There’s never been a more exciting time to be a financial advisor, or a more challenging one. The Baby Boomer generation is keeping advisors busy as they age into retirement. A new generation of internet-savvy millennials is beginning to consider their investment opportunities. Competition is everywhere. Technology is both disrupting the RIA landscape, and giving advisors new opportunities to retool and expand their businesses, while staying independent.

Dyanasty Financial Partners is one of the companies that’s providing RIAs with a modern platform to differentiate and grow. On today’s show, Dynasty’s founder, Shirl Penney, discusses the core services that RIAs have to provide their clients to remain independent, and how a company like Dynasty can help.

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Key Points From Shirl Penney

1. Aggregate advice to build your brand. 

Shirl believes that RIA branding is about more than just strong social media and a sharp logo. Dynasty tries to create a “triangulation of advice” for individual clients between the services provided by the smaller RIA firm, the services that Dynasty itself provides, and the products that clients will use for investing. In an investment landscape where information will be increasingly automated and digitized, customers are going to ask, “What brand is delivering me the best advice? What brands do I trust to manage my assets?” And as more and more RIAs breakaway from the wirehouses, it’s going to be the quality of the client experience you provide that sets your advisory business apart and helps you stay independent.

2. Be a CEO, not just an advisor. 

Shirl Penney: To stay independent, RIAs are going to have to start thinking more about how to differentiate themselves from other RIAs.

When new RIAs come to Dynasty, many estimate that they’re spending 60-70% of their work weeks on middle and back office tasks. No wonder these RIAs aren’t growing — it is impossible to prospect for new clients, network, or provide the kind of top quality service that leads to referrals, if you’re bogged down in the day to day operation of your office. To paraphrase another recent guest of mine: your dentist doesn’t clean your teeth, because that’s not his job. Even if your primary interest is in working closely on your clients’ financial plans, a successful RIA has to put on the CEO’s cap from time to time. Outsourcing everyday tasks to a company like Dynasty, or doing a better job of delegating to any employees you might have, will free you up to do the things that will help grow your business while staying independent. That could be the difference between having a nice, functional boutique practice, and building a real, sustainable, independent company.

3. A little help from your friends. 

The good news about keeping staying independent and running your own business is that it’s going to be a lot more fun than you imagine.

The bad news is that it’s also going to be a lot harder that you imagine too. Very quickly, you’re going to learn how important it is to have a good team around you, whether that means your own office staff or joining a big provider like Dynasty.

That’s why one of Shirl’s big pieces of advice for anyone starting a new business is: “get a buddy.” Reliable partners compliment your strengths with their own, compensate for your weaknesses, and help create a culture of accountability at your business.

But even an established success like Shirl still relies on the people around him. The Board of Directors Shirl assembled at Dynasty reads like a financial services dream team, and Shirl regularly turns to them for advice that he believes has been crucial in building and growing his business.

4. Be a good custodian.

Starting from scratch and building up his own independent business helped Shirl appreciate the value of being a good custodian not just of his own capital, but of his clients and their investments as well Advisors who are able to make real, human connections with their clients are not going to be replaced by robo-advisors or an app anytime soon. Shirl believes in “being cold on numbers, but warm on people” to ensure you’re providing the kind of high-quality client experience that will keep you successful, and your clients happy.


– Dynasty Financial Partners visit Shirl Penney and his team on the web

– The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It book by Michael Gerber

– Better Conversation, Better Outcomes podcast by BMO Global Asset Management

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