Advisers reveal their New Year's resolutions

Popular pledges include making internal biz changes

Dec 18, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

By Liz Skinner

Financial advisers are focusing most of their practice management plans for 2013 on internal changes aimed at improving efficiencies and, ultimately, their bottom line.

Mark Tibergien, chief executive of Pershing Advisor Solutions LLC, said advisers should evaluate their need to raise prices next year to meet the rising cost of the advisory business, greater client demands and a higher price tag for talent.

“A lot of advisers came out of 2008 and 2009 shell-shocked, focused on keeping clients they had and trying to track down new ones,” Mr. Tibergien said. “Now it's time to consider investing more in their platforms and the way they do business.”

Advisers also should think about how they plan to win the “talent war,” Mr. Tibergien said.

“There's an undersupply of people to provide advice, and advisory firms are growing more concerned about the depth of their bench and continuity of practice,” he said. “It's become more difficult for small firms to compete for those individuals, and with most firms, if you don't build capacity, you can't grow.”

Become “an employer of choice,” he advises, which can involve offering employees a career path, better pay or other benefits that young advisers are seeking.

Frank Fantozzi, chief executive of Planned Financial Services, said his firm wants to be more effective with its resources — especially advisers' time — in 2013.

“We're looking for better ways to do the things that pluck time away from the things we want to be doing,” Mr. Fantozzi said. “We want to figure out how to increase our touches to our clients.”

In fact, getting back to business basics is the top New Year's resolution of a majority of the financial advisers who were asked in a recent poll to pick their top three.

About 53% of responding advisers cited a return to a focus on business basics, such as examining daily procedures to make sure they align with business goals, according to an SEI Advisor Network poll, which included about 275 advisers.

About 48% cited more face time with clients and 43% selected asking for introductions and networking.

Other resolutions included: discussing taxes early and often, using social media more effectively, improving or expanding marketing, being a better listener, building a roster of ideal clients, consolidating technologies, focusing tech investments on business improvement and seeking processes that can make regulatory compliance cheaper.

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