Saturday, April 1, 2023

A Prime Commonwealth Advisor on Driving Productiveness

Photo Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss

Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss, CFP®, AIF®, with Commonwealth since 2004

Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss, CFP®, AIF®, based her impartial advisory agency, SullivanKreiss Monetary, in 2004. Having spent the earlier 13 years as an advisor on employees with a publicly traded firm, she wished to go away huge company agendas and proprietary funding merchandise behind. As president of her personal enterprise, Sullivan-Kreiss was desperate to develop a concierge service mannequin constructed round a robust tradition of fiduciary accountability to shoppers.

As Sullivan-Kreiss says, “I’ve all the time primarily based my enterprise on the basic principal of treating others as I want to be handled. My goal is de facto quite simple: to place our shoppers’ pursuits first, act with integrity, and embrace the individuality that every shopper brings to our observe.”

Throughout our conversations, the power of Sullivan-Kreiss’s dedication to this imaginative and prescient all the time shined via. The profitable development of her agency may very well be seen as emblematic of the depth with which Sullivan-Kreiss engages with shoppers. It additionally highlights her extremely environment friendly use of time. To offer the customized concierge service that Sullivan-Kreiss believes makes her agency particular, she has develop into a grasp of time administration. She has realized the best way to function effectively and collect the mandatory assets to maintain development and construct economies of scale.

If you happen to’re trying to go impartial or develop a longtime advisory enterprise, understanding the facility of Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise decisions may make it easier to chart the best way towards optimizing your time and setting your agency up for long-term development.

Constructing One thing Particular

For Sullivan-Kreiss, constructing shopper relationships is all about specializing in the journey with every particular person you serve. With a view to develop a high quality observe, it’s a must to make every shopper really feel particular. Which will sound elementary, nevertheless it’s essential to maintain prime of thoughts. As she says, “It’s being there for shoppers via on a regular basis moments, celebrating life’s main milestones, and serving to to supply help, encouragement, and, hopefully, consolation throughout troublesome instances.”

A proactive service mannequin. Ideally, SullivanKreiss Monetary shoppers shouldn’t get voicemail once they name, and follow-up to requests and issues should be speedy and correct. However concierge service is greater than that: it’s being proactive versus responsive, going above and past what’s anticipated. Sullivan-Kreiss focuses on long-term, complete monetary planning; she isn’t taken with “merely being a cash supervisor.” This implies setting common evaluations to maintain abreast of modifications in shoppers’ lives and assembly each two weeks when growing a plan for a brand new shopper.

The consequence? Sullivan-Kreiss has constructed one thing particular: a extremely engaged group of long-term shoppers. For her, that’s what makes the advisory enterprise rewarding and enjoyable. And there’s icing on the cake: based on Sullivan-Kreiss, “The vast majority of my agency’s new shoppers come from referrals from current shoppers.”

Spending Extra Time with Purchasers

33 percent data point

As you possibly can see, Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise mannequin is instantly tied to her spending as a lot time as potential with shoppers. Notably, like a lot of her Commonwealth friends, Sullivan-Kreiss spends considerably extra time in shopper conferences than different business advisors. That’s based on a 2020–2021 research carried out by Commonwealth in partnership with Cerulli Associates, which discovered that, on common, Commonwealth advisors spend 33 % extra time in shopper conferences than different advisors from each wirehouse and impartial corporations.

In actual fact, primarily based on additional evaluation of the info, Commonwealth’s Observe Administration workforce decided that Sullivan-Kreiss ranked within the prime decile of productiveness amongst Commonwealth advisors, primarily based on gross income, development price, and period of time spent with shoppers. This statistic speaks to the essential work Sullivan-Kreiss undertakes day in and day trip with the people she serves.

Attaining Scale and Effectivity

So, how is Sullivan-Kreiss in a position to spend a lot time with shoppers? There are inherent difficulties in scaling a concierge mannequin. Nonetheless, as she labored via fixing them, Sullivan-Kreiss realized that having the proper employees and agency accomplice will help facilitate enterprise scale and effectivity.

The facility of your folks. Sullivan-Kreiss delegates administrative, operational, and sure planning duties so she will be able to deal with client-facing work. With three full-time employees members (a director of shopper relations, a monetary analyst, and an operations supervisor), she is evident on their significance to her enterprise mannequin: “My workforce is phenomenal. What they do behind the scenes permits me to be good at my job and spend as a lot time as I can with my shoppers. Their strengths permit the agency to ship top-tier concierge-level help—the personal touch we dedicate to each shopper.”

In keeping with Sullivan-Kreiss, her regular development has been pushed by her workforce’s stability of competencies. And that development has introduced the agency to an inflection level, the place further employees is critical. To deal with the quantity of labor and maintain her productiveness excessive, Sullivan-Kreiss plans so as to add an funding supervisor and an extra advisor to the workforce.

When requested about recommendation for advisors trying to develop, she states, “One of the vital productive issues you are able to do is empower your folks and provides them room to develop. It’s completely key to have the proper folks on employees, significantly those that have complementary expertise units to yours.”

The affect of your agency accomplice. Sullivan-Kreiss remembers her agency’s early years flying by in a blur, however she has all the time acknowledged the significance of a supportive agency accomplice. She explains, “Along with actually busting your derriere . . . it’s a must to domesticate the proper relationships with the proper folks. You have to have a accomplice behind you that’s proactive and responsive.”

Like different impartial advisors, Sullivan-Kreiss appears to her agency accomplice for a big selection of back-office assets and help. As a result of her work is grounded in monetary planning, she appreciates having specialists, similar to Commonwealth’s Superior Planning workforce, available to speak via a fancy planning or retirement downside.

As for funding administration, Sullivan-Kreiss acknowledges that this position is an ongoing problem for any impartial agency. She prefers customized portfolio administration and, with the help of her monetary analyst, does a substantial amount of her personal funding analysis. Nonetheless, if a shopper is in search of a selected funding technique, she desires to have the ability to depend on her agency accomplice for specialised data. She receives that help from Commonwealth’s Funding Administration and Analysis workforce.

In the end, Sullivan-Kreiss says that your agency accomplice should be capable of present a “phenomenal degree of help” that’s tailor-made to your wants.

Cementing the Cornerstones of Success

Being an impartial advisor has allowed Sullivan-Kreiss to fully align her agency together with her values and shoppers’ finest pursuits. She’s been in a position to construct the agency she’s all the time dreamed
of, one primarily based on placing her shoppers’ wants first and powered by environment friendly time administration. Proper now, she’s centered on the thrill of the current and accelerating much more development sooner or later. Something is feasible together with her imaginative and prescient, a robust workforce, and Commonwealth’s partnership at her again.

If you happen to’re an advisor eager to go impartial, Sullivan-Kreiss’s recommendation is to do it as quickly as you possibly can. As for contemplating a agency accomplice, be thorough about due diligence and align with a agency whose values mirror yours. Final, however actually not least, all the time take into account that you need to go the place you possibly can develop, even when it’s one step at a time.

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