There have been interesting stories in the news lately about staffing growth and changes at wealth advisory and asset management firms. Whether it’s expanding advisor ranks or switching up institutional sales roles, firms making these moves face all the usual challenges associated with recruiting, hiring, training, and onboarding new team members or moving staff people into new roles.
Beyond those hurdles, however, these firms will need to equip their people to handle clients and prospects who are demanding more efficient responsiveness, customization, and specialization from their advisors and institutional sales reps. The question is, how will wealth and asset management firms check off these new boxes?
New Advisors, and Lots of Them
One significant wealth management news item came from Charles Schwab Corp. According to Reuters, Schwab is planning to hire about 1,800 new financial advisors, more than doubling its current FA roster of about 1,200. Schwab will need these new advisors to staff the 175+ new branches the company is planning to open in mid-sized to large cities across the U.S.
Schwab’s strategy seems to be targeted at a huge swath of presently underserved investors. That is, people with investable assets somewhere in the higher end of the mass affluent segment, but below the lofty minimums required by wirehouses and many RIAs.
Regardless of its specific strategy, Schwab will need to facilitate lots of learning curves, and provide its people with new tools and capabilities to help them meet clients’ changing requirements and preferences.
New Senior Product People
Another interesting story on staffing trends in financial services was recently published FundFire. The story highlighted the growing trend of asset management firms hiring senior people from outside the firms who bring multi-faceted product expertise to the table. As reported, this trend is being fueled by a growing demand among institutional clients for multi-asset solutions that combine strategies across asset classes.
From the institutional sales perspective, these are new and complex products that require all-new sets of collateral. Institutional sales teams – both new hires and long-time reps – are less familiar with these products than they are with their firms’ traditional offerings. Tools that enable firms to track how their reps are using the new materials, and how clients are reacting to them, help firms to drive success with these products.
Ensuring Productivity and Effectiveness
Whether it’s newly minted advisors just starting with firms, or senior product specialists moving from one asset management shop to another, trends across the investment management industry add up to a lot of new people in new roles within companies.
With the legacy systems and applications they have in place, wealth advisory and asset management firms might be able to do a decent job of getting their new people onboarded, up to speed and productive in the short-term.
But going forward, to compete effectively in today’s complex and fast-paced market, and deliver ‘cut-above’ services to demanding and hyper-connected clients, these staff people will need newer and more innovative tools. To attract, win and retain clients, advisors and institutional sales people need to be able to easily find their firms’ best and most relevant content, and quickly deliver it to the right clients or prospects, at the right times and on the right devices.
In financial services, it’s a whole new world, and the same old ways of sharing ideas with clients no longer cut it. With new hires, growing product complexity, and changing client preferences, firms that upgrade their client communications capabilities will have a head start toward success.