Over the past year, we've published articles written with one purpose in mind: to help independent financial advisors be successful. As 2022 comes to a close, we rounded up our top 10 most-viewed blogs published this year. From designing a website that will convert to implementing processes to scale your firm, this list is loaded with one helpful resource after another to send you into the new year.
Enjoy, and happy reading!
#1. Moving Beyond “Fee-Only” by Building an “Advice-Only” Firm
As the business of financial advice continues to evolve, so too do the service models and compensation structures that advisors offer. With regulatory changes driving advisors to rein in their fees along with clients yearning for more holistic fiduciary advice, it’s becoming increasingly imperative that entrepreneurial-minded advisors are focused on building firms that ensure their interests align with their clients’.
We’ve also witnessed over the years the evolution of fee structures, with “advice-only” now emerging as an increasingly viable advisor offering. The advice-only fee model was designed to support clients who prefer to be hands-on while virtually eliminating all of the conflicts of interest found in previous fee models. But what really makes a firm “advice only?” How can one profitably structure an advice-only model? How should you determine whether advice-only is ultimately the right path for your firm?
#2. 5 Investment Management Options To Consider When Launching Your RIA
Thinking is free. This is something I occasionally like to remind the entrepreneurs I work with when I begin to sense someone slipping into a mild (or not-so-mild) panic over the seemingly endless list of things to figure out and decisions to make when starting a business. After working with small business owners for over a decade, I am no stranger to the pressure so many people feel to get their ducks in a row, launch, and grow as quickly as possible.
One of the most common questions we hear from advisors interested in starting their own RIA is “What are my options for investment management?” I can tell you as a soon-to-be business school graduate that the general discourse in both academia and the start-up world is that there is no amount of research and planning that you can do to guarantee success. You just have to pull the trigger and make adjustments after each shot you take. I agree with this sentiment generally, but thinking about what services you do and do not want to offer clients and which custodian to work with are not decisions to trivialize when starting an RIA.
#3. When to Say No As an Advisor: Why a No Opens the Door to a Better Yes
We live in a “yes, and” society, where saying no is often accompanied by apologies and guilt. You may find yourself serving clients you aren’t crazy about, offering engagements you don’t enjoy, or perhaps even charging in a way you don’t want to. You won’t build a business you love if you let everyone “should” on you, so you need to learn how and when you get to say no.
Almost every planner I work with has gotten into this business to help people. Often, within the XYPN community, it is to help people traditionally left behind by the finance industry. Being in the minority of the industry leads to being “shoulded" upon” by other colleagues, and to having a very large pool of prospective clients who are not being served. You are so busy being told “no” by old-school planners and regulators that you can often hesitate to say no even when it will help you.
To build the business you want and serve people in a way that honors why you started your own RIA, you need to know when to say no. By saying no you can be saying yes to a healthier, happier business life. The better you get at saying no when appropriate, the more opportunities you will find to say yes.
#4. The 4 Most Important Pages on an RIA Website and Tips to Maximize Each
Websites are important. In fact, a whopping 98% of consumers say a firm’s website is an important factor when choosing their financial advisor, according to a recent eMoney survey.
When I saw this nearly-100% statistic, I wasn’t surprised. This number simply quantifies an anecdote I’ve seen for nearly six years as the Marketing Coach at XY Planning Network. Websites matter. Firms with great websites are more likely to be doing well with their marketing, and firms who invest in their website development are more likely to be satisfied with its ability to bring in leads. But what makes a website great? And what pages do consumers truly care about?
#5. 8 Simple Tips to Optimize Tax Planning as an Advisor
Tax planning refers to the analysis of an individual's financial situation with the intent of receiving the maximum amount of tax breaks and minimizing their liabilities, which is another way of staying tax efficient. A tax plan should be an essential part of an individual's financial plan to analyze and prepare for present and future financial situations as the purpose of tax planning is to reduce the amount of tax liability and maximize the ability to actively contribute to retirement planning or other investments. Below are eight tips and techniques when it comes to tax planning and maximizing your tax planning experience.
#6. Top 5 RIA Processes to Review in Preparation for the New Year
The end of the year marks a feeling of accomplishment and celebration for another successful year in business. As client meetings have a tendency to slow down for the holidays, it’s a great time to work on the business - evaluating what worked and didn’t work for you over the past year to ensure you’re well-prepared to continue leading your business in the coming year. One critical piece all RIA’s should consider reviewing is their financial planning processes. Results of a 2022 InvestmentNews Research study on elite RIA firms found that a key characteristic of some of the most profitable advisory firms is a focus on process. So, what are some of the specific processes to review as 2022 comes to a close?
#7. The New CFP® Domain: Psychology of Financial Planning
For my fellow advisors out there that have been preaching that more emphasis is needed on human behavior and psychology when delivering advice, the new knowledge domain officially added in March 2022 to the CFP® exam will be marked a win. Unless you have been living in a bubble (nevermind—we all have), you should have seen that in March 2021, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) added "Psychology of Financial Planning" to their principal knowledge topics and is set to be implemented into the March 2022 exam. This addition is a new domain making it the eighth knowledge domain, representing 7% of the educational components of the exam.
#8. Navigating State De Minimis Exemptions from RIA Registration (or Notice Filing)
As a registered investment advisor, you are subject to specific registration and filing requirements in the states where you provide advisory services. Failing to register or notice file in the appropriate jurisdiction(s) when required can and does lead to regulatory fines and actions brought against advisors for operating in their jurisdiction while unregistered or without submitting a proper notice filing. It is crucial to monitor the number of clients your firm has in various jurisdictions and ensure that you are registered in that jurisdiction (or notice filed if you are SEC-registered) when appropriate.
#9. 9 Marketing Tips for Fee-Only Advisors from the XYPN Marketing Team
Although seemingly obvious, it’s worth saying—a firm isn’t a firm without clients. It can be tempting to think of your marketing activities as aside from your actual firm and what it is you do day to day. The truth is, as a firm owner, your success depends just as much on your ability to effectively communicate your value proposition with your ideal client as it does on you delivering that value. Although both play a part in different ways, you won’t have the opportunity to use all of your expertise if prospective clients aren’t impressed with your brand and the story your marketing tells about how you can help them with the unique challenges they face.
To help you further develop your marketing mindset, the XYPN Marketing Team came together to bring you some straightforward advice. Here are nine marketing tips for you to keep in mind as you tell the world about what it is you offer through all of your marketing.
#10. The 7 Tech Tools You Need to Launch a Fee-only Firm
You’ve decided—you’re launching your very own RIA. Firm owner life, here you come. And with that likely also comes analysis paralysis when it comes to building your firm’s tech stack. If you’ve ever seen Kitces’ financial tech landscape map, you've gotten a taste of the range of choices you have available to you. (There are a ton!)
And yes, you can sign up for tech solutions in every area imaginable (and spend a lot of money doing it), but what do you really need? What are the things you (in my humble opinion) absolutely need when just starting out? Thankfully, the list is a lot shorter than you might expect. Read on to find the seven tech tools you need to launch your firm.
There you have it! Thanks for revisiting the best of 2022 with XY Planning Network. Stay tuned for more in 2023!
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