Envestnet was kind enough to invite me to participate in a panel discussion last week at their Advisor Summit in Chicago.  The topic was “Growing Your Firm’s Top Line Through The Headwinds.”

I arrived to the session with prepared remarks in line with our M&A support services, as well as our operations and technology consulting services for existing RIAs.  I had talking points around the need for a scalable technology infrastructure, in order to optimize organic or inorganic growth opportunities.

Early in the session, an audience member asked a question about common organic growth strategies, and my planned remarks went out the window…I challenged the 100+ RIA advisors in attendance when I pointed out that the business development strategy for most RIA advisors is, “I try to answer my phone by the third ring.”

I explained to the audience that wirehouse advisors are not afraid to pick up the phone and call strangers.  Wirehouse advisors also don’t just ask for referrals, they ask their satisfied clients if they can use their name when calling and speaking with prospects.  Once they’ve been given approval, advisors will attack their clients’ networks with full force.  Instead of one successful referral, this strategy can result in successful prospective clients from as many people as the advisor is willing to call.

The point I was trying to circle back to is much has been made of the cultural differences between advisors in the RIA and wirehouse channels.  Many RIAs fear that incorporating a wirehouse advisor into their firm may compromise their hard-earned culture.

This argument is as stereotypical as saying, “You can’t hire any Millennials because every one of them feels entitled and expects a trophy at the end of the day.”  There are plenty of hard-working Millennials who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do the necessary work to climb the corporate ladder.

There are plenty of client-centric, fiduciary-minded advisors currently residing in the wirehouse community that would make tremendous additions to any RIA.  These advisors bring a strong business development skill set that can turbo-charge growth and define the sales culture in your organization.  Wirehouse advisors are rapidly feeling disenfranchised from their ever-changing management structure and payout economics, making them a growing source of new talent in a talent-starved industry.

If you are contemplating the addition of a wirehouse advisor into your firm and need guidance on the nuances of the onboarding process, feel free to contact PFI Advisors.  We can help with the language barrier between wirehouse terminology and “RIA speak,” client transition issues, and ways to educate and train these advisors on RIA best practices.

*PFI Advisors does not actively source acquisition or merger candidates/targets.

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