Practice Management

Branding tips for financial advisers looking to grow

Advisers should limit their lingo and focus on making their value proposition 'come to life'

Jul 15, 2019 @ 10:10 am

By Liz Skinner

Financial advisers who seek to develop a growing and sustainable business should be deliberate about creating brands that resonate with the type of clients they're aiming to attract, industry experts said.

"It's incredibly important that financial advisers think about their brand in a very intentional and disciplined way," said Katherine Mauzy, principal at Edward Jones. "They should include it as part of their business plan and in thinking about how they make that brand come to life."

Part of that includes thinking about the entire team that the client works with and all the interactions the client has with each member of the team, Ms. Mauzy told about 180 advisers at the InvestmentNewsWomen Adviser Summit in Boston last Tuesday. The goal should be to make the adviser's value proposition come to life, she said.

(More: Do these things to build a consistent brand)

"Do the clients see, feel and hear that value so that they can articulate it to others?" Ms. Mauzy said.

Advisers also should avoid using industry lingo that doesn't really mean anything to clients, and they should tell more stories, said Liz Manibay, managing director of business consulting at Charles Schwab Advisor Services.

"Stories are more memorable than facts," she said. "For instance, tell how you helped a business owner sell their business in the most tax-efficient way so they didn't have to pay more in taxes."

Christine Pacini, a financial adviser with AXA Advisors, said she is careful not to use industry jargon that might make clients feel intimidated.

She also constantly follows up with clients — something she said many advisers say they will do, but fail to carry out.

"I have a 24-hour rule of returning emails and phone calls," Ms. Pacini said.

Among the other sessions at the daylong summit, advisers heard from Joseph Keefe, president of Impax Asset Management, about the importance of gender diversity at companies and the need for women in leadership positions.

"Put diversity in diversification," Mr. Keefe said. "By investing in the S&P 500, you are overweight in old, white men."

(More: How the 2020 elections could impact ESG investing)

Another theme was the link between improving financial literacy and boosting diversity in the advice industry.

The Boston event is the third of six Women Adviser Summits this year, with the remaining ones taking place in Denver, New York and San Francisco.

The first Women Adviser Summit of 2019 was in Huntington Beach, Calif., in March, followed by Chicago's event in May.

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