Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cloud Technology: Blessing or Curse for Financial Advisors?


The rise of cybersecurity attacks, especially involving financial institutions, is cause for growing concern among today’s advisors – for themselves, as well as their clients. How can advisors adjust to the risks and concerns over cybersecurity while still accessing the benefits of cloud technology?

While at Schwab IMPACT in Denver, I sat down with five financial services professionals for a 60-minute roundtable discussion. We discussed cloud technology, including challenges and opportunities for financial advisors. You can access several videos and a white paper transcript by clicking the image below. 

This is a "must read" for financial advisors. 

Click here now.

 Click to access videos and white paper.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

See What's New on Advisor's Think Tank - Investing Roundtable Now Live!

It is such an honor to be able to sit and talk with industry insightfuls such as those I selected to be a part of my last roundtable centered on the investment landscape and what financial advisors should be thinking about in 2015.

Visit AdvisorsThinkTank.com to view videos and download the white paper transcript now.


Why Client Engagement Strategies Fail - Julie Littlechild, Spenser Segal and Marie Swift Weigh In

Did you miss this special Fireside Chat? Scroll down on this blog and you will find links to download the recording!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Downloads from Client Engagement Webinar - here

We missed you at our fireside chat.



Here's how to get the information you missed!




To watch the recording:
https://vimeo.com/impactproductionsgroup/actifiengagement

To download the slides:
http://www.4shared.com/office/YAq3915oce/ACTIFI_Client_Engagement_Fires.html

To learn more about the ActiFi Client Engagement program:
http://www.actifi.com/clientengagement

Follow us on Twitter for other conversations and breaking news: 
handles - @spenseractifi @jlittlechild @marieswift
hashtag - #actifiengagement

Additional information can be found at:
http://www.julielittlechild.com

We look forward to hearing your client engagement success stories when next we meet!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why Client Engagement Strategies Fail - Join Us Live on February 17, 2015!

Why do client engagement strategies fail? On February 17th, I'll be asking Spenser Segal and Julie Littlechild that very question and several more. 

We all know that client engagement initiatives can result in growth and increased profitability, but they often fail to achieve the intended goals. The two main reasons are (1) a lack of meaningful input from clients, and (2) poor execution.

On February 17th, Julie Littlechild, founder of Advisor Impact and If Not Now Research, and Spenser Segal, founder of ActiFi, and I will dialog about the problems and the solutions. 

Don't miss this special Fireside Chat!

Date:   February 17, 2015
Time:  2:00 ET / 1:00 CT / Noon MT / 11:00 PT

Free to register but space is limited. 

Register now and you will receive the recording automatically, but we also hope you will attend in real time that day so that you can ask questions and participate in this important conversation.

 Register now to attend free and/or to automatically receive the recording afterwards.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Financial Advisors Can Leverage the Voice of the Client to Build a Better Business

ActiFi and Advisor Impact Introduce New Client Engagement Program

Powerful Strategic Alliance Leverages Voice of the Client for Deeper Relationships and More Effective Business Development

Have you heard about ActiFi Client Engagement? This unique program combines the power of robust client feedback with the tools, support and resources to build more engaged and profitable client relationships. ActiFi Client Engagement is being powered by the Client Audit, Advisor Impact's industry leading client feedback program.  

ActiFi Client Engagement will take client feedback to the next level, layering in coaching, practice management resources and technology to help financial advisory firms take meaningful action. The program will be offered directly to individual advisors as well as through broker-dealers, custodians and TAMP's as part of a robust, integrated offer that links client feedback directly to advisor workflow, positively impacting efficiency and the bottom line.

"Working with a firm like ActiFi allows us to increase the value for advisors, while remaining focused on our core capability, which is helping advisors gather client feedback," said Julie Littlechild, founder of Advisor Impact. "In many respects, ActiFi represents an exciting future for client feedback and client engagement because they can provide the in-depth consulting and technology integration that will lead to more significant return-on-investment for advisors and their firms."

The program offers a choice of three levels – Impact, Innovate, and Transform – so advisors can choose how best to match their needs and desired commitment levels.  It will also provide access to other features offered through the ActiFi software suite. 

 

Financial Advisors and Allied Institutions:

Read more on PR Newswire

or

Listen to the Audio Interview with Spenser Segal and Julie Littlechild explaining WHY this is such important news!

http://www.audioacrobat.com/email/EXSQzShnx

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What keeps advisors returning to Peak Advisor Alliance Excell Meetings?

Ron Carson, Peak AdvisorAlliance, and advisor Bryan Sweet, Sweet Financial Services, catch up during a special Peak Referral appreciation dinner at Carson’s lovely Omaha home.

A community of elite advisors and allied institutions gathered in Omaha this fall for the 27th Excell Meeting. Hosted by Peak Advisor Alliance, one of the country’s leading practice management programs, and Ron Carson, a perennial favorite on both the Barron’s and LPL top advisors lists, the semi-annual advisor love-fest drew a throng of nearly 400 participants to what might now be deemed the new city of brotherly love.

Having now attended several Excell Meetings, I can attest to the unique atmosphere, high energy and strong sense of camaraderie among the participants. But to better understand an insider’s appeal for this community, I spoke with Minnesota-based advisor Bryan Sweet of Sweet Financial Services. Sweet is a long-time Peak member and one of Raymond James’ most successful advisors.

Read my conversation with Bryan Sweet.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When Portfolio "Crash Testing" and Goals-Based Financial Planning Merge

This interview with Bill Winterberg, founder of fpPad, and Daniel Satchkov, CFA, president of RiXtrema, a portfolio crash testing system for financial advisors and financial institutions, while at the T3 Enterprise conference in Atlanta last week reminds me of ...

A Reese's Peanut Butter Cup: The marriage of portfolio crash testing with financial planning goals is a perfect combination. Totally delicious!

Satchkov gives a shout out to Robert M. Wyrick, Jr., managing member of MFA Capital Advisors in Houston; Wyrick's suggestion for the marriage created the initial development spark.

Watch this 2 minute video now:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What to do in the Face of a Social Media Crisis

In my weekly reading, I came across this rather good Infographic from 360PR. In the spirit of archiving good content, I am posting that infographic here. Hopefully, as a thoughtful financial services professional, you never have to do more than simply monitor and manage your online presence ... and have a plan "just in case."

Please also take a look at my articles for the industry publications listed below:

Marketing and Practice Management Advice for Financial Advisors 
Marketing and PR Perspectives for Financial Institutions and Allied Professionals
I'll be at a number of industry conferences in 2015 so tackle me and say hello!

Happy Thanksgiving. I am grateful for all the wonderful conversations and friends I've made the pst 25 years in the financial services industry.

Yours in Creative Alliance,

Marie Swift



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Branding Your Financial Advisory Firm - Advice from Diane MacPhee and Marie Swift

Did you miss the webcast today on branding your financial advisory firm? We had a very robust andspirited conversation! I was joined by advisor coach extraordinaire' Diane MacPhee and the ever-delightful Maggie Crowley, marketing manager for Advisor Websites. We had so many questions, we couldn't get to them all. So I offered to put up this blog post and open up the discussion board here.

Maggie Crowley will be posting a link to the webcast recording (check the comments section).


And if you have more questions to ask Diane, Maggie or me, post them here and we will respond.

Thanks again for a great session everyone!
Marie Swift, Diane MacPhee and Maggie Crowley

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Candid Conversation with David Booth of DFA and Alex Potts of Loring Ward


Imagine sitting in on a candid discussion with David Booth and Alex Potts as they talk about what keeps them up at night, robo-advisors, ETFs, lessons learned five years post the Great Recession trough, and more. I had the privilege of doing just that ... and I am bringing a transcript of that conversation to you via AdvisorsThinkTank.com. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Catch Up with Ron Carson and Marie Swift!

Looking for a stellar conference? Check out this article written by Dr. David Lawrence and published by Financial Advisor magazine, August 2014. Dr. Lawrence, the "efficiency doctor", says the Peak Excell Meetings take a "decidedly different approach."

The concept of Peak is to bring a group of successful advisors together in a sharing environment with the goal of making those advisors even more successful. Come to get inspired. Leave with ideas that will transform your practice.

http://www.excellmeeting.com/register.html

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Which is Best: Bond Mutual Funds or an Individual Bond Portfolio?

Get the answers you need to make the best decisions for your clients.

Attend Bob Veres' Insiders Forum in Dallas.

Don't miss this session from bond analytic experts Brian Battle and Jason Stuck from 
Performance Trust Analytics Group.


To register for the Bob Veres' Insider's Forum visit www.InsidersForum.com.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Finom Helps Investors Find Financial Advisors Based on Performance, Not Platitudes

First-of-its-Kind Platform Helps People Find, Meet and Hire the Best Investment Advisor for Them Based on Verified Performance Data, Personalized Goals and Preferences

Finom, the pioneer in the analysis of investment adviser performance, and the only free decision-making tool that helps consumers find the best financial advisers based on personalized needs, goals and adviser performance track record, announced today the launch of its web platform available now at finom.com. The company is rolling out its service in the Chicago market with plans to expand its offering to additional markets later this year.

“Until now, consumers have not had access to data, technology or tools to properly assess advisers in an objective and personalized manner. Choosing an investment adviser is one of the most important decisions investors will ever make,” said Aziz Lalljee, co-founder and co-CEO of Finom. “Instead of handing over your entire investment portfolio and retirement savings to someone based on a tip from a friend during a round of golf, we believe consumers should be able to make informed, data-driven decisions based on transparency and trust.”

The free, easy-to-use website gives users the ability to search, compare and meet with investment advisors who best match their needs. Users create a personalized investment profile based on their responses to a five-minute risk assessment and adviser-fit questionnaire related to age, geography, investable assets, financial commitments, investing history, risk tolerance and goals. The platform then returns a list of matching advisers with detailed qualitative profiles and risk-adjusted performance measures for each adviser. Adviser profiles list services offered, client types, investment approach, fee schedule, services offerings, areas of expertise and firm history.

Finom’s powerful proprietary platform includes a rating ("Enthusiastic," "Strong" or "Reserved") of each adviser tailored to the user’s specific investment objectives and preferences. The platform even simulates how the user’s investments would have fared, after fees, under each suggested adviser's management, thus empowering financial consumers with actionable and personalized intelligence for the first time ever.

Users can sort and view profiles, compare up to three advisers side-by-side and choose to meet with as many advisers as they like, free of charge. If a user decides to hire an investment adviser found on Finom, the company will charge the selected adviser a fee that cannot be passed on to the client per Finom’s agreement.

All advisers on the Finom platform have gone through regulatory checks and a robust screening process; they are all independent, fee-only investment advisers who are registered with either the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or with their appropriate state regulator(s). Advisers on the platform have provided Finom with client-specific, monthly holdings data for the universe of their client accounts, typically over 5-7 years and updated quarterly. Finom analyzes, displays, and scores historical risk-adjusted returns across a range of investment horizons, risk tolerances and asset classes.

Finom aims to do for financial advisers what Morningstar did for mutual funds – provide comprehensive and rigorous intelligence on adviser practice and performance – thereby empowering consumers to make a more educated and informed decision when selecting a financial adviser to meet and potentially hire.

ABOUT FINOM
Finom, a pioneer in financial adviser comparison technology, brings radical transparency and analytical rigor to the financial adviser search and selection process. Finom helps consumers search, find and meet with investment advisers in a personalized, rigorous, and transparent way - with unprecedented access to performance and practice information. Advisers are featured based on a user’s specific investment goals and preferences, and assessed and rated with analytical rigor. The company was founded by David Gomel and Aziz Lalljee in 2011 out of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and is headquartered in Chicago. Finom Financial LLC is registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). For more information, visit finom.com.

FINOM LAUNCHES SERVICE TO HELP CONSUMERS MAKE INFORMED AND OBJECTIVE DECISIONS WHEN FINDING A FINANCIAL ADVISER



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Going Independent or Looking for a New IBD Relationship?

If you are going independent or looking for a new IBD relationship, this post will interest you:

When John Lindsey left a wirehouse to start his own financial advisory firm in 2012, he knew there would be challenges and opportunities building a business as an independent financial advisor. Building an online presence and using social media to win friends and influence people was part of the plan. He’d also just come through – and won – a FINRA arbitration in a long and nasty battle with Edward Jones. So he needed to work extra hard to clear his good name and mitigate what some uninformed consumers might have easily misunderstood.

Working in tandem with his OSJ and the Cooper McManus team, John set out to do two things: 

  1. Spark a conversation about wirehouse abuses and help other captive advisors figure out a smart and productive way to go independent
  2. Generate a strong online presence using social media, traditional PR and SEO tactics

After creating his brand, setting up his website, and getting a little press on his own, John knew it was time to get professional help. Thus, my team and I have been helping John refine his strategy and accomplish the two goals above for a few months now (check out www.TheBoldAdvisor.com for relevant advisor-oriented content).

As a result of our work together, John Lindsey and I have been asked to do a "tag team" presentation at the Wealth Management and Marketing Conference being hosted May 16-17, 2014 in Laguna Beach.

See photo gallery from last year's Surf and Sand event. 
John Lindsey, far right, enjoys last year's 2013 retreat in Laguna Beach.
















In our 50-minute presentation on May 17, 2014, John and I will:
  • Demystify social media and the new digital reality 
  • Share strategies for building relationships using digital media and expanding your online presence
  • Outline the challenges, opportunities and action steps needed to capitalize on the new frontier
  • Provide insights on how to get started if you don’t have any experience, and what to do next if you're already well down the social media path
  • Tell how Cooper McManus and Securities America support their advisors' efforts

If you are a financial advisor looking for a new IBD relationship (or if you are currently at a wirehouse and are thinking of going independent), you may qualify to attend this 2-day retreat in Laguna Beach. 


Just contact Shawn Sandoval at Cooper McManus and tell him you read this blog post by me and he'll visit a bit with you about your current scenario and the Wealth Management and Marketing Conference.

Here's how to reach Shawn:

Cooper McManus
9870 Research Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
800-516-5333
ssandoval@coopermcmanus.com

Cooper McManus is a SEC Registered Investment Advisory Firm. Financial Advisors of Cooper McManus are Registered Representatives of and offer securities through Securities America, Inc. A Registered Broker/Dealer. Member FINRA. Cooper McManus and Securities America are not affiliated.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Your Opportunity to Get Inside the Minds of Two Investing Pros - Live on March 20th, 2014

What could you learn about investing and communicating with your clients if you could pick the brain of two of the best investing minds in the business?

Impact Communications, one of the industry's leading marketing communications and PR firms, is pleased to partner with Advisor Websites, one of our favorite turnkey website providers for financial advisors, to bring Timothy F. McCarthy to the 2014 industry thought leader roundtable series. He's a big name — and it is our good fortune to get a slot on his busy schedule. Tim will be joined by Daniel S. Kern, CFA, who will share key research findings from The Safe Investor book along with his own observations about the investing landscape in 2014 and beyond.

Don't miss this candid conversation with Tim McCarthy and Dan Kern!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 REGISTER NOW

THE SAFE INVESTOR
Helping your clients grow their money in a volatile global economy

A candid conversation with Tim McCarthy and Dan Kern
March 20, 2014 at 10:00 am PST / 1:00 EST

Brought to you by Advisor Websites

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ABOUT TIM McCARTHY

Tim McCarthy is the author of The Safe Investor: How to Make Your Money Grow in a Volatile Global Economy (Feb 2014; Published by Palgrave Macmillan). McCarthy has dedicated his entire career to the financial services industry and his experiences include serving as Chairman and CEO of Nikko Asset Management in Tokyo, Good Morning Securities in Seoul, CEO of Jardine Fleming in Hong Kong, President of Charles Schwab and Co., and President of the Fidelity Investment Advisor Group. As an executive who formerly led large and successful corporations, McCarthy understands how difficult it can be for employed individuals to speak their minds. At this point in his career, he prides himself on offering candid comments and frank opinions. For more information please visit www.TimMcCarthy.com

ABOUT DAN KERN, CFA

As president of Advisor Partners (an asset management company that offers services and solutions only through independent financial advisors and their clients), Dan Kern is responsible for establishing and driving the overall company strategy; he also oversees the firm's operations.  As CIO, he establishes the investment philosophy and process for Advisor Partners. Prior to joining Advisor Partners, Daniel was Managing Director and Portfolio Manager for Charles Schwab Investment Management; he also headed up product development and served as CFO of a fund company. Prior to Schwab, he was Managing Director and Principal for Montgomery Asset Management. Learn more about Dan and his firm at www.AdvisorPartners.com.

TO VIEW THE ENTIRE 2014 ROUNDTABLE SERIES
Brought to you by Advisor Websites
 http://advisorwebsites.com/blog/2014-financial-thought-leader-round-tables/
  • The roundtable concept is pretty simple: Advisor Websites will host an open discussion centered around a specific topic. Participants dial in and listen to industry experts chat about a given topic. 
  • Listeners can submit questions or relevant topics they’d like to hear about in advance by email (marketing@advisorwebsites.com) or ask questions on the fly by tweeting @AdvisorWebsite using the hashtag #AWlive.
  • This is your chance to pick the brains of some of the most brilliant minds in the advisory industry.
  • All events will take place at 10am Pacific Standard Time.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tips for Generating Client Leads Online

Investment News recently hosted a webinar on generating client leads online, moderated by Deputy Editor Greg Crawford. I really wanted to sit in on the session to hear what Ted Jenkin, co-CEO and Founder of oXYGen Financial Inc., had to say.

Ted is a regular contributor to Investment News' new Tech Talk section, and he and his business partner Kile Lewis are two of the smartest thinkers I know when it comes to digital marketing and building a strong online presence.

Their company, oXygen Financial, is an independent financial advisory firm that focuses on working with families and small business owners within the X & Y Generations. They are one of the Top 5 performing branch offices within the Investacorp, Inc. broker/dealer system and were recently named one of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing companies.

Ted was joined on the panel by Brittney Castro, Founder & CEO of Financially Wise Women, and Peter Velardi, CEO of FiPath4Advisors, LLC.

Alas, I was on an airplane when the webinar occurred or I would have live-tweeted these golden nuggets had I been there in real time. However, I did have one of my staff members record the call and take notes. Good stuff – enjoy!

GOLDEN NUGGETS FROM THE PANEL … AND A FEW QUICK TIPS FROM ME

1. Peter Velardi: Here are three critical questions you should ask yourself when considering marketing to your prospective clients: 1) How do I connect with my target audience? 2) How do I build my brand? 3) How do I create an actionable path to real, meaningful leads?

2. Peter: Have a definite marketing plan: Who are you going after? What's your strategy? How are you going after them?

3. Brittney Castro: Who is your ideal client? Most successful advisors differentiate themselves by creating a niche and building their brand presence around that niche so that they stand out to prospective clients.

4. Ted Jenkin: “Pull marketing" results in leads in your in-box. Build an online presence through your website and social media and allow prospects to find you easily.

5. Ted: If the only trapping mechanism you have on your website is a "Contact Us" page, then you've missed the boat. Give away a free e-book or other tool to make prospects want to engage and supply you with their email address. See how oXYGenFinancial does it.

6. Brittney: It's not possible to give away too much free information online. Even if you give them the full blueprint of what you do in your blog, your prospects will see you as an expert and a valuable resource. And when they're ready, they'll contact you as the expert to manage their money.

7. Brittney: People are interested in meaningful content. You can initially use LPL pre-approved content, but that is pretty dry. Consider writing your own content. You are the brand to your business, so your voice is important in building your brand.

8. Ted: Regarding content and compliance: educate your compliance department with what you're doing. Don't assume that they know how the social media works – explain to them how it works and what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to post an article that's informative and reasonable. As long as the article doesn't say "Buy Apple" or something specific like that, you are not going to have any trouble with compliance.

9. Brittney: In regards to selecting social media sites to be on, find out what sites your clients are on. If they're not on Facebook, have a presence for your brand, but don't spend much time there. If they're on LinkedIn, make sure you keep up regular activity and devote more of your online efforts there.

10. Ted: If you're on LinkedIn, check out LinkedInlabs.com. It syncs with your connections and shows a Year in Review for each of your contacts, which allows you to see who’s changed jobs. That's a great way to see money in motion, for instance an opportunity for a 401(k) rollover. If you're the first to pounce on that opportunity, it will give you the ability to get some more assets under management.

Side note from me: You might also find it helpful to “visualize” your LinkedIn connections using their InMap feature. This very cool tool helps you map your professional network to understand the relationships between you and your connections.

11. Peter: Is what I'm doing with social media driving meaningful traffic to my practice? To answer this you must be able to track your leads, determine the conversion rate, determine if it adds value to your practice, and find a way to report the results. If you aren't seeing a measurable difference, then don't waste your time on it.

12. Ted: On your website, if you don't have a drop down box on your contact page for your prospects to mark how they found you, how will you know the cost of the lead? You need to know how prospects find you so you can focus your efforts on what drives your leads the most.

13. Peter: An emerging area in marketing in the future will be content generation for FA's who don't have the time or inclination to write their own content. Companies will emerge to provide turnkey content that is FINRA-approved or can be quickly approved.

Side note from me: Check out Digital Fortress, brought to you by Peak Advisor Alliance and FMG Suite, who have teamed up to bring financial advisors a turnkey solution for quality compliance-reviewed content.

14. Ted: When considering the traditional event to attract potential clients or for client appreciation, shoot for "infotainment" – a combination of information and entertainment. It can't just be an informative lecture over a steak dinner anymore. People are looking for more active, entertaining events that engage them and draw them in: sushi making, glass blowing classes, etc. Creative activities are great for relationship building, and you get a better “call to action” on your hard marketing.

Another tip from me: You can download the Creative Events and Seminar Marketing Guide my team created for Pershing Advisor Solutions a couple years ago. It’s still good stuff, even if I do say so myself.