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How is the the Advisor Industry adapting to current global economic conditions?

Veteran

Nik Smith Garden City, NY

My question is as we are all living through unprecedented times with regards to how the world Cultures may be changed directionally affecting the percentages of what makes up the core of a Country's GDP for a seemingly unpredictably extended period of time (and in some cases permanent shifts), how is the Advisor Industry adapting to these changes? Are there any tenets that are being leaned on that are working for strategies, client acquisition and retention? Are there emerging practices? What is the environment like currently and what are the general expectations going forward? Thank you for you time.

26 June 2020 3 replies Career Exploration

Answers

Advisor

A. Andra Grava Allen, TX

My 2 cents.

I am a General Agent with 35 years of experience who wholesales through close to 1000 agents across the country. We sell Disability Insurance as our primary specialty but also handle Life, annuities, critical illness. I have a series 7, 24 and 66 so I manage people selling all types of securities and performing fee based planning and wealth management.

Even with record unemployment, sales and fees are up. Those who are highly compensated, professionals, executives, self employed, entrepreneurial and high net worth, all need advice and the products we provide. Whether the market is up or down or volatile, people will want someone knowledgeable and honest that they can trust to help them on the right path. That path will include risk based products for the unexpected tragedies of life and investments for future growth, security or legacy.

There will be an increased use of FinTech related products to provide these services and delivery as the number of financial advisors has been shrinking and the next generation of consumers ( Y & Z) are growing and maturing. The opportunities in this field will be similar to what they were when I entered in the mid 80's with the wave of boomers raising families and starting on their path to retirement.

The increase in regulation from DOL, SEC, FINRA will place a cost on services as best interest and fiduciary documentation (and avoidance of future lawsuits) will become more prevalent. This is a highly regulated industry contrary to popular belief. Carriers and Investment companies cannot "gouge" the public and all products are approved by regulatory authority (federal or state). If fees are required some may not purchase needed coverage because they see the cost as "too high" where had it been a commission they would not have hesitated. You don't ask the car dealership what they make on each car or the retail store what their mark up is, yet we think that fees create a more honest advisor. Fact is study after study that fee vs. commission the advice appropriateness for the client is equal. Like any industry a few bad apples can always spoil or taint the barrel.

I will also say that buying "online" does not save you money. Again the products are regulated with set commissions. If you apply online-someone still receives the same commission as if they worked with you in person or over the phone. You probably get a worse deal since there is no advice and the online rate is often cheapest available - not most appropriate or even what you, the client may qualify.

Again, my opinions. I welcome a dialog if you wish to discuss.
Andra Grava

Advisor

Louis Schwarz Somerville, NJ

From my prospective, thing will evolve to a pure pay for performance model. Compensation will be base rate and bonus based on performance and business success. Company administration foot prints will shrink. There will be renewed focus on new cloud based paperless systems to support a virtual workforce and a virtual work process.
Individuals will have many jobs as company needs change. The employment model will be a reflection of the consulting model, hire staff as needed and reduce staff as required.
This is a exciting time and performance will be the key. Niching will be gone. Lifetime jobs with the same company are over. Diversity, adaptability and flexibility will be a key success factor for everyone, as they are now. Dependence on your ability to provide for your future will be a very important skill.
Have fun everyone and let's put points on the board.. The need will be for staff who can lead companies into this new model.

Advisor

Maggie DeShazor Washington, DC

Hi Nik -

We are most definitely in an evolutionary time, which all clients and companies such as Deloitte have to adapt to. I'm not sure I can speak to specific tenets, especially because I think the approach to these changes and adaptations implemented to either mitigate risk or increase or even maintain efficiency and effectiveness can be vastly different among the different services we provide to our clients, and our operation as a company. Things like transitioning our work to the current almost 100% virtual environment, availability and access to information, performance analysis in current circumstances, and pure service delivery all have to be addressed. I think the overarching response is we are continuing to analyze and address the specific challenges our clients and potential clients are facing, as well as challenges they may face, to help them mitigate risk, maintain and improve programs, performance, and overall operation.

As I say that, I know that sounds obvious, but in reality I think that's our purpose as an Advisory and Consulting firm, so we continue on! At the same time, I think the current circumstances have really opened my eyes/our eyes/our clients' eyes to the possibilities of the future in performance and operation. As a silver lining, things that may have been seen as unnecessary and therefore not worth the attempt became required in the current times, so it gives us a chance to look at all possibilities and figure out the best way forward.

I hope this very general, unspecific answer helped! Happy to continue the conversation if you would like to message me separately.

Thank you for your service and participation with us today!

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