Wealth Management Trends

In today’s complex world of financial planning, a space that is constantly evolving, we have seen the power of a team-based approach to best serve clients and grow practices.  In the details below we will share findings from different publications and studies that share the advantages of an ensemble practice while taking a look at the demographics of the advisor population.  The specifics will highlight the opportunity for less tenured advisors and specialized wealth management professionals along with the growth potential for established advisors who are willing to embrace a team-based model.


Advisor population:   A recent J.D. Power study highlights the average age of a financial advisor is 55, with 20% the population 65 years or older. 

As you can see above the advisor force is a more senior population, nearing or in some cases at retirement age.   Clients’ financial planning needs don’t end at their advisor’s retirement however, and many would prefer continuity rather than establishing another relationship with a new advisor.   That’s why many practices have embraced a collective approach where the team is comprised of a staff of various tenures and specialties to best serve their clients’ and their families’ needs over the long term.  Phillip Palaveev in his book The Ensemble Practice, states that clients appreciate more expertise and a business continuity plan most about the ensembles.   And while continuity is a benefit of a team-based practice, it’s not the only one. 

There are many significant advantages for both clients and advisors.  Angie Herbers explains this in her article “How Advisory Teams Boost Growth and Client Satisfaction on ThinkAdvisor.com:

“On the business end, well-constructed and trained teams can work with significantly more clients than the same number of advisors could work with individually. That’s because in a team, advisors don’t form a deep personal bond with client that can often lead to over servicing clients.

Deep emotional connections with the clients, for instance, cause advisors to blame themselves when clients don’t take their advice.  In a team, advisors tend to be more accountable to the team for delivering advice efficiently.

Finally, teams create growth. Advisors working in teams keep their focus on growth because they feel accountable to their teammates to keep the team growing.

Overall, advisory teams increase the chance of delivering what the client needs. It emphasizes the focus on client service, and the emphasis on client service creates growth.”

Vince Lumia, Head of Field Management at Morgan Stanley also shares his thoughts on a team-based model:

“Without capacity and scale, teams will spend their time doing administrative things, much of which is of much less value to the client,” Lumia said. “High performing teams are quicker to partner with other specialized advisors when opportunities require skills that are not a part of their own core strengths.”

We can see the benefits to clients working with a team-based wealth management practice and there are also real economic benefits to the financial advisors as well.  Palaveev cites this in his work again, comparing the economics of sole practitioners to various levels of team-based practice.  See below:

Median pretax income per owner in comparing solos to ensembles:  early solos $136k, mature solos $190k, early ensembles $214k, mature ensembles $418k and super ensembles $867k.    

Summary: As you can see from both a client service and an advisor productivity perspective each end benefits from a team-based approach.  More and more clients are demanding the need for a team, and more and more advisors are realizing the benefits of working within an ensemble practice to be serve their clients and grow their businesses.  As part of a Wealth Management Active Search and Consulting Firm, we are seeing firsthand the growing need of established advisors and firms who are seeking partners and specialized wealth management team members to offer optimal client service and promote growth.   The team-based model is growing for good reason and Lead-Advisor.com can be a resource wealth management firms and professionals to help align talent with opportunity. 


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