Throughout the day, our schedules are filled with calls and meetings with the top advisors and teams in the US. The natural rhythm of conversation centers around identifying what’s effective and pinpointing pain points. At numerous major wirehouses, we consistently hear the refrain: “The compliance and operations oversight is overwhelming; I can barely compose an email without it raising a flag, it’s exasperating.” Given our backgrounds in wealth management within large firms, we understand this sentiment.
Today’s business pace is relentless, demanding that advisors promptly attend to matters without delay, both for themselves and their clients. When firms obstruct this flow with their own corporate agenda, advisors find it challenging to serve clients and their practice as they envision. Imagine wanting to organize an event for your clients; you’d need to allocate a minimum of 4-6 weeks just to navigate compliance requirements. Moreover, a compliance officer must be present to ensure adherence to the prescribed script. Should you aspire to pen a thought piece for financial or other media, a similar ordeal awaits, if they permit it at all. Advisors are even hindered from crafting purely educational pieces for platforms like Investopedia. The firm extends its reach to scrutinize everything from the photos you take on your personal device to your messages and more. JPMorgan Chase employs the most stringent monitoring system we’re aware of, delving into biometrics, actions, and conversations, even scrutinizing your remote workspace if they permit it at all.
Advisors are unequivocally frustrated. As we’re well aware, building a client base parallel owning your own business – nothing is handed to you. You must tap your network, compile lists, and then cultivate trust to bring clients in, let alone retain them. The loyalty lies not with the firm, but with the advisor and their supporting team; it’s a personal connection, not a brand allegiance. This realization has spurred many advisors to make a move.
Advisors are growing very wary of firms trying to influence how advisors behave whether it be how many new accounts they open, reducing or increasing grids, awards, or whatever suits their interests. While the firm’s objective is, naturally, revenue, it’s also about creating barriers to prevent advisors from leaving. Some advisors find themselves effectively bound to these GRID-associated products, making relocation a formidable challenge, if not impossible. The prevailing sentiment among advisors in motion is to act now, before the situation exacerbates. Transition what’s feasible, with most preserving 75% of their business within six months and 100% or more after 1 year. There may come a day when the SEC deems the promotion of non-competitive products contrary to the best interests of clients a violation. Reg BI is the standard by which advisors are held. Are you willing to take that gamble?
Unadulterated efficiency is imperative for business success. When advisors make the move, they share their elation at how tasks now seamlessly and promptly fall into place without unnecessary encumbrances. This affords advisors the latitude to care for their clients according to their preferences and to continue growing their practice through events, writings, talks, and more, thereby staying at the forefront of their clients’ minds. Wealth management is a challenging field, and advisors must maintain momentum and a competitive edge to prevail.