Trends, Changes and Brighton Jones’ Approach to Building a Better RIA
At Brighton Jones, we have worked tirelessly to establish ourselves as leaders in the wealth management space and serve as our clients’ Personal CFO. We firmly believe that our core methodology “Keep People. Keep Clients. Get Clients. Get People” separates us from the competition. Jon Jones (CEO) and Tyler Mayfield (COO) recently attended a few industry conferences and had the opportunity to share why our methodology is so important in today’s RIA landscape.
Jon was invited as a guest speaker to the eighth annual Barron’s Top Independent Advisors Summit, hosted by Barron’s magazine. He participated in a panel discussion on the topic of “The Evolution of the RIA Model” and shared his insights on the past, present and future of the RIA business which focused on building the right team. Here are some of his key insights:
RIA Models in the Past
Early on in our industry, RIAs primarily focused on client service and relied on client referrals to grow their business. Advisors didn’t have the time, or necessarily the skill, to focus on traditional business development efforts. Most firms believed that delivering exceptional client service would drive more client referrals. This strategy is effective, but it shouldn’t be the only one a firm relies on.
Another barrier to growth early on was technology. The solutions available were limited and designed to help the Advisor manage relationships and report on performance. Most solutions did not provide visibility into the health of the entire organization, requiring firms to run much of their organization from a spreadsheet and make decisions on limited insight.
What are RIAs doing (or should be doing) now?
Firms realize they need a team to support and sustain growth. The right team will help firms stay relevant and better position them for success. RIAs are beginning to see the value in having a team dedicated to the sales process. Separating the sales and client services divisions, enables firms to focus on both functions more effectively. A successful Business Development team creates more opportunity for the entire firm. Growth attracts and retains top talent.
The evolution of technology available in the industry has provided firms with opportunities to engage and communicate with clients securely and efficiently. Technology has helped create new roles in organizations. We see firms building out their operations teams, bringing in people with expertise in technology, finance and marketing.
Above all, the main focus for any RIA (or any company for that matter) should be its people. Companies need to ask themselves daily “are we doing enough to keep our people engaged?” They should invest in the people they already have and create plans that set employees up to succeed both professionally and personally. Satisfied employees are motivated to help the company succeed and are the best source of referrals for new talent.
What is the future of the RIA industry?
There will likely be a consolidation trend in our industry. Smaller RIA firms who are unable to keep up with the technology, sales and general operations required to run a competitive firm will begin to position themselves for acquisition. In the future, we will see a few RIAs emerge as dominant players in the market and become household names.
What will be the drivers of these firms’ success? Unlike current wealth management firms, these companies will retain their focus on doing what is best for clients by delivering conflict-free advice. Leading firms will maintain their commitment of engagement and satisfaction to their current team knowing that their people, present and future, are ultimately responsible for sustaining its success.
Our Approach to Building a Team
Tyler recently attended Dimensional Fund Advisor’s COO Forum and first-ever CMO Forum. He found, much like Jon, that other dominant players in the RIA space were incredibly intrigued about Brighton Jones’ unique methodology on attracting and retaining both talent and clients. He spent time talking with other RIAs about Brighton Jones’ dedication to its people and processes.
Our team works diligently to attract top talent and provide them with opportunities to grow holistically – professionally and personally. The team in charge of “Keep People” is constantly adding to our robust list of programs for career development, physical health and community involvement. We feel it is equally important to make sure employees feel balanced in their personal lives and provide regular seminars on emotional, social and financial wellbeing.
We’re thrilled that our peers in the industry are intrigued by our approach towards building a dynamic team. At Brighton Jones, we value our people, they are the key to our success and will continue to ask ourselves daily “are we helping them live a richer life?”
If you’re interested in learning about opportunities to join our dynamic team, please visit our Careers page.