As the pace of mergers & acquisitions in the broker-dealer space accelerates, many financial professionals are scrambling to figure out their next move. While some are happy to join a larger firm, many find they don’t have access to support they need to thrive.
Unfortunately, acquired financial professionals often don’t have the ability to decide where their firm takes them, as acquisition after acquisition can land them somewhere they didn’t expect to be.
In this article, we explore the common reasons why financial professionals tend to be overlooked at large broker-dealers, and how to break free from being seen as just a number.
The Inability to Offer Personalized Service
One of the benefits that is often promised by larger independent broker dealers is that they will create efficiencies by offering greater service and support, with a large back office infrastructure.
However, following a merger, back offices are consolidated, redundancies are eliminated and financial professionals are left to learn how they can get things done on their own.
Larger firms operate in silos, which makes it difficult for financial professionals to find the help they need. Support teams are spread out within different departments and finding the right person to get on the line to answer a simple question can take time and headaches.
While teams are arranged this way with the best of intentions, the reality is personalized service is lacking at larger firms. At smaller firms like Silver Oak, you know exactly who to call and have the ability to develop a relationship with them over time.
Organizational culture is a huge factor for many financial professionals, and the truth is firm size can directly influence culture, as factors like personalized service, technology support and administrative processes vary greatly depending on the firm’s support resources.
Financial professionals who come from smaller firms typically value a culture of service, where they have the freedom and support they need to provide superior customer service to their clients and manage their business the way they deem appropriate.
But the culture also has to encompass financial professional experience. If a firm can’t provide and properly support its financial professionals, then the service they offer their clients will suffer.
Though large firms have greater financial resources, those who want more flexibility in building their business and personalized service for their clients should consider that the rigid structure of a large broker-dealer will not likely allow for this environment.
As an independent financial professional with values and purpose, you should be looking for firms that match your cultural makeup. You want to find a firm that will support you throughout your journey. Just as your clients had the freedom of choice to select you as their financial professional, you have that same freedom to choose the financial firm for your business.
Inflexibility Around Technology
One of the biggest difficulties acquired financial professionals face is managing the technology transition.
While some firms, such as Silver Oak, enable their financial professionals to continue using their existing technology stack, many firms require acquired professionals to shift to the technology they have in place. This can create several operational burdens in the long run, as challenges with data mapping, document retrieval and integrations are inevitable in any transition.
Additionally, support teams may not be familiar with your legacy tech and how it marries with the firm’s current systems.
Large Fees Associated With Larger Firms
Something to consider is the fixed costs associated with being affiliated with a large firm.
As firms consolidate and grow, they’ll negotiate more favorable clearing agreements that lower their costs. Typically, those lower costs are not passed on to financial professionals, so they may be paying the same ticket charge while their broker dealer’s ticket charge is half what it was at your prior firm.
The economies of scale rarely, if ever, are shared with the financial professional and thus this is not a tangible benefit for them.
In summary, a larger broker-dealer will promise resources, more back office support and improved economics, but financial professionals often find a vastly different story where resources look a lot like proprietary, basic and canned systems.
You need a firm to partner with, that respects and values your independence and your need to serve your clients, your way.
Consider Silver Oak Securities
At Silver Oak, we see your individuality as a competitive advantage. Based in Tennessee, we understand the value of Southern hospitality, and we’ll never close the door on your new ideas. Your spirit fuels us, and we’re driven to help empower you to do what you think is best for your clients. We bring all the flexibility, innovation and independence of the RIA world together with the robust marketing, technology and compliance resources that traditional broker-dealers provide to create a truly one-of-a-kind experience for you.
At Silver Oak, you’ll find a culture of service leadership. We are different. We combine a big firm experience with the support and service culture you can only find at a smaller firm.
Ready to make a positive move toward your future? Start by learning more about your opportunities at Silver Oak.