Posts Tagged ‘Investment Research’
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
by Stephen Wershing, The Client Driven Practice
Financial advisors work hard to develop a value proposition that will get the attention of prospective clients. Focusing on how well your slogan or elevator speech attracts attention, though, can backfire.
How you describe yourself, whether it be verbally or through a brochure or your website, is one of the key elements in promoting your brand. It needs to be effective in prompting questions or conversation about what your practice has to offer. Ideally, it will capture the interests of prospective clients in your niche. And it will do nothing for people outside that target market. If that value proposition is well-crafted it will actually turn people away from your practice if they are not in your niche.
I was reminded of this by Eric Schwartz, CEO of Cambridge Investment Research, in a talk he gave a couple months ago. We suspect it may have been said by legendary marketing guru Al Ries. The only direct reference I can find is by William Arruda, but if you have not read anything by Ries on branding it is worth your time.
Many financial advisors I work with are challenged when narrowing their message. The whole point, they believe, is to attract new clients. Why say something that may turn away most of the people you talk to? But the desire to say something that everyone finds attractive hurts your brand because it takes the emphasis off of what is special about what you have to offer a particular group of people.
Brands that attract the right clients and generate referrals build a reputation. Fuzzy, general, unfocused branding messages are not memorable. An effective brand will help you build a reputation that will assist people in remembering you when the right situation comes along.
Let’s say you target veterinarians. You have developed an expertise in the financial challenge of running an animal hospital. You understand how to value a veterinary practice and are familiar with the terms and limitations of succession agreements when those practices get sold. Your brand – what people say about you – would emphasize that unique knowledge. So when you describe the value of what you do, you would talk about that expertise. If the person you were talking to was not a veterinarian, they would probably have no interest at all in discussing it further.
And that’s okay. Because if a veterinarian 10 years from selling his practice talks to you and the advisor who talks about his “special relationship with his clients” and another who talks about her “sophisticated investment management strategy”, who do you think will win the client?
Branding is not about attracting the most clients, it is about attracting the right clients. Get comfortable with describing your practice in a way that most of the population will have no interest in. Then you can focus on building a reputation that your ideal prospects will have a lot of interest in.
Tags: Al Ries, Animal Hospital, Brochure, Driven Practice, Elevator Speech, Financial Advisors, Financial Challenge, Guru Al Ries, Investment Research, Niche, Promoting Your Brand, Prospective Clients, Referrals, Reputation, Slogan, Succession, Target Market, Value Proposition, Veterinarians, Veterinary Practice, William Arruda
Posted in My Practice | Comments Off
Monday, July 30th, 2012
by Bob Simpson, Synchroncity Performance Consulting
One of the goals that you should pursue is to optimize the time you spend in client-facing activities. We define client-facing activities as time spent managing existing (ideal) client relationships or in business development activities to attract new (ideal) clients to your business.
Some industry studies report that advisors who spend in excess of 60% of their time in client-facing activities earn three to five times the income of those who do not. This study also reported that only about 9% of advisors spend in excess of 60% of their time in client-facing activity.
If you study the industry’s most successful advisors, you will find they have good processes and teams to allow them to focus on managing their client relationships and building their personal, business and client networks.
One of my fond memories of being an advisor was when I was out of my office and was stopped by three advisors in the branch who wanted to talk. My assistant Sheri got up from her desk, approached the group, grabbed me by my sleeve and pulled me back to my office. I asked her what that was about and she told me “I get a percentage of your revenue. When you are talking with other advisors, you are not talking with clients and you are not making any money. Get back to work!”
Investment management is one of the core stabilizers of your business, you need to manage the process so you make good decisions and recommendations. At the same time you need to be efficient so that you do not take away time from client relationship management and business development.
Here is a process that I think you should consider: Investment Management Focus Days.
I have written in previous articles about the inability of humans to multi-task. The brain is simply not wired to do more than one thing at a time. So, by allocating time specifically for investment research and reporting, you will get more done in less time.
Even more importantly, the process of developing portfolios and client reports will help you organize your thoughts and help you produce better client results.
If you are a regular reader, you may have seen my article entitled “A Simple Method to Improve Your Clients’ Investment Performance”. In this article, I discussed a process called Purpose-Based Asset Management. You can read the article for a full explanation, but the concept is helping clients to identify a series of “buckets” representing future uses of money, identifying how much money will be required in each “bucket” and estimating a timeframe for each “bucket”. Then portfolios, investment policy and reporting processes will be developed for short, medium and long-term portfolios, corresponding to the “buckets”.
On your first Investment Management Focus Day, you should develop a series of portfolios for a variety of timeframes and risk tolerances. You may want to develop portfolios for taxable and non-taxable accounts. Your goal should be to develop portfolios that are appropriate for 80% of the cases that you encounter.
You will be presented from time-to-time with cases for which there is not a fit within your portfolios. In these cases, you should review each new portfolio to assess whether it should become one of your model portfolios.
Once your portfolios have been developed, you should back test them to judge volatility and performance against benchmarks. Then, you should package the portfolios so they are in a client-ready format. I would suggest that you create electronic (pdf) versions so you can e-mail them.
The next step is to write a quarterly investment report in which you discuss such things as:
- Performance for the past quarter
- Outlook for the next year
Keep it simple. I have been involved in the financial services industry for over thirty years and still don’t understand some of the reports that are sent out to clients. Write your own. It helps you to organize your thoughts. You may struggle with the first couple but once you get in a groove, it gets a lot easier.
To complete all this work initially, you will probably need more than one day, but it will take much less time to update your portfolios that to build them the first time.
On the other hand, this process will save you hours of time. Rather than developing portfolios from scratch, you can simply pull your portfolio reports from a shelf (or print them from your computer). You may even create a presentation binder (hard copy or electronic) to discuss with clients. Clients love being given choices, especially when they are easy to understand.
Make sure to stay focused – your ultimate goal is to spend a single day per quarter on investment portfolio and reporting so you can spend more than 60% of your time in client-facing activities. Pre-book these days a year in advance. Arrange with wholesalers or other individuals with whom you would like to collaborate to meet on your Investment Management Focus Days.
I realize that if you manage your own portfolios that it is virtually impossible to do all the necessary work in one day per quarter. It is difficult to manage investments rather than working with investment managers and break through the 60% client-facing threshold. Model portfolios will definitely help your cause.
We are preparing to launch a new service to help you manage your investment processes. Should you decide to implement a program, like the one above, we will help you navigate through set-up and your investment processes and portfolios. Then, we can, at your option, meet with you on your quarterly Investment Management Focus Days to discuss your portfolios and reporting.
You can participate in our new program, Investment Processes and Portfolios, based on your needs, preferences and priorities. A variety of options are available from pay-by-the-minute to pre-booked sessions of as little as 15-minutes.
We hold you accountable, challenge you on your portfolios and strategies and proof your reporting. You identify your needs and we help you.
To discuss how this program can help you build or manage your investment management program, please contact Bob Simpson at 905−502−0100 or email@example.com.
Direct Line: 905−502−0100
Toll Free: 866−646−6002
Text Message: 905−502−0100
Join our Discussion Group on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/groups/Advisor-Collaboration-4248725/about
Tags: Bob Simpson, Brain, Business Development Activities, Client Networks, Client Relationship Management, Client Relationships, Decisions, Desk, Focus Days, Fond Memories, Investment Management, Investment Research, Management Development, Management Focus, Money, Personal Business, Practice Essentials, Practice Management, Sheri, Stabilizers
Posted in Advisor Collaboration, My Practice, Synchronicity | Comments Off
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
by Shauna Trainor, The Covenant Group
It’s no surprise that many independent financial advisors have been hesitant to join social media networks — even many of the 50 most important private banks and wealth management institutions worldwide have lagged behind, according to a studyby Assetinum.com.
Measuring the FIs’ use of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube, as well as their website-social media integration, the researchers determined that the banks averaged 43 out of a possible 100 points. Assentinum.com also observed that clients across the globe want greater transparency and educational content from their banks. The demand is there, yet financial professionals and institutions have continued to ignore it.
Financial services firms that fail to engage with existing and prospective clients on social networks may be missing out on vital opportunities to build client capital and establish deeper relationships. These websites can also prove useful in the sales stage of the buying cycle, when you are researching prospects’ businesses, values and goals in order to devise a solution that will help them. Social media can make your sales, marketing and client relationship management responsibilities more efficient and bring your firm into the 21st century.
“Especially for renowned banks with a demanding clientele, it is increasingly important to be present in the virtual social network,” the company notes. A survey from Cogent Research found that more than 5 million investors with more than $100,000 investable assets use social media platforms when researching and making financial decisions.. Financial Planning reports that the study also determined that 75 percent of the 5-million investors mentioned in the research study turn to LinkedIn most frequently when conducting investment research.
There is no reason to shy away from social media. Although it may seem complex in theory, the regulatory issues associated with the channel can be avoided if you carefully plan your social marketing strategy. Before setting up blogs and profiles, take time to identify the goals you have for marketing and promoting your practice and yourself.
Are you joining these networks simply to spread awareness of your brand, or do you genuinely want to create more meaningful connections with the public, prospects and clients? How do you currently use social media for business purposes? What do you hope to gain by expanding your online presence?
Sidestepping social media and keeping it out of your marketing mix is no longer an option. Increasingly, high net worth individuals, as well as the general population, are joining the networks and using digital communication tools to stay in touch with their business associates.
Shauna Trainor is The Covenant Group’s Marketing Manager. She focuses on The Covenant Group’s own marketing strategy and also helps entrepreneurs through financial advisor training to leverage social media and other technology to spread the word about their services and practices and build relationships.
Follow The Covenant Group
Tags: Client Relationship Management, Covenant Group, Educational Content, Facebook, Financial Decisions, Financial Professionals, Independent Financial Advisors, Investable Assets, Investment Research, Management Institutions, Management Responsibilities, Marketing Strategy, Media Integration, Media Networks, Media Platforms, Private Banks, Prospective Clients, Regulatory Issues, Social Marketing, Social Networks, Vital Opportunities, Wealth Management
Posted in My Practice | Comments Off