It’s summertime, and I don’t know about you, but over in our neck of the woods, kids’ activities and summer travel plans are in full swing.
I’m up in Northern Wisconsin 🧀 this week, dropping my kids off at their favorite yearly summer activity – summer camp.
The signal isn’t the best out here, but I’m doing my best to stay Connected.
Here are the key things that I’m going to break down this week:
- How Advisors Can Build Trust – Adam Holt 🎧
- You’re Invited: Forging the Future of Financial Advice 📍
- Threads Launch: Here’s How RIAs Can Take Inspiration From the Launch of Zuckerberg’s Newest Social App
- Maybe, Maybe Not
- Lockheed Deep-dive
On the Pod
How to Build Trust With Clients, and the Challenges of Growing a Financial Services Firm with Adam Holt
In this episode of Connected, Kyle is joined by Adam Holt, CEO of Asset-Map. They talk about how Adam’s passion for architecture led him to create visual representations of complex financial data, fostering trust with clients and facilitating meaningful financial decisions. Adam also covers the growth of Asset-Map, the importance of building a solid company culture, insights into data aggregation, and balancing a career with fatherhood.
The episode is available now on your favorite podcast platform. While there, please don’t forget to Download, Like, and Subscribe.
You’re Invited: Forging the Future of Wealth Management, August 16, Atlanta
I’m excited to invite you to an in-person event this August. This event is designed specifically for RIAs, where we will walk through unlocking tangible success for your clients, business, and professional journey.
When: Wednesday, August 16, 2023 at 4:30 pm EST
Where: Bold Monk Brewing, 1737 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW Suite D-1 Atlanta, GA 30318
Spots are limited, so sign up ASAP. Save your seat here.
Sporting Some New Threads: How RIAs Can Take Inspiration From the Launch of Meta’s Threads App
In the last 24-36 hours, it’s been virtually impossible to go on any form of social media without seeing something about Meta’s new release of the Threads app. Threads was designed to rival Twitter and drew as many as 70 million users within hours of its launch.
Let’s consider the lessons we can draw from this.
Late last year, OpenAI had a massively successful launch, with very little lead time for promo. Threads just followed suit. I think the bar has been reset for launching new solutions.
Before Dropbox launched, they created a waiting line that became the standard for building anticipation and fostering education pre-sign-up. Today, that method feels like our grandparent’s enrollment method – at least in 2023 Silicon Valley standards.
If we take a moment and get introspective…
The wealth management industry has very different standards of launches. For instance, the Schwab / TD Ameritrade cutover is looming large in many advisors’ minds right now, but we didn’t get to this moment quickly. This has been a moment that has taken actual years to prepare for and still feels decently uncertain for many advisors.
It’s pretty standard for advisors to wait years to see if core systems would be updated on time at their BD, Custodian, or tech providers.
We have RIA consolidation happening at record levels. Like fish being gobbled up by the larger fish, we should have some super fish swimming around running the ocean, but that’s not quite a reality.
The biggest fish often carry the biggest debt – maybe on their balance sheet but most assuredly on their tech stack.
This debt hinders mobility and impact – leaving this modern business model with much of the atrophy of the bank or BD that advisors would love to leave behind.
Firms must reinvent themselves and take on a different mindset to break through this confusion and reach the next level.
Instead of studying or copying the RIA platform down the street or the Broker-Dealer you were formerly tied to, it is important to get a fresh perspective.
Here are some simple tips for you to really tilt things on their head, think creatively, and take on a proper launch mindset.
- Keep your eyes on your own paper. It’s essential that you define success for yourself and your teams in line with the expectations of your clients. Don’t let someone else’s goal dictate your own.
Make your goals practical, public and let them guide the path to clear and predictable success.
- Think impact. If the change you want to make in the world isn’t compelling, dig deeper. What are the potential outcomes of difference for your clients or your advisors?
Build a solid impact-driven success equation.
- Reframe areas of operational improvements as launch opportunities. Often the most significant gains in highly focused companies happen without much fanfare.
When I was neck deep in bringing on a lot of firms during my time at Orion, I would finish a massive 120-day implementation and not take a second and celebrate with my team. That torpedoed morale and learning. Eventually, I learned to see every implementation as a new case study to help us educate our team and attract more customers.
- Communicate always (and get used to being a lot less private). Most firms struggle to find the right communication cadence both internally and externally. Dealing with compliance approvals, edits, more approvals, personal insecurity, and your lack of personal time often causes communication to take a back seat to client service. No one will ever beg you to market to them, but your relationships to COIs and future clients will be built on your marketing communication. It’s worth the hassle.
- Remember that Simple Scales, Fancy Fails. This is a proverb that Kyle Van Pelt frequently shares at Milemarker. This rule helps us not overthink things and realize that a simple core idea is often the most significant and influential.
Examples of Launch Success for RIA’s
There are lots of great examples of when RIA’s have massive success launching things. Here are a few I’ve experienced firsthand.
- Changing Custodians & Back Office – A few years back, I helped move a 3.5B firm to a new custodian, a new trading system, and a new CRM — all within 120 days. This included training the advisors on the technology. While not without hiccups, we got it done.
At the core of our success was thinking about the rollout as a formal launch. We worked our tails off to get everything where it needed to be based on our project plan and then gathered all the key parties together for three days in Scottsdale to roll out everything new.
We knew it wouldn’t be perfect, but we had to interrupt the patterned behaviors to upgrade the lives of all the firm members. This event and approach helped us achieve success and get buy-in as quickly as possible.
Today that firm is now $35B with 350 offices nationwide and over 900 staff.
- Launching a New Advisor Relationship Platform – When your business is fundamentally to serve the needs of other RIAs or IARs, you often need your own unique front-end system that provides your advisors with all of their core updates, dashboards, and workflows in one place. This is a core system we deliver for our advisors at Milemarker.
In the lead-up to our launch, we work with our customers to build a launch mentality that is in line with how they work but is also in line with the fact that they are now delivering technology uniquely to their advisors and will be able to control the next wave of features while gathering key feedback around an enhancement calendar.
In this instance, building a launch mentality with goals and an approach that will carry your momentum is essential.
What are the key items you should be launching at your firm?
Highways and Byways. Quick Takes on Industry News & Relevant Content.
Maybe Turns Out to be “Definitely Not”
I’ve been a fan of Josh Pigford and his work for a long while, and saying he put massive amounts of work into Maybe is an understatement. Maybe was built to provide modern B2C PFM-level wealth management insight to consumers.
As Maybe evolved, you saw more of the presence of CFPs and CFAs in their workflow.
With a small level of paying customers after growing a waiting list of 10,000, Josh decided to pivot into a different mission- which he announced this week.
I applaud the effort and welcome more innovation in wealth management and I wish him the best with his new project.
Just sent the following letter to Maybe investors + customers.https://t.co/lIlvOwIF1g— Josh Pigford (@Shpigford) June 25, 2023
tl;dr We’re shutting down @Maybe and pivoting to a new product called @DetangleAI. Customer subscriptions have been paused. Investor positions stay the same.
Lockheed Deep Dive
The Acquired podcast has set the standard for quality and business breakdowns. One of the can’t-miss episodes of late has been the story of Lockheed.
This episode is worthwhile for gaining more perspective on how one company has dramatically impacted the world as we know it and how many of the things we know today can tie their existence back to Lockheed, Skunk Works or any of their related outworkings.
Once you listen to this week’s Connected with Adam Holt of Asset Map, fire up this episode.
Thanks for reading this week’s Connected!
Have a great weekend.
Written by Jud Mackrill
Edited by Amy Simpson and Kim Mackrill