Advisor Recruiting Off to Slow Start in 2023
Compared to the first quarter of 2022, recruitment of financial advisors in Q1 2023 is down 16%. This shouldn’t be too surprising given the recent turmoil in the banking sector, concerns that the economy could tip over into a recession, and much of corporate America in belt-tightening mode. Devin McGinley in a piece for InvestmentNews dug into what the rest of the year should bring and highlighted some notable under the radar trends.
It will be interesting to see the fallout from the regional banking crisis as it may compel some advisors to leave. For instance, many First Republic advisors have already or are expected to leave the firm following JPMorgan's takeover of the beleaguered bank.
One bright spot has been growth in the RIA and independent broker-dealer space. In the first quarter, 261 advisors joined RIAs, while broker-dealers added 234 advisors which indicates that both are growing at a similar pace to last year.
Clearly, the data shows that overall recruitment of financial advisors has slowed. While there could be a burst of activity with advisors leaving regional banks, the bigger story is the continued growth of RIAs and broker-dealers.
Finsum: The recruitment environment for financial advisors has changed in 2023, but there is no change in the pace of growth for RIAs and broker-dealers.
Fixed Income a Big Winner From Fed Pause
Elizabeth O’Brien covered the optimism among bond investors that a change in Fed policy could result in a major rally for the asset class in a Barron’s article. Current fed futures odds show that the market sees a more than 90% chance of the Fed pausing at its next meeting. And given recent inflation and economic data, it’s likely that the Fed has seen sufficient progress to shift its focus to financial stability over combating inflation.
Therefore, it could be an opportune moment to invest in high-quality bonds with longer maturities. These bonds are yielding about 5% which is nearly double what they averaged during the past decade.
While some believe that the economy is weakening enough to compel the Fed to cut rates by the end of the year, others believe this is a more typical cycle and that the Fed will likely be on hold for an extended period of time.
Since 1990, the average pause between hiking and cutting cycles has been 10 months. The typical behavior is that fixed income rallied in anticipation of cuts but volatility picks up until the cuts actually begin, leading to a healthy tailwind for the sector.
Finsum: A major catalyst could be emerging for fixed income given that the market expects the Fed to pivot at its next FOMC meeting in June.
Tips for Onboarding New Clients
In an article for GoBankingRates, Andrew Lisa shared some thoughts on the best way to onboard new clients. The first thing is to understand that a financial advisor needs to be an independent and trusted professional for the client, similar to a doctor or lawyer.
While each individual client has unique personalities and circumstances, there are still some universal principles and guidelines that you can introduce to your clients. This will help communicate your philosophy and value proposition, while creating momentum towards your clients’ goals from Day 1.
One suggestion is to start with understanding their cash flow. This means understanding every dollar that is coming in and going out. For every financial goal, this is the starting point. Additionally, you can get your clients started on tracking income and expenses to get a better understanding of cash flow.
Related to this, the next step would be to establish clear goals for the short-term and long-term. The nature of goals could differ based on a clients’ circumstances and age. Finally to increase the odds of success, the plan needs to be put into writing. This increases the chances that the plan is followed and daily decisions are aligned with long-term goals.
Finsum: Every client is unique, but there are still some common onboarding steps that advisors can take to introduce them to your practice and philosophy.
Attract High Net-Worth Investors With Direct Indexing
In an article for AdvisorPerspectives, Jack Van Dyke of Russell Investments shared some strategies for advisors to attract high net worth investors with direct indexing.
For most advisors, most strategies or tactics to grow their practice revolve around generating additional revenue from existing clients or adding new high net worth clients. And, the key to accomplishing these goals is to have a unique and differentiated offering.
Direct indexing fits the bill as it can help reduce a clients’ tax bill, retain the benefits of indexing, and allow for effective customization. While most advisors are aware of this innovation, they have not yet begun offering it to clients.
Therefore, it’s essential to start the conversation with your prospects and clients. Van Dyke recommends that advisors begin by asking questions to determine whether direct indexing is a good fit for them. These include whether or not they are expecting a large windfall in the future, their current tax liabilities from investments, and whether they have a concentrated stock position.
These questions are effective conversation starters that you can transition into a discussion about why direct indexing can help them reach their financial goals while giving them more control over their financial destiny.
Finsum: The key to a financial advisory practice is to grow their business and/or increase revenue per client. Direct indexing is one way that advisors can achieve these goals.
Stifel Sees Opportunity to Recruit FAs
In an article for AdvisorHub, Karmen Alexander covered comments from Stifel Financial’s recent conference call when CEO Ronald Kruszewski remarked that there was an opportunity to recruit financial advisors especially following the exit of ‘high payers’.
While Kruszewski didn’t single out any firms by name, it’s likely that he was referring to First Republic which was a victim of the regional banking crisis and was taken over by JPMorgan with an FDIC backstop. The bank was notable for being an aggressive recruiter of financial advisors with large bonuses and attractive packages. At the start of the year, First Republic was reportedly offering as much as 400% of revenue generated in the past year to advisors with over $10 million in revenue.
Unlike First Republic which targeted brokers with over $2 million in revenue, Stifel tends to target smaller brokers. Additionally, Stifel has been much more conservative in the terms that it offers. Overall, the bank hired 49 advisors. Of these, 20 were experienced brokers who were lured from other firms.
Yet, the company also affirmed that while it sees the landscape becoming less competitive with First Republic’s exit, it will continue sticking to its discipline in terms of not offering excessively lavish packages.