Fidelity Shares Secrets of Successful Investment Advisors

With advisors projecting median revenue growth of 12 percent in 20121, Fidelity’s Profiles in Growth insight series provides strategies that can help firms prosper

BOSTON -- Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services®, a leading custodian for registered investment advisors (RIAs), today unveiled its Profiles in Growth series of whitepapers, which showcase insights and strategies from some of the industry’s most successful investment advisors.

The three whitepapers highlight best practices regarding referrals, acquisitions and strategic hires -- and provide insights and actions that investment advisors can consider to fuel their own growth strategies. The series features the following firms:

Brinton Eaton (Madison, NJ)
Buckingham Asset Management (St. Louis, MO)
Hartland & Co. (Cleveland, OH)
Lourd Capital Management (Beverly Hills, CA)
Mariner Wealth Advisors (Leawood, KS)
Rehmann (Detroit, MI)
RMB Capital Management (Chicago, IL)

“Advisors want to learn from other advisors, and as business owners, they often don’t have the time to dedicate to connecting with their peers,” said David E. Canter, executive vice president and head of Practice Management and Consulting at Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services. “The Profiles in Growth series is like a peer networking session condensed into three compelling, actionable guides.”

The Profiles in Growth whitepapers highlight dozens of best practices from principals at leading firms, centered around three core growth strategies:

“How to Ignite Powerful Growth: Client and Center-of-Influence Referrals” explores best practices in generating referrals.
o Dick Burridge, CEO/CIO, RMB Capital Management shares his firm’s three-step client referral process.
Burridge explains, “More often than not, a client is more than happy to allow your firm to use their name. If you wait for a client referral, it will not happen. You have to follow your process and ask diligently.”
o Brad Turner, Senior Managing Director, Investments, Hartland & Co. discusses how the firm trains its client managers to listen for names and situations for ideal prospects that may arise in client conversations. Once they hear a cue, managers remind the clients of how Hartland might be able to provide value and then follows up with a request for an introduction.
Turner notes, “Sometimes a client will make you aware of a potential referral without realizing it. You have to recognize the cues.”
o Blaine Lourd, CEO of Lourd Capital Management illustrates the value of building relationships with people who can act as a center-of-influence (COI) and help advisors generate client referrals. Lourd discusses how to develop a network of these COIs, including having clients who can also act as COIs (such as attorneys). Lourd emphasizes the importance of having a clearly articulated, ideal client profile to share with the COIs, and explains that for COIs to become comfortable offering referrals, they need to know the advisor’s specific client process, including how they guide their clients through both good and bad markets.

“Finding Freedom to Focus on Strengths: Strategic Hires and Realignment” focuses on a combination of strategic hires and organizational realignment.
o Robert DiQuollo, CEO of Brinton Eaton shares how he aligned his organization to focus on lead nurturing by refining the method in which referrals were distributed among the team. The firm implemented a lead management process that aligned each prospect’s needs and personality with the Brinton Eaton advisor who possessed the specific expertise and chemistry to help them.
DiQuollo also notes the strategic hiring of a Chief Marketing Officer to define and own one central marketing voice.
o Marty Bicknell, CEO of Mariner Wealth Advisors discusses how two pivotal hires caused him to realign job responsibilities, allowing them to focus on their “unique ability” – the thing that makes an employee excited to come into the office each morning and at which he or she truly excels. Bicknell now focuses on how to structure job responsibilities around each leader’s unique ability and the positive impact this can have on clients, associates and the firm.

“Seize Opportunity: Acquisitions Can Be Your Catalyst” tackles the topic of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), including why firms chose to pursue acquisitions, their criteria for evaluating a target firm and some of their best practices for success.
o Adam Birenbaum, CEO of Buckingham Asset Management explains how a key part of creating their mergers and acquisition process involved having a strong awareness of the specific attributes -- both strengths and weaknesses -- they brought to an acquisition. They then target firms that can flourish once they join Buckingham, and with Focus Financial, have designed a detailed post-merger plan that allows any newly acquired entity to focus on managing and growing client relationships, while Buckingham provides operational, compliance and marketing support.
o Steve Kelly, CEO of Rehmann, a firm made up of cross-functional teams including CPAs, consultants, wealth advisors and corporate investigators, talks about how he instituted a “One Rehmann” concept, which means that no one professional in the Rehmann organization owns a client. This concept helped to re-inforce the firm’s client service culture through growth and acquisitions. Rehmann embraced the concept in a unique fashion with a dedicated cross-function team serving each client, including a wealth manager and a third-party ambassador -- independent to the client team -- to review client satisfaction and indentify unmet needs.

“These firms have one thing in common regarding their growth strategies: methodical processes embraced at every level of the firms,” said Canter. “We know from our benchmarking study that firms are focused on growth for 20122. These whitepapers provide lessons from industry leaders on how advisors can ignite growth in their own firms.”

Fidelity offers a wide range of practice management and consulting services to help support firm growth:
RIA Benchmarking -- Fidelity’s RIA Benchmarking program is designed to help firms grow by leveraging an industry-first approach to making benchmarking data easily accessible and actionable for clients with flexible, dynamic tools and consulting support from Fidelity.

Talent Management Tools -- Fidelity offers an array of online guides and tools to help hire, develop and retain talent at AdvisorHRSolutions.com.

Business Development and Marketing Planning Toolkit -- Using an interactive, comprehensive process, Fidelity’s toolkit provides advisors with leading practices that can help them evaluate and outline their firms’ distinct goals, assess their current business development efforts, identify areas of opportunity for client acquisition and leverage practical solutions for implementing a plan.

Referral-EDGESM3-- An innovative Web-based research tool developed by Infinata and customized exclusively for Fidelity clients that is designed to help advisors accelerate their business growth by uncovering prospective clients and networking opportunities.

M&A Resources -- Fidelity offers a range of whitepapers, workshops and toolkits regarding M&A and succession planning.4

About Fidelity Practice Management and Consulting Program
The Fidelity Practice Management and Consulting Program is a multi-faceted client service that provides advisors access to a wide array of insights, best practices, strategic consulting services and business-oriented tools and programs to help accelerate business growth, maximize productivity and protect their practices.

About Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services
Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services is a leading provider of trading, custody and brokerage services to Registered Investment Advisors, Trust Institutions and Third Party Administrators. The company is able to leverage the capital, resources and expertise of the Fidelity organization, one of the world’s largest financial services companies, on behalf of its clients. This includes access to a comprehensive set of products and services, innovative investment tools and research, an integrated brokerage and trust platform, and dedicated client service professionals – all designed to help its clients thrive by growing their businesses, more effectively meeting customer needs, and enhancing operational efficiency and profitability. Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services custodies more than $550 billion in assets on behalf of nearly 3,300 clients, as of March 31, 2012. For more information about Fidelity’s services, please visit http://fiws.fidelity.com.

1 Participating advisors projecting median revenue growth of 12 percent in 2012, 2011 Fidelity RIA Benchmarking Study, Sept. 2011.

2 Participating advisors projecting median revenue growth of 12 percent in 2012, 2011 Fidelity RIA Benchmarking Study, Sept. 2011.

3 Referral-EDGE is developed by Infinata and customized exclusively for Fidelity advisor clients.

4 When appropriate, Fidelity works closely with third-party providers to offer its practice management solutions. The third-party vendors participating in the Fidelity Practice Management & Consulting Program are not the only firms that provide products and services of this kind. Fidelity does not provide recommendations or endorsements with respect to any Fidelity Practice Management & Consulting Program vendor or any such vendor’s products and services. Each client should conduct its own independent diligence before engaging a vendor and determine whether the particular vendor is right for them. Clients deciding to employ the services of, or purchase products offered by, a vendor in the Fidelity Practice Management & Consulting Program will be required to work directly with the vendor. Fidelity is not a party to any business or contractual relationship between Fidelity Practice Management & Consulting Program vendors and Fidelity clients.

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