your wealth and asset management firm

Oct 21, 2021

Editor’s note: This article is third in a seven-part series on how to optimize the performance of your wealth and asset management firm.

Remember when you’d post a job for a registered financial advisor and you’d get dozens of applications? Those days are gone, changed forever by COVID-19.

The competition for talent in wealth and asset management firms is fierce.

The wealth and asset management industry is infamous for promoting an uneven work/life balance. But today’s registered investment advisors are not willing to completely sacrifice their personal lives, and advisors are walking away from lucrative careers.

In addition, many seasoned advisors are accelerating their retirement plans.

Creating a collaborative culture

To attract and keep the brightest, your firm leaders must trade in the old command-control leadership style and adopt a collaborative approach that involves stakeholders from every level of your firm.

Collaboration is the key to creating a highly energized culture, which will drive your firm’s success. Turnover is low; client satisfaction is high. You don’t spend resources trying to replace key associates. You don’t struggle to find new personnel.

When it comes to engaging employee stakeholders, begin by including them in your vision and strategic planning.

Collaboration will send an important message to your employees: “You are important to the firm, your opinion is valued and you have a future here.”

The collaboration also will provide valuable input that will help you generate more accurate and achievable goals.

Do not forget to stretch your strategic vision beyond bottom lines and client numbers to include goals for culture, collaboration and career development.

This collaboration is a good step toward creating a culture that retains and attracts associates.

Technology is one area that is often overlooked in creating an engaged culture. When a wealth and asset management firm adopts a unified technological platform, collaboration becomes more natural, and success against goals is easier to track. Technology is especially important in keeping communications clear and connected if your firm decides to pursue greater options around flexibility.

A collaborative culture also provides opportunities for coaching the next generation of firm leaders. More than 40% of departing employees leave because leaders did not invest in them and they saw no growth opportunities.

Schedule informal one-on-one sessions between managers and advisors and ask:

  • What are your aspirations for your career?
  • Where would you like to advance in the firm?
  • What training or support do you need to achieve these goals?
  • How are things going for you at the firm?
  • How can we improve the culture in your department/overall?
  • What would cause you to leave the firm?

That final question is difficult but essential to uncover your weak spots.

Honest input, of course, depends on a high level of trust between leadership and staff. As you engage your employees more often and create a more transformative leadership approach, you should find trust increasing.

Finally, you should also include your team when designing benefits for your firm.

Although compensation is an important piece of employee satisfaction, so are the benefits you offer. Conduct pulse surveys with your team and ask:

  • What benefits to you find most useful?
  • Which do you value the least?
  • What are we missing in our benefits package?

Many employers are shifting their benefits packages in the wake of COVID-19 to be competitive when it comes to hiring. Most commonly, they’re adding mental and physical health offerings, pet insurance, ergonomic workstations at home, work-from-home allowances and student loan reimbursement. 

About our prime series

Prime is a state of being that occurs when your firm’s strategy, leadership, associates, technology and operations are aligned to deliver exceptional business outcomes. Our series covers the key steps to help you get there. In addition, see our additional articles on:

Author(s)

Barbara Low, SPHR, RODC
Manager
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