Monday, July 15, 2024

How to Choose the Best Firm Partner for Your Advisory Business

How to Choose the Best Firm Partner for Your Advisory Business


Financial advisors rely on their relationship with their firm partner for a variety of functions, from back-office support to practice management guidance and more. But there’s a difference between a firm that provides one-size-fits-all service and one that allows you to elevate and grow your advisory business on your terms.

If you’re considering making a move—especially if you’re moving from a wirehouse or employee model to the world of independence—choosing the best firm partner means looking beyond a big name, shiny sign-on bonus, and slick marketing. While these are attractive short-term benefits, finding the right partner who aligns with your vision and goals will set you up for long-term success.

Unsure where to start? Ask yourself the following questions to help you find the best firm partner for you, your advisory business, and your clients.

Do the Firm’s Values and Culture Align with Your Own?

Start by examining your personal and professional goals using these guiding questions:

  • Do you want the freedom to provide your clients with more creative and customized solutions?

  • Do you want to focus on holistic financial planning rather than chasing the stock market?

  • Is having the autonomy to make business decisions a new priority?

Beyond the services you receive, the best firm partner will have a corporate philosophy and culture that supports the business you’re building and who you are as an advisor.

How will you know? If you have an opportunity to visit the home office, pay close attention to how you and your staff are treated and how home office staff interact with one another. Look for prompt and transparent replies to your questions, open access to leadership, and a collegial environment—all seemingly small things that reveal a bigger picture. Talk to other advisors—both recently transitioned and those who have been around a while—to get to know the community of professionals you’d be joining.

The Commonwealth difference. Commonwealth is a privately held company built on quality, community, and a commitment to an advisor-centric culture. Our close-knit community, combined with the resources, technology, and flexibility you need to run a modern-day firm, makes us a unique choice.

The support network within Commonwealth is unlike anything I could have possibly imagined. . . . [They have] the culture and the resources to make my firm and the client experience exactly how I want.

Matt Ramer, MOR Wealth Managementwith Commonwealth since 2013

How Can the Firm Help Your Business Today—and Tomorrow?

Financial advisors want a firm partner with the heft, scale, and tools to help them run and grow their business. At the same time, the ever-changing landscape of the financial services industry has created a need for broker/dealers to be able to pivot as regulations or technology evolve. As you interview potential firm partners, ask how changes are implemented and request real-world examples of how they embrace change and evolution. Perhaps most importantly, find out how advisor feedback influences important firm decisions.

How will you know? Find opportunities for affiliated advisors to provide their feedback and ask how that feedback is triaged, acted on, and listened to. Are you sending an email to a general inbox, or do you have direct access to the firm’s CEO? How much input do advisors have with the technology tools and resources offered? Look for a firm that values your suggestions and builds infrastructure with advisors in mind.

The Commonwealth difference. Commonwealth has built a culture of accessible communication and transparency. With direct access to our support teams and senior leaders, you can rest assured that we not only listen to your feedback but act on it.

Our Feedback Forum allows advisors and their staff to submit questions, comments, and recommendations on how we can improve our current offerings. Users can even upvote others’ ideas to move enhancements higher up on the list. Our subject matter experts monitor this tool and typically respond to or escalate concerns within 24 hours.

Past examples of suggestions-turned-reality include upgrades to our mobile check deposit tool, digital onboarding process, and CRM education materials.

What Do Support and Service Really Look Like?

From day-to-day operations like opening accounts, communicating with your clients, or navigating compliance questions and technology issues, how does the firm’s advisor support stack up? How will the firm’s policies help you run your business more efficiently, and how does it put time back into your day?

The Commonwealth difference. We proudly offer a 2:1 advisor-to-staff ratio*, which allows us to get to know the ins and outs of your business on a more personal level. Our commonsense approach to interpreting regulations allows you to run your firm with confidence. And our outsourced business solutions—from marketing support to managed portfolios—help you achieve scale, giving you more time to spend with clients.

As an advisor, your perspective uniquely shapes your firm. So, why settle for cookie-cutter service when choosing the best firm partner? Whether you’re a solo advisor, part of a team, or running an enterprise practice, Commonwealth provides the support and resources your advisory business needs. Explore our advisor solutions to learn how we help advisors like you evolve, grow, and streamline your practice.

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* As of 12/31/23





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