Because advisors typically work more closely with an OSJ group than a broker-dealer, your branch’s unique culture can play a big role in their decision-making process. To effectively sell your culture, it’s important to have a mission statement and core values you can easily communicate. But more important, you need to show prospective advisors how you and your employees support that culture and live out those values every day.
“Everyone speaks to culture, but it has to be developed and worked on,” Bender said. “At Securities America, our firm speaks to that. The executives live and breathe building that culture and ensuring we have 500 happy employees. When people come in for a home office visit, they see our culture at work and how we treat our employees.”
Use these elements to provide a framework for articulating your branch’s culture to prospective advisors:
- Professional development
- Process and procedures
2. Business Growth Tools
You can never offer too much service and support, so be sure to let prospects know exactly what they’ll receive as a member of your branch.
Will your branch provide administrative services? Lead generation? Supervision oversight? Best practice solutions? Size and scale are important to advisors deciding on the ideal branch and its broker-dealer counterpart. Many are looking for a firm large enough to provide leading products, services and technology, but small enough to provide personalized support and maintenance.
“Our broker-dealer gives our branch great flexibility in the support, products and platforms needed by such a diverse group of advisors in one branch,” said Todd Terhorst, branch manager for Diversified Wealth Management in St. Louis Park, Minn. “Our advisors have a variety of platform types they can choose to operate a fee-based, commission-based or hybrid practice. I have the ability to tell advisors they can join my branch and receive all the support they would like, while doing business how they want, when they want and under the name they want.”
Because broker-dealers often offer more competitive pricing on services and products to their larger branches, many advisors discover joining a branch rather than directly joining a broker-dealer makes more sense financially.
“When we work with prospective advisors looking for a new independent home, we have them evaluate what they will receive from our branch office and our broker-dealer as opposed to other broker-dealers,” said Shawn Sandoval, director of business development for Cooper McManus Wealth Management in Irvine, Calif. “The greatest perk to joining a branch as opposed to being completely independent is the opportunity to be one of 40 advisors instead of one in 12,000.”
3. Coaching, Mentoring and Training
Ongoing opportunities to learn are essential for advisors looking to grow their business. Be sure to provide prospects a list of all the educational opportunities they’ll receive by joining your branch. Don’t forget to include success stories of advisors who have benefitted from your training and coaching programs.
4. Support Services
Does your OSJ branch offer the compliance and supervisory support advisors need to free up more time to serve their clients? Assistance in transition? The opportunity to use support staff, office furniture and equipment to save time and money on hiring administrative support and leasing and outfitting an office of their own?
Support services are key selling points that Cooper McManus uses to show prospects why they should join their firm.
“We treat our advisors as if they were our clients,” said David McManus, co-founder of Cooper McManus Wealth Management. “Service level has to be high in that regard. We don’t bring them on then forget about them. We talk to them from a service level daily, and we call them often just to check in. Constant communication between the branch and the advisor is important.”
Don’t forget to include your branch’s relationship with its broker-dealer and the support advisors receive from that level as well.
“Working with our broker-dealer, we can provide excellent coaching, and we can leverage each other’s skills and time,” Sandoval said. “Advisors get to focus on what they’re good at — working their business — while we focus on the details of recruiting other advisors for their business.”
It isn’t uncommon for a prospect to focus on how much your branch charges. In those cases, you’ll need to be prepared to explain what they’re gaining in return for a slightly lower payout.
The costs associated with technology, compliance and business development continue to rise every year. Affiliation with a branch office can help advisors control these costs and better manage a state-of-the-art financial services practice.
To show prospects the financial advantage of joining your branch, prepare a grid that shows how payouts are structured if an advisor is responsible for paying all their own expenses including office and rent as opposed to paying an override to the branch to receive those same services.
Upheaval and change in the industry have many advisors on the move or considering a move in the not-so-distant future. While this can present retention challenges for some firms, it also presents a rich recruiting opportunity for those who have the right plan and tools to stand out from the competition.