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Grow your business by asking yourself a few questions

February 10, 2014 by

January has come and gone, and you should have some questions about how to plan for a successful 2014. Those questions could be:

  • What have I done to plan for 2014?
  • Do I want to take my business to the next level?
  • How do I handle dormant clients?
  • What do I do with clients that are time consuming but are generating no revenue?

This blog focuses on the heart of your business—clients. Clients aren’t customers. Customers are a commodity.  Clients have a relationship with you, one that goes far beyond an inventory of their accounts.

If you have more customers than clients, you really need to take a step back and evaluate why they are not clients.  Dig into your database and identify the people that haven’t done business with you in a while. Ask these questions about them:

  • Are you building a relationship?
  • Are you truly helping them in a holistic manner?
  • What value are you adding to your client’s situation?
  • Are you just one of the people they go to for specific financial products?

Now that you’ve asked (and hopefully answered) these questions, you should start to see some opportunities to reconnect with your clients. In the next installment of this blog, I’ll go over some strategies on how to beef up your referral business.

If you need additional ideas, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d be happy to help you dive deeper into your database and grow your business. Call me at 877.886.1939 or email me at kpieper@brokersifs.com.

 

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Kyle Pieper

Kyle Pieper is the Manager of Business Development for Brokers Financial. He joined the firm in March of 2013. Kyle is responsible for recruiting new advisors and representatives to the firm. He also assists with marketing and partner relationships. He has six years of insurance and investment-related experience as both an advisor and internal sales. When not at work he can be found on a golf course, hunting or in the gym. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Member SIPC, Panora, IA. Brokers International Financial Services, LLC and Brokers International, Ltd are affiliated companies.

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Does your broker dealer give you freedom to serve your clients?

November 5, 2013 by

I love to ask questions.

It’s a natural part of building relationships. Asking questions is the fastest way for me to get to know you. It also helps me find out what financial professionals are looking for in their business.

In building relationships with financial professionals, I’ve heard them say that one of the most important things a broker dealer can do for them is to allow them freedom to sell what they want. There are a couple of different ways that your freedom can be restricted. One tell-tale sign might be that payouts may differ depending on the product. Another, more obvious, is that you’re restricted to proprietary products or a limited product list.

Why does this matter?

Restrictions from a broker dealer may turn into restrictions you have to ultimately place on your clients; meaning you are not able to offer a full scope of solutions.

In the end, who wins: The client, advisor or broker dealer?

If you’re not sure how much freedom you have, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you unclear what you pay for in your current fee arrangement?
  • Are you initially told that you don’t have to submit fixed insurance to your broker dealer, but you ultimately have to?
  • Does your payout vary depending on the product?

Do you see a pattern in your answers? Click here to download a questionnaire to help you determine if you are getting the support and access to products that best service your clients. If you answer yes to three or more questions, you might want reconsider your current position with your broker dealer.

At the end of the day, your clients’ needs come first. You deserve a broker dealer that supports that goal.

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Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Panora, Iowa. Member FINRA/SIPC. Brokers International Financial Services is a strategic partner of Brokers International, Ltd.

Kyle Pieper

Kyle Pieper is the Manager of Business Development for Brokers Financial. He joined the firm in March of 2013. Kyle is responsible for recruiting new advisors and representatives to the firm. He also assists with marketing and partner relationships. He has six years of insurance and investment-related experience as both an advisor and internal sales. When not at work he can be found on a golf course, hunting or in the gym. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Member SIPC, Panora, IA. Brokers International Financial Services, LLC and Brokers International, Ltd are affiliated companies.

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What’s your fiduciary responsibility?

September 26, 2013 by

The concept of fiduciary duty has received a lot of attention from financial publications, like Investment News, lately, due to the effort of the U.S. Department of Labor to set stricter standards on professionals providing advice on retirement plans.1

So it brings up a good question. What is the difference between fiduciary and suitability, and how do they affect you?

A fiduciary is a person or company that has the power and obligation to act for another under circumstances which require total trust, good faith, and honesty.2 FINRA suitability Rule 2111(a) states in part that a member or an associated person must have a reasonable basis to believe that a recommended transaction or investment strategy involving a security or securities is suitable for the customer, based on the information obtained through the reasonable diligence of the member or associated person to ascertain the customer’s investment profile.3

It’s a lot to understand, which is why you can download this informational graphic to see detailed differences between the two.

So why does this all matter?

Recently, it has been questioned whether there should be a separate fiduciary standard—implemented by the Labor Department—for financial professionals selling individual retirement accounts, as outlined in the Investment News article. And so what has commonly been a standard for those selling securities-related products is now under consideration for other financial and insurance professionals.

In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission is considering increasing the standards it imposes on broker dealers,4 which then might work its way to other areas of the financial services and insurance industries. This all comes under the guise of the 2010 Dodd- Frank Act Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, regulations developed after the economic collapse that began in 2008.

Unfortunately, there’s no crystal ball to say what, for sure, will be the fate for professionals working in insurance, retirement planning or financial planning. In an ideal world, the rules for financial professionals would be streamlined by the various regulatory bodies, and the expectations laid out in Dodd-Frank would be clearer.

In the meantime, go ahead and take a look at the infographic provided in this blog. And don’t be surprised if you see another blog post as the regulations change. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give me a call at 877.886.1939 or send me an email (mbott@brokersifs.com).

 

1 Investment News “Fiduciary duty boosts revenue, not compliance costs: FPC” July 8, 2013.

2 http://www.nolo.com/dictionary/fiduciary-term.html

3 http://finra.complinet.com/en/display/display_main.html?rbid=2403&record_id=14960.

4 Investment News “White says SEC is moving on fiduciary but other rules to come first” July 30, 2013.

 

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Kyle Pieper

Kyle Pieper is the Manager of Business Development for Brokers Financial. He joined the firm in March of 2013. Kyle is responsible for recruiting new advisors and representatives to the firm. He also assists with marketing and partner relationships. He has six years of insurance and investment-related experience as both an advisor and internal sales. When not at work he can be found on a golf course, hunting or in the gym. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Member SIPC, Panora, IA. Brokers International Financial Services, LLC and Brokers International, Ltd are affiliated companies.

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Understanding securities licenses

August 22, 2013 by

In a previous blog, you learned why obtaining a Series 65 license is a necessity for professionals looking to become an investment adviser representative. This blog focuses on other securities licenses, and why they may be important for professionals to consider. Here are the basic licenses required of securities agents: Series 6-Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative This license provides authorization to sell “packaged” investments, including mutual funds, variable annuities, and unit investment trusts.

  • Questions: 100 multiple choice
  • Testing time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Series 7-General Securities Representative Authorization to sell individual security items such as common and preferred stocks, etfs, bonds and other individual fixed income investments (including products with Series 6.)

  • Questions: 250 (administered in two parts of 125 questions each) multiple choice
  • Testing time: 3 hours for each part

Series 63-Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination Gives authorization by state to conduct business; required for all Series 6 and 7 holders.

  • Questions: 60 multiple choice
  • Testing time; 1 hour and 15 minutes

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) oversees licensing procedures and requirements. FINRA also administers the exams and keeps track of the records.  For information on all of the license types and testing requirements, visit the FINRA website. ADR-1169

Kyle Pieper

Kyle Pieper is the Manager of Business Development for Brokers Financial. He joined the firm in March of 2013. Kyle is responsible for recruiting new advisors and representatives to the firm. He also assists with marketing and partner relationships. He has six years of insurance and investment-related experience as both an advisor and internal sales. When not at work he can be found on a golf course, hunting or in the gym. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Member SIPC, Panora, IA. Brokers International Financial Services, LLC and Brokers International, Ltd are affiliated companies.

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Things to consider before starting a Registered Investment Advisory business

July 23, 2013 by

If you’re an experienced financial professional looking to make the leap into the advisory business, you’re probably wondering which option may be best for you.

Do you become an Investment Adviser Representative (IAR) or a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA)? In my last blog, you learned the benefits of becoming an IAR and how earning a Series 65 license can open up some opportunities for your clients.

The other choice is to start your own RIA. Starting your own RIA has numerous appeals. One of which is creating a business that aligns with your personal goals and style.

Starting an independent advisory business is not without its challenges. But, the lure of the opportunity shouldn’t be overshadowed by the details needed to grow the business.

Here is a short list of items that need to be developed and implemented if you decide to open an RIA. To learn more, download a more comprehensive analysis here.

  • Operations and compliance support
  • Policies and procedures
  • Advertising review and website review
  • Fees and expenses
  • Time
  • Audit support
  • Technology expenses
  • Building an infrastructure
  • Cost of operations vs. marketing
  • Understanding your strengths and weaknesses

If this list causes concern, it may be a better option to affiliate with an established RIA, like Brokers International Financial Services, LLC. When you affiliate with an established RIA, you gain a partner and become part of an organization that has the same interest as yours, without the investment it takes to go it alone.

 

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Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services LLC, Panora, Iowa. Member FINRA/SIPC.

Kyle Pieper

Kyle Pieper is the Manager of Business Development for Brokers Financial. He joined the firm in March of 2013. Kyle is responsible for recruiting new advisors and representatives to the firm. He also assists with marketing and partner relationships. He has six years of insurance and investment-related experience as both an advisor and internal sales. When not at work he can be found on a golf course, hunting or in the gym. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Member SIPC, Panora, IA. Brokers International Financial Services, LLC and Brokers International, Ltd are affiliated companies.

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Five reasons to become an investment adviser representative

June 27, 2013 by

Have you toyed around with the idea of becoming securities licensed?

If the process seems overwhelming, or you’re wondering what the benefits would be to your practice to take on the responsibilities of providing investment advice for a fee, consider these five reasons to make the jump into becoming an investment adviser representative (IAR).

An IAR is a Series 65 licensed individual who can provide fee-based investment advice. That includes:

  • Collecting a fee for hourly advice.
  • Collecting fees for managing portfolios.
  • Collecting fees for a financial plan that includes investment advice.

Number one: Reduce your risk. The Arkansas and Iowa insurance divisions already have ruled that insurance professionals who talk to their clients about using securities products could be in violation of state securities rules and therefore subject to fines. Industry experts expect other states to move to adopting the same rules. Earning a Series 65 license allows you to discuss securities products.

Number two: Become a more well-rounded resource for your clients. An IAR has the ability to look at a client’s entire financial picture, rather than just from insurance or accounting perspective. An IAR becomes a comprehensive adviser and more importantly, can develop a much deeper relationship with that client.

Number three: Build relationships. Having the ability to offer your clients a broad array of advice and solutions gives you the chance to build a lasting relationship with them, and could mitigate the risk that they’ll take their financial planning business elsewhere. Give them a reason to think of you as more than an insurance professional or accountant.

Number four: A recurring revenue stream. Once you begin to earn the fees associated with your assets under management (AUM), you have created an annual revenue stream. Even if those assets have little to no growth, you continue to earn a percentage of the AUM.

Number five: A retirement strategy. Take a look inward and ask yourself if you’ve properly prepared for your own retirement. Will you be able to sell your business when it’s time to retire? Income for commission-based sales stops the day that you stop selling. In contrast, a fee-based business builds equity over time, increasing its value when you’re ready to sell.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the process of becoming registered as an IAR. Instead, give me a call and we can talk about whether making this transition is right for you and more importantly, if it’s right for your clients.

 

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Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Panora, Iowa. Member FINRA/SIPC. Brokers International Financial Services is a strategic partner of Brokers International, Ltd.

Kyle Pieper

Kyle Pieper is the Manager of Business Development for Brokers Financial. He joined the firm in March of 2013. Kyle is responsible for recruiting new advisors and representatives to the firm. He also assists with marketing and partner relationships. He has six years of insurance and investment-related experience as both an advisor and internal sales. When not at work he can be found on a golf course, hunting or in the gym. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Member SIPC, Panora, IA. Brokers International Financial Services, LLC and Brokers International, Ltd are affiliated companies.

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