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Financial Advisor: How To Answer The Question “Whom Do I Serve?”

Financial Advisor: How To Answer The Question "Whom Do I Serve?"

September 21, 2015

by Kristen Luke

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Many financial advisory firms come to me looking for a specific problem to be solved: marketing, staffing or profitability, to name a few. My experience is that usually the problem is a symptom of another, more fundamental issue.

To uncover the true cause of the issue, I ask firms who their clients are. Nine times out of 10, I hear one of two answers: (1) pre-retirees or retirees with $1 million or more in investable assets; or (2) high-net-worth individuals. When probed for specifics, I’ll hear “delegators,” “people who aren’t jerks” and “people who want to build relationships.” When I hear answers like these, it’s a red flag that a firm is not clear on who they serve best, and this issue is most likely a fundamental cause of the symptom they are coming...