We hear it from advisors all the time: “Things are far from perfect, but we’re keeping our heads down and waiting to see what happens next.”
All too often, advisors adopt a “wait and see” attitude that puts them in a holding pattern. They’re literally waiting for the next shoe to drop, then reacting or tucking their head even lower. The problem with that behavior is that it puts the control of your career into someone else’s hands. That’s when you could end up making a rash decision with limited knowledge or digging yourself in so deep that inertia takes hold, leaving you feeling stuck and miserable.
Am I saying it’s time to run for the door? Not at all. Actually, I firmly believe that you should stay where you are as long as you’re able to grow your business and serve your clients to the best of your ability. It’s OK to keep your head down and forge ahead, provided that you’re paying attention to changes that could disrupt the status quo.
As The World Turns
The industry landscape looks very different than it did just a few years ago. Advisors need to be aware of these six points:
- If you haven’t looked lately, you’ll likely be surprised at how services for advisors and their clients have changed. Not all firms are created equal, so get educated about what each has to offer.
- An expanded landscape offers more legitimate options outside of the traditional space, with independence in a variety of forms. For those who want to be independent but don’t want to build a business from scratch, a whole cottage industry has been born for the breakaway advisor.
- There’s a new category of disruptive boutique firms—think First Republic Wealth Management and J.P. Morgan Securities—that have become really interesting homes for advisors who want to be partners with all the benefits of independence, but don’t want to build a firm from scratch.
- Despite the negative messages that circulate the industry, it is indeed a seller’s market. Advisors with high-quality, growing businesses still hold all the cards.
- While it appears as though wirehouses are not recruiting, they’re very much open for business. Even firms like Morgan Stanley and UBS, the first firms to pull out of the protocol, are paying aggressive deals for the right advisors.
- Realize that “stuck” is a choice. So even if you owe money back to your firm or have an advisor on your team who signed off on a retiring advisor program, there are always options.
Living in a “status quo state” is certainly not uncommon, nor is it an issue for many advisors, provided they’re clear about why the present state is “good enough.” But if inertia has you trapped with your head down on your desk and your hands covering your ears—ignoring what’s going on around you—that’s a problem.
If you still believe that where you sit is the right place for you and your clients after getting up to speed, then stay. Just do so with the realization that the landscape continues to evolve around you.
Mindy Diamond is President & CEO of Diamond Consultants in Morristown, N.J., a nationally recognized boutique search and consulting firm in the financial services industry.