In previous generations, financial consultants had few choices about what type of company they could work for. Although there are many different companies to choose from, the business environment between them is very similar, or even identical. Large brand companies dominate this day with their recognizable logos and familiar slogans.
Although many of these well-known companies still play important roles in the financial industry, a new type of small financial services company has emerged. Compared with larger competitors, these independent companies generally provide more comprehensive products and services, and pay more attention to relationships. It may be difficult for potential consultants to know which type of company is best for them, so read on to find out whether you should swim with big fish or find a nice little pond by yourself.
Swim with big fish
What kind of company you join depends on what kind of consultant you want to be. Below we have listed some positive and negative attributes of this choice for your consideration.
Compared with independent consultants, consultants working for large financial conglomerates usually receive a higher level of support and training. New consultants hired by large wire brokerage companies or insurance companies may receive a comprehensive training program, including study licenses, management of all necessary insurance and securities exams, sales and product training, and all necessary technical guidance. And administrative tasks.
Most new consultants can also seek a certain level of marketing support, such as business cards, letterhead and brand awareness, and at least one shared office space. In addition, many larger companies provide superior access to IPOs, bond inventories, and other products that often attract new investors. However, these regulations have a price for consultants, who usually need to meet high production quotas within a relatively short period of time before they can continue to be employed. In fact, large companies have created business models that set the majority of new employees as the few “degenerates” who can achieve results.
The downside of large companies is that their consultants usually get less paid for the same business as their independent counterparts. As mentioned above, there will be more company red tape and rules to follow. In addition to the increased expectations of the workflow and the number of client bases, consultants will also lose time with clients, which can lead to a disconnect between the two and eliminate the reasons why many consultants initially joined the industry.
Splashing water in a small pond
Boutique companies that provide a more personalized (and possibly broader) range of products and services may be more suitable for certain consultants.
Retail boutique companies lack support and training, and they can usually make up for it through salary and autonomy.
In fact, more experienced consultants who may already have mature business books tend to enter these companies because they do not need the same level of training or marketing support. Retail companies can also provide specialized services such as income, gift and/or inheritance tax filing preparation, mortgage loans, and alternative investment or retirement plans tailored to specific demographic markets (e.g. doctors).
The more intimate and close-knit atmosphere provided by these small companies is often unmatched by large conglomerates. Most advisors working in this environment conduct business for themselves rather than their broker-dealers. Therefore, they are engaged in marketing their own business, not the brand name. However, although they may enjoy greater autonomy and higher commission expenditures, they must also assume the sole responsibility for running the business, or at least their approach. This means that, in contrast to branch managers or other mentors, they usually stop taking responsibility. However, if new or inexperienced consultants can find a mentor who believes in them and is willing to invest the time and energy to show them skills, they may be able to find the perfect niche in one of the companies.
Perhaps more importantly, working in a smaller company gives consultants the opportunity to do more meaningful work for clients than simple asset collection and management. Consultants who provide out-of-the-box services (such as tax preparation) will soon learn more about the personal lives of their clients, rather than their financial situation. In many cases, in many matters that may be beyond the financial scope, the consultant can be a trusted confidant of the client. When these customers encounter issues related to large asset bases (such as business succession or estate planning issues that must be resolved), this level of relationship becomes invaluable.
As mentioned above, smaller companies do not have a lot of financial support. They may not support consultants with marketing materials, business cards, license preparation, or mandatory upgrade courses to help pay consultants. If planning and paying for all these necessary items sounds like a headache, then the big league might be more suitable for you.
How to decide
The gap between retail companies and their corporate competitors is narrowing as the independent broker-dealers through which most small companies continue to expand the base of products and services that retail companies can deliver to customers.
Whether consultants are suitable for a particular work mode depends to a large extent on their temperament. Some questions that consultants should ask themselves include:
- Are you willing to deal with company politics?
- Can you deal with mandatory statutes issued from superiors that may adversely affect your business?
- In order to reach your quota, do you miss the extra time you spend with your customers?
In the end, whether a consultant is more like a salesman or an entrepreneur may be a deciding factor. If consultants are content to simply follow company policies, then big-name companies may provide what they are looking for; if not, smaller companies may be more appropriate.
The choice between larger and smaller companies may depend on the level of experience of the consultants or their temperament. Although other factors will also play a role, the type of business that consultants hope to provide to their clients will be a key factor in deciding which type of company is more suitable. No matter what decision you make, make sure that if you decide to dive into the water, make sure you know how to swim.