Commonwealth Independent Advisor

You Hired a New Advisor. Now What?

Posted by Maria Considine King

June 11, 2014 at 1:30 PM

mentoring a young advisorAfter much consideration, you've decided to bring on a new advisor to your advisory business. You've spent many hours assessing your firm's needs, conducting interviews, and selecting the best candidate. But your work isn't done quite yet.

Here are five best practices for mentoring a young advisor. These strategies will help him or her transition smoothly into the new role and become a productive, successful member of your team—and possibly your successor.

Consider the Advisor's Style

Think about your new hire's personality and style of doing business. This will better position you to maximize his or her skills and assign tasks and projects that he or she will excel at. Consider the following styles:

  • A rainmaker is a traditional salesperson with a knack for attracting prospective clients and closing business. If your new hire fits this description, you may want to focus on honing his or her selling strengths, as well as training him or her to develop and spearhead marketing plans.
  • A service advisor is a skilled relationship manager who works best when nurturing and maintaining a stable, familiar book of clients. For this type of advisor, focus on creating tiered services for clients to promote scalability. Also, calendar management may be an important component for his or her role.
  • A support advisor is technically oriented and loves the money management side of the business. Teach this new hire your investment and planning philosophies, how to build model portfolios, and the appropriate timing for rebalancing or reallocating assets throughout the year.

Consider the Advisor's Experience

Next, consider the depth and breadth of your new hire's experience. An advisor from a pure commission-based background may experience a steep learning curve upon joining a true wealth management firm. Similarly, someone from an insurance background may need extra time to get a handle on the securities side of the business. A new college graduate—even one with a degree in financial planning and a good technical understanding of the business—may have little experience working one on one with clients.

Carefully consider how you can maximize his or her experience and skill set. Make a plan to fill in any gaps with formal training and professional development.

Articulate Your Goals and Vision

Open communication about goals will help you and your new advisor work well together toward a common vision for the business. Be sure to frequently discuss the following:

  • Your vision and values for the advisory business
  • The ideal client profile and service standards for all clients
  • Your expectations for five-star team members and, if applicable, compliance expectations
  • How you measure performance
  • The business's short- and long-term goals
  • The business's financial planning process, including asset management, rebalancing, and asset allocation
  • Time frames for meetings, FINRA registrations, insurance licenses, marketing plans, and other measurable goals
  • His or her preference for the frequency and style of review meetings
  • His or her communication style and preferences
  • His or her career vision and ambitions

Discuss the Future

When mentoring your new hire, be sure to discuss your strategy and planning for the business's future, including continuity and succession plans, as well as your plan for managing future growth.

Joni Youngwirth, Commonwealth's managing principal, practice management, believes that involving employees in discussions about the business plan, as well as the short- and long-term goals, is vital for earning their commitment, engagement, and—ultimately—their loyalty.

Plan for Professional Development

Be sure that your new advisor knows that you're invested in his or her professional growth. You may want to encourage the new hire to pursue additional designations. The most valuable designations are widely recognized by industry peers and the investing public. These include the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), and Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) designations. Others are very valuable for those advisors and employees with very specialized niches, such as divorce planning.

Prioritize Learning

In our constantly evolving industry, an advisor should never stop learning. At your business, be sure to create a culture where all employees and advisors, including your new advisor, are welcome to share ideas, ask questions, and pursue their personal interests. One way to do this is to encourage advisors to attend industry conferences, such as those hosted by the Financial Planning Association. This will help promote an environment where all employees are energetic to learn.

Training, coaching, and inspiring your new hire is one of the smartest and most effective investments that you can make in your business. You may just find mentoring a young advisor to be highly rewarding, both personally and professionally.

Have you recently hired an advisor? How are you helping him or her succeed in the new role? Share below!

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Topics: Practice Management, Succession

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