The ClientWise Blog

I'm on Social Media, Now What?

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 26, 2016 9:52:52 AM

From time to time, I write about the growing relevance and importance of social media. Unfortunately, for many of you affiliated with broker-dealers, the topic has proven to be a veritable minefield of shifting internal policies and procedures. Let’s be honest – a social media policy that relies on pushing out pre-approved “canned” messages and insights that bear little to no resemblance to your unique personality, style, tone or views, is by and large doomed to fail. But just how engaged with social media are your wealthy, older clients? Is it a genuinely viable communication channel?

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Social Media, social media for wealth management advisors

Keeping Your Wealth Management Team Fully-Engaged

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 21, 2016 9:00:00 AM

At the beginning of the year, you and your team were fired up and ready to rock-and-roll, committed to 2016 being your firm’s best year ever. Like straight-A students on the first day of class, you had your pencils sharpened and your growth plan for the year all laid out in front of you like a course syllabus.

Now that the first quarter is over, however, are your team members as engaged in the plan as they were back in December when you inked it?

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Team Development, wealth management teams, wealth management team exercises

Will the Fiduciary Rule Open the M&A Floodgates?

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 18, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Over the last two weeks alone, I’ve had no fewer than eight clients say to me that they’re throwing in the towel as a result of the DOL’s new Fiduciary Rule. “You know what, I’m done. I just don’t have the stomach to go through another reinvention of my business all over again. I successfully made the difficult transition from commission to fee-based business, but now my broker-dealer is going to demand that I jump through all these additional compliance-related tasks…I’m done!” So, what are the repercussions? 

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: DOL ruling

How to Avoid Benchmarking Your Way to Mediocrity

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 11, 2016 4:05:09 PM

Ours is an industry seemingly obsessed with benchmarking – whether it’s the performance of our investment portfolios or the performance of our businesses; we want to know what everyone else is doing. Those things that the majority of firms are doing, we quickly christen as “best practices” and hold them up as models for others to emulate. 

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Business and Operations Management, metrics, how advisors should benchmark their practices

Short-Term Comp = Long-Term Headaches

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 5, 2016 3:17:44 PM

In just the past few weeks alone, I’ve come across no fewer than a half-dozen situations where highly successful advisors suddenly find themselves hamstrung by compensation decisions they made years or even decades earlier. As rapid practice growth (both organic and via acquisition) continues to accelerate, it’s a challenge that I expect will likely touch more and more firm principals in the foreseeable future.

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Business and Operations Management, compensation

Wealth Advisors: What is Your Business Really Worth?

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 3, 2016 2:06:11 PM

Every advisor – whether thinking about selling their firm or not – wants to know the value of their business. It’s simply human nature to be curious about how much your years of sweat equity are really worth. As one of your largest assets, it’s essential for planning purposes to have a clear idea of your practice’s value. So, how much is your wealth management business actually worth?             

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Business and Operations Management, selling your wealth management business

The Biggest Inhibitor to Your Firm's Growth? It May Be You.

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Apr 27, 2016 3:05:50 PM

Frequently when I speak at advisor events, I’ll ask attendees what they believe to be the greatest impediment to their firm’s future growth. More often than not, the smarter advisors in the room hone in on “a lack of capacity.” Yet, many of these very same advisors tend to be their own worst enemy in that regard – by holding on too tightly to the reins of their practice. There’s no getting around the fact that sooner or later, any growth-focused firm that’s overly dependent on its senior advisor or founder is going to have capacity issues. So, what can you do about it?

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Leadership, Team Development, wealth management teams, wealth management advisors

8 Accelerators for Transformational Change

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Apr 12, 2016 11:30:00 AM


I recently came across a terrific older article in the Harvard Business Review that articulated in very specific detail an optimal organizational structure to empower “transformational change.” The author’s underlying premise was that we need to capture some of that quick adaptability and flexibility that enabled our firms to grow rapidly from fledgling start-ups to well-entrenched practices by creating a sense of urgency and focus around a single opportunity.

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Team Development, wealth management teams, wealth management advisors

Creating a Positive Wealth Management Team Culture

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Apr 8, 2016 11:02:52 AM

We focus so much on acquisition, portfolio management, client issues and day-to-day operations that we rarely have time to sit back and take stock of the state of our team. It’s a by-product of the fast-paced business we’re in – and anyway, does corporate culture honestly need to be all that high on your priority list? 

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Leadership, Team Development, team leadership, team coaching, wealth management teams

Don’t Fear the DOL Rule, Embrace It!

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Apr 5, 2016 11:00:00 AM

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Open any financial advisor trade publication these days, and that pretty much sums up the prevailing sentiment. Yet despite all the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands by the assembled talking heads and industry pundits, the essential truth of the matter is that whether you embrace it or struggle against it – change is inevitable.

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: financial advisor value propostition, DOL ruling

Why Your Networking is “not-working!”

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Mar 29, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Whenever I have a conversation with an advisor client about his or her professional advocate network, invariably they begin to discuss the number of client referrals they receive from attorneys and CPAs and their ability to convert those leads into new clients. The problem is, their focus is on a strategic byproduct (referrals) rather than on the primary purpose of building a network in the first place – to better deliver on your client promise to provide holistic wealth management.

While CPAs and attorneys are certainly important components to any advisor’s professional network, far too many begin and end there, overlooking a litany of other important professional service providers.

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: professional advocate, network

How to Justify Your Value So Price Doesn't Matter

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Mar 18, 2016 3:17:23 PM

As the advisor industry continues to churn with speculation regarding the scope and extent of new forthcoming DOL guidance around the transparency of client fees, all indications appear that whatever mandates are called for, will require a significant amount of additional work to implement.

The underlying intent, however, is a noble one – to ensure that financial advisors are being totally transparent about the fees they are charging and the services being provided that comprise those fees. It’s merely another step in the evolution of an industry that has moved from brokerage commissions to asset-based fees. The challenge now lies in providing even greater clarity. 

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Client Engagement, compensation, financial advisor value propostition

Financial Advisor Client Events: Making a Lasting Impression

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Mar 16, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Intimacy and engagement: those are the qualities that separate truly memorable client events from the merely enjoyable; they’re the qualities that resonate at a deeply personal level, strengthen relationship bonds and leave a lasting impression. But how do you go about raising your own client appreciation events from average to amazing?

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Marketing Approach, Client Engagement

How to Master Your Business Financials

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Mar 9, 2016 3:20:33 PM

Revenue is vanity, cash flow is sanity, but cash is king.” It’s an age-old business maxim that too few independent advisors ever fully embrace. As firm owners, many of you have endured personal and financial sacrifices for years in order to establish and grow your practices. It’s only natural to want to enjoy the fruits of your labor when you finally turn a corner and annual profitability continues to rise. The inclination to equate the firm’s net income to your personal income can be strong. In fact, it’s not at all uncommon for advisor owners to be extracting close to 100% of their annual net income out of the business. Unfortunately, that can be a tremendous mistake!

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Business and Operations Management

Team Development Exercises for Wealth Management Advisors

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Mar 3, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Successful wealth management is a team concept and not an independent function. In order for the client’s work to get done, you need a team that willingly engages in the exchange of leadership among themselves. Your team should work together in a manner that evokes meaningful contribution, showcases the strengths of every team member, and advances consistent and effective group decision-making.

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Team Development, team coaching, financial advisor team, wealth management advisors