Keep your advisory firm alive and prosperous

By: Tim Welsh

At the recent Pershing Advisor Elite Summit, Mark Tibergien and Kim Dellarocca, authors of The Enduring Advisory Firm: How to Serve Your Clients More Effectively and Operate More Efficiently, shared insights from the research that went into the development of their practice management book.

On management challenges:

When approaching management problems, Tibergien recommended: “(Do) not repeat the same myths over and over again.  Instead, let’s take the prevailing wisdom and turn it upside down to get at the real issues.”

Using this approach, Tibergien addressed the misconception that firms are experiencing price compression from industry forces.

“Anyone feeling price compression has the wrong value proposition,” Tibergien said. “For advisors who are focusing on the correct value proposition, they are able to increase fees as investors are willing to pay for non-commoditized advice, financial planning, and true wealth navigation.”

In a similar vein, Tibergien and Dellarocca examined the common perception that employees of the rising generation are “worthless.”

“This is absolutely not true. These employees just have different working styles and are in fact quite productive if you manage them differently,” said Dellarocca.

On strategic planning

Tibergien and Dellarocca both embrace a “zoom in, zoom out” approach to better understand management challenges and industry macro trends.

“When you zoom out on the fate of the industry, we are set to lose 50,000 advisors over the next decade due to retirements,” said Tibergien. “However, when we zoom in on addressing these issues, we see lots of activity around nurturing the next generation of advisors through programs by the CFP Board, the FPA, and the custodians to grow the next crop of advisor.”

On industry consolidation:

Based on his research and analysis, Tibergien believes there will be significant consolidation in the industry over the next 10 years.

“There will be about 10-12 large, national firms that have physical presence across the country. Additionally, there will be 50-60 super regional firms that dominate their geographic markets,” Tibergien predicted.

In regards to boutique firms, Tibergien envisions that there will be room for this type of business model, e.g. firms that serve a dedicated, niche market.

“If you can design a service model that is optimized for your clients’ unique needs, or have a technical superiority, then you can create a firm that does very well.”

On optimizing the client experience:

In order to optimize the client experience, Dellarocca’s research pointed to the idea that there is a “client journey of signature moments” that can be mapped out by firms. This journey begins by firms nurturing the relationship until the prospects become a client.

“If you can solve a problem for a prospect before they become a client, then you will be in a great position to be able to convert them down the road,” stated Dellarocca.

On building an enduring firm:

Tibergien and Dellarocca conclude that the key to successfully building an enduring firm is the ability to: “translate vision into action. It’s not enough just to have the big ideas, but you also need the capacity to do things in order to succeed.”

For more information, read The Enduring Advisory Firm: How to Serve Your Clients More Effectively and Operate More Efficiently.

To learn more about how Black Diamond® from SS&C Advent can help you have technology that supports an enduring advisory firm, please contact or visit