Here’s How Multibillion-Dollar RIA Firm Advice Period is Reinventing Wealth Management

Reinventing Wealth Management

By rethinking every aspect of how to price and deliver wealth management, AdvicePeriod has gone from a startup just a few years ago, to more than $6 billion in assets under advisement. We go under the hood to learn exactly how they did it.

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They’re not shy about stating their take on the financial advisory business. “We’re reinventing wealth management. The old model is totally outdated,” says the bold headline at the top of their website.

In today’s episode, you’ll learn:

  • What reinventing wealth management means according to AdvicePeriod.
  • What clients really want and how to focus your practice around it.
  • How to price your services using fixed fees instead of a percentage of assets under management.
  • How to demonstrate value to your clients that they are willing to pay for.
  • Why you must be clear on what you stand for and be able to communicate it far and wide.
  • Why you must resist the temptation to hire average people and instead, hire the absolute best and invest heavily in creating a “best place to work” culture.

My guest today, Larry Miles, is a Principal and shareholder at AdvicePeriod, and as the company’s proclamation about reinventing wealth management suggests, he isn’t one to set the bar low.  Larry’s primary focus at AdvicePeriod is to provide strategic leadership for growth and profitability while maintaining a high standard of excellence, something all financial advisors should be thinking about as our industry evolves into Life-Centered PlanningTM.

Larry’s colleague, Steve Lockshin, who founded AdvicePeriod, was a guest on an earlier episode of Between Now and Success. Listen to Steve’s episode here.

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10 Key Insights About Reinventing Wealth Management From Larry Miles.

1. “At AdvicePeriod, we wanted to focus more on what really mattered to clients and for us that means a lot of planning, a lot of advice, leveraging technology where we can, and really thinking about what matters most to clients. Whereas, most traditional firms typically focus more on investments and trying to beat the market. We don’t think that’s possible.”

2. “We found over the years that clients were really seeking an advisor that could offer them advice on their entire balance sheet and all of their liabilities regardless of where they were custodied. We believe the best advisors are able to do just that.”

Larry Miles: We’re big believers in telling the world what we believe in. I’m not going to say that we’re right, I’m just going to say this is what we believe in.

3. “I’d say ninety-plus percent of our revenue is flat fixed fees, not a percentage of assets under management but a fixed fee, which increases each year with inflation. But that fee is reflective of the value we think we can add for that family. Combining investments, advice with planning, just being that general advisor to families.”

4. “These days, you can use Google and find a really good asset allocation model, or you can go to Vanguard, Fidelity, or Betterment and get one for just a few basis points. We help our clients with asset allocation, but we just don’t think it’s worth very much, and so that bucket has a very low fee ascribed to it. ”

5. “I think all families, regardless of their net worth, want objective advice that’s meant to help them. It’s meant to serve. It’s not meant to sell them a financial product. I think what we identified early on were ways to help these families that were not being addressed by their current advisors.”

6. “I think one of the many challenges of the planning-focused advisor is, how do I demonstrate my value? One is, you have to be really good at communicating with your client, not just verbally but in a digital way that allows the client to see what you’ve done for them. It’s a client timeline, that’s what we create for our clients. Two, for a client to have a taxable estate, one of the most useful metrics that we’ve found is tracking how much of their assets we’re able to get out of their estate.”

7. “We’re trying all the new technology. If there’s a new financial technology product out there, we’ve either tried it, or it’s in queue to be tried. You definitely have to experiment and I think the best advisors in the best firms do experiment, and they’re humble about their pursuit of delivering the best client experience. It’s more important than ever because technology is just changing so rapidly that if advisors fall behind it’s going to be really difficult to get back ahead.”

8. “We’re big believers in telling the world what we believe in. I’m not going to say that we’re right, I’m just going to say this is what we believe in. We believe in planning. We believe in low cost, more passive investment. We believe in leveraging technology to improve and enhance the client experience. We believe in planning for these estates and all its financial planning. By speaking about it, by writing about it, by letting the world know that that was what we believed in, we were able to help a lot of clients find us who believed what we were talking about. That’s largely been our marketing strategy. ”

9. “I think in a professional service business like wealth management, needless to say, your people are your most important asset. We’ve always tried to surround ourselves with the best people possible. We’ve been very, very fortunate over the years to surround ourselves with just really great people who pursue excellence. They are very humble in their pursuit of excellence, always questioning what we’re doing. How can we do better? How can we deliver a better client experience for all of our clients? How can we deliver a better experience for all of our teammates?”

10. “We all believe that life is too short to not love what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with. If you can’t have fun, then what’s the point? I think sometimes people mistakenly believe that if you’re having fun, you’re not taking your job very seriously or that somehow by having fun, you’re sacrificing quality or accuracy or precision. Our experience has been the exact opposite. We’ve always found that if you can find great people, you put them in an environment where they can learn and they can succeed and they can have fun doing it and they enjoy one another, they’re going to care that much more. They’re going to deliver better results. They’re going to be that much more loyal to the client and to the company and to their teammates because they want to do well. That can be a really powerful thing with a culture. ”

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Steve Sanduski

Steve is the founder of Belay Advisor and a NYT bestselling author, podcast host, speaker, and financial advisor coach.

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