Practice Management TrendsettersJuly 17, 2016

Measuring financial advisor success

Measuring success as a financial advisor comes in many forms. Measuring practice management success for financial advisors is even more difficult. To measure your practice effectively, it usually consists of several areas known as benchmarking your practice against similar practices. Benchmarking is a critical process in practice management and I encourage financial advisors to benchmark their practice every couple of years.If you have not benchmarked your practice, contact us or your practice management experts to help you. 

Measuring practice management success from a firm perspective

The landmark practice management study by ThinkAdvisor [AdvisorOne/ActiFi Pursuing Practice Excellence practice management study, 2012] revealed that 64.1% of advisors received practice management services from their broker dealer in the United States. A majority (65.65) of those advisors rated the practice management they received from broker dealers as valuable or extremely valuable. The services they valued the most were:

Sales and Marketing       56.8%

Client Service                   52.1%

Operations and technology 44.2%

Business services             42.9%

Relationships are critical

Practice Management is critically (and increasingly) important to the relationship between advisors and the institutions they work with. Practice Management themes include: Service, Efficient, Process, Time, and Financial Planning.    Advisors want advice and best practices tailored to their needs and want someone to  assist them in implementing improvements.  Financial Advisors said they will devote significant new investment dollars to sales and marketing, while advisor time spent is most weighted to client service. Practice management is becoming a critical part of the value proposition and firms are budgeting significantly to improve their practice management offerings to advisors. Practice management remains an immature area without clearly defined goals, budgets, staff and agreed-upon methods to measure the effectiveness of practice management programs. While almost all firms try to offer advisors help in any area they can, there is a need for specialization in terms of focus on specific areas of assistance. Most institutions currently deliver robust platform capabilities. Future differentiation will depend on their ability to help advisors leverage those existing capabilities versus simply developing more capabilities.

Five keys revealed from the AdvisorOne/ActiFi Pursuing Practice Excellence practice management study

 Practice Management is a relationship. It’s clear that practice management is critically important to the relationship between advisors and the institutions that serve them and will become increasingly so. It’s obvious why so many firms are investing in practice management, with two-thirds of advisors saying it’s critical to their relationship with their partners.

 Define it. The definition of practice management is broad and varied, yet key themes emerge: service, efficient, process, time, and financial. However, advisors rank sales and marketing    as the highest need. So there is an opportunity to expand the advisor’s definition of practice management to include sales and marketing.

  Several areas.While sales and marketing is the individual sector that scored significantly higher than any other area in which advisors said they most needed help, all areas scored highly with even the lowest (operations and technology) hitting almost 40%. Benchmarking your practice is important to measure your success. 

 Assist in implementation. While there are a wide variety of methods to deliver practice management services, advisors want advice and best practices tailored to their needs and want someone to assist them in implementing improvements.

 Time Management Advisors said they will devote significant new investment dollars to sales and marketing, while advisor time spent is most weighted to client service.

 [AdvisorOne/ActiFi Research July 2012.] AdvisorOne/ActiFi Pursuing Practice Excellence practice management study, 2012

The most important goal

If nothing else changes and we carry on with business today, what is the one main goal of practice management that can make a difference? One thing executed above everything else that will make a difference, is coaching (training). Coaching advisors to “implement key practice management processes into their business.” This is the one idea that is similar to when John F. Kennedy said, “Land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth before this decade is out.” What are we trying to do? It is not several goals and programs, its one main goal. Until organizations and advisors figure out that in practice management, the goal is coaching and training, we can design create and implement concepts, solutions and ideas until the cows come home. Ask the top financial advisors in the industry in North America and the top 5% will have utilized some type of coaching to achieve their success. Without coaching and training, practice management is just a basket of ideas and concepts.

Just like coaching a hockey team. The goal is to prepare to play your system consistently, execute your system without compromise over and over from defense to offense until the other team makes a mistake or you score a goal. The goal is not to just score a ton of goals; the goal is to execute the systems repeatedly over and over, better than any other team (or advisor). The legendary basketball Bobby Knight had a couple of great quotes that help capture the essence of coaching. Bobby Knight said:

“Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.” “You don’t play against opponents, you play against the game of basketball.” “From a coaching standpoint, the greatest fear I’ve ever had - and it doesn’t take a Final Four to bring it out - is that in some way I might not have prepared my team as well as I could have.”

Learn more about practice management and benchmarking 

To learn more how practice management processes can help your financial advisory business, ask top advisors who they utilize for coaching. To learn more go to  or get a copy of our newest book “ Guerrilla Marketing for Financial Advisors, Innovating financial professionals through practice management.


 Advisor Practice Management’s goal is 

“ Helping Financial Advisors take action, to create 100 quality financial plans for their clients”. My mission if you choose to accept it is “ To help advisors to create 1 million quality financial plans for people”.  Ask your clients and prospects this question " What does a quality financial plan mean to you ? Let me know if I can help you grow your practice. 

Let’s work on your business. Start by emailing us. Why not? 

Enthusiastically yours,

Grant Hicks, CIM, National Director Practice Management
Advisor Practice Management

909-17th Ave SW, 4th Floor
Calgary, Alberta  T2T 0A4
Tel  587 390 3148
Cell 403 970 8895

PS Where do you want to be in 3 years?

STATEMENT OF CONFIDENTIALITY The information contained in this email message and any attachments may be confidential and and is intended for the use of the addressee(s) only. If you are not an intended recipient, please: (1) notify me immediately by replying to this message; (2) do not use, disseminate, distribute or reproduce any part of the message or any attachment; and (3) destroy all copies of this message and any attachments.