For the MarketCounsel Summit’s much-anticipated return to an in-person event last month, around 200 financial professionals with a focus on the breakaway adviser audience gathered in sunny Miami Beach. According to InvestmentNews’ latest “Advisers on the Move” data, breakaways are still gaining steam. Total moves of experienced advisers are up 10% year-over-year, despite moves tracked through September being below pre-pandemic levels. 

This excludes transitions between firms or those arising from mergers or acquisitions — which have reached a record volume (up 45% and growing), according to DeVoe statistics shared during the summit. Other interesting topics at MarketCounsel included tech, crypto, marketing financial advice to Gen Z and more. Below, we’ve broken down some standout takeaways and actionable best practices that could benefit breakaways looking to grow. 

Some trends are more than just fads

The summit produced a poignant display of advisers’ views on cryptocurrency. When panelists asked the audience who is recommending crypto to their clients, very few raised their hands. But when audience members were asked if they personally invest in crypto, more hands filled the air. While financial advisers are often hesitant to discuss cryptocurrency and blockchain with their clients, there’s an emerging need for advisers to get involved and consider where digital assets might make sense for clients. 

Impact investing and ESG represent another important trend, with Q1 2021 seeing all-time record inflows of $21.5 billion. As our social landscape provides investors with more fodder to consider investments that align with their moral compass, this is a topic that advisers should remain well informed about in order to properly serve their clients. 

Pay attention to social media

Evolving technology and innovative investment vehicles are also attracting a new generation of investors. During the panel, “Marketing to a Generation Who Doesn’t Want Financial Advice,” advisers were encouraged to find ways to attract millennial and Generation Z clients who tend to be more focused on the money they can see right now than their nest egg. 

One key takeaway from this panel is that advisers should turn to social media to observe the behaviors and conversations of younger generations. Think about the uprising seen last year on Reddit related to investing in GameStop, which put distrust of financial services on full display. 

Participation in social media doesn’t require engagement to be successful, but it does require paying attention. If you do want to engage, you need to find ways to make your messaging more value-driven. This is the best way to appeal to the emotions of younger generations and find what motivates them. 

Be sure your fees and services are aligned

The current state of adviser fees is a frequent topic among RIAs. As discussed during the MarketCounsel Summit panel, “Service Expansion: The Fee Compression Concealer,” there has been a growing trend of providing expanded services at lower fees, aka doing more to earn the same amount of revenue. Panelists said that advisers should assess where they are by asking questions like: 

  • “What services do I offer?”
  • “What’s the cost of my tech?” 
  • “What role do the tech and services that I use play?” 
  • “How does my team help?” 

Historically, it has been more expensive to engage in more services. One trend discussed during the panel is that advisers are seeing increased complexity in many clients due to their accumulation of greater wealth. This issue can’t be solely scaled by technology and requires a strong team able to dive into the nuances of those clients.

When considering services and technology, improved workflows and client experience should be a primary focus. The 2021 RIA Benchmarking Study from Charles Schwab reports that tech is essential for operations, with portfolio management, CRM and financial planning systems making the greatest impact on ROI. Remember: The number-one cost will always be people to help service verticals and tech as you grow. 

Another important consideration is emphasizing the transparency and education you provide. While panelists shared this may not be a deciding factor for all clients or prospects, it’s key when focusing on younger investors.

The biggest takeaway from the MarketCounsel Summit for breakaways? The industry is changing and growing at a rapid pace. It’s essential to keep up, determine how to deliver your value and execute in order to meet the demand and achieve success. Gregory FCA can help! Contact us to learn more.