The ClientWise Blog

Ray Sclafani

Recent Posts

Best Practices in Creating a Distributed Workforce

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jul 29, 2020 11:00:00 AM

When it comes to returning to the workplace, there’s no shortage of conflicting viewpoints in the marketplace in general – nor among advisors and their teams in particular. I’ve spoken with more than a few firm founders who have told me, “I’m never going back into a 9-5 office environment. I get way more done, more quickly and efficiently, working remotely without all the interruptions.” And I hear the same thing from many team members who love the fact that they get back two hours of time every day that they otherwise would spend commuting.

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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, distributing workforce

Why and When Should You Hire a COO?

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jul 22, 2020 2:11:47 PM

If you’re like most successful firm founders, you’re probably either a tremendous relationship manager, rainmaker and/or investment technician. And as your firm has gradually grown, you’ve been able to acquire enough business management skills to get by. But is business management truly your passion; not to mention an area where you want to devote a significant portion of your time and effort?

The unintended consequence of success in acquiring new clients and assets is the time needed to provide them with the advice and guidance they seek; all while efficiently running a business that performs the underlying technical work required. Once you reach a level of about $5MM in revenue, it’s time to earnestly consider onboarding a professional business manager for your firm. Why make the shift at this particular stage in your growth?

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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

Curated Content for Financial Leaders (Week of July 20)

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jul 17, 2020 4:52:36 PM

 
 
Each of these important articles and podcasts have been thoughtfully curated, timely, and helpful for you and your team.

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

Topics: Leadership, Crisis

Curated Content for Financial Leaders (Week of July 13)

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jul 10, 2020 11:11:00 AM

 
 
Each of these important articles and podcasts have been thoughtfully curated, timely, and helpful for you and your team.

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

Topics: Leadership, Crisis

Coaching? Now? Are you serious?

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jul 9, 2020 2:15:42 PM

You’re the CEO of a successful RIA. You’ve grown the business from a fledgling operation to a thriving firm with a talented team of skilled planning and investment professionals serving hundreds of clients and managing hundreds of millions (or in some instances billions) in assets. So, why in the world would you possibly need to engage a professional coach?

Have you ever wondered why most Fortune 500 CEOs have an executive leadership coach? The answer is perhaps best summarized by Jack Welch’s oft-cited quote: “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.

With the onset of COVID-19, we’ve entered truly uncharted waters. Given the ongoing disruption to your business, how are you altering the ways in which you actively develop people? How are you building and managing interdependent accountability structures such as OKRs?

As the owner of an advisory firm, your most important job is to cultivate relationships with clients. But right after that, is your responsibility to develop the people on your team. Unfortunately, however, there’s no formal education that really teaches you how to do the latter.

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

Topics: Coaching, RIAs

Online Collaboration Tools

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jul 1, 2020 4:53:59 PM

Bringing the best out in your team during challenging times.

While compliance requirements may limit some financial advisory firms from using certain technologies, online collaboration tools have quickly gone from useful conveniences to mission critical applications in a matter of weeks. From Zoom video conferencing to DropBox file sharing, Google Docs collaborative editing, Basecamp project management, and WorkBoard OKR software, advisors are relying more and more heavily on collaborative tools to keep your businesses running efficiently.

As we all collectively go through a process of totally reinventing our workplace, processes and service delivery models – with a clear understanding that working virtually will most likely be a long-term rather than a short-term solution – it’s going to become increasingly critical to facilitate and streamline team communications.

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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, Team Development, Team Engagement

Curated Content for Financial Leaders (Week of June 29)

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jun 26, 2020 3:56:58 PM

 
 
Each of these important articles and podcasts have been thoughtfully curated, timely, and helpful for you and your team.

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

Topics: Leadership, Crisis

8 Essential Qualities of Successful NextGen Leaders

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jun 24, 2020 4:11:47 PM

At ClientWise, we talk at great length about the critical importance of cultivating the NextGen owners and partners who will guide your firm into the future. It’s not only vital to realizing the full value of your business when the time comes to exit, but more importantly, it’s a critical aspect of your fiduciary duty – a commitment to ensuring the continuity of care for clients who have entrusted you to protect their financial future.

Succession planning remains a topic of great concern and considerable discussion within the advisory community. You undoubtedly have seen numerous research studies highlighting the widespread neglect of succession planning in the profession – the dangers this poses not just to the individual firm owners, but to the profession as a whole. The lack of path between the current generation of financial advisory firm owners and those behind them is nothing short of an alarming crisis.

But where do you start? What exactly should you be looking for when hiring and identifying the future leaders 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: Team Development, Succession Planning, team leadership

Curated Content for Financial Leaders (Week of June 22)

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jun 19, 2020 4:18:09 PM

 
 
Each of these important articles and podcasts have been thoughtfully curated, timely, and helpful for you and your team.

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

Topics: Leadership, Crisis

Managing your OWN fear and uncertainty

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jun 17, 2020 2:00:00 PM

If you’re not experiencing any; you’re not human!

Assuming you’ve ventured onto ThinkAdvisor, FA-Mag, InvestmentNews or any one of the many other online information resources for financial advisors over the past couple of months, you’ve no doubt seen a barrage of articles about managing and coaching clients through times of crisis. Everywhere you look there’s guidance, best practices and tips on how to quell client fears, keep them focused on long-term goals, and remain committed to their financial plans.

But what about YOUR fears, anxieties and uncertainties?

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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, client appreciation

Curated Content for Financial Leaders (Week of June 15)

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jun 12, 2020 3:30:00 PM

 
 
Each of these important articles and podcasts have been thoughtfully curated, timely, and helpful for you and your team.

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

Topics: Leadership, Crisis

Moving the Right Financial Levers

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jun 4, 2020 11:31:20 AM

Moving the Right Financial Levers

Avoid permanent outcomes to temporary problems

Unlike countless retail, manufacturing and hospitality businesses, financial advisors should likely emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown in comparatively decent financial shape. Certainly, some clients may become more judicious as to how they utilize your services. Conversely, though, many self-directed investors who’ve enjoyed more than a decade of steadily rising markets may now begin gravitating to professional advisors.

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

Topics: Crisis, financial stimulus, employee retention

Curated Content for Financial Leaders (Week of June 1)

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 29, 2020 2:09:20 PM

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

Topics: Crisis

Gauging your clients’ confidence

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 22, 2020 2:37:18 PM

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

Topics: Communication, Client Engagement

The Anatomy of a Client Review

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 18, 2020 10:00:00 AM

By now, you’ve reached out to check-in with all of your clients – apprising them as to your operating plan during the pandemic, as well as addressing any initial fears and concerns they might have about the state of their financial plan, short-term liquidity needs or other financial matters. But the longer COVID-19 continues, and the longer people are sheltering in place, the key question that often arises is “how do I go back to my clients and structure follow-up conversations with them that provide genuine value?”

In this current environment, the importance of getting your team to coalesce around a common structure of how to thoughtfully “meet” with clients simply can’t be overstated. People are nervous, unsure of the future and desperately looking for both reassurance and a sense of hope. At ClientWise, we advocate employing the following structure (in the specific order presented) in order to get the most out of your conversations with clients during this unprecedented time.

  1. Are you okay? – start each call by checking-in on their life and how they’re coping. Make sure you show your clients that you personally KNOW them. Rather than “how are the kids and how is your wife,” be more specific…”how did Caroline and Michael handle completing the school year online? Is Karen able to work from home? Are you two able to find ways to relax and de-stress?” This not only helps better demonstrate that you value the relationship, but it enables you to connect with your clients at a deeper, more personal and emotional level.
  2. I’m okay! – it’s important to communicate how you are to alleviate any unspoken questions or concerns the client may have. “I’m exercising, eating well, getting good sleep and feeling sharp and attentive.” We all know that this pandemic will eventually pass, but the longer it goes on, the bigger an issue mental health will become. Extended isolation can lead to depression and even PTSD. So, take a little time to reassure your clients that you’re active, engaged and positive.
  3. Our team is okay! – your business is more than just you. Clients need to have a strong level of confidence that the team that serves them is also functioning on all cylinders. “Here’s how we’re operating and functioning remotely…this is how we’re staying connected with morning huddles, etc.” Communicate specific details to show that the team is networked and operating well. And touch on specifics to show them how cybersecurity and information security are still being carefully maintained. Download our ClientWise Connect and Support Check-In™ tool to help you foster closer connections with your team and determine how you can all better communicate.
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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