It isn't by chance that Frank Moore's firm, Vintage Financial Services, ranks among the best-performing financial advisory businesses.
He has been meeting with competitors for six years to make sure that he is applying best industry practices for employees and clients.
Mr. Moore is a founder of Soar Wealth Management Alliance, a nationwide group of certified financial planners who get together twice a year to encourage each other, discuss industry issues and tell war stories. He and six other firm leaders also hold monthly conference calls to talk about what is working in their businesses and, more importantly, what isn't.
“When someone tries something out that doesn't work, that saves us all from making the same mistake,” Mr. Moore said.
For instance, he recalled a re-balancing program that his firm had been thinking about buying but decided against after one of the Soar members described its weaknesses.
Practice management is often the focus of their discussions, especially issues such as hiring and staffing. Vintage's successes in these areas are a big part of why InvestmentNews named the 28-year-old firm as a top performer for its human capital management.
Vintage pays a competitive salary that grows up to 10% a year for the first few years as personnel “become more valuable to the firm,” Mr. Moore said.
After that, there are moderate increases and a performance bonus that is based on what the employee has done for the firm over the year. Some years, there also is a firmwide bonus modeled on profit sharing.
The firm boasts a strong career track.
It has “grown” two of its advisers, hiring them shortly out of college, training them and putting them through the certified financial planner program, Mr. Moore said.
He also hired two experienced advisers who had skills that added to the firm's overall expertise; one had an accounting background and the other experience in the insurance industry.
Mr. Moore's wife, Jennifer, also works part-time for Vintage, helping with human resources and accounting.
Overall, Vintage ranked 29th among the 77 top-performing financial advisory practices identified in the 2013 InvestmentNews/Moss Adams Adviser Compensation and Staffing Study.
Like many other successful firms, Vintage has handled its growth well, in part because of its experienced office manager, Candace Kinsler.
In fact, Mr. Moore attributes much of the firm's operational success to Ms. Kinsler, who joined the firm in 1996.
One of her ideas was to survey clients periodically to see what the firm can do to improve.
Those surveys led Vintage to begin offering income tax preparation, a task that isn't very profitable for the firm “but is really valued by clients,” Mr. Moore said.
“I can't give her enough credit,” he said. “She has been very dedicated and helped set the client-focused culture of the firm.”
The Vintage team doesn't do any traditional marketing, because it has experienced a lot of growth through referrals, though it produces regular market reports and newsletters, Mr. Moore said.
Frank Moore on his strategy of using a team of specialists to best serve clients