The ClientWise Blog

When’s The Right Time to Sell Your Business?

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Sep 27, 2016 11:50:00 AM

A mere 3% of today’s advisors have a written continuity plan to protect their business (and more importantly their clients’ best interests) in the event of their death or disability. Fewer than one in three (31%) advisors age 60 or older have a formal written succession plan in place. For a profession that prides itself on planning and preparing clients for the future, most of you are doing a pretty horrible job when it comes to planning your own.

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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, Succession Planning

Finding the Right Buyer for Your Business

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Sep 20, 2016 3:45:00 PM

We’ve all seen the statistics that there are roughly 30-50 buyers lined up for every advisory practice that comes onto the market. It certainly seems to bode well for those advisors either beginning to contemplate an exit strategy or well down the road towards identifying a potential buyer. It’s critical to understand that very often the “right” acquirer for your business is NOT the apparent highest bidder on paper. 

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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

Benchmarking the Beach House

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Sep 7, 2016 11:29:23 AM


As an industry, we’ve made great strides over the years towards aligning compensation with client interests – steadily migrating from transaction-based to fee-based models. With the implementation date for the DOL Fiduciary Rule looming on the horizon, that pendulum will continue to swing even further. However, are asset-based fees truly the BEST approach to compensation?

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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, Client Engagement, DOL ruling, DOL Fiduciary Ruling

Is Your Kid the Right Succession Plan for Your Business?

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jun 15, 2016 4:17:02 PM

Perhaps no generation is as misunderstood as millennials – the people who represent the future of our financial services business. We tend to haphazardly paint their ranks with an incredibly broad brush as self-centered narcissists, lacking all manners in social skills as a result of growing up behind a computer screen.

Spend any considerable amount of time with these 20-somethings, however, and you quickly begin to realize how socially-aware, compassionate and relationship-oriented so many of them are. They simply have a different approach to communicating and engaging than previous generations.

But what if that millennial is your own kid, and possibly the future leader of your firm?

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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, Succession Planning

Top 10 Secrets of the Best Financial Advisors in the Business

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jun 2, 2016 12:39:32 PM

What is that “secret sauce” that enables Advisor A to take a $10MM AUM solo practice and build it into a $1+ billion multi-advisor business, while Advisor B with the same intellect and credentials struggles to surpass the $25MM mark? It’s a question that, given my unique opportunity to work with hundreds of advisors across a diverse array of practice types, I get asked at least a handful of times nearly every day.

 

 

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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, coaching for financial advisors

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

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

How Much is that Advisor in the Window?

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

Perhaps more than any other industry, the financial advisory business is keenly attuned to benchmarks. You carefully watch major indices, craft investment portfolios to mirror or exceed certain benchmarks, and comb through the latest economic reports for signals. It’s only natural, therefore, when it comes to compensation most advisors would look to benchmarks in hopes of comparing their firm to what their peers are doing.

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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

Pt 1. Elevate Your Financial Advisor Business Plan

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Dec 10, 2015 3:58:40 PM

You spend your days counseling clients as to the critical importance of careful and proper planning. Yet a great many of you either don’t have a business plan, or haven’t revised and updated it since you first started practicing. So ask yourselves a few questions: Does your firm today look identical to how it looked on Day One? Do you have the exact same service offering, same team members and same assets under management? More importantly, do you expect and desire the firm to evolve over the next five years?

Commit to making a fresh start to 2016 by dusting off your old business plan, meaningfully revising it, and actually using it for its intended purpose – a roadmap for your business. If you never actually wrote a business plan for your practice, it’s not too late to start. And it can be a tremendous opportunity to actively engage your team members in helping to shape your future firm. 

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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, Business Development

Laying to Rest the Ghost that Haunts your Team

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Oct 30, 2015 4:34:36 PM

Many people mistakenly look at the world and think that what they see is reality. In fact, what they see is merely their perception of reality. Unfortunately, these perceptions often evolve into restrictive limiting beliefs, coloring our views about how the world works and preventing us from reaching our full potential.

Like a virus, these limiting beliefs can quickly spread throughout your team and become collective beliefs. In his book “What got you here won’t get you there,” Marshall Goldsmith makes a strong case that there are a handful of workplace habits (e.g., negativity, clinging to the past, failing to adapt or embrace change) that tend to keep successful people and teams from making the next big leap forward.

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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

Valuing Your Business Goes Far Beyond Revenue Multiples

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Oct 22, 2015 3:52:52 PM

There’s a big difference between buying a book of business and buying a business. Acquiring a business doesn’t just require an assumption of client relationships; it necessitates a transfer of trust – something that can’t be measured using factors and formulas.

The days of calculating an advisory firm's value by simply multiplying its annual revenues by some magical multiplier (usually 2.1x or 2.3x) are an anachronism. As M&A in the financial advisory space has evolved, both buyers and sellers have become much more savvy about a host of ancillary considerations that can dramatically impact a firm’s tangible value.

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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, Business Development, Selling

What’s Your Strategic Employee Onboarding Plan?

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Sep 22, 2015 2:52:00 PM

For the vast majority of financial advisors, building a business begins with anything but a strategic growth and onboarding plan. They start out as a jack-of-all-trades; perhaps with annual AUM goals and corresponding planned increases in head count, but allow the business to grow organically and haphazardly. As demand begins to consistently exceed capacity in a certain functional area, they bring on new people and skill sets (perhaps a new relationship management person, a portfolio manager, or an operations manager) to offload some of their responsibilities to.

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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, enterprise value

What We Know About “The Best” Financial Advisors

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jul 22, 2015 1:51:00 PM

 


Great success doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It’s difficult to achieve and takes patience, time, and focus. While many advisers in varying situations can experience success, there are several traits commonly held by the best of the best. We’ve had the honor to witness many of these traits first-hand, through our work with the top financial professionals in the industry today. Here’s what we’ve observed:graph

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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, Business Development, Learning