Financial Planning – The art and science of bringing advisers on board

November 2016

By: Dan Weil

November 1, 2016 – Advisory firms that seek continuous growth will at some point have to bring new advisers on board, but how do they go about doing that?
Firms must focus both on how to find the advisers that best fit the practice and then figure out how to convince them to join the team.
As for the first part of that equation, “Our approach is to look for the best in breed from firms like UBS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan,” says Alison Murray Burkett, partner, managing director and head of enterprise development at Snowden Lane Partners in New York.
Snowden Lane Partners has doubled its roster of advisers to 30 in the past two years.
The firm seeks talent from big-time banking companies because that is where its executives worked, so that is the arena they know best. Snowden Lane Partners defines best in breed to include an adviser’s ability to work well with others because all its advisers work in teams.
“From a client’s perspective it’s important to have multiple forms of expertise,” Burkett says.
The firm also seeks advisers whose personalities mesh well with the firm’s existing personnel.
“It’s people we want to work with every day,” Burkett says. “Are these people we want to share a business card with?”
As for how much business new advisers are expected to bring with them, Snowden Lane partners is flexible.
“When we hire a full team [of advisers], we value a larger book of business, so the team is built to grow,” Burkett says.
But for individuals, it is less important.
“What we focus on there is, what do you uniquely provide to clients, and how does that fit into one of our teams?” Burkett says.
Then there is the issue of attracting advisers to work at a firm.
“The most important thing is to share your story. That’s what will attract people,” says Ryan Kwiatkowski, director of marketing at Retirement Solutions in Naperville, Illinois.
“What is unique about the firm, and what brought you into the business? What drives you to do an incredible job for clients on a daily basis?” Kwiatkowski says.
Retirement Solutions consists of Kwiatkowski and his father, and they are looking to expand quickly.
It is important to make it clear to potential hires that the firm will be available at all times to answer questions during their transition, Kwiatkowski says.
“If someone has to call you at night during the transition period, their issue can be crucial,” he says. “Making sure you have a support team to help along the way during that transition will make a big difference.”
This story is part of a 30-30 series on smart strategies for RIAs.