For financial advisors, working 100% independently comes with a time and capital commitment.
That may not be the best fit for everyone, and it’s not the sole way to provide great service to clients, depending on your business goals.
Captive advisors, which are those employed by large wire houses and broker-dealers, can find success under the umbrella of a more well-known brand. With it comes support and infrastructure that may be exactly what the advisor needs.
At the end of the day, the bigger question advisors should ask themselves is: How can I make the most out of my career path?
Here are six strategies to survive and thrive as a captive financial advisor.
Use the Resources Within Your Company for Support
Organizations that grow to enterprise-level don’t get there without some infrastructure in place.
Whether you’re a wire-house or broker-dealer advisor, there are internal resources to help you set up and achieve a successful practice.
“Success” is a relative term, so you have to define what it means for yourself. To find out who can help you determine this and what programs are available, seek out your human resources department or business support department to point you in the right direction. Talk with your direct supervisor to learn about programs and services that can help position your practice for growth.
Know Your Role and How It Fits in the Bigger Corporate Picture
Although larger advisor organizations come with more red tape and bureaucracy to navigate, that doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks.
A common challenge financial advisors face is not knowing where they fit in the broader company vision. How does your role contribute to the goals of the organization? What career path and growth milestones must be met to get to the next level?
The benefit here is that the company has likely already gone to great lengths to define career paths for its people and what performance metrics need to be met to get to the next level.
Blind assumptions about your contributions can cause a misalignment of expectations. For advisors, understanding how to deliver on their core responsibilities and how that energy is translated to company goals is key. This information is powerful and provides a solid framework to help advisors advance their careers.
Build a Team That Supports Your Vision
Advisors should have their own complementary vision of how they want to build their practices.
Any support staff is going to look to their leader for direction. When onboarding new team members (if you have a say here), share your vision with the team for buy-in.
If your team members are selected for you, there’s still an opportunity to share your vision.
If the latter occurs, hold a team meeting and share your thoughts. Ask for suggestions and facilitate a two-way dialogue within your team. This example provides a framework for what a forward-thinking advisor should be doing. If you have a team, empower its members to help you achieve your desired level of success.
Invest in Coaching to Hone Your Craft
Financial advisors who want to become better advisors should invest in external coaching or training to help them maximize their business performance.
Every good coach should have their own coach.
With competing priorities every day, financial advisors are caught up in the day-to-day grind of working in the business, and working on their craft is placed on the backburner.
If an advisor isn’t able to find an external coach through resources such as LinkedIn or personal recommendations, many wire houses and broker-dealers have internal resources dedicated to connecting advisors with external, vetted coaches within the network.
If you have an arrangement such as flexible spending funds for professional development, this is a responsible way to use those dollars to improve your effectiveness and impact to reach your goals.
Know Your Numbers
So-called key performance indicators, or KPIs, are a common way to track your progress on hitting your targets for the month or year.
Examples of monthly KPIs include the number of new prospect calls, number of new clients signed, net new revenue or number of networking meetings attended. These leading indicators are directly tied to your goals and priorities.
On the flip side are lagging indicators, which help you compare what you wanted to have happen with what actually happened.
Tracking key performance indicators is crucial. Those serve as a baseline to stay the course or make adjustments toward achieving your business goals.
Intentionally Build Your Network and Develop Strategic Relationships
No one is an island, and advisors should understand that everyone needs help to get to the next level. Successful advisors will often share that it was the relationships they’ve built that contributed to their success.
Captive advisors are no different. Within the organization, you want to build and develop relationships with strategic members of the company. These individuals may become both advocates and sponsors on your behalf. You want to have one to two people with important voices going to bat for you in closed-door meetings.
Advocates can help you get access to opportunities not formally advertised, and sponsors can help vouch for your credibility and work ethic.
There’s more than one way to find success in financial services. The goal here is to maximize every opportunity and be intentional in your efforts. The path to success is not one-dimensional but can take many shapes and sizes. Captive advisors who understand and embrace these realities can thrive.
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