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Second Annual Study of Advisory Success


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Study of Advisory Success defines what success means for advisors in today’s environment and highlights the most salient issues facing advisors. Pershing’s inaugural study found that the most successful advisors anticipate what will lead the next generation of advisors. This year’s study finds that successful advisors adapt to client communications and client expectations.

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Second Annual Study of Advisory Success

  1. 1. THE SECOND ANNUAL STUDY OF ADVISORY SUCCESS A New Age of Client Communications and Client Expectations
  2. 2. CONTENTS IN BRIEF—What You Need to Know in 30 Seconds 3 A New Age of Client Communications and Client Expectations 4 Pulse Check: Positive Momentum, But Still Room to Grow 6 Missed Connection: Understanding—and Capitalizing On—the Value of Your Brand 8 Communications Choices: How and When Do Advisors Communicate with Clients Today? 10 Digital Matters: Assess Your Online Presence Through Clients’ Eyes 12 Next Steps: Six Tips for Communications Success 17 What’s on the cover? Banyan Tree, Ankor Wat, Cambodia The banyan trees of Ankor Wat are incredibly resilient trees that have flourished through decades of modernization and development. Banyan trees grow new roots that descend from its branches, pushing it into the ground and forming new trunks. Similarly, advisors can adapt to new digital client touchpoints by forming roots so they can grow into the future.
  3. 3. THE SECOND ANNUAL STUDY OF ADVISORY SUCCESS: A NEW AGE OF CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS AND CLIENT EXPECTATIONS 3 IN BRIEF—WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN 30 SECONDS More advisors than ever report that their businesses are doing better than ever The vast majority measures success by how they positively impact the lives of their clients.1 Advisors say they are satisfied, but wouldn’t recommend the career to their children Most are content with their career choice, but they are less enthusiastic about recommending the profession to the next generation. One major challenge:keeping up with the demands of the business Most advisors are concerned about having time to get things done. Advisors are keen to have strong brands— yet aren’t quite convincing investors Although advisors agree that it is important to have strong personal and firm brands and value propositions, most investors cannot articulate what sets their advisors apart. Bad news tends to drive client communications—good news is sometimes overlooked Declining markets or portfolios often prompt client calls, while positive events are less frequently used to enhance the relationship. Many advisors do not manage their online presence Due to a general discomfort with technology, many advisors have not yet created personal websites, pursued thought leadership strategies, or even searched their names and images online. Social media represents uncharted waters—but it’s time to start swimming Advisors are entering the social media pool at the shallow end—most have LinkedIn accounts—but using other potentially beneficial channels lags behind. The most successful advisors are actively using multiple technology tools Advisors who are “doing better than ever” tend also to be making better use of websites, social media and other technology tools. 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 1 Unless indicated, all data in the study is based data from a Harris Poll study conducted on behalf of Pershing.The advisor survey was conducted online within the United States in December 2013, among 356 U.S. advisors at least 18 years of age, sampled from the Harris Interactive Panel of Financial Advisors.The investor survey was conducted online within the United States from April 3-7, 2014 among 2,060 adults ages 18 and older.
  4. 4. 4 PERSHING A NEW AGE OF CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS AND CLIENT EXPECTATIONS:TRANSLATING CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS INTO NEW OPPORTUNITIES Since the 2013 Inaugural Study of Advisory Success,we find that today,things are good for many advisors— in fact,things are better than before.However,even the most successful advisors are increasingly worried about having enough time to get things done.The rising tide of client expectations and the increasing number of communication touchpoints present new challenges for growth-minded advisors. Study of Advisory Success defines what success means for advisors in today’s environment and highlights the most salient issues facing advisors. Pershing’s inaugural study found that the most successful advisors anticipate what will lead the next generation of advisors. This year’s study finds that successful advisors adapt to client communications and client expectations. Twenty years ago, advisors connected with clients through three primary channels: telephone, mail and meeting. Today, these channels have been joined by dozens of other options. For some, the variety— and the time it takes to master them—can be dizzying. Technological advances are driving this revolution. For example, in 2014, there will be more mobile devices on earth than people.2 Meanwhile, a new generation of digital communication tools, from e-mail to social media, have become even further ingrained in our lives and preferences. The bar for effective communications between advisors and clients continues to rise. In this year’s study, we examine advisors’ perceptions of their communications, digital presence, value proposition and overall success level. We identify opportunities for advisors to strengthen their connections and grow their businesses. The results may also help advisors feel greater satisfaction from their work and deepen their client relationships. 2 Cisco, Cisco Visual Networking Index:Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2013–2018, 2014
  5. 5. THE SECOND ANNUAL STUDY OF ADVISORY SUCCESS: A NEW AGE OF CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS AND CLIENT EXPECTATIONS 5 SAMPLING METHODOLOGY The advisor survey was conducted online in December 2013, among U.S. advisors at least 18 years of age, sampled from the Harris Interactive Panel of Financial Advisors. 356 interviews were conducted: 103 among RIAs (independent RIAs not working at a wirehouse or affiliated with a regional brokerage) 100 among wirehouse advisors (those working at wirehouses or regional brokerage firms) 153 among other advisors (those working at insurance agencies, independent broker-dealers or banks) The investor survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Pershing LLC from April 3-7, 2014, of 2,060 adults ages 18 and older among whom 385 are defined as investors who say that they have investable assets of at least $100,000. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Ken Louie,
  6. 6. 6 PERSHING 3 Gibson, Kate (2013, December 31). Wall Street closes 2013 at records;best year in 16 for SP, 18 for Dow, CNBC. Access Online: PULSE CHECK: POSITIVE MOMENTUM, BUT STILL ROOM TO GROW In our new research, the largest segment of advisors (38%) reported that their business is “doing better than ever before,” which is a significant rise from the 31% who fell into this same category in 2012. TERM THAT BEST DESCRIBES STATE OF YOUR BUSINESS TODAY ■ Struggling ■ Maintaining status quo ■ Regaining momentum we once had ■ Doing better than ever before 22%4% 35% 38% Total 4% 20% 35% 41% RIA 5% 21% 39% 35% FA – Wirehouse 4% 25% 32% 39% FA – Other 73% About three-fourths (73%) of financial advisors across all firm types describe their state of business as “regaining momentum” or “doing better than ever before.” It would be easy to dismiss this sense of stronger momentum as solely a reflection of recent record market performance—a rise of nearly 30% in the SP 500 in 2013.3 However, advisors do not measure success based exclusively on assets under management. The most important criterion advisors use for defining their success is consistent with our previous findings and consistent across advisor segments: positive impact on clients, which trumps financial gain. In fact, this sentiment has become more pronounced since last year—71% (up from 66%) of advisors say “positively impacting the lives of my clients” is their top criterion for success.
  7. 7. THE SECOND ANNUAL STUDY OF ADVISORY SUCCESS: A NEW AGE OF CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS AND CLIENT EXPECTATIONS 7 MOST REWARDING ASPECTS OF BEING A FINANCIAL PROFESSIONAL Helping my clients meet their financial goals Having clients who appreciate the value I provide Helping clients make the right financial decisions Having my clients refer their friends and acquaintances to me Having clients who come back to me with additional needs Developing a relationship with my clients beyond business Having my clients’ children become my clients 66% 61% 50% 57% 25% 25% 11% 60% 54% 47% 28% 26% 12% 71% ■ 2012 ■ 2013 I’m On Top, Not Those Guys Nearly half of advisors (48%) believe they have achieved the highest level of success, scoring themselves as 8, 9, or 10 on a 1-10 scale. However, only 21% believe the average success of other advisors is at that same level. Such perceptions invite a comparison to Garrison Keillor’s fictitious Lake Wobegon, where “all the children are above average.”4 The gap between perception and reality might be explained by over-confidence, or simply each advisor’s sense that his or her hard work must be achieving a measurable advantage over other advisors. Surprisingly, advisors who believe they are among the most successful are also less likely to have written business plans or succession plans. This may imply that such advisors, hyper-focused on maintaining today’s momentum, miss out on growth opportunities that formal goals and action plans would facilitate. 4 Keillor, Garrison. A Prairie Home Companion.
  8. 8. 8 PERSHING Right for Me, Maybe Not for You Most respondents continue to enjoy the career field they’ve chosen, with 69% saying that they are very satisfied being an advisor. Yet, surprisingly, many are hesitant to encourage the next generation to enter the field. Only 37% would recommend the profession to their children or another young person. Even among advisors “doing better than ever,” less than half (49%) would make such a recommendation. Such hesitancy might be part of a broader sentiment that professional careers are evolving in ways that make future success appear daunting. In the medical field, for example, a 2012 Physicians Foundation survey found that 58% of physicians would not recommend medicine as a career to their children or to other young people.5 As in medicine, that act of helping people underpins career success for financial advisors. Accordingly, there appears to be a serious need for advisors to seek a stronger, more dynamic relationship with clients. The challenge, as with most major efforts, is the lack of time. Nearly two-thirds of advisors (63%) are concerned about “having enough time to get things done.” In this time-crunched environment, it’s even more important for advisors to become more efficient and effective as they communicate with and serve their clients. WHO’S DOING WELL? Go Team—Advisors “doing better than ever” are more likely to say they are “team-oriented” than advisors “regaining momentum” (37% vs. 24%). Sociability Succeeds—These “doing better” advisors also are more likely to say they are extroverts than advisors who are “maintaining status quo” or “struggling” (45% vs. 25%). Online, On Point—Those “doing better” are more likely than those “maintaining status quo” or “struggling” to have a team website (26% vs. 6%). MISSED CONNECTION: UNDERSTANDING—AND CAPITALIZING ON—THE VALUE OF YOUR BRAND Financial advisors harness the power of two brands, their personal brand and that of their firm. Our survey looked at perceptions of these two brands separately, with interesting results. We learned that more than half (53%) of advisors strongly agree that their personal brand is more important than their firm’s brand when it comes to their clients. This perhaps represents advisors’ confidence in having earned respect and personal trust that transcend their firm affiliations. 5 The Physicians Foundation, Practicing Patterns and Perspectives, 2012.
  9. 9. THE SECOND ANNUAL STUDY OF ADVISORY SUCCESS: A NEW AGE OF CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS AND CLIENT EXPECTATIONS 9 On the other hand, when it comes to recruiting new clients, only 40% strongly agree that their personal brand matters more than their firm’s brand. This implies that the firm’s brand acts as a door opener for attracting prospects, with the advisor’s personal brand moving into first position later. Connecting With the Right Clients Many people think of brands as platforms for attracting lots of customers. But, brands help to attract and engage the right customers. For example, the oft-praised Apple brand appeals to design- oriented consumers willing to pay a premium price—not those who want a basic, functional device at a more affordable price. Focusing brand efforts maximizes advisors’ likelihood of resonating with the right individuals. By taking the time to consider what they want their personal brands to be, advisors may gain greater insight into the ideal client profiles with whom they would most prefer to work. With this deeper level of self-reflection, advisors will be better poised to shape their value proposition to appeal to their ideal clients. In addition, their clarified value will help existing clients make more successful referrals. Clarifying the Value Proposition Encouragingly, our study finds that 83% of advisors say they have a defined value proposition. However, there may be some opportunity for more effective engagement. When asked if their clients can articulate what differentiates them from other advisors, only 26% of advisors strongly agree. This number rises to 34% among those advisors who rate themselves highest on the success scale (8, 9, or 10 on a 10-point scale). Even this most successful group has room to improve. CLIENT POINT OF VIEW: I CAN’T SEE HOW MY ADVISOR STANDS APART Only a small minority of investors who work with an advisor (37%) say,“I can articulate what sets my financial advisor apart from other advisors.” Not surprisingly, advisors who focus on their brands seem to enjoy greater success. We found that those that described themselves as “doing better than ever” are more likely than their peers to have revisited marketing plans and value propositions within the last year. By contrast, advisors who are “regaining momentum” are more likely than those “doing better” to have revisited these elements between one and four years ago. This finding implies that keeping your messaging and marketing sharply focused within a fast-paced industry can yield better business results. WISHING FOR A BETTER FIT Advisors in our study would fire 11% of their current clients if they could. By aligning their brands to attract clients who might be a better fit, advisors would be better able to depart from less-compatible clients.
  10. 10. 10 PERSHING COMMUNICATIONS CHOICES: HOW AND WHEN DO ADVISORS COMMUNICATE WITH CLIENTS TODAY? The 1970s and 1980s ATT slogan,“Reach out and touch someone,” aimed to convince consumers that long-distance calls delivered an emotional impact that mailed letters couldn’t match. For today’s advisors, the telephone carries similar overtones of humanity—although a more fitting slogan might be,“Reach out and hold onto your clients.” Our study found that most advisor outreach is instigated by negative news and usually happens over the phone. Fifty-eight percent of advisors reach out to touch base when markets go down, as do 68% of advisors when the client’s personal investments drop in value. This is not surprising since a proactive call demonstrates that the advisor is tuned in and eager to advise and listen. Accentuate the Positive What is surprising is that advisors are less likely to reach out with positive news (that the markets or personal investments are up). Based on the findings we discussed earlier about how most advisors define success by the positive impact they have on their clients, touching base regarding good news may also increase advisor satisfaction. It is an encouraging reminder that advisors are continuously helping clients to meet their goals. It’s perhaps no coincidence that advisors “doing better than ever” are more likely than those “regaining momentum” to communicate face-to-face when a client’s personal investments go up (27% vs. 16%). ADVISORS ARE LESS LIKELY TO REACH OUT WITH POSITIVE NEWS Schedule face- to-face meeting Email Social MediaPhone Call Mailed Letter/ Newsletter 25% 33% 22% 12% 21% 52% 35% 16% 25% 27% 23% 24% 3% 0% 2% 2% 0% 3% 45% 68% 58% 48% 53% 39% 21% 6% 14% 13% 7% 15% ■ When the Market Goes Up ■ When the Market Goes Down ■ Investments Go Up ■ Investments Go Down ■ New Change/ Fed Policy ■ Educate Clients POSITIVENEGATIVE
  11. 11. THE SECOND ANNUAL STUDY OF ADVISORY SUCCESS: A NEW AGE OF CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS AND CLIENT EXPECTATIONS 11 Social Media Underused Client education most often happens via face-to-face meetings and e-mail, with roughly half of advisors using these two channels. Surprisingly, only about 2% of advisors use social media channels for client education. This can offer a very efficient and dynamic means to educate and update many clients at the same time. CLIENT POV:YOU’RE MISSING MY LIFE MILESTONES Two out of five investors surveyed (41%) say they have never received a mailed card or telephone call from their advisor after a positive life event, such as a birthday, new job or birth of a child. Among various life events, retirement and divorce most often warrant in-person meetings. Yet, shockingly, 20% of advisors do not reach out at all when a client divorces. The financial implications of divorce are so profound that advisors who fail to respond promptly to such a development may jeopardize the client relationship going forward. For their own part, advisors have critical life milestones that they must ultimately communicate, too. The matter of succession is very sensitive and has implications for the continuing success of a firm. Perhaps this is why the number one concern advisors have about succession planning is how they will communicate the transition to clients. It ranked above the logistics of actually executing the transition itself. CLIENT POV: ASK ME WHAT I WANT Most investors (75%) prefer that their advisor contact them via a telephone call, indicating that the personal touch still matters a lot. However, 71% of investors younger than 35 say they prefer their advisors communicate with them via e-mail, compared to only 45% of investors 55-64 years of age. Both Generation Y (35 years of age) and Baby Boomer (55+) investors prefer that their advisors have in-person meetings. However, Gen X investors are less likely to say they want their advisors to have in-person meetings. Not sure which channels your clients prefer? They might be waiting for you to ask. Only 43% of investors say “my financial advisor has asked me for my preferred method of communications.”
  12. 12. 12 PERSHING Investors’ Preferred Channels of Communications With Advisors, by Age All Ages 18-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+ Telephone call 75% 46% 60% 77% 88% 82% In person 69% 70% 57% 57% 78% 71% E-mail 55% 71% 66% 60% 45% 49% DIGITAL MATTERS: ASSESS YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE THROUGH CLIENTS’ EYES Today’s financial advisors, like virtually every professional, must operate in a world where digital information follows them wherever they go, as a glowing halo or, sometimes, an embarrassing cloud. Prospective and existing clients, competitors and allies alike, can go online and with a few keystrokes investigate an advisor’s affiliations, credentials, political contributions, family connections, even recent vacations and other personal details. In this digitally liberal context, you would imagine that advisors are actively managing their online personal brands. Yet, our survey found quite the opposite. More than half of advisors (52%) have not searched online for themselves in the past year, and even more have not searched for their firms, clients or competitors. Recent research shows that four out of five people in the U.S. will “pre-stalk” a first date online before meeting in person.6 It follows that many people will check you out online too, particularly if they are considering whether to trust you with their investments. Among investors younger than 35 years of age who work with an advisor, 42% report,“I did an Internet search on my financial advisor’s name before we started working together.” These same investors are 10 times more likely to conduct an Internet search for their advisors than their older counterparts (ages 55-64). Actively Managing Online Presence Advisors have a powerful tool at their disposal to counterbalance this potentially dizzying patchwork of digital information: a modern, up-to-date website. Yet, shockingly, we found that 28% of advisors reported having no website for their firms. Also, 76% said they had no individual website, which means that they are neglecting what is likely their most effective platform for building a personal brand. This may be part of a general discomfort with technology. Sixty-five percent of advisors say that are “technology-embracing,” a significant drop from the 76% we recorded last year. And while the youngest advisors (ages 25-39) remain more comfortable with technology than their older counterparts, they too show this downward shift in enthusiasm. 6 CBS, Accessed Online:
  13. 13. THE SECOND ANNUAL STUDY OF ADVISORY SUCCESS: A NEW AGE OF CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS AND CLIENT EXPECTATIONS 13 Embrace Tech, Enjoy Success Not surprisingly, those advisors who report having the most career success are also more likely to use technology. Our research found that advisors who are “doing better than ever” are more likely to have entered their own names into a search engine in the past month (46% vs. 31% of advisors “maintaining status quo” or “struggling”), and also are more likely to have published thought leadership articles on their individual websites (62% vs. 28% among those “regaining momentum”). Some of their success may come from effective delegation: those “doing better than ever” are also more likely to have a person managing the firm’s social media content (61% vs. 37% among those “maintaining status quo” or “struggling”). Are You Digitally Fit? Use this simple checklist of steps you can take to successfully manage your personal online brand. If you aren’t able to check many of the boxes, you still have work to do. ¨ Enter the elements below into a search engine such as Google and decide if the results would give a positive impression to your prospective or current clients: ¨ Your own name ¨ Your firm name ¨ Your own name + firm name ¨ Your firm has a website and it is up-to-date. ¨ You have a website and it is up-to-date. ¨ All headshots of you (on your firm site, your own site, social media) are up-to-date. ¨ Any social media presences you wish to keep for personal use (e.g. Facebook profile) are set to private. ¨ Profile information on professional social media presences (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) is consistent and up-to-date. ¨ Review comments on your professional social media presences. If there is a point that begs for a response, write one. ¨ Delete any lingering social media presences that you have forgotten about and do not want to maintain. ¨ Search your name and firm on Google Images and make sure no unwanted images surface in the results. If they do, work with the originator of that image to have them removed. ¨ Review any comments issued in connection with your firm or name on public message boards or financial services referral and evaluation websites.
  14. 14. 14 PERSHING CLIENT POV:YOUNG CLIENTS WANT TO CONNECT WITH YOU ONLINE Younger investors are more likely than their older counterparts to welcome a social media connection with their advisors. We found that 38% of investors younger than 35 years of age who work with an advisor say “I would connect with [my advisor] on his/her business/ professional social media account” compared to 10% of investors 55-64 and 9% of investors 65+. The Network Effect: Now Is the Time to Leverage Social Media Our research shows that advisors have mixed feelings about social media. Many think it won’t help their businesses. However, they report positive experiences after using it. Most advisors (53%) plan to increase their use of social media in the next few years, but that’s like letting your Maserati idle in the driveway. Social media, used strategically, is efficient and scalable. Advisors can use it to engage many prospective and existing clients, and to share content quickly and easily. And for younger prospects, an advisor’s invisibility on the Web and on social networks is a signal that he or she might be too “old fashioned” to be a viable financial advisor for them. Our study found that 79% of advisors disagree with the statement,“I actively use social media to manage my personal brand as a financial advisor.”And,in fact,a mere 4% strongly agree with this same statement. Two in five advisors (40%) do not use social media for business purposes at all. But, once they try it, they garner great results. Among those who have used social media for business, the vast majority (73%) have had positive experiences and noticed an impact on their businesses. The most popular social media platform among advisors, by far, is LinkedIn, which was cited by 58% of advisors in 2013, up from 41% in 2012. Currently, 46% of advisors use LinkedIn to generate new business, while 35% use it communicate with existing clients. Listen. Learn. Leverage. Advisors using social media today tend to distribute personal updates (47%) rather than news or thought leadership. Yet, this is at odds with the social media strategies that advisors claim to be pursuing: 46% say their content is meant to focus on market commentary. Part of the reason for this paradox is a simple lack of time. In fact, more than half (52%) of advisors feel that they have not invested enough time in social media. One way to be more efficient is to borrow or curate content to share, rather than expecting to create original articles on a regular basis. Time invested in listening on social media matters as well, yet 11% of advisors say that they have not listened enough to clients there. Responding counts, too. Advisors who say they are “doing better than ever before” are more likely to follow up on prospective clients’ comments or messages in social media than those “regaining momentum,” or “maintaining status quo.”
  15. 15. THE SECOND ANNUAL STUDY OF ADVISORY SUCCESS: A NEW AGE OF CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS AND CLIENT EXPECTATIONS 15 Social Media “Quick Start” Guide Three social media platforms offer powerful ways to ramp up your social media presence quickly.Learn what each of these platforms does best,and then master the basics so you can establish effective connections with your target clients and audiences.Let clients know what your preferred social platform is. LinkedIn is the most established social platform for professionals with a special emphasis on job-hunting and networking. Interactions are fairly formal, and you need not share content as often as you might with other platforms. We recommend that advisors have a LinkedIn presence, with at least your professional experience, education, and career highlights. Have a professional profile photo that matches that of your company’s or team’s web site and link to each site, as appropriate. In fact, having a professional picture makes your profile 7x more likely to be viewed.7 Create a descriptive headline that uses keywords someone is likely to search for related to what you do. Keywords improve your searchability within LinkedIn and on the web overall. Set your browsing mode to “anonymous” and adjust your activity feed settings if you are concerned about clients seeing your activities (such as visiting their profiles) on the site. Join industry and special interest groups. Post relevant industry content. Keep your profile, including headshot, skills, and employment, up-to-date and relevant. Facebook is oriented towards friends and family, with special emphasis on engagement (“comments”) and public preferences (“likes”). Due to the intimate nature of its content, Facebook may be a less likely way to connect with clients. Decide whether you really need a professional presence on Facebook. If not, rather than contacting clients through your personal Facebook, reroute them to your LinkedIn or Twitter profiles and set your Facebook profile to private. “Like” your firm on Facebook to affirm your affiliation for clients searching for your profile. Note that some clients may feel uncomfortable “friending” you on Facebook, especially younger clients. 7 LinkedIn, The Sophisticated Marketers Guide to LinkedIn, 2014
  16. 16. 16 PERSHING Twitter lets people share opinions and circulate ideas in real time. It is both professional and personal in nature, allowing you to distinguish yourself through tweets (140-character posts), direct messages or DMs (private messages between users), and retweets or RTs (shares of others’ tweets). Reference your firm’s Twitter handle and your website in the bio (e.g. @firmname) Consider adding the subhead:“Opinions are my own” (your firm’s compliance team might require this). “Quality not quantity” counts on Twitter:Follow organizations in your industry to tailor your feed. Retweet content that you agree with or find interesting and add your own commentary to establish yourself as a thought leader. (Copy the text of the tweet, paste it into the input box, add the letters “RT” and the tweet author’s @username, and add your own brief commentary). To tweet at someone directly, use the @ symbol before their username. Keep your tweet to 100 characters or less, making it easier for others to retweet and add their own comments. Include hashtags (#) to join relevant conversations and make your tweets easy to find. Tweets with images received 150% more retweets8 —like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words (but doesn’t take a toll on your character count!) If you maintain your presence in these channels, promoting it can encourage greater interaction. Include links to your profiles in your email signature and your firm’s and personal websites. Also, to avoid potential missteps, consider keeping separate phones for your personal and professional communications if you are going to use yours for social media. In a recent UK study, 1 out of 10 people sent an inappropriate text message to the wrong person!9 Be sure to check your company’s social media policies and guidelines before using any social media sites for business purposes. 8 Buffer, 2013. Accessed online: media-strategy 9 Recombu, Accessed Online:
  17. 17. THE SECOND ANNUAL STUDY OF ADVISORY SUCCESS: A NEW AGE OF CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS AND CLIENT EXPECTATIONS 17 NEXT STEPS: SIX TIPS FOR COMMUNICATIONS SUCCESS Most advisors are enjoying greater success than they did a few years ago, but many are challenged by how to communicate best with clients. There are so many opportunities to reach out, and so many channels available, that it can become a daunting task to formulate and execute a communications strategy. Here are six action steps to help you ramp up your client communications: 1 See yourself the way your clients do, particularly online. This means taking the time to discover your own online presence through searches, and then refining that presence to be more effective. 2 Reach out with the good news too. When you communicate with clients for a range of reasons, your outreach in times of declining markets or other negative news will seem less reactionary and forced. Relationships require tending and regular contact. 3 Capitalize on social media. There are a number of zero or low-cost platforms that can provide you with an efficient tool for listening (research and market commentary), distribution, and engagement (interactions with clients). If you haven’t started investigating these tools, this is the year to get going. 4 Don’t kill yourself by trying to create original content. Part of your professionalism is your ability to discern whether information has value. Curate content smartly and enjoy benefits that are similar to those you might acquire by writing things yourself. 5 Don’t overextend. Make sure you can reasonably maintain any social properties you create. A few dynamic connections to clients are better than multiple stale properties. 6 Figure out how your clients prefer to be engaged and communicate accordingly. Have you asked them yet? Now is the time. Remember that even as the channels and formats of client communication change, what you say and how fast you respond still counts. It is even more important in these days of instant online connections. The timeless truth is that clients need to know you’re always on their side. Keeping in touch with them—in good and bad times, through whatever medium works the best—is a great way to demonstrate your engagement, and galvanize your success.
  18. 18. 18 PERSHING The Success Dashboard FEELING OF SUCCESS TRENDING ISSUE: THE NEXT GENERATION TOP THREE OPPORTUNITIES 2013 (Inaugural) 31% of Advisors say they are doing “better than ever.” Next Generation of Talent. The study finds gaps in human capital development. The emerging generation of advisors will define success in new ways, which demand a shift in focus on recruiting and retention strategies. 1. The Right Team. Over three-quarters of advisors prioritize having the “right team” as a necessity for success, but significant fewer report having that team in place. 2. Recruiting the Next Generation of Talent. The advice profession will be short 237,000 new advisors over the next decade. 3. Tech-Savvy Advisors. Technology evolves quickly. Successful advisors bring young advisors into their team, particularly those fluent in the latest technology. 2014 (Second Edition) Largest segment of advisors (38%) reported that their business is “doing better than ever before.” Next Generation of Digital Touchpoints. Client expectations have been lifted with technological advances—there will be more mobile devices on earth than people by the end of 2013. Successful advisors are those that embrace the next generation of digital touchpoints, from e-mail to social media. 1. Value Propositions. Eighty-three percent of advisors say they have a defined value proposition. However, when asked if their clients can articulate what differentiates them from other advisors, only 26% of advisors strongly agree. 2. Communication Choices. Fifty-eight percent of advisors reach out when markets go down, as do 68% of advisors when the client’s personal investments drop in value. Yet, few spread positive news. 3. Online Presence. Seventy-six percent of advisors said they had no individual website, which means that they are neglecting what is likely their most sought out and effective platform for building a personal brand. Moreover, less than half (48%) of advisors have searched their name online in the past year. 2015 (Third Edition) Optimistic projection for 2015. Next Generation of Advice. The transformative shift to advisory is gaining momentum. Glimmers of economic, market, regulatory and demographic shifts are changing financial advice. We project that transitioning to advisory will be a salient issue for 2015. To Be Determined
  19. 19. FOUR KEYS TO YOUR SUCCESS Our experience and research show that four key issues represent the greatest challenges facing advisors today. Our practice management solutions target the areas that may have the largest impact on your business. THIS PAPER HELPS YOU OPTIMIZE GROWTH. GROWTH Achieve your potential through client acquisition and retention, referral programs and mergers and acquisitions HUMAN CAPITAL Attract, retain and develop top talent while preparing for a smooth succession OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY Take control of rising overhead costs and build a more streamlined, scalable infrastructure for your firm RISK MANAGEMENT Stay in step with fast- changing regulation, and protect your business against unexpected events
  20. 20. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY WE’VE BUILT FOR YOU We Are Pershing, a BNY Mellon company Pershing LLC (member FINRA/NYSE/SIPC) is a leading global provider of financial business solutions to more than 1,500 institutional and retail financial organizations and independent registered investment advisors who collectively represent more than 5.5 million active investor accounts. Located in 23 offices worldwide, Pershing and its affiliates are committed to delivering dependable operational support, robust trading services, flexible technology, an expansive array of investment solutions, practice management support and service excellence. BNY Mellon is a global financial services company focused on helping clients manage and service their financial assets, operating in 36 countries and serving more than 100 markets. Pershing is a member of every major U.S. securities exchange and its international affiliates are members of the Australian Stock Exchange, Deutsche Börse, Irish Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange. Pershing LLC is a BNY Mellon company. Additional information is available at Important Legal Information—Please read the disclaimer before proceeding. • Please read these terms and conditions carefully. by continuing any further, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions described below. • This paper has been designed for informational purposes only.The services and information referenced are for investment professional use only and not intended for personal individual use. Pershing LLC and its affiliates do not intend to provide investment advice through this guidebook and do not represent that the services discussed are suitable for any particular purpose. Pershing and its affiliates do not, and the information contained herein does not, intend to render tax or legal advice. • Warranty and limitation of liability • The accuracy, completeness and timeliness of the information contained herein cannot be guaranteed. Pershing and its affiliates do not warranty, guarantee or make any representations, or make any implied or express warranty or assume any liability with regard to the use of the information contained herein. • Pershing and its affiliates are not liable for any harm caused by the transmission, through accessing the services or information contained herein. • Pershing and its affiliates have no duty, responsibility or obligation to update or correct any information contained herein. Copyrights and Trademarks Except as may be expressly authorized, all information contained in this guidebook may not be reproduced, transmitted, displayed, distributed, published or otherwise commercially exploited without the written consent of Pershing LLC. © 2014 Pershing LLC. Pershing LLC, member FINRA, NYSE, SIPC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (BNY Mellon). Trademark(s) belong to their respective owners. For professional use only. Not for distribution to the public. One Pershing Plaza,Jersey City, NJ 07399 PAP-PER-II-SUCCESS-5-14 FOLLOW US