This post was authored by Shawn Waltz, the Mid-Atlantic regional director for Dunham. If you have questions concerning today's topic, please call us at (858) 964 - 0500. Hold us to a higher standard.

My name is Shawn Waltz, Mid-Atlantic regional director for Dunham. For those unfamiliar with Dunham, we are a unique asset manager that compensates our institutional sub-advisers based on their ability to beat their benchmark net of their fees. We also have a Corporate Trustee division, which can help you manage and retain large pools of assets. If you are looking for cost-effective ways to grow your business or ways to create efficiencies in a non-growth mode toward a more profitable exit strategy, you should gain something out of this article. I have been working as a regional director for 12 years, spent 2 years as an internal wholesaler, and, prior to that, was a registered representative at an insurance/broker-dealer firm. In that time I have come across many challenges and solutions to those challenges. So what is the Advisor’s Curse? I once heard a detective say there is a detectives’ curse. The curse is that the solution to the crime was right under the detective’s nose, but she could not solve the case. I feel this same scenario can be a financial advisor’s curse. Advisors spend a lot of time prospecting new people, but the business growth may be right within their own business. This leads an advisor to ultimately lose sight of retention, cross sales, and referral opportunities. What I am going to share are some ideas and success stories to generate business and make your current business more profitable. I have gathered these ideas through 12 years of week-in-and-week-out advisor meetings, multiple advanced designations, books, and my own creative ideas. Lastly, I will leave you with a call to action towards implementation of these ideas.

Advisor’s Challenge: Clients were in a distribution phase, thus reducing fee revenue and also losing assets when the clients passed. We have all seen the studies; 90% of heirs leave their parents’ financial advisors and 78% of widowed spouses leave the advisor.  The problem was trying to retain the money when it passed to the heirs. The advisor implemented a plan to call heirs of older A and B clients twice a year to check on their health. The result led to an increased retention rate when clients passed, because the beneficiaries knew the advisor and viewed him as caring about their family members. Something unexpected also occurred - the heirs grew to know and respect the loved ones’ advisor, and not only did the advisor retain the passed money, but many heirs became clients on their personal investment and insurance needs. Trusts can also help retain heirs and this is an area where Dunham can help. We are an advisor-friendly trust company and want you to manage the money while we handle the trust administration. This can make assets sticky across generations.

Advisor’s Challenge: Only landing clients close with age proximity, stages of life, and similar interests. The solution is having a diversified team. For example; experienced advisor, junior advisor, and at least one female advisor on that team. I worked with a team of 3 advisors that fit the mold above. They had every demographic covered. They would tell you that one, plus one, plus one, equaled more than three. I also worked with a multimillion-dollar producer who had a high retention rate of widows (which most times were the wife - sorry guys), but they would not always take his recommendations on changes. However, after he brought in a female junior advisor, the widows started to listen. That is because clients tend to want to work with people of similar age groups and sometimes genders. Also, consider this for life balance. If you have partners, you can have more flexibility to make family events and take a non-working vacation.

Advisor’s Challenge: Clients view you as only offering one service. Anyone ever have an investment client tell them they bought a life insurance policy or annuity from someone else? I ask this question and advisors’ eyes light up. The solution can be awareness. Do you have a brochure/website with a menu that tells clients about all of your services and solutions? I once had an advisor show me his brochure and simply ask this question: Do you and your family need any of these services? I had been in need of more disability insurance for quite some time and ended up buying a policy. Dunham Marketing has created a brochure template that can easily help you create a brochure. This is something I can share in a meeting. I have numerous other ideas I would like to share, but thought I would save them for a part 2 or possibly 3 of the article. For all the readers and Dunham users, thank you, we appreciate your readership and your business. For any prospects, I encourage you to reach for and/or take a meeting offer. At Dunham we have many Investment and Trust solutions that are unique and different. We also pride ourselves on finding your business challenges and coming up with solutions.  Thanks again, and stay tuned for my next blog article.

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Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc. is a Registered Investment Adviser and Broker/Dealer. Member FINRA / SIPC.
Advisory services and securities offered through Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc. Trust services offered through Dunham Trust Company, an affiliated Nevada Trust Company.
Dunham Trust Company is a privately held trust company founded in August, 1999. It is licensed and regulated by the State of Nevada, Department of Business and Industry, Financial Institutions Division. Dunham Trust Company and Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc. are affiliated entities.
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