We came to Tapas on a Saturday night with our family (2 adults, 3 teenagers and a pre-schooler). Our reservation was for 7pm. Even though we arrived a little bit early, they were able to get us seated quickly.
We started the evening with the plato mixto. It was a great decision because everyone at the table, including our 4 year old, devoured every morsel. It was a great start to what would be a memorable night.
We had all the tostados on the menu. The salmon tartare was the favorite of the four. Next up was the caesar ensalada. My son’s friend (Jolene, 15 years old) had never had a dining experience like this and she was in food heaven eating the caesar salad. She hadn’t had fresh made caesar dressing and the crispy bacon slice on top was a wonderful touch.
Have you ever seen teenagers excited over beef carpaccio? The meat was perfectly prepared and the tender slices almost melted the minute it hit your tongue.
The salmon gravlax was to die for. There are not enough words in the english language to describe the freshness of the salmon as it touched our tastebuds.
We ordered the portobello mushroom, meatballs, clams, mussels. The sauce for the clams and mussels were so heavenly my husband considered ordering another order of sauce to go so he could enjoy it dipped with bread. We have video of our children eating the duck confit for the first time and if you have never seen teenagers in a hypnotic eating trance, order this and experience it for yourself. The ribeye medallions were so soft and perfectly prepared that you would think the meat had been lovingly massaged to softness before prepared. We finished the evening with chocolate truffle, cheesecake and 2 creme brulee. I think we had enough food on the menu to give the restaurant a thorough review. The staff was very attentive. From Steven who sat us, to Cindy who served us – it seemed like all the staff in the entire restaurant tended to us. The food was paced well and the service was exceptional. My 4 year old fell asleep on his chair after eating – he was so satisfied. My favorite quote of the night came from my 14 year old daughter: “You know when you wake up and you think it’s 3 minutes before your alarm? But it turns out to be 4 hours? That’s what it feels like.” Thank you to Tapas for the incredible experience, for catering to our family’s foodie needs from a 4 year old, to teenagers to adults – everyone had a wonderful evening.
The financial services industry can be a great career choice but unfortunately, a lot of new advisors never make it past the first couple of years. And as anyone who’s been in the business just a few years can tell you, getting past the licensing requirements is the easy part. Here are 7 Top Tips for new advisors to turn a job into a career.
1. Ask Yourself “Why?”
Why did you get into this business? Was it to just to earn a living or was it to truly help people and make a difference in people’s lives? There are lots of careers with much less stress, responsibility and liability where you can earn a living. Make sure you’re in this business for the right reasons and always keep that thought in the front of your mind.
2. Define and Commit to Your Values
One definition of stress is that “stress occurs when our actions are inconsistent with our beliefs.” As with any industry, this business is fraught with temptation to compromise your values. Make sure you understand and commit to where you draw the line as compromise is a slippery slope.
3. Understand Your Options
There are several business models or career paths that all call themselves “financial advisors.” You can be a captive agent, transaction broker, fee-based advisor or even a fee-for-service advisor. You can work in a wirehouse, as an independent advisor or in the bank and credit union channel. Each of these options has their pros and cons, but which one most closely matches the career you want to build? Take the time to investigate and understand the implications of each business model so you can consciously choose your path.
4. Create a Plan
Where do you see yourself in five years? How will you get there? Now that you know and have decided on the type of advisor you want to be, create a plan to gain the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to pull it off. That may mean taking a job as a Junior or Associate Advisor with an experienced firm, taking an internship or joining a firm that may not be your first choice but provides valuable training or experience.
5. Educate Yourself
Just because you’ve passed the LLQP or similar, that doesn’t mean you know all there is to know about financial planning. Many people spend years in one segment of this industry and become experts in that small area, but have gaping holes in their knowledge base. (It’s said that when you’re a hammer, every solution involves a nail.) Taking a formal, comprehensive financial planning program such as recommended by the CFP Board will help to round out your knowledge and prepare you to deal with almost anything your clients throw at you. Also, don’t worry about collecting designations – instead collect knowledge. Your success will hinge more on the value you bring than the number of designations after your name.
6. Find a Mentor
Nothing teaches like experience. Find a mentor who is already successfully practicing your five year vision and ask if they will help you. A good mentor can help you clarify your long-term plan, point out potential obstacles and provide resources for expanding your network. Most people who share a common vision are more than happy to help and the advice they can bring can dramatically accelerate your development and achievement of your goals.
7. Keep Your Ego in Check
As you gain success in this industry it’s easy to start believing you have all the right answers, especially as more and more people take notice of your success. But remember, nobody knows everything. As you grow into your career – even if your practice is just you and an assistant – you’ll be asked (or required) to take on additional roles such as manager, business strategist, operations expert and more that have little to do with the act of financial planning. Continue to learn, keep an open mind, remain humble and seek help from others to continue to ensure you can deliver on the reason you got into this business in the first place.
For years now, it’s been getting more difficult and expensive to find and train good advisor professionals. At our firm, we see this as a consequence of an industry growing up — as the industry matures, it becomes more challenging to find, train and retain the right people.
Some firms have found recruiting to be so daunting that it’s an impediment to growth. Other firms recruit anyone and everyone, providing minimum standards of skills and sacrificing the clients’ well-being in the thirst for growth. To compete effectively, growing firms now need a higher calibre program than they did in the past.
Of course, the best way to stay ahead of your staffing demand is to fuel it with highly motivated and superbly trained young professionals. But if you’re thinking about hiring junior associates this year, how can you improve your chances of success with new entrants to your firm?
At our firm, we created a disciplined and streamlined process to identify, select and develop new advisors.
After the initial screenings, we interview them, covering four main areas:
Job knowledge: We ask what they think a financial advisor does, what challenges they might face, what responsibilities they want to attain over time, and what technical skills they possess that could make them successful.
Motivation: What has contributed to their success so far, and why they chose the career they did? We also want to know what expectations they have of the firm — and why Exceedia?
Intellectual ability: What can they bring to the firm? What are they willing to develop in skills competence? How much dedication are they willing to commit to evolve and provide more skilled services to our clients?
Interpersonal skills: This can be tricky to learn in an interview. In addition to asking what activities they were involved in, we ask them to describe team efforts — identify some wins and losses, and explain what they did about the latter. Also, what qualities are they looking for in a supervisor? What do they regard as their outstanding qualities?
All new associates undergo training and personal development, the first year to 18 months will include: investment research; planning and taxes; client services. We have them participate in business coaching to develop their management abilities. There are daily team meetings focused on different areas – technology, social media, financial planning, financial literacy, workshop development, office management, product training. We have found daily learning, reflecting and sharing the best method for ensuring our associates integrate learning into their practice.
Bring More Value to Our Clients
Gen Y’s values are different. The generation graduating college now is not nearly as motivated by money as were boomers — who include the executives currently running many firms. New graduates won’t respond to the same hiring tactics you’ve used for Gen X, either. Recruiting, training and motivating these folks has to be different.
Firms need higher levels of sophistication. Firms must ramp up faster to remain competitive, so they need staff to be productive more quickly. That means key investments in acquisition, training and development for the best and brightest talent.
Jobs and organizations are evolving. It’s clear that as companies get bigger, jobs become more specialized. If your firm is growing and wants to be scalable, your staff must specialize, as well — or you will quickly become inefficient. Meanwhile, firm structures are evolving based on changing business models — requiring flexibility on the part of your entire organization (not to mention the entire industry).
Young professionals expect more than job security and fair compensation; they want an enjoyable work experience. They want to feel part of something more significant than just their work — hence the need for teamwork and seeing the value of their contribution, early and often. They want a connection to their workplace and the world at large, and a mentor to guide them. Successful managers build relationships with their staff and make mentoring and deep listening part of their skill sets.
We encourage team members to come up with ideas for better, more efficient or more cost-effective operations, then make those contributions highly visible — giving them immediate impact. Praise for contributions helps team members feel they are part of the big picture.
Our programs offer junior staff specific metrics on education, experience and professional training; the goal is to advance them to senior advisor. We want our advisors to work toward an expected professional standard with little uncertainty — something that provides substantial “retention glue.” No one has left our firm because there was “no future” or they “didn’t know how to advance.”
Also, juniors are not stuck with one senior advisor for life. There’s no silo-building by seniors, or career stagnation for juniors — which could occur if an advisor built his or her own insular team. Because juniors know they will work with more than one senior, there’s no potential resentment from getting “stuck” or working with someone they don’t enjoy.
Our staffing strategy represents an evolution. Many advisors with little hiring experience often envision the new hire taking on responsibilities the senior advisor had been handling. That might work for the first one or two new people, but that’s about it.
These firms miss a fundamental fact: With growth, organizational structure must evolve to remain competitive. Jobs will change, whether you plan for them or not. Moreover, to change your business or revenue model, you may need to change your organization.
Evolving your overall business structure and finding, hiring and retaining young advisors isn’t rocket science, but it is hard work. Plan for where you want to be, get professionals to help you with your hiring, then train, nurture and tend to your business “family.” That kind of strategy will enhance their careers and support your firm’s growth and profitability.
The three attributes I consider most critical when choosing great business partners: they are people I like, respect, and trust.
Let’s start with likability. The journey of building a company is long and hard, so you better find people you enjoy being around and who provide positive energy. Would you want to spend time with this person even if you weren’t working together? You aren’t going to get along with this person all the time, but it should be a core component of your relationship.
Who has a contagious optimism that fuels your entire team? During the early days of our company, we were all stretched thin and working exceptionally long hours, but we always knew when to crack the right joke to keep people from getting too stressed. With a combination of wit, enthusiasm and warmth, we made the tough times tolerable and the good times even more enjoyable.
You should also be looking for people that have the skills and expertise that you respect. These are people that are truly exceptional at their jobs, and inspire others to be better.
The last attribute – trust – is perhaps the most important, yet trust is only BUILT SLOWLY and OVER TIME. Who can you always count on to get the job done, put the interests of the company first and support the people around?
I am thankful every day to work with such people. They make the highs higher and the lows bearable. We have helped each other achieve our goals, though we are just getting started. When you find these types of people, hold onto them. I certainly have. Invest in these relationships and you have a chance to be rewarded not just with business success, but also lifelong friends.