Hiring a New Advisor? Consider These Five Insights First

Use these steps to make sure that any financial advisor you’re thinking about hiring will meet those expectations.

By Commonwealth Financial Network

Strengthening your firm and driving growth by hiring a new advisor can be a challenge. Recent events like the “Great Resignation” have made a significant impact on the already complicated advisor talent shortage in our industry, but with good planning and a well-thought-out strategy, you’ll be able to find the perfect fit for your firm.

Get started by assessing your hiring practices with these five steps before beginning your recruiting journey.

1. Establish Your Goals

Hiring missteps can be financially and culturally costly, so before you start to recruit an advisor, consider your assumptions and whether the following alternatives might meet your needs in a better way.

“I’m looking for a potential successor.”

Alternative: Work with another advisor in your firm to establish a successor for the present and set aside time to find a permanent continuity solution.

“I would like to collaborate with another advisor.”

Alternative: Consider alternative connection opportunities such as networking and business events on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

“I’d like to split overhead costs.”

Alternative: Think about renting part of your space to a CPA or an attorney if possible. This could also lead to potential referral collaborations!

“I’d like to spend more time with A and B clients.”

Alternate: Establish varying service tiers that meet the needs of clients according to level.

2. Target the Right Candidates

If you’ve decided on hiring a new advisor, work out your specific needs. Are you looking for an associate advisor to work behind the scenes or directly with clients? Would they be considered an employee or a partner? Would you share clients with them or simply share space with them as another producing advisor?

Once you’ve clarified the role, create a list of qualifications, such as:

  • Experience level or career stage
  • Balance of production and business abilities
  • Industry knowledge, skills, and designations
  • Preferred service model and client support standards
  • Investment philosophy
  • Business goals and growth path
  • Client niche
  • Personality and values

Once you’ve compiled your list, you can create the job description you’ll share with your network, job boards, and potential candidates.

3. Broaden Your Search Horizons

Virtual interviewing and remote work mean geography doesn’t have to limit possibilities. Here are some resources to enhance your recruiting efforts when hiring a new advisor:

• Connected referrals. Your professional network is still your best resource. Reach out to trusted professionals, including other advisors and centers of influence (such as CPAs, bankers, attorneys, and wholesalers), to let them know you’re recruiting.

• Industry directories and job postings. For those seeking a CFP® practitioner, the CFP Board Career Center offers a recruiting search tool. Other helpful sites for finding qualified candidates include the Financial Planning Association Job Board, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and eFinancialCareers.

• Popular job sites. Websites such as Indeed.com can be great places to recruit.

• Universities offering financial degrees. Check out university job boards and consider reaching out to their alumni groups.

• LinkedIn. Post a status update announcing your job search to your feed or upload a free listing using LinkedIn Jobs.

• Internet search engines. Google and other search tools can lead to connections with other advisors. Even if the advisors you connect with aren’t planning to move, they may know a candidate who’s interested.

4. Understand Your Intentions

Once you have some potential candidates, review their work history on FINRA BrokerCheck. If they seem like they’d be a good fit for your firm, reach out to set up initial conversations. But before beginning discussions, take time to develop specific interview questions and be ready to discuss why the advisor is looking to move.

What is motivating the candidate? Think about the move from the advisor’s point of view. How will this individual benefit from affiliating with your firm? What is your firm’s value proposition, and why is your practice the right place for this advisor? Be ready to talk about:

  • Your service model and client niche
  • Opportunities to shift to a fee-based or financial planning approach
  • Access to technology and systems
  • Systematized firm processes
  • Succession or continuity plans
  • Collaboration opportunities
  • Your office location and professional staff
  • Career development opportunities
  • Potential partnership path (if appropriate)

Create a compelling story that highlights the benefits of the role and addresses the candidate’s goals.

Why is this advisor looking for a change? It’s important to understand why the candidate is interested in finding a new situation. Ask questions such as:

  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What do you hope to achieve in this role?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • How do you bring on new clients?
  • Which service model do you prefer?

Ask about the advisor’s achievements and prospecting experience if you’re looking to grow.

5. Stay Realistic

Be cautious about bringing someone into your firm who doesn’t quite feel right. Misalignment of goals or expectations can result in costly hiring mistakes. Stay focused on your goals and don’t get distracted by potential advisors who may be very skilled but whose mission doesn’t quite sync with your firm’s.

Avoid making concessions or convincing yourself that someone will change to meet your vision. Focus on what the advisor brings to the relationship today—not what you see as potential opportunities.

Patience Goes a Long Way

Take your time to weigh your decision carefully before hiring a new advisor. The current competitive job market and advisor shortage can make you feel pressured to rush into hiring decisions. Consider your goals and objectives before you start the recruiting process and make sure any advisor you’re thinking about hiring will meet those expectations and successfully contribute to your business growth goals.

Please consult your member firm’s policies and obtain prior approval for any sales ideas or applications you would like to use.

This post originally appeared on Insights, a blog authored by subject matter experts at Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.

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