While working for a large brokerage firm and then building a successful fee-only RIA firm and selling it, there were many lessons that I learned along the way. The one constant lesson is that the client always wins.
I have read about and have heard many firms talk about growth through mergers and acquisitions, but if you lose sight of the client along the way, you could be fighting a losing battle. If you are a seller or a buyer, the contracts you sign are only between you and the other party. Clients will seek out what is best for them and their goals. Don’t get this confused, as it may not necessarily be about the price, but the overall value.
Consider starting your day with this thought process: Is your team giving their utmost to ensure they’re taking care of clients? Are you constantly looking for opportunities that provide clients solutions to simplify their lives and give them peace of mind as their trusted advisor? Can everyone at your firm accurately describe your value proposition? As your firm continues to grow organically or through mergers and acquisitions, it is imperative to ensure your entire team is sharing the same story. This necessitates more than training employees to become robotic with their words and actions – there should be passion and empathy in managing the wealth of clients and all that it entails.
Being a fee-only registered investment advisor requires firms to act in the best interests of clients; otherwise, what is separating you from a commissioned broker that is only required to simply know the client? Firms can handcuff employees with non-compete clauses, but you can’t handcuff clients. So remember: the client always wins.